Living the Digital Nomad Lifestyle means relying on the internet to financially sustain a modern nomadic life. This relatively new trend allows you to become location independent and constantly move between cities and countries while working remotely.
The digital nomad lifestyle is rapidly becoming one of the most popular ways of living a nomadic lifestyle. This trend reflects the possibilities that technology offers to create a growing number of Modern Nomads.
The main reasons for the rise of the digital nomad trend are:
- The worldwide development of internet speed.
- Growing acceptance among individuals, freelancers and businesses of remote work contracts.
- The appearance of coworking spaces around the world enables digital nomads to work effectively with the infrastructure and stability without the need for long-term lease.
- The abundance of travel apps and services that make it easier for nomads to fly. Such apps (e.g. Google Maps, Airbnb) tackle all facets of road life, including accommodation, transportation, safety, and meeting people.
- Increasing numbers of digital nomad blogs that increase the amount of knowledge about a lifestyle that at first glance appears odd and irrational.
The digital nomad movement can be seen as a backpacking evolution, allowing those who want to continue their travels to do so in a sustainable way while working on the road and enjoying the benefits of nomadic lifestyle.
Those who choose to become digital nomads emphasize the development of a “Location Independent” work environment. Whether it’s self-employed or a digital nomad entrepreneur, effective digital nomads ensure that their livelihood model is done regardless of where they are living.
It is interesting to note that while technology contributes to the increase in the number of modern digital nomads, it is also the main reason behind the rapid disappearance of ancient nomadic tribes who either choose to settle or are forced to settle mainly because of technological and cultural changes.
The term Digital Nomad consists of two words:
1) Digital online, meaning remote online work, and
2) Nomad, a person or family who constantly changes locations without a permanently stable home.
Digital Nomad is not an occupation
I wanted to make a brief comment on the misconceptions of this lifestyle before thinking about budget, nomad equipment and accommodation. So be careful, I’m not going to complain, far from it, but on the other hand, clarifying some stuff seems important to me!
Most people ask:
Hey, how do you become a Digital Nomad, how does your life look like? A dream come true?
So the first thing I think it is important to specify here is that “digital nomad” is NOT a profession, but just a slightly different way of life.
There are many jobs that can be done remotely (web developers, mobile application developers, consultants, translators, copywriters, language teachers, graphic designers, SEO managers, community managers, etc….).
Absolutely ALL these jobs can be done in a sedentary lifestyle, but they all have in common that they can also be done remotely.
We won’t see nomadic firefighters or forest workers, so it’s clear, but more and more careers are digitizing themselves! For example, we met a nomadic nurse! After working for several years as a hospital nurse, she began teaching the profession. She teaches at an American university and all students followed the courses at a distance for six months as part of an exchange semester. Instead of staying in her university office, she can go to South Africa or South America teaching her students.
Digital Nomad categories classes
The following categories of digital nomads are classified according to their level of flexibility and freedom, from low to high:
1. Corporate Remote Workers: Such nomads work for a company that allows them to work from home, or pressures them to do so. You can work for an international bank or work for a startup company. It helps them to move around while providing an income source that is relatively stable.
2. Freelancers or contract workers: Have online jobs, such as coding, graphic design, or freelance writing, that can be done remotely. In this situation, the digital nomad provides multiple clients that change frequently.
3. Entrepreneurs / Startup Owners: Some digital nomads are pursuing the dream of starting a business as a nomadic businessman. It allows for greater flexibility and the ability to independently create unique “things.” Nomad entrepreneurship potentially allows complete freedom in some success scenarios by outsourcing the process or selling the business once it is “ready.” It should be mentioned that many nomads are trying to operate a travel blog, but few are actually living a real life out of it.
Let’s hop further into the “Nomad” portion after exploring the “Digital” part. Let’s begin with a couple of definitions first. How do you qualify living a nomadic lifestyle? What is the difference between a nomadic lifestyle, a “location-independent” lifestyle and a lifestyle of “remote work?” The main idea here is that nomads regularly move locations without having a permanent base (preferably to places they’ve never been before).
Digital nomadic lifestyles vary significantly based on nomadic expectations and characteristics (here is a detailed case study of habits and laws that I follow). However, those who choose to become digital nomads share few similar characteristics:
- The travel lifestyle: The lifestyle of a digital nomad appears to have a milder aspect of travel than the lifestyles of other nomad groups. This is because digital nomads rely on a certain amount of infrastructure to support their lifestyle and, as a result, most digital nomads spend a couple of months in each location before moving. Typically this is called a “slow ride.”
- Location dependent: Generally speaking, digital nomads would prefer towns, primarily capital cities. This is due to the necessary infrastructure to do the job. Cities usually have better internet access, a wide range of coworking spaces, and the opportunity to socially communicate with like-minded people.
- Cost of living: Digital nomads will choose to spend more time in low-cost developing countries. This allows them to “hack life” by making money from clients in rich countries while greatly increasing their quality of life living in low cost countries. It should be noted that many digital nomads prefer to pick “Digital Nomad Hubs” which are locations that are already popular with other digital nomads, where they can find a community and meet other nomads who share their lifestyle while traveling.
- Work environment: Many digital nomads prefer to work in coworking spaces that offer flexibility and fast connection to the Internet. Many nomads prefer their rented apartment or hostel to find the perfect coffee shop or job.
- Daily routines: Typically, the digital nomad lifestyle pushed people into changing daily routines, allowing the flexibility to focus on high-quality work. In my experience, most digital nomads are adjusting to the schedule of their remote company and adapting a normal week of work during their weekend travel.
- Blending in: Due to the relative stability and routines associated with the digital nomadic lifestyle, those who adopt it typically blends in with the locals. The social circle of a digital nomad would normally include more locals or fellow digital nomads than visitors, because they live in a place longer and have the same schedule of work as locals.
Overall, a digital nomad lifestyle can be very rewarding, as it allows people who love to travel to have an additional extended and sustainable period of life on the road. Even though the digital nomad life is not hectic and includes work and daily routines, we should not underestimate its uniqueness and the ability it offers to click the “Reset” button and completely change a location without much preparation.
Also, that in key aspects such as travel duration, length of stay, work tasks, daily routines, and location preferences, digital nomads vary wildly. As a digital nomad, you will be fortunate to build and design your life with higher degrees of freedom while also being subjected to the disadvantages and challenges of a nomadic life.
Looking for remote jobs to start your digital nomad lifestyle?
Check out Working Nomads, a remote job listing site.