With the development of technology, globalised nature of business and normalisation of regular international travel, the world is becoming ever more connected. Jetting off to the other side of the world for a business trip has become a key feature of many people’s working lives, and hopping between exotic locations is often seen as the most desirable way to spend our leisure time. Combine these factors with remote working – the ability to log into work anywhere that has a Wi-Fi connection – and the digital nomad is born.
What are Digital Nomads?
Digital nomads are a group of location independent individuals who use their ability to work remotely – whether for a particular employer, as an entrepreneur, or in the creative industries – to pursue their goals and earn an income while travelling the world. No longer tied to an office, their life looks pretty enviable, with the perpetual travel and discovery which adds excitement to a luxury lifestyle. However, is living as a digital nomad really viable over the long-term?
Could Being a Digital Nomad Work for You?
For many high-earners, money isn’t a barrier to travel, but a lack of time can cause real issues. If you have a huge passion for travel but the demands of your role keep you from the globe-trotting lifestyle you’d like, then it may be worth exploring your options. Some jobs, of course, won’t lend themselves to remote working, but many do. If you’re part of a larger organisation and your work could be completed with a laptop, conference calls and Skype meetings, it may be worth asking your bosses whether they’ll trial a remote working period – you may find they’ll prefer do this rather than lose your valuable skills.
If this isn’t an option, going freelance or setting up your own business is a viable alternative, and if you already run your own business, you could appoint a supervising manager to take on the hands-on responsibilities and deal with the rest as you travel. There’s even the option of travelling, but locally. Perhaps you can see as much of your own country as possible as a first step to the digital nomad lifestyle, giving you some security before taking the plunge.
Luxury Accommodation for Digital Nomads
Long-term travel is often associated with a budget lifestyle, with backpackers crashing out at hostels being the prevailing cultural image. Yet there’s no reason why you can’t live in style, even if you don’t have a permanent address. The Hideaways Club is one option for digital nomads, offering international property investment which includes the use of luxury homes (with the all-important Wi-Fi) without the need to directly own anything.
Another is renting locally – perhaps on a 3-month contract – from a private landlord. You’ll gain huge convenience from hopping between hotels or holiday rentals, but you may find yourself paying well over the odds for luxury that costs less elsewhere, which is something to be aware of. If you fancy a stab at communal living you can pool resources with other digital nomads and stay in large holiday rentals together, or gain a real sense of freedom in a luxury motorhome. This way you can explore vast continents in something like your own home, without sacrificing any luxury or comfort.
Pragmatism and Practicalities.
If you want to become a digital nomad, there will be issues that you don’t have to consider on a normal holiday. Being cash rich and time poor won’t necessarily be instantly cured by heading abroad, and it can be just as easy to mismanage your work/life balance as a digital nomad as it is at home. In order to actually enjoy this lifestyle, you’ll have to avoid overwork and taking on more than you can manage.
This means setting strict work times, scheduling calls in blocks so you aren’t being contacted by clients at all hours and avoiding procrastination so you can stop working exactly when you planned to. You will also have to account for eventualities, such as losing your laptop or shaky Wi-Fi, making it a good idea to never be too far from a city or large town where there’s an internet cafe.
Digital nomadism is a way of living the dream, but that doesn’t mean it’s without its own challenges. You’ll have to do plenty of planning and maybe even change career to wander the globe, but if travel is your passion in life, it may well be worth it.