Imagine this: you’re in Bali, you’re laying down in a hammock, you have your laptop with you, and you’re quickly typing away an article.
You finish it, you close your computer, and go straight into the ocean for a quick dip in the water.
Sounds amazing right?
First, sand and computers don’t get along so well. Second, there aren’t any power outlets, no wifi, and for those who have tried working while laying down, you already know it’s a fast track to fall asleep. Fact is, the digital nomad life has been romanticized and idealize, much like love stories in Hollywood.
This, however, isn’t to say it’s not a life worth pursuing; it’s just simply a matter of making a decision based on the right (and real) information.
Is the Digital Nomad Lifestyle Worth It?
There’s no right or wrong answer here. It truly depends on a lot of factors, starting by personality traits. There are people who love traveling and seeing new places, and there are some who don’t find as much joy in that. There are people who can be away from friends and family for extended periods of time, and there are some who can’t (either because they don’t want to, they play a caregiver role within their families, they have kids, etc.).
There are pros and cons to being a digital nomad, just as there are pros and cons to not being one.
While we can’t give you an answer, we can help you reach a decision by laying out some of the advantages and disadvantages of leading a digital nomad lifestyle.
Advantages of Digital Nomadism
And we mean this in the most comprehensive way possible. As a digital nomad, you can work whenever and wherever you want from (whether that be Guatemala, Bali, Colombia, Africa, Germany), you have the world to choose from. You can work during the wee hours of the morning, late at night, or during regular business hours.
- You get to travel
This is probably one of the main reasons why people are attracted to digital nomadism, you get to travel as much as you want. As a digital nomad, you can explore new places, try new foods, meet new people, and learn about new cultures. Forget about asking for PTO or vacation time, just pack your bags and pick a new destination.
Pro tip: most digital nomads aim to stay for at least one month in any given location; this gives them enough time to explore a new city while working full-time.
- It can be cheaper
This one depends entirely on where you are from and where you choose to go, but more often than not, digital nomads pick destinations where the cost of living is cheaper when compared to their hometown. This means you can get more bang for your buck, which can easily translate into more traveling opportunities.
- Expand your network
Not just your professional network, but your personal one as well. When you travel, especially if you travel solo, you meet a lot of people. Some of these individuals might become lifelong friends, some might lead to new business opportunities, and some might inspire you to visit places you hadn’t considered before. Meeting new people, especially from other cultures, is simply a truly enriching experience.
- No commuting, no toxic work environments
As a digital nomad, you will likely stay in accommodations that are conveniently located close to cafes, coworking spaces, or the buzzing activity of a city. If you stay in a co-living building or a hotel with a nice lobby, you don’t have to commute to get to work, you can just plug in wherever you are. Plus, since there is not a set workplace, there’s no need to deal with toxic work environments or distracting coworkers (you’ll eventually miss chatty coworkers, but it comes and goes).
Disadvantages of Digital Nomadism
Loneliness has been cited as one of the biggest and most common challenges of leading a digital nomad lifestyle. While yes, you get to meet new people, creating a strong, authentic bond takes time, and this is made harder by the fact that people you meet while traveling are also traveling themselves, which means they come and go often. Then there’s also the fact that as a digital nomad, you’re far away from family and loved ones, which can sometimes worsen feelings of loneliness, especially during special dates and occasions like birthdays and end of the year holidays.
- Burn out
Digital nomadism is a double edged sword. While yes, you do get to choose where and when you work from, most digital nomads (and remote workers in general) find it challenging to turn off from work, which can lead to feelings of burnout and stress. To prevent this from happening, you need to hone your time management skills and find a way to have a routine, regardless of where you are. You’ll need to learn when to fight that feeling that you need to always be working.
- Tech issues
As a digital nomad, you won’t be able to travel everywhere. You can, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to work from there. Some places are just too remote and don’t have the necessary technology infrastructure to support remote work. Before you head out to a new destination, make sure you research about it and are sure you’ll be able to get wifi and reliable electricity.
Traveling can be exhausting. Have you ever gone on a trip and loved the feeling once you’re back home? As a digital nomad, you don’t get that feeling. Traveling is taxing and stressful, and we don’t mean just packing and going somewhere, but also the time it takes to plan, to predict the unpredictable, to deal with disappointing accommodation, etc.
More like, lack thereof. If you plan to lead a digital nomad life, you need to account for the fact that you need to travel light and whatever you take with you is all you will have. You’ll be living off of a suitcase or backpack.
So, is it worth it?
Like we said, you decide. But if you’re not sure and your job allows you to work remotely without any time or geographical constraints, might as well give it a try.