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Being a Digital Nomad is a Lifestyle Choice
Living a Digital Nomad lifestyle is not a unique thing these days. You see the many bloggers, vloggers and “influencers” talking about how to get paid to travel the world.
Honestly, most of the time I cringe at these types of posts/videos/ads because they are either a) promoting a get rich quick scheme and just want you to sign up for something or b) not sharing very actionable and tactical ways to make a lifestyle change.
This is not to say that there aren’t amazing bloggers and others out there providing valuable tips and resources for those looking to become Digital Nomads. They just typically aren’t the loudest or flashiest.
Because they know that becoming a Digital Nomad is a lifestyle choice. It doesn’t just happen. As with any lifestyle choice you make (losing weight, getting out of debt, starting a family, etc) it takes work, time, dedication and support.
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A Digital Nomadic Life Isn’t for Everyone
- Is being a Digital Nomad completely rewarding and worth it? Yes.
- Is being a Digital Nomad a legitimate lifestyle? Yes.
- Is being a Digital Nomad for everyone? No.
- Is every day full of amazing, exciting, and fun adventures? lol No.
Some days ARE full of amazing and exciting adventures, but being a Digital Nomad means you work remotely while traveling. So some days you are glued to your computer handling work tasks, waking up in the middle of the night to have a meeting or cursing the wifi connection.
But most people you see online aren’t going to show you those moments. Because, wel, they just aren’t that interesting and it’s not what gets clicks and views.
Despite the frustrations there are still major benefits.
When I’m not fulfilling the digital part of my title, it means I get to explore whichever new place I’m in. Everything from popping down the street in Vietnam to have a bowl of Pho, learning to surf in Bali, catching a battle of the bands event between Korea and Japan in Seoul, or hiking some of the most amazing landscapes in New Zealand!
Living your life on traveling the world IS amazing, but it’s also exhausting at times.
The extra amount of mental energy it takes on a daily basis to wake up in a new place, translate the language, figure out how to get around/use local transportation, learn the currency, handle unexpected travel issues, find food you want to eat, constantly pack and unpack your belongings and find the all important wifi to get your work done…… it’s a lot.
In order to continue moving forward without getting burnt out, your why has to be stronger than the hurdles.
So if it’s your dream to be a Digital Nomad I encourage to find your “why”. Knowing that will help you answer a lot of other questions that pop up.
Digital Nomadism Gives Me Freedom
My why came to me as I moved through my 20’s and into my 30’s. I watched and listened to different mentors online and I started realizing that I had none of the freedom in my life that I desired.
Specifically I wanted more
- Location freedom
- Financial freedom
- Time Freedom
Within the corporate job I was working I had none of these freedoms and no prospect of achieving them if I stayed. As I kept thinking about my career prospects and applying to new jobs, I felt a lot of tension.
Then, after not getting a single interview after a year of applications (seriously not a single one!), and feeling completely rejected, I realized it was because I wasn’t all that committed to the idea in the first place.
I didn’t actually want a new job that would keep me in the same location. I didn’t actually want a job that I would work hard for and give all my time to that would pay me peanuts.
Location independence, financially stability and my time back were the things I actually wanted.
So after a handful of signs from the universe that included taking my first solo trip to Europe, reading a book called “Just Do Something” by Kevin DeYoung, and hearing a sermon on Chasing Failure by Ryan Leak, I decided to make some changes.
I had always wanted to travel more and do it extensively, so why not now?
Why not me?
With my new invigoration, I decided the first freedom I would incorporate into my life was being location independent.
Balancing the Freedom Buckets
Ultimately there are 3 resource buckets that we are constantly trying to balance: Time, Energy and Money.
The first time I heard this taught was by Nicole Cooley, a money coach that I worked with early in my freelance career. At the time it really struck me and has stuck with me ever since.
Nicole teaches that these are the 3 resources we have available to us. If you are using your resources effectively, the (imaginary) water in them will all be balanced, not depleted or empty for the sake of another.
Obviously these buckets, which I like to think of as freedom buckets, are always changing levels depending on our situation. But knowing each level when it comes to making a decision helps immensely.
I saw this play out perfectly a while back in my freelance work. Because of a few different factors, I found my buckets with overflowing time, good energy and no money.
After taking a moment to ask myself, “what am I going to do?”, I was able to turn my entire situation around in about 24 hours. It was an amazing feeling!
So now, with only 2 weeks left in the month, I found myself with a good amount of money, good energy and no time.
By evaluating my buckets, I knew that I would be better off paying to outsource some of the easier tasks to make sure I had enough time to hit every deadline. This helped me create balance between my money, time & energy.
How does this relate to being a Digital Nomad?
Because time, energy and money buckets are even more sensitive to your environment when traveling.
Traveling and planning travel alone feel like a part-time job most of the time. I already mentioned the extra mental energy changing environments play in a nomad’s life, but that also includes physical energy.
And time? Well it takes time to plan and time to actually travel. Especially if you are trying to plan your travel around your work schedule.
Money is obvious. Everything in life costs money and how you manage that bucket will determine what kind of Digital Nomad lifestyle you live.
You Can Have It All
“You can have it all, you just can’t have it all at one time.”– Oprah
While this quote doesn’t seem all that positive on first glance, I absolutely love it and it continues to pop into my mind and comfort me as I travel the world as a Digital Nomad.
Because with each lifestyle there are ups and downs and setbacks and exciting steps forward. This quote reminds me that building a life that you want and dream of takes time. I CAN have it all, but it’s not going to all come at one time.
I certainly still haven’t achieved all the freedom I set out to obtain, but I’m a lot closer than I was 2 years ago and becoming a Digital Nomad and living this lifestyle was the perfect choice for me.
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