The digital nomad lifestyle is one of the fastest-growing career paths today. More and more people want to travel around the world and make money as they go. A location-independent lifestyle sounds appealing. However, there are countless misconceptions out there. Despite the increasing popularity, there are still myths that surround the life of a digital nomad.
First of all, digital nomads are people who use technology to earn a living. They conduct their lives and their business in a nomadic manner, by working in the digital space. Digital nomads often work remotely from foreign countries. Usually, they can be found burrowed behind their laptop in coffee shops, libraries, co-working spaces – essentially anywhere with an outlet and an internet connection.
Read below to find out if you have the right idea about what a digital nomad really does.
When it comes to traveling, many people think it has to include a huge budget. It’s common to assume that digital nomads must be rich to live abroad for most of the year. In reality, most nomads are not living an extravagant lifestyle. Instead, they are living an exciting but modest life while renting a reasonably-priced apartment or staying in a hostel. Also, they plan and prepare extensively. For instance, researching fairly cheap countries to stay in, cooking rather than eating out, and booking flights far in advance.
The average location-independent professional doesn’t do expensive tours all the time. They might start in the surrounding areas first. Often, the more time you have to discover new places, the cheaper it can get (for instance, off-season discounts, using local transport, etc.) Also, digital nomads don’t have many material possessions. There’s no car, no furniture, and no piles of barely-used junk to haul around. While yes, some digital nomads may have a financial cushion, it is definitely not the case for everyone across the board. Not all nomads are rich. They simply love traveling and value the freedom to do so above everything else. The reality is that digital nomads reflect society at large. Some are living in hostels out of a backpack, while others have unlimited budgets and prefer to stay in a penthouse.
The act of traveling in itself, getting from point A to point B, can be expensive. Primarily if you try to fly first class versus taking a bus or train, or booking last-minute, for example. Taking long-haul flights once or twice a year to reconnect with your home country may take months to save money for.
The cost-of-living in one destination varies widely, whether you’re a local or digital nomad. It’s possible to keep costs low and stick to a budget wherever you go. Essentially, there’s not one rule for how a digital nomad has to live.
Tons of people hate moving. Looking for a new place, meeting real estate agents, applying for the property, packing your stuff, dragging it there, unpacking, settling in, etc. Just the idea of moving every few years – let alone every few months – can be unnerving (although it does get easier with time.)
Moving as a digital nomad is not the same. They are most likely looking for short-term places, which are often easier to find. Websites such as Booking, provide accommodation almost everywhere around the world. Even in a tiny, obscure town, you can find a guesthouse owner who would be happy to accommodate you for a few weeks.
The application process for furnished short-term apartments is not very complicated. Often, you simply make a call, show up, have a look and then start renting straight away. Since most nomads travel light, moving your stuff into a new place isn’t much of a hassle at all.
Naturally, staying in a fully-equipped and serviced apartment is one option that many digital nomads prefer. Blueground offers high-quality rental properties in vibrant cities around the world. Every apartment is equipped and designed for comfort and convenience. Best yet, digital nomads can reserve while in another country and have their apartment (from studios to two-bedrooms) ready upon arrival. In all of their cities, Blueground allows their tenants to easily move from one apartment to the next. For the digital nomad based in Athens, that could mean starting with a studio near the Acropolis before moving to a beachside apartment on the Riviera a month later.
Whenever a digital nomad moves into a Blueground property, the only thing they have to worry about is getting their work done and exploring their new home.
Yes, living next to a gorgeous white sand beach or in remote snowcapped mountains can make it difficult to focus on your work. However, motivated and successful digital nomads can create their own working schedule. Although there are many potential distractions, there are also many ways to increase productivity when working from home. The standard office distractions and noise aren’t an issue. Staying focused is just a matter of sticking to a to-do list, using the right online tools available and taking breaks when needed. Self-discipline is very much a necessary part of being a digital nomad. Plus, many people find new surroundings very stimulating and it actually helps to enhance their creativity.
Many people believe that it takes working in a well-regarded organization to climb the ladder of professional growth and success. They think that with the kind of remote work being done by freelancers, career progress is not possible.
In reality, remote workers who are employed with a company can have the same successful career as a “local” employee. As a freelancer, you can work for a company and be successful on a corporate level too. Even without going the corporate route, many freelancers gain great reputations for providing quality work. It isn’t the typical definition of ‘career’ but that doesn’t make it any less valuable.
It’s a common misconception that all digital nomads can get by only working a couple of hours each week. This is very far from the truth. Especially in the beginning, when nomads are getting started, they work crazy hours.
Finding clients is hard work, and keeping them takes lots of effort and perseverance. Setting up a new business is often a 24/7 job. Only very few, very successful digital nomads can get down to less than 15 hours a week and that’s only after they’ve invested a lot of time, work and often money. So, while they may be sitting by the beach, they aren’t just sipping a cocktail and slacking off.
Yes, digital nomads may stay in typical holiday destinations, but they work just as hard as everyone else. Sometimes way harder. Many of them don’t take time off during the weekends, they don’t get sick days or go on vacation. Fortunately, some nomads manage to create a lifestyle that they don’t want regular breaks or vacation from.
People often assume that being a digital nomad is like a short-term self-discovery trip. Or it’s just something that students do after high school and before starting university. Once they’ve had enough, they will go back to a conventional life.
Being a digital nomad is not the same as taking a gap year. It’s not a phase. It’s a way of living. People decide consciously on this lifestyle because they value the benefits and can manage the downsides.
The beginning is often hard, but once you break through and manage to generate an income with remote work, the rewards are astounding. Once people fall for the location-independent lifestyle and the freedom it brings, they likely won’t be happy again with anything else. There are plenty of myths about digital nomads and these five are just the tip of the iceberg.