More and more people are embracing the digital nomad lifestyle, opting to earn an income while traveling the world. This best-of-both-worlds approach can be a game-changer for some people, but it’s not for everyone.
So, how can you know if you’re ready to become a digital nomad? Before you book your first plane ticket, here are eight signs that you’re prepared for a life on the go.
You’ve stocked up on all the necessary tech
When you’re traveling the world, maintaining connection is paramount. As a digital nomad, your income and ability to travel depend on how well you use the technology available to you. For example, a digital mailbox from a provider like iPostal1 can help you maintain your new lifestyle by keeping you in touch with your correspondence back home. Digital mailboxes intercept mail for you back in the States, so you’ll never have to wonder whether you missed a birthday card or a credit card statement.
A digital mailbox is just one of the handy tools worth investing in. Additional helpful tech for digital nomads includes virtual private networks or VPNs, browser plugins, and cybersecurity upgrades. Marketing automation tech is also a must if you’re planning to freelance and need to promote your services while you’re out enjoying the sights.
If you’re planning to live as a digital nomad, be prepared to spend a fair amount of time by your lonesome. While you might meet people in co-working spaces worldwide, you won’t have a steady roommate, partner, or pal to come home to (unless you have a digital nomad travel buddy). This lack of continuous emotional connection can take its toll over time, so if you’re the attached-at-the-hip type, that’s something you want to consider.
You already have a way to make money remotely
Traveling from one county to the next and seeing the world may be a dream come true. But, unless you’re independently wealthy, you’ll need to fund your travels. Remote work is the obvious answer. You can work for an employer, freelance, or own your own business.
Alternatively, if you already have an in-house job you love that could theoretically be remote, you can talk to your boss about the possibility of teleworking. That said, this option can be limiting, as you’ll likely need to at least be in a somewhat adjacent time zone as your home office.
You can focus on work even when things are hectic
Sometimes, life as a digital nomad may mean working on the road. You should have the ability to focus even if you’re in a hectic environment, like an airport or a busy coworking space. Otherwise, you risk losing your productivity and possibly your source of income.
Further, working abroad requires a fair amount of self-discipline. You may be tempted to go out and explore your new surroundings constantly. However, you’ll still need to put in the time to earn the money you need to fund your globetrotting.
You’re flexible and can think on your feet
Life as a digital nomad is sure to throw you a curveball or two. What happens if you fall sick in another country? What if your flight is delayed and you miss your connection? How about if you show up to your AirBnB and find out it doesn’t have internet? What if your laptop is stolen?
Responding to these kinds of situations without losing your cool is critical to the digital nomad mindset. Otherwise, the stress of this lifestyle may be more than it’s worth. Further, depending on where you go, you’ll have to adapt to different languages and cultures.
You’ve caught the travel bug
While this one seems self-explanatory, it’s worth giving some serious thought. Some people love to travel—but only for a couple of weeks of the year. Ultimately, these homebodies cherish being able to enjoy the comforts and regularity of a day-to-day routine at home.
If two weeks of travel isn’t enough for you, and you can imagine being constantly on the go, you may be the ideal digital nomad. If you’re not sure, give it a test run. You might try a few months of the nomad lifestyle while simply subletting your apartment at home, for instance.
You get that it’s not all glamorous
Gorgeous Instagram snaps may have you believe that international travel is all glitz and glamor. Of course, that isn’t the case, though. Realize that you may have to rough it from time to time. Depending on where you go, you may face everything from subpar food to spotty internet.
You’re smart about your finances
Finally, beware that digital nomadism requires some careful financial forethought. Many people decide to head to countries with an affordable cost of living, thinking it will save them money. However, there are still costs to consider.
For example, you want to make sure you have health insurance wherever you are in the world. Your home travel insurer may not cover you abroad, so that means investing in additional travel insurance. There is also the cost of tech tools, flights, accommodation, and food to consider.
The final word
As you can see, becoming a digital nomad requires some careful forethought. Before you start booking plane tickets and AirBnBs, make sure you’re ready. While life as a digital nomad can be amazing, allowing you to discover the world while you work, it’s also challenging at times.