As a successful digital nomad you are going to be accused of selling an impossible dream. People are going to call you nothing but another scammer who is paid by a company to leave the impression he is enjoying a happy life traveling the world.
Is this the reality? No! Not at all!
Just like everyone else, a digital nomad has his or her own problems – in fact, dare I say at times, this life is more of a nightmare than a dream, but the only problem a digital nomad doesn’t have is a boss. Life on the road is both amazing and exciting, as it is tiresome and challenging. There are many drawbacks to it, but none of them can’t be overcome, so as long as you do your best to find solutions for each problem which comes up, you are a truly digital nomad.
The world around us is made by us, so if you start with the idea you can’t do a certain thing, you won’t be motivated to look for the solutions and resources you need to accomplish that thing. When you are serious about becoming a digital nomad, you need to first get into the positive mind frame and believe in your power to change the world one step at a time. And those steps are the steps you are going to make to become a remote worker and escape the 9 to 5 life.
Life on the road is tough and it comes with lots of problems and I hope the post below helps understand what it means to be a digital nomad. Its purpose is not to deter you from joining the rest of nomads, but to prepare you for what is means.
Work challenges of a digital nomad
There are a lot of advantages to being your own boss, but the number of disadvantages is also significant. First, you have to deal with all the things your boss was dealing. If you were given work at your full time job, now you have to chase it.
Marketing your personal business online is one of the biggest problems a real digital nomad has to deal with. At the beginning you will be spending more time looking for work instead of actually working. And if you are looking for work, you have to stay put, so you won’t be very “nomad” during this time.
Time and currencies are often going to work against you. You will agree with a client to deliver a project tomorrow and be paid a certain amount of money, then you will discover their tomorrow is in fact your today and the exchange rate makes the payment way too little (in case you are getting paid in local currency).
On top of all these, the so called work-travel balance is more of a all work than travel.
Why? You are on a constant battle with yourself, torn between exploring the amazing city you are in and actually working. Despite the misleading image you now have, a digital nomad’s working day is around 12-15 hours. And this happens when your deadline is just around the corner for like 10-20 projects, you only have one more day to spend in your current location and you haven’t actually worked for some time, due to procrastination.
Among the problems a digital nomad has to deal with is technology issues. Your laptop is going to crash seconds before completing a project, your chargers will crash and you will pretty much deal with all the possible technology issues you can face. And couple of which you thought were impossible.
Most of the times, only the capital city has a reliable WiFi connection and reliable laptop services, which makes traveling to all those amazing remote areas difficult.
However, the 24/7 problem all digital nomads have to face is the lack of a stable connection.
Traveling is not easy
Do you think traveling is easy? It’s not! It may be the most unpleasant side of your entire digital nomad life, at times. Your documents have a lot to do with this. In some countries, you will be checked and double checked, because they might think you look like a criminal or you have not real intentions. Also, don’t ever think of loosing your passport (we never did and hope to keep that way).
Accommodation, which often doesn’t look as pictured, but it’s still expensive. After all the time spend in airports, the only thing you will want will be a comfortable bed and warm meal.
Seasons are not funny when you are on the road: switching from tropical climate to freezing winter is going to remind you all the warm sweaters you haven’t packed.
Another sort of problems a digital nomad has to deal with are national holidays: just when you need to do the shopping, the stores are closed for one, two or more days.
Timezones are painful: it’s hard to manage them and you will be calculating hours and minutes each time you have to send an email, so no one will know you are working at 4AM.
Lastly, bank fees. Unfortunately, this is something you have to do a lot and a drastic exchange rate change can blow up your budget.
So far, in 8 months, we have a few complains:
- internet connection;
- when you are asked to write your address but you don’t have one;
- we are avoiding cold places (no winter clothes in our bags), but it will come and we will have to pay a visit to a second hand store for some.
- bank fees
How about you? What are your complains? How to deal with them?