I guess I should go into what a nomad even is. I’d say someone who travels from place to place without a permanent home is a pretty good way to sum it up. However, I know the word ‘nomad’ still brings some confusion so debunking the myths & spilling the truth is what I’m here to do.
Before we start, though, I thought it would be useful to give some context. For about 3 years I have been living a nomadic lifestyle under full-time hours. My locations vary often, as I tend to find myself in new places every few months. My roles? They vary even more. Any excuse to explore, eh? Having a nomadic lifestyle is one of the reasons why I try to travel minimally. Buying a house or car is not in my future at the moment simply because I never know where I am going to end up!
I’m going to tackle the question everyone wants to know. Does nomad life pay well? The thing is, it depends what you do. Most nomads work from their laptops. If you freelance, your earnings might not be the most consistent. This is probably why many nomads will have multiple streams of income. For example, when living in Barcelona I held down 2 jobs. I was earning less in Spain with two jobs than one job in the UK, but life in Barcelona was more affordable so it kinda balanced out. The reference to finances leads me onto my next point. Nomad life could possibly be cheaper than your usual lifestyle. Travelling isn’t always as expensive as everyone makes out. For example, accommodation in Barcelona is so much cheaper than virtually anywhere in the UK. As I am able to save more efficiently abroad under a nomadic lifestyle, it means I can make moves quicker. Suddenly, that spontaneous trip to NYC doesn’t seem as outrageous when I’ve only been spending 400 euros a month on a flat in central Barcelona.
Do you need to be tech savvy? No I wouldn’t say so. Unless you are in a role which requires specific software, you probably have everything on your laptop to start working. I guess what makes digital nomad life so attractive is the ability to pack up and move around wherever you want, but just know this isn’t always as glamorous as it seems. Factors like taxes and work permits definitely aren’t talked about enough! However, FlexJobs is a great site for finding remote work abroad.
For this reason, one of the biggest myths about nomadic life is that you can genuinely work anywhere. Hmm I am calling this out majorly because how can you work on a beach if there is no WIFI? How can you work in a mountain cottage if there is no internet connection? Sure, maybe you’ll find a coffee shop to work from but anyone who has their laptop on the beach in pictures is, most likely, creating an ilusion. So yes, you can work remotely but deep down all digital nomads know stable internet connection is the determining factor.
The uncertainty behind nomadic life can be both a blessing and a curse. It can be exciting knowing that you are open to opportunities as, and when, they come your way but there are times where stress builds up from the unknown. These stresses differ amongst every individual. The uncertainty of not seeing family members is a big one, or not knowing how much you’ll get paid. For many, it could be a mixture of the two.
Is nomad life more work than play? Nomads still have set deadlines, expectations and usually, a form of salary. Some nomads will only pick up jobs as needed, giving them more time to travel, whilst other nomads will try full-time hours. Allow me to explain, you could be hosting back-to-back language classes all day from your laptop which would make you full-time on paper, yet still be considered a nomad due to lack of permanently fixed location. It’s all down to preference.
I’ve always been the type of blogger to get straight-to-the-point with posts. That’s the writing style I work best with. However, this is only a glimpse into some of the biggest myths around nomad life. If you have any questions about anything nomad-related, let me know!
Until then, see you in the next post