I've been a digital nomad for a little over three months and based on my brief experience here's what I have to say about the pros and cons. If you're considering taking the leap, you might want to read this first.
- ime - Since you're no longer responsible for the upkeep of a house and yard and all the tasks and errands that go with it, there is a lot more time to do what you want to do
- reedom - The world is your playground. You can go where you want, when you want.
- Newness - Everything is new and fresh and that includes the scenery, plants, wildlife, food, culture and most of all, people.
- Possibilities - While too many choices can be overwhelming, it's also a bit of a thrill knowing that there are so many more options to encounter new possibilities when you are surrounding yourself with wide varieties of people and situations.
- dge - Living in the midst of uncertainty, there's always a feeling of mystery and being right up next to the unknown. This gives every decision an edge.
- Self-Awareness - Challenging yourself to live without the comforts of a home base, a regular paycheck and familiar people and surroundings opens up a greater awareness of self because the backdrop and relationships keep changing.
- New Skills - Living without a home base requires you to cultivate and strengthen new skills including money management without any clearly established costs, planning trips of varying lengths, finding a place to live in strange cities, living and getting along with strangers, etc. There are also psychological skills of centering, grounding, calmness, openness, trust, patience, etc.
- ear - Whether you like it or not, fear arises and catches you off guard every once in a while. It's not debilitating, but it can be a bit unsettling. This is a natural reaction to living in uncertainty, and it lessens as you adapt to living nomadically. You have to learn that your home and place of safety is inside of you, and not dependent on a physical location or having your possession around you.
- Challenging Living Situations - Unless you have a lot of disposable income, a life on the road often means having to live differently than you might have been used to prior to becoming nomadic. This includes sharing a kitchen and bathroom with others, dealing with noise and/or unappealing behaviors or energy, being in a less than ideal location, not having enough privacy, etc.
- Getting Homesick - issing family and friends is a very real part of living a nomadic life. You just need to let yourself feel the feelings and then do what you can to arrange visits with them. Sometimes you'll miss the little things: a particular place you enjoyed walking, a cafe or yoga teacher, your favorite supermarket, having tea with a friend, walking around your local farmer's market, etc.
- Less Control - No one has control of our lives ultimately, but when you are living nomadically you are far more aware of that fact. Traveling without a home base makes you far more vulnerable because you are completely at the mercy of your current circumstances. You are traveling without a safety net or back-up plan. Instead, you must face life head-on in the moment and respond accordingly. Most people have the built-in buffer zone of being able to return home and hide away when the going gets tough. Not so for us.
- nexpected Expenses - Living nomadically allows you to cut many of your expenses, however, you cannot get away from car insurance, cell phone bills, food, gas and having a roof over your head (if you're traveling by plane and not using a car, your expenses will be slightly different). You may also have health insurance, property insurance, storage for the stuff you left behind and other incidentals such as web hosting or PO box rental. Of course, if you're housesitting or doing a work exchange, you can significantly reduce or eliminate the cost of housing or food or both. But sometimes your car breaks down (you miss a flight) or your tooth hurts or you get a ticket and you need to spend money to take care of that. It adds up. Sometimes when you have to drive more than you thought or cooking meals is inconvenient, you need to spend more on gas and food than you planned.
- ack of Support - While there are a number of people living nomadically, and the numbers are growing, it's sometimes feels as though you've living on the fringes of society. Groups and forums exist, but for the most part you'll find that nomads are few and far between since most people are living traditional lives; and often even those close to us have trouble understanding or validating our choices.
- osing Credibility - Once you step into this lifestyle there are risks that it may affect your ability to enter back into a traditional work situation. Employers simply may not understand or appreciate your reasons for living this way. The longer you do it, the less likely you'll be able to re-enter where you left off. You'll need to be super creative and turn this experience into an asset and put yourself in front of people who will value the experience and see you as better for it. Or you may simply decided to live this way indefinitely.