The nomadic life: thrilling, challenging, fun
What led you to consider picking it all up, heaving it over your shoulder, and shifting to a new part of the world? A dream? Your goals? Leaving bad habits and old memories behind? It's all worth a shot, anyway. But it doesn't come without a bit of rocky road, and we don't mean the ice cream.
There is a lot of excitement and change in a nomadic life: you won't be stuck in a rut as may have happened in your old life. Flexibility, traveling, meeting people from all over the world: it is pretty fantastic. And, like any adventure, it has its dramatic bits.
For those embarking on a life as a digital nomad, there is much to love about the lifestyle. However that doesn't mean that every digital nomad’s journey is the same, and it also doesn’t mean that the life of a digital nomad isn’t without its own unique set of challenges. That very flexibility inherent in a nomadic lifestyle means that a lot of minor scrapes and even major obstacles can be overcome with a change of location, or just a little bit of forward planning.
Ending up in the wrong country: a logical disconnect
Digital nomads are more than easygoing holiday travellers: they have to work, and find the right country to do that from. A particular port of call may seem like a great place to set up shop because of the people, the scenery, the lifestyle (well, the parties!), is not always the right decision when it comes to being able to work efficiently and productively.
Some countries have incredible beaches that you could theoretically work from, but heading to a tropical beach in the Philippines, or Cambodia, might not necessarily be the optimal decision work-wise due to grindingly slow internet connections. A digital nomad lifestyle simply can't fly without a super-fast and super stable internet connection. Chalk that one up to the sharks! Supposedly they've actually been having bites out of the undersea cable networks whenever they can. Rude of them.
Even countries with great internet, like New Zealand, the cost of keeping connected can be prohibitive for someone depending on a constant high-speed connection to work.
Think Fast: Do your research. Plan where you go according to internet speed, and its reliability and cost. Got a few months of intensive work projects? Head somewhere with reliable and cheap internet, and save the scenic but less connected countries for some down time travelling.
Building community isn’t always easy
A nomadic lifestyle undoubtedly provides great and varied opportunities to meet people, and make friends. But for a lifestyle that involves traveling, and moving around from place to place every few months or so, can also create a transient and fleeting group of friends that doesn't last long enough to provide real support and a community feeling.
A nomadic lifestyle undoubtedly provides great and varied opportunities to meet people, and make friends. Image by Cytonn Photography.
Think Connected: Staying aware of the need to connect is part of the solution. Keep up with people you meet around the world, both online and offline, because it is important. Sometimes you need to make more of an effort to stay connected when you are constantly moving around. But it is possible to build a network of like-minded nomads and friends around the world, and meet-ups can happen anywhere. Try to get used to getting to know people fast, when in a new country or location. It isn't hard to make friends when so many people are genuinely friendly.
Separating life and work
The classic and well-known image of a digital nomad is someone on a beach with a laptop. That snapshot of digital nomad life sums up the challenges of this lifestyle perfectly: it is hard for digital nomads to turn off, to switch off from work when there is always one more email to answer, one more project to take on. In a world where we are always digitally connected, and where work messages and emails can come into your phone at any time of the day and night, striking the right work-life balance can be difficult.
Think Space: Keep some time for yourself and your friends and activities, and some time for nothing at all. You have to be pretty strict about building a routine, and scheduling work and after-work time within it. A clear schedule combined with disconnecting or turning off work email notifications, will go a long way towards achieving a healthier work-life balance.
Distance from Family and Friends
So this obviously completely depends on everyone’s individual personal situation. For some, the distance is unmixed blessing, for others it is a little more complicated, and missing friends and family back home can be a very real issue.
Missing friends and family back home can be a very real issue. Image by Linked in sales.
Think Close: Remember that online connection counts as well. Phone and video calls can go a long way to helping you stay in touch with the people who matter at home. The beauty of a digital nomad’s life is that you can work from anywhere, and sometimes that might mean heading home to reconnect as well.
At Vonder we believe that many of the challenges facing digital nomads can be overcome when you find the right place to live. Our evolved approach to co-living creates a community of like-minded individuals who come together in one place to live, work, and play. WIFI is included in our all-inclusive rental payments, and many of our complexes also include co-working spaces. We also go out of our way to help people connect, and to build communities.