‘’Just follow these six easy steps to be a fully fledged digital nomad and make $10K a day!’’
Not to burst your bubble guys, but someone has to call bullshit on this! Being a digital nomad is an awesome, achievable, and sustainable way of living, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Those six-figure salaries are not telling you the whole truth.
Don’t get me wrong. I love being a digital nomad, and I will recommend it to anyone looking for something new in their life. However, it’s not always easy. Not everyone is willing to put in the dedication and work needed to live a stable life while traveling. Some people fail to plan ahead and consider all factors, and they suddenly realize they’re just not cut out for this kind of life.
I’ve told you the pros of the lifestyle, so not telling you the reasons not to become a digital nomad would be doing a disservice to you. So, let me give you the full rundown based on my experiences and thoughts.
Here are a few reasons not to become a digital nomad.
1. You don’t have enough money saved.
Packing your life into a suitcase and jetting off to the other side of the world is one of the most exciting and daring things you can do. Some people will probably think you’ve gone mental because of your romantic idea of making money on the road. How is it even possible to make money on the road, right?
The journey to becoming a digital nomad is full of unpredictable factors. Because of this, such you really need to have some savings as a fallback plan. You wouldn’t want to fall on your precious ass when you realize that your freelancing career is not paying off as fast as you wanted it to be, would you? Stability of finances is important. Otherwise, it can potentially be the reason you will not stay long as a digital nomad and just go home.
One of the key reasons not to become a digital nomad is your existing financial situation. If you have debts or loans to pay, then this is not the time to get going. You don’t need thousands of dollars tucked away but having a buffer of funds is essential for full execution of your game plan. Building your career online takes time, and during this period you need to know that you can afford to live quite comfortably, so you can better focus on the task at hand.
2. You have problems adapting to new cultures.
We all experience a culture shock at some point during our travels. But what we forget is that a culture shock isn’t necessarily an instant blow. There are two different kinds. The first kind you have probably experienced already; like stepping out of the Philippine airport out onto the hustling, bustling streets with new sights and incredibly impatient honking from drivers stuck in zigzag traffic. That can be overwhelming, but this passes as quickly as it arrives.
The second culture shock is the kind that gets you when you least expect it. Broken down into four distinct stages, it’s a slow burner, and as a digital nomad, you need to get this into your head.
After the “honeymoon” period, after the holiday vibe disappears, you’ll inevitably hit the frustration stage. Not having electricity 24/7, the public transport being overloaded, and not being able to speak the language will start to get to you. Then follows the adjustment and acceptance stages; the little things that once frustrated you became endearing. Believe me, this phase makes you grow as an individual and as part of your new community. Sounds cheesy, but I told you I wouldn’t lie!
Digital nomads aren’t constantly traveling from place to place. We often base ourselves in one city for months at a time. This gives us enough time to live like a local and get used to our temporary home. As reasons not to become a digital nomad go, this one’s pretty serious and needs to be carefully considered.
3. You can’t deal with working hard or getting tired.
‘’So you just live on holiday, right?!”
Hell no, people! In my experience, digital nomads are some of the most hardworking and career-dedicated people you can meet. You know why? Because no one has handed this life to us on a plate, we earned this!
Being a digital nomad is exhausting. The travel aspect alone is tiring AF. Then, add in the waking up at 3:30 a.m. so you can be online in your client’s time zone, finding accommodation, arranging visas, and doing ‘life admin’ like your washing, banking, and of course, calling your mom!
If you know deep down that you’re not ready to commit giving 300% to making this happen for yourself, then that is one of the primary reasons not to become a digital nomad. Your time will come, however, and when you’re ready, you’ll smash it!
4. You can’t distinguish real life from Instagram life.
“Do it for the ‘gram!” But it’s really not all about the ‘gram!
There has been big hype the last few months calling digital influencers out on how realistic their digital lives are. Another reason not to become a digital nomad, rather a realization that you need to reach, is that your life won’t be as you see others on Instagram.
Much of my time as a digital nomad is spent in coffee shops, or hiding away in Airbnb rentals, or running around town trying to find fast enough Wi-Fi for that all-important Skype meeting. That said, being a digital nomad is awesome because we do get those inspirational Insta-moments, which make it all worthwhile. The way we share them is authentic, but they are few and far between at times.
5. You have family commitments.
Being a digital nomad isn’t just about following your dreams. You need to think about your family, too. Are you supporting your family with your income? Are your parents in good health at the moment? Do you have siblings who are healthy and doing just fine with their lives? If you are newly married, do you and your partner want to have children in the near future?
I do not think you should become a digital nomad if you have certain family issues. If someone is sick, you should be there to support them; it may not be a good time to leave yet. If you are supporting your family, make sure that your digital nomad income will still suffice, or find alternatives. If you want to have kids, think really hard if you want them now or if you can wait. Being pregnant and having young kids isn’t easy, and it’s a lot harder when you are traveling without a stable income. When the time and the circumstances are right, you can then pack your bags and go.
6. You miss your normal life.
If you are a homebody, then becoming a digital nomad is something you need to give real thought to. The road gets lonely, I won’t lie. Flicking through my Facebook newsfeed, I can’t help but wish I was home at times. I’d love to just nip back for one or two drinks with my crew or play with my little niece.
It’s the little things you start to miss. Not having your flat-screen TV, for example. Watching Game of Thrones on your laptop just doesn’t have the same impact. Starting out digital nomadism, you will no doubt find yourself in hostels where your bed suddenly becomes your dining table, wardrobe, and sofa.
The reality is you find yourself a new normal, and by being a digital nomad, you do what works for you. Sometimes this freedom and flexibility are hard to harness, but when you do, you’ll love your new normal!
If you are going to do the digital nomad lifestyle, it’s important that you consider the pros and the cons. Take a positive look on things, then these reasons not to become a digital nomad. Brace yourself for a culture shock, don’t let yourself get too exhausted, and remember that life ain’t like it is on Instagram. You’ll be fine!