July 2, 2024

How to Make the Digital Nomad Lifestyle Work for You

If you have any kind of job that can be done using technology remotely, you can hypothetically consider transitioning to a digital nomad lifestyle. In theory, it sounds great, allowing you to travel from place to place, minimize your expenses, and work as you please.

But if you want to make this lifestyle work practically in your favor, you’ll need to plan ahead.

Key Challenges of the Digital Nomad Lifestyle

Let’s start by looking at some of the biggest challenges associated with the digital nomad lifestyle. You’ll need to have a plan for how to address each of these.

  • Financing. Living a digital nomad lifestyle can be somewhat expensive, even if you specifically travel to countries with low cost of living. Travel itself is expensive, and you’ll need to pay for all the resources you need to continue doing your work. Holding down a good job or stable business can help you do this.
  • Portability. You’ll also need a way to conveniently transport all your equipment and accessories wherever you need to work. Securing small, easily portable devices is a great start, but you’ll also need some way to quickly and easily transport them. For example, a leather bucket bag could hold your laptop, charging cable, peripherals, and most of your daily personal needs.
  • Utility access. Without electricity and an internet connection, you probably won’t be able to do your work. In some countries, these utilities are hard to come by or are unreliable, so it pays to have some kind of backup plan in place.
  • Sustainability. Your business might be thriving now, but what might it look like in a couple of years? Similarly, are you sure that you’ll still want to be a digital nomad after a year of traveling? Sustainability is a significant problem that cannot be solved universally.
  • Personal challenges. During your course as a digital nomad, you may also encounter personal challenges, including loneliness, extra stress, boredom, and, conversely, burnout. How are you going to stay mentally healthy in the face of these?

How to Make the Digital Nomad Lifestyle Work for You

Considering these core challenges, these are some strategies that can help you make the digital nomad lifestyle work:

  •  Develop a solid business model. Whether you’re simply writing a business plan or developing the finer points of your existing business, it’s important to have a solid business model in place long before you start traveling. Make sure you have contingency plans formally documented in case your main way of making money is disrupted.
  • Build up some extra savings. It also doesn’t hurt to build up some extra savings, especially if your business is seasonal or unpredictable in terms of revenue. Having a liquid emergency fund that you can tap into at any time will go a long way in making you more comfortable and stable.
  • Get the right technology. If you start out with the right technology, becoming a digital nomad will be much easier. A good laptop, smartphone, and mobile hotspot are good places to start for most professionals, so buy the best quality options you can afford.
  • Do your research before moving. Before you move to another country, even temporarily, do exhaustive research to see what working there is like. Research the cost of living, cultural norms and expectations, availability of electricity and internet, and the accessibility of the area to foreigners. It’s an even better idea to learn the local language and visit before you plan any kind of long-term stay.
  • Have backup plans for everything. Things are going to go wrong when you start living the digital nomad lifestyle. That’s why it’s important to have backup plans for everything. You need a backup plan for your business, in case it’s disrupted. You need backup technology in case your primary equipment fails. You need backup options for internet connectivity and lodging. You may even want to back up countries in case your primary option fails.
  • Expect challenges and disruptions. Being a digital nomad can be fun – but it’s certainly not a walk in the park. It’s important to maintain a mentality of expecting challenges and disruptions.
  • Stay active. Stay active and take care of yourself. Explore the cities you visit, meet new people, and get plenty of exercise to stay healthy and sane.
  • Stay in touch. It’s also important to stay in touch with your loved ones back home. Arguably, it’s the best way to solve the loneliness problem.

The digital nomad lifestyle isn’t for everyone. But it’s definitely something that can work – both personally and professionally – if you’re willing to put in the proactive effort and preparation to anticipate the biggest challenges and obstacles in your way. As long as you remain diligent, mindful, and cautious, you’ll be in a great position to succeed. 

About the author 

Kyrie Mattos

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