Digital nomad is one of the tech world’s current favourite buzz words. You’ve probably heard someone on Twitter or LinkedIn talking about how they’re loving life as a digital nomad, and trying to convert everyone else to their lifestyle, but what does it actually mean?
Digital Nomad Definition
Digital nomads can also be known as remote workers, telecommuters, global nomads, working travellers or location-independent workers, which already gives you a little insight into what it means.
“Digital nomads are boss because they are their own boss and can get lost and still be ok.” — Urban Dictionary
The term Digital Nomad is given to people who work independent of their location, mostly online and often while travelling. These people have roles where their responsibilities do not require a fixed location or office space, and they can carry out their tasks online. This allows them to be nomadic, with no permanent office and the freedom to move around as they please.
What Digital Nomads Aren’t
There are many definitions and descriptions of digital nomads that can easily be confused with similar terms, so it’s important to make these distinctions.
Being a digital nomad is different from working from home, for example. Yes, working from home means you don’t have a traditional office, and you have the same advantages of flexible hours but the difference lies in the travelling nature of digital nomads. Working from home doesn’t necessarily mean you have the freedom to travel, or the ability to do all of your tasks on the go, like being a digital nomad does.
Similarly, Expats may move overseas, but unless you’re moving around frequently, this doesn’t provide the same flexibility and freedom as the digital nomad lifestyle does.
Benefits of Being a Digital Nomad
Freedom to Travel
Freedom and flexibility encompass the main benefits of the digital nomad lifestyle. Working in this way provides freedom to travel, move around and try out a variety of locations, spaces and working styles. The ability to work remotely means that you are not tied to a specific location or office, so where you work from each day is completely up to you. Not only does this allow you the option to work in different environments, but it means you can travel the world at the same time! This is one of the main things about being a digital nomad that attracts people to the lifestyle.
Since most digital nomads are self-employed or working remote jobs, this also allows for flexible hours. Not a morning person? Start later. Got some midday errands to run? That’s cool. Need to catch a flight? Just work extra tomorrow. However you choose to structure your days and weeks is up to you as you travel around and work how you work best, allowing for those meetings, events and gatherings along the way too.
As you travel around the world as a digital nomad, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with and experience new cultures in new places everywhere you go. Meet the locals, try the food, experience the attractions and awe at the scenery, all while acing your career goals and making money on the go.
Meeting New People
Travelling around to new places will mean that you’ll automatically bump into new people as you go. Maybe you’ll meet someone at the airport, make friends with a fellow tourist, or get connected with a new person at the local coworking space. Wherever you are, there are new friends to meet, new connections to be made, and new clients to attract!
Obstacles of Being a Digital Nomad
Travelling a lot often means crossing into different time zones as you move around. This can be a bit of a mission to get your head around, especially if you’re planning phone calls or meetings with other people in different places from you. Add countries to your phone’s world clock, or find an app to help you keep on top of those ever-changing times!
Since you won’t have a permanent office, access to quality wifi or internet connections isn’t always a guarantee. If you need it for your work, you might need to search for coworking spaces in your area, or look into a portable wifi solution as you travel.
Connecting with People
Travelling alone can be difficult, especially if you don’t know anyone in the places you’re heading to. If you’re an outgoing person, introducing yourself to new people might be a piece of cake, but for others that might not be the case. Events, coworking spaces or meetups are good places to get connected and ensure that working alone isn’t lonely!
How to Become a Digital Nomad
Being a digital nomad works best if you have a job that allows you the freedom to move around and choose your own hours. Whether you run your own business, are a freelancer or contractor, or have a remote job that allows these freedoms, you’ll need these flexible options to make it work.
There are a variety of jobs that lend themselves to the digital nomad lifestyle since they are mostly online, are location independent, and don’t always rely on specific time zones. Here’s a few of our favourites:
Graphic/Web DesignFreelance WritingBloggingOnline Shop OwnershipMarketingSelling Digital ProductsTeaching/TutoringPhotographyVideographyWeb DevelopmentSocial Media ManagementConsulting/Coaching
So, if you’re looking to venture into the digital nomad lifestyle, it might be time to find one of these jobs, or better yet, create your own job and become your own boss!
Now you know a little more about what “digital nomad” really means and what the lifestyle entails, you can go forth and start your own nomadic journey as a remote worker, travelling the world and conquering your career one country at a time!
To hear from a real-life digital nomad, check out our chat with Rosie, one of our Global Brand Ambassadors and an avid travelling worker!