Millions of people have wanderlust in their blood. They want to travel, see the world, and enjoy new experiences on a regular basis. Historically, those types of people haven’t been able to live their dreams because they’re saddled with the responsibilities of work.
But in today’s world, it’s possible to become a digital nomad – an active worker who travels from place to place, traveling, relaxing, and seeing the world while still making a decent income.
What exactly is a digital nomad, and what types of technologies are necessary to live this kind of lifestyle?
What Is a Digital Nomad, Anyway?
A digital nomad is a person who travels to different areas, typically on an international scale, while working remotely. There are many possible career paths that can make this feasible, especially in today’s world of abundant digital work, but some of the most common types of digital nomads are writers, photographers, designers, content creators, online store operators, and influencers.
Key Technologies for Digital Nomads
To be successful, digital nomads need access to a wide range of technologies, including services that enable productivity and communication. Many of these tools have been available for decades, but some are more recent developments.
For starters, you’ll probably need an email account and access to a project management platform to enable collaboration and communication with other people. You’ll probably also need a cloud storage platform to manage your most important files and share them with others. And it goes without saying that you’ll need a steady, reliable internet connection to keep these technologies active.
If you’re starting your own business as a digital nomad, you’ll also need a virtual mailbox, which gives you digital access to your traditional mail.
According to Lucas Seyhun of The Farm SoHo, “The US is experiencing a trend of work from home and remote workers. A lot of legal and government issued documents such as tax letters are still using snail mail as an option for communication. A virtual mailbox allows today’s worker to read and respond to snail mail communications in a timely manner from anywhere in the world, without having to physically forward the documents.”
The Benefits of a Digital Nomad Lifestyle
Is a digital nomad lifestyle right for you?
There are several enticing benefits, like:
- The ultimate freedom. Some people are drawn to being digital nomads because it provides you with an unparalleled sense of freedom. You’re not going to be tied down to any location or home; you can stay in new places however long you want and move on whenever you’re ready.
- Low cost of living. The United States is a relatively expensive country to live in when you compare it to its international contemporaries. If you’re willing to travel to and live in countries with a lower cost of living, you can save a lot of money and help your salary go further.
- New opportunities. Traveling to new areas introduces you to countless new opportunities. If you’re open to new experiences, you might find new clients, new partners, and new business opportunities throughout your journeys.
- Recreation and personal enjoyment. Of course, part of being a digital nomad is also making the most of your travel. As long as you have enough free time, you can relax and enjoy yourself with a wide range of activities all over the world.
Digital Nomad Challenges to Overcome
However, there are also some challenges you’ll need to overcome:
- Work-life balance. Everyone deserves a healthy work-life balance. But as a digital nomad, this is hard to achieve. Some types of digital businesses require long hours and dedicated focus, minimizing the time you have for more exciting personal activities.
- Social and emotional support. Moving away from home means being more distant from your friends and family members in many cases. While you can still communicate with them remotely, there are times when you may struggle with social and emotional support.
- Logistical, legal, and tax issues. Being a digital nomad can sometimes be complicated. If you’re still making money with a US-based business even when living abroad, you’ll need to consult with tax and legal experts to make sure you’re doing everything right.
- Consistency and routine. Digital nomads typically experience ups and downs as part of their business and career development. This lifestyle makes it hard to find consistency and stability.
- Safety and resource access. If you move to an area with a lower cost of living, you might be introduced to more dangerous areas and more restricted resources. Be smart and tread carefully.
Being a digital nomad isn’t the right move for everyone, even if you have a career that can currently support it. But if you love the idea of traveling, and you’re undeterred by the biggest challenges of this lifestyle, you should consider moving forward with this flexible and potentially profitable approach.