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The Good, The Bad and The Reality of Being A Digital Nomad: My Story

by Tiani Jaffrelot

The Good, The Bad and The Reality of Being A Digital Nomad My Story

As technology advances and the world becomes increasingly interconnected, being a digital nomad has become a popular way of life.

The idea of being able to work from anywhere in the world and travel at the same time is undoubtedly alluring.

As someone who has lived this lifestyle for over a year now, I can attest to the fact that it comes with its own set of pros and cons. Read on to find out all of the insider details of living this nomadic lifestyle!

The Good

There are plenty of perks of living as a digital nomad, here are my personal favourites:

Flexibility

One of the biggest perks of being a digital nomad is the flexibility it offers. You have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, which means you can structure your workday around your lifestyle, rather than the other way around.

Many remote jobs offer the freedom to set your own schedule, giving you the chance to pursue passion projects or take a break from work to explore your new surroundings.

Remote jobs are highly varied and can include numerous job roles, such as online English teaching, virtual assistant roles, copywriting, website design and so much more!

Some of the best websites to find remote jobs include:

Travelling!

Travelling wherever, whenever is undoubtedly one of the biggest perks of being a digital nomad.

You get to experience new cultures, try new food, meet new people, and see amazing places. It’s an excellent opportunity to broaden your horizons and learn about the world in a way that’s impossible to achieve from a desk in a traditional office.

By working remotely, you can visit new destinations and experience new cultures without taking time off work.

And, with the rise of co-working spaces and digital nomad communities, it’s never been easier to connect with like-minded individuals on the road.

Meeting People and Making New Friends

As a digital nomad, I have had the privilege of meeting and learning from other digital nomads.

I’ve met new people through Facebook Groups, day trips, nights out and digital nomad events.

It can be daunting to put yourself out there and start talking to strangers but you never know when you might make a lifelong friend!

Networking

Another advantage of being a digital nomad is the opportunity to network with people from all over the world.
This can lead to new business opportunities, collaborations and friendships.

Low Cost of Living

Many digital nomads choose to live in countries with a lower cost of living, which can make their money go further.

This can be particularly attractive for those just starting out, as it allows them to build their business without worrying about expensive rent and living costs.

For example, living in Southeast Asia can be considerably cheaper than living in Western Europe or North America, allowing you to stretch your budget further.

Improved Work-Life Balance

Working remotely means you can create a better work-life balance for yourself. You can structure your workday around other activities, such as travel, exercise, and meeting new friends.

This can prevent burnout and improve your overall happiness.

Personal Growth

Travelling as a digital nomad can be a transformative experience. By immersing yourself in new cultures, you’ll learn new things about yourself and the world around you. This can lead to personal growth and self-discovery, making you a more well-rounded person.

Let’s call this The School of Life!

The Bad

While being a digital nomad may seem like the perfect lifestyle, it’s not without its downsides. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Loneliness

One of the biggest challenges of being a digital nomad is loneliness.

Travelling solo can be isolating, and it can be difficult to make meaningful connections in new places. Additionally, remote work can be a solitary experience, as you may not have colleagues or coworkers to interact with on a daily basis.

You can try to combat this by attending digital nomad events, talking to local people and going to co-working spaces.

Irregular Income

Another challenge of being a digital nomad is the unpredictable nature of your income.

As a freelancer or entrepreneur, your income is likely to fluctuate from month to month, especially if you are spending more time exploring and less time working. This makes it difficult to plan your budget and expenses. This can be particularly stressful when living in expensive cities or travelling to new destinations.

Lack of Stability

Living a nomadic lifestyle can also be unstable, as you may not have a permanent home or community to rely on. This can make it difficult to build long-term relationships or to feel rooted in any one place.

Time Zone Challenges

If you work with clients or colleagues in different time zones, it can be challenging to coordinate schedules and stay connected. This can lead to missed deadlines or miscommunication, which can harm your professional reputation.

It can also be difficult to connect with family and friends back at home if you’re awake while they’re asleep and vice-versa! Try to stay organised and carve out time for your loved ones, I’m sure they will appreciate it!

Maintaining Productivity

Working remotely, especially from beautiful destinations, can be distracting. It can be difficult to stay focused and be productive when you are just eager to go outside and explore your new surroundings.

I’ve worked in some stunning spots where it can be hard to concentrate, but I know that the faster I complete my work, the quicker I can get outside and explore!

Access to Essentials

Depending on where you are in the world, you may not have access to essential resources such as high-speed internet, reliable transportation, or quality healthcare.

This can make it difficult to work effectively and can be a source of stress. This is why it is always important to plan ahead when embarking on this lifestyle, to avoid any problems like lack of decent wifi and a comfortable working space.

Homesickness and Home Comforts

We all have things at home that we love but can do without when we’re away travelling. Whether it’s that extra comfy pillow that gives you the best night’s sleep, the chocolate bar that’s only sold in your home country or your Mama’s special homemade dish, nothing hits the spot quite like it.

My home comforts (don’t judge me) are:
– Sausage rolls, which for those who don’t know are pieces of sausage meat wrapped in pastry and baked.
– Squash/Diluting juice (I was never the biggest fan of plain old water sadly)
– Having pets around (whether that’s my own little Yorkshire Terrier Dexter, or my boyfriend’s family’s Collie Willow and their black cat Shadow. I miss them terribly when we’re away!)

And of course, I miss my family a lot too. I’m lucky that they are all very supportive of me and my choices to travel the world. I’m just thankful that video calls exist and I can still contact them easily!

Feeling Lost

Whether emotionally or literally, feeling lost isn’t a great feeling. Arriving in new destinations and having to get set up to work straight away isn’t ideal. It can leave you feeling bewildered, disorientated and lost.

To avoid this, plan ahead so you know what to expect in your next destination. Will there be a shop close by? A cafe where you can grab your morning coffee, or a restaurant for a working lunch? Knowing these details before arriving at your next destination will help you feel more prepared and less lost.

Leaving

Leaving an apartment, city and country that you’ve come to call home can be pretty heartbreaking. Moving and not knowing whether your next destination will live up to the last is an inevitable risk you have to take.

If you are travelling as a digital nomad for a long time, you’ll come to figure out which places suited you and your lifestyle and which didn’t quite work for you. Leaving is especially hard if you’ve made lifelong friends along the way.

The Reality

Since beginning my digital nomad journey in 2021, I feel like I’ve felt all of the emotions and experienced all of the good and bad aspects of this lifestyle that I mentioned earlier. It’s been a rollercoaster, let me tell you!

From the bad wifi, delayed transport, homesickness and time zone changes, to the amazing new experiences I’ve had and wonderful people I’ve met, I wouldn’t change a thing!

To fully enjoy the good times, you have to go through the tough times too. I truly believe that the benefits of this lifestyle outweigh the drawbacks!

At this point in my life, being a digital nomad is the perfect way to spend my 20s. I am progressing in my career whilst being able to explore different countries, meet new people and learn about different cultures.

Back To The Start

The reality is that when I am working whilst travelling, I am still working 5 days a week, meaning that I am locked into a routine, even though I work part time.

At the very beginning of my digital nomad journey, I lived in Seville in Spain for 3 months. During my time there I worked 8 hours a day, 5 days a week teaching English online. I overworked myself by setting these hours, and quickly burnt out. I was miserable and began resenting my job.

Another strain on my mental health was my poor choice of Airbnb, the apartment we stayed in was dark, gloomy and freezing cold, making the long working hours even harder to manage. After taking a break for the holidays, I cut down my hours and reduced my mental load. I was less stressed and had time to focus on myself.

After having this experience, I learnt my lesson the hard way and I now work part-time, leaving myself plenty of time for my passion projects like my blog and my Youtube channel. I am also much more careful in my search for the perfect long-stay apartment wherever I go, to make sure that my environment is supporting my mental health as much as possible.

I now strive for a steady balance between work and play, and I prioritize my happiness, mental health and overall wellbeing over working a lot and earning lots of money.

Since beginning my digital nomad journey back in November 2021, I’ve visited these countries:

 Spain (3 months)
 Croatia (3 months)
 Montenegro (3 months)
 Thailand (1 month)
 Malaysia (5 months)
 Singapore (4 days!)
 Cambodia (1 month)
 Vietnam (1 month)

You can find travel tips and experiences for all of these destinations on my website tianitravels.com.

My Favourite Digital Nomad Destination

My favourite digital nomad destination so far is definitely Croatia, I had such an amazing time there and met some incredible people. There is a thriving digital nomad hub in Split, where I based myself.

They organise group activities, tours, and meetups frequently. Split is such a great base because there are so many day trips you can take from there! You can read all about Split as a Digital Nomad Destination on my website!

Conclusion

Ultimately, being a digital nomad is not for everyone. While there are undoubtedly many advantages, there are also plenty of challenges that need to be considered. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully and determine whether this lifestyle is the right fit for you.

Since beginning this journey, I’ve had the opportunity to see and experience things that I never would have been able to otherwise, and I’ve grown both personally and professionally as a result. With careful planning and preparation, it is possible to thrive as a remote worker and world traveller.

If you have any questions about the digital nomad lifestyle or how you can make this your reality, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email: tianitravels@gmail.com or via social media: tiani_travels (Instagram and Twitter).

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