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What Are the Challenges of Being a Digital Nomad?

A lifestyle that is appealing to a growing number of people is being what is known as a digital nomad. This type of lifestyle brings the freedom many enjoy and the ability to make money in the way that they want. In essence, while you earn, you get to travel and experience new things. You’re not tied down and stuck at home or in an office, doing the same stuff day-in and day-out.

How is this possible? Through the use of technology. Digital nomads use telecommunications devices like cell phones or laptops with wi-fi access or hotspots to conduct their business. By using these devices they are not tied down to one location. They conduct their business and do their work wherever they want, like in coffee shops or libraries. Many even work in foreign countries. 

While this lifestyle might sound appealing, the life of a digital nomad isn’t always a perfect paradise. There are plenty of challenges with living this way. So, if you are thinking about becoming a digital nomad or are looking for ways to navigate some of the challenges you face as one now, here are some strategies that might help.

Dealing with Legalities

The first thing to address concerning the life of a digital nomad is whether it’s legal to travel to different countries and work there. You might think, you’re not actually being employed by someone in that country, so it should be fine, right?

It so happens that many digital nomads enter a country without a visa when permitted or on a tourist visa. This type of arrangement usually means you’re not allowed to work. And this means doing any work – even if you’re self-employed and working remotely from your laptop. So it’s important to be careful and get the right advice before you travel.

Because of the rise in people being digital nomads, we might start seeing visas just for this type of thing. So be on the lookout for that in the future. 

Internet Access

Access to the internet is a must if you’re traveling as a digital nomad. You really can’t function without it to do your work. This means that you need to think carefully about where you choose to go and how you get your work done.

If you’re relying on internet cafes and free WiFi, you need to choose locations where you’re going to be provided with the best resources you need. And it’s not just the presence of these resources that matters, but also the speeds you’re going to get. Obviously the slower the internet access speeds, the longer your work is going to take. 

As an alternative, some people choose the more reliable route of a co-working space to make sure they have the facilities and resources they desire. 

Keeping Up with Communication

When you’re away from home, you still need to be able to stay in touch with clients and others. This includes employees or anyone else you may be working with. Staying in touch with people for your business, and keeping in touch with friends and family, can be tricky and present a few challenges.

For starters, make sure you get your mail and email in a simple way. If you have a virtual business address in the cloud, you can simply have your mail scanned and check it online. There’s no need to ask someone to get your mail for you. The internet can be useful to make phone calls and video calls. However, it’s also a good idea to have a phone capable of making affordable international calls too.

Finding Friends and a Community

One of the biggest and unexpected challenges that people experience as a digital nomad is feeling lonely and making friends. In some large metropolitan areas, it may be easy to find a community, other travelers or those working themselves as digital nomads. In this type of scenario, it may not be too difficult to find others to connect with.

However, there are other places where you might struggle to meet anyone you get along with. Some places are more remote than others and options for friendships are limited. Even if you’re someone who likes to be on their own, you can feel lonely when you’re in another country.

So perhaps do some work before you go. Find people who will be in your area to connect with. Begin to build those relationships in advance.

And don’t forget to communicate with those back home. Friends and family will always be there for you and they will want to know what you are up to. So don’t neglect contacting them. 

Related Content: A Giving Spirit is the Path to Friendship

Getting the Work/Life Balance Right

Being a digital nomad is supposed to allow you the freedom to experience exciting new things and have plenty of time to relax. But you still have to work. Finding the right work/life balance can be hard.

One of two things are likely to happen. You might end up working too much to try and maintain your lifestyle, meaning you don’t even get to enjoy it. Or you get carried away with having fun and neglect your work. Neither of these situations is ideal. So it’s important to have a schedule and clear guidelines to follow. 

Related Content: All Work and No Play: Combating the Dangers of Workaholism

Dealing with Circumstances Beyond Your Control

When you’re traveling, there are always things that can crop up that scuttle your plans. We have seen that happen in the last year as the pandemic has stopped many people from traveling. Other examples might include political unrest and natural disasters, which can both prevent you from entering or even leaving a country.

You can’t do anything about these situations. However, you can make sure to check for any warnings before you travel, make flexible bookings and take out travel insurance. The key is to be flexible and work through these situations as they arise. 

Being a digital nomad can be rewarding, giving you the freedom to earn and live as you want. But it comes with challenges too, and it’s important to be aware of them.

Leave a Comment or Answer a Question Below: Would you ever be a digital nomad? What sounds appealing to this? What other drawbacks can you think of? If you could work from anywhere, where would that be? 

Image Courtesy of Lisa Fotios at Pexels.com

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