The Digital Nomad lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular. Thousands of people worldwide are leaving their 9-5 to travel and work online full time, moving to a new city every few weeks or months.
And while being a Digital Nomad allows incredible amounts of freedom and adventure, there are some hurdles to overcome. We asked 11 Digital Nomad Girls to share what they wish they’d known before making the transition to full-time digital nomad, and how we can learn from them.
Hannah Dixon from Digital Nomad Kit – “I wish I’d known how lonely it can get. I wish I’d also known about the multitude of online and offline communities there are to tackle this! When I started out I was really feeling like I’d sacrificed so many connections to live a life of travel but now I feel more connected than ever!”
“I wish I’d known how to maintain some sense of routine and normality while traveling to so many new and unfamiliar places. I got so overwhelmed by the need to explore and experience EVERYTHING in each place that my work AND health suffered a lot during my first 6 months as a digital nomad.” It’s better to take it slowly, visit fewer destinations and really enjoy them, instead of cramming too much in.
Jemma Porter from the Portugalist – “I wish I’d known that the myth of the 4-hour-workweek isn’t always true. Sometimes I’m so busy I need to work 14 hour days, leaving me very little time to go out and explore the places I’m travelling through. On the flipside, I wish I’d known that being a digital nomad doesn’t mean being poor forever. I make more money now as a freelance copywriter than I did working in an office!”
Kris Oak from Kris Oak – “I wish someone had told me that most digital nomads support, help and respect each other. While working an office job, the only environment I knew was a very competitive one. I thought, that’s just the way it is when you work. As soon as I got into the digital nomad scene though, I realised that it can be the other way around too. If I knew I would meet so many amazing people that support & help me, I would have made the step to becoming a digital nomad already much earlier.”
Sonja Jäger from Sonja Jaeger
“Something that really surprised me is that I have been spending more time with my family since I became a digital nomad. They all really love to travel and so it’s great for me to share the experience with them. But it is challenging to keep a work routine when I am traveling with them, so I need to remember there is a fine balance! Although another surprise was that I did not expect that I would indeed work much less than before I made the switch!”
Emma McLaren from Emma The Nomad “I wish I had known how hard this life is on your mental and physical health. It takes a lot of new tricks and creativity to maintain balance and grounding when on the road all the time. Creating a solid foundation was more important that finding good Wi-Fi or flights.” By creating a solid routine that works for you, you can enjoy the best of working and travelling, while staying healthy.
“I wish I’d known that I would have to explain my lifestyle a lot to people before I made the jump. Whilst everyone around me supports me, there are a few who question my lifestyle and it seems to be quite repetitive to answer.” It’s great that this lifestyle is getting more popular now and you can point sceptics to many articles and stories about successful digital nomads.
Radhika BT from Full Time Nomad “I wish I had known that, despite wanting this more than anything, there would still be some serious moments of self-doubt. When you’re surrounded by people who are doing the “normal”, you do have moments where you question your lifestyle choices. Living outside the box can take more mental strength than you first . This is why you need online communities and friends who get you.”
Lydia Nicoll from Go Natively “I wish I’d known how difficult it is to work alone. I need to be around brilliant people to really maximize what I’m doing (that whole ‘if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room’ thing. Except as a solopreneur, you’re the ONLY person in the room). So, make an effort to talk with people regularly, find communities and opportunities for trade sharing and work shopping.” As a freelancer you can connect with brilliant people from around the world to learn from.
Susannah Bruck from Well Traveled Writer “I wish I’d known that the money comes when you need it. I invested in my business a twice in the first few months (classes/coaching and nomad retreats), and was terrified I’d never make the money back. I’m glad to say that both those investments paid off and have shown me how important it is to connect with others and really commit to making your business a real business.”
Julia Termeer from Violinspiration “I wish I would have known, that as long as I put consistent work and effort into building my website, I would succeed to reach people. When I started, it seemed impossible to get noticed. I was afraid nobody would ever find my website! So, if you have something valuable to offer to the world, don’t be afraid that you won’t get noticed! If you create helpful content, people will find you, eventually. And if people find you, it is amazing. Nothing is as exciting as knowing that you can help thousands of people around the globe!”
There is always something that surprises you when making such a big transition, when moving to a new city or changing careers. But you can figure it all out as you go along. Are you dreaming of becoming a digital nomad? Please share in the comments below!