The world is fast moving towards a virtual place where everything and anything is possible if you have internet connectivity. Location is no longer an issue. Any place that has a working internet connection can become the place for your work, provided you are up for it. It is a great opportunity as you hold the reigns of your job conditions- something that everyone craves.
Being a digital nomad is an idea that is fast gaining popularity. More and more people are quitting their 9 to 5 jobs to stake it out on their own. With a laptop and an internet connection, it has become all too easy to eke out a living for yourself. Of course, you should work as hard as ever to become successful, but the means are easy to utilize.
Who’s a Digital Nomad?
The first thing to understand is who or what is a digital nomad. Essentially, any person who works over the internet and interacts with his clients and employers over electronic modes of communication involving internet, laptops, smartphones or cloud applications, would be called a digital nomad. These are the people who can work from a café, a room in their apartment or even co-working spaces.
Living the Digital Nomad Life
The nomadic lifestyle associated with being a digital nomad is quite an exciting venture. For someone who likes to travel and explore the world, this is the perfect kind of lifestyle. Since you can work from practically anywhere, there isn’t a workplace or vacation time constraint. You can be traveling the world all through the year.
The other interesting aspect of this life is that it creates challenges that need you to do a balancing act. There is never a permanent place to call home. Plus, you should keep a check on your possessions to accommodate your travel plans. And most importantly, you should work a job that pays enough to cover your expenses, albeit, a high paying one.
Pros and Cons of Being a Digital Nomad
Let’s start with the pros of being a digital nomad.
The first benefit is that you have minimal possessions. A nomad will be moving around constantly, and it’s usually easier to be living out of a couple of suitcases. So, it’s only essentials that you carry. You do not need a fridge or a TV. These can be rented on a need basis, or you can catch your favorite shows online. That’s money saved!
Second, with a small number of possessions, you can make do with a smaller living space. A moderately sized apartment is enough for comfortable living. Plus, the lower rent is a bonus.
Third, since there is no locational restriction to your work, you can live in places which are non-touristy and have a lower cost of living. You can live the life of a local in these areas and save on added expenditure of being a tourist.
There are quite a few cons of living the digital nomad life.
Internet access is critical. Since electronic media is the lifeline of your work, you cannot do without it. While it’s possible to find free access to the internet, most of the time, you will be paying for connectivity.
All that travel can hamper your work productivity. The many constraints and locational hurdles will make it difficult for you to build a steady career quickly. You should put in effort and patience.
Financing your travel is costly. Every time you move, you are sure to incur high costs, especially if you move across borders.
Managing Your Finances While Being a Digital Nomad
Having taken a holistic view of all the pros and cons of a nomadic lifestyle, it is quite evident that you should be capable of managing your finances efficiently. Only then will it be possible for you to live your new life as well as you did before. So, here are a couple of things that you should do if you choose to become a digital nomad.
Pick a Career That Allows You to Be a Nomad
The internet has a lot of avenues for you to explore. Before you pack your bags and set off to work and travel, take a moment to sit down and analyze your plans. You cannot rely on entry-level work as that will not allow you any amount of financial security. Build up a career that will give you financial stability along with the freedom to switch locations. Once that is done, you are set to become a nomad.
Plan Your Expenses
Once you are out doing your thing, you should keep the strings on your purse drawn tight. Chalk out a plan for your expenses on a monthly basis and stick to it. Keep the proposed expenditure level lower than your earnings and make it a point to save the difference every month. Try and borrow the things that you need instead of buying or renting.
Also, do have local accounts with reliable banks. These will help with your expenses and ease of living. But, be sure to close all accounts before you shift base.
Have a ‘Home Country’
You are not going to be traveling all your life. At some point, you would want to settle down. So, choose a country and place where you would want to spend your life and invest in setting up a home there. This will also be your fallback option, in case your nomadic existence hits a snag.
Your home is where you would want to keep most of your accounts. Set up all your essential banking activities there. Be abreast of the laws and taxation rules of that country as well.
Have a Backup Career Plan
You need an escape plan in case your plans of being a nomad fall apart. What happens if you cannot build a decent digital career or your proposed business fails? You should think of other stable options that you can fall back on in such emergencies.