Digital nomad - between the idyllic life and remote working
You’ve probably heard the term “digital nomad” at least once without knowing what it means exactly. And, yet it is not a position or a job, rather a way of living and working. For most people is a way of expressing themselves and understanding better what freedom is. But let’s see if I can translate this way of being and working into words nowadays.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the idea of remote work has been hardly discussed in the online space, with big companies that have adopted this way of continuing working for their employees, even in this unknown time. But now, more than ever, people and companies need to face the truth by embracing this way of working – not from the office, but from their homes.
Of course, some companies were trying to integrate a hybrid work, working at least one-two day per week from their homes. But with the pandemic starting in 2020, most people were starting to understand better on their skin what it means to work remotely. So probably some of them remained in their homes, some of them moved somewhere in the countryside.
Even though most companies decided to come back to work in their offices, some preferred to continue working remotely. And, yes, indeed, some people are more productive from their homes. They have certain habits; you may spend more time with them or do your laundry if you have kids. Or maybe cook some meals while writing your articles or having a Zoom call with your teammates. Yet, this is the ideal fairytale of working from home.
Unfortunately, some managers don’t understand how to manage their people, living under the false impression that they are not working if people stay at home. And sometimes they implement some time-tracking software to follow what are they doing and when which is not bad. If you’re using it for a good purpose, like helping them understand how to improve their productivity or manage their time better, but not to track every move they make.
But until now, I have pointed out some important things about remote work, but nothing about digital nomads. And that is because there are different things and different ways of working. And I think that becoming a digital nomad is an ideal life for those who don’t want the stress of being in an office at a certain time, rather having the freedom of working from wherever they desire while enjoying traveling and a new way of life.
How to become a digital nomad?
It is not a magic spell that you can say, but rather a series of serious thoughts about your life. And how you wish to live it. Which implies a lot of responsibilities. If you’re ready to give up your day-to-day job for a life in a camper van, and you have the finances to do that, then maybe you should give it a thought. Eventually, what is life about? Having an apartment, a job, and having a holiday from time to time?
Or do you wish to see the world, meet new people, and work while drinking your Pina Colada from a sunny beach? And taking the projects, you will be truly involved? This may sound like a crazy American movie for some old-school people, but for the digital generation is a way of living while working. Technology has evolved so much that nowadays all you need is a good laptop, your smartphone, maybe a camera and a good internet connection. And all the digital jobs that allow you to work from “I don’t care where you are,” if you’re good, you can be in Honolulu.
If you haven’t understood yet, it is about FREEDOM. The freedom of being today on a sunny beach and working, and the next day you can stay in an igloo, drinking your hot chocolate while delivering your tasks—the freedom of choosing where to be, when to work, and with whom to work. And don’t be afraid. Usually, digital nomads are serious with their work, and that’s because they need your money to move from one Pole to another. Thus, probably you’ll need some courage to end up with your boring and non-sense 9 to six job, pack the vital things for you to survive all these changes, and choose a destination. But, of course, this is the idyllic context – putting the finger on the map, and destiny will do the hard work. This, all you can plan carefully is your new life.
Make sure you have some financials
I know it may sound like a paradox, as you’re doing this move ear money as you’re not dependent on a company or office or place, but I’m telling you this: make sure you have some money for this life-trip as you never know what life can bring to you next day. Maybe the place you’ve decided is more expensive than the city you’ve been living in. Or it would help if you bought a van that you’ll transform into your new apartment. Except, this time, you’re not paying rent anymore. There are many places in this world where you could stay in a caravan park and treat yourself like a human while enjoying the other great things in your life. Yet, a caravan will be a great asset for your new life but is not for everybody. If you like the tiny hose concept, then it’s for you. Otherwise, you should expand your budget and rent something else. Then, you’ll probably need some health insurance, but this will depend on the country you choose. Each one is different, but you need to tick this one from your list.
Then, you must understand that this life is about living with few things. Few clothes, a few things, one plate, and one coffee mug. Few shoes, but a lot of other things. Less is better should be the motto of your new life.
Yet, many people are attracted to this nomad life because they only see pictures on social media with beaches, cocktails, and Mac laptops. Living la Vida Loca, they say. Which, in my opinion, is not the definition and the perfect example of what reality looks like. Yes, you can have all of these, but you’ll have to work simultaneously. Also, you might not be able to integrate into the community you’re living in or accept the cultural customs, and you must move further, looking for another place. Or health problems. Or celebrations without family, closest friends. Or you are being mugged. Nothing will be sure anymore in your life, apart from your freedom.
The internet – your best friend
No matter what you say, this is a must in the job description to have a good connection to the internet, as is how you’re doing your money to live this nomad life. Before choosing a place to move to, you might want to know how good their internet is. You’ll thank me later. And, if you’re discussing this chapter, you might want to buy yourself a good VPN. You know, that virtual private network will save you money and keep the “digital thieves” away from your data. Believe me, one day, you’ll want to see your favorite serial on Netflix, and it will not be available in the country you’re in. And it will be such cruelty for your soul. Thus, don’t forget to pack your laptop with a good VPN service.
Video will be your new meeting room
If you decide to embrace this life, you can forget about the office meetings. Instead, your office will be anywhere you wish to be, and the communication will always be on video. If you’re taking the actual context, it’s not something out of the box. With the pandemic, the video content has raised a lot, becoming a part of our way of working and communicating with others. But, of course, being a digital nomad implies that you’re into digital and technology. And it shouldn’t be a problem for you to move your meetings on Zoom, for example. Also, a fun fact, if you don’t wish for your clients to hear the amazing sound of the sea, birds, or other sounds of freedom, there are a lot of tools that you can use to mute the background noise. But let’s not forget that this part is in a close bond with good Wi-Fi. Always make sure that you have a good internet connection wherever you go. Otherwise, it is just traveling on your money without working.
Another thing you should consider, and it’s important for your new way of living, is that you have to obtain a digital nomad visa. Practically, it is a travel authorization that legalizes your status as a worker on the move. It is almost like a travel visa, but it allows you for long stays and works during your stay in the chosen country. I advise you always to verify the country where you’re moving if they offer this kind of visa. But only if you plan to stay longer than the travel visa allows. And you have to prove how you’re generating your funds.
Build your business
Although it is supposed to be something different and a new way of earning your living, you should consider building your business. Even though you’re a freelancer, working on project-based. Make it clear, choose your industry and do what you know best. Your skills will help you generate money, and in the end, create a brand for yourself. This shouldn’t be hard, as now, we live in such times where almost everything has moved in the digital zone. Thus, it will be much easier to adapt your services.
Being a digital nomad is not the idyllic life
Maybe I will need years of researching to tell you how to become a digital nomad for real. And if this is the idyllic life for you. But, I can say that nowadays, people’s work has changed a lot. Some people are more creative and productive if working from their homes, from a foreign country while taking surfing classes, and enjoying their cocktail on a sunny beach. And some people are as productive as the others from an office – that building where everyone gathers from nine to six. This is not a life for everyone. If your goal is to live it and know this infinite world but still work and earn your living, you should consider it. If you’re that person that lives for today, then go for it.
Regarding business owners, they still have a lot to understand from the people they work with. If they are not physically in your office, it doesn’t mean that they will not respect your business and their work. I, myself, prefer to work with happy people from around the world because I know that I will kill to be in their place and taste that freedom. On the other hand, this nomad life is not perfect. It has a lot of disadvantages, but so is life. I’m not here to say you do it; I’m here to tell you that this world is changing. The business models are changing, people also. And we shouldn’t live to work but work on how to live better.
And honestly, this is what we are trying to do with Tekpon. Help people live more and work faster, better and lesser. We’ve realized that the context has changed from offline to online, and people can access all the resources and tools in the world to live and work simultaneously. And technology is an essential part of this change. So if you come to an understanding regarding tech, you’re probably on your way to becoming a digital nomad. But, on the other hand, if you’re often thinking about how it is to live in a caravan, meet new people every day, and discover the amazing world we are living in, then you should go for it.
Thus, don’t pack your dreams, but your mobile, laptop, few essentials, and go for it!