Digital nomads – in search of a new lifestyle

Well-being and globalization

“Digital nomad” – a term that has become more and more popular. With the advancement of technology and the rise of remote work, more and more people are embracing this lifestyle and choosing to work and live on the go. In 2023, this trend has only continued to grow, with an estimated 1 billion digital nomads around the world.

Essentially, a digital nomad is someone who uses technology to work remotely, allowing them to travel and work from anywhere in the world. This lifestyle allows for a great deal of flexibility and freedom, as digital nomads are not tied down to a specific location or work schedule.

The rise of digital nomads has been fuelled by a few factors, including the increasing availability of remote work opportunities and the growing popularity of freelancing and entrepreneurship. Additionally, many digital nomads cite a desire for adventure and a desire to experience different cultures as a driving force behind their decision to embrace this way of living.

The statistics show that the digital nomad phenomenon has been on rise since 2014. Of course, pandemic boosted the request of second-home visas (that are ¨non-fiscal incentives¨ for certain foreigners, to make a positive contribution to the local economy) in countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Panama, Costa Rica among many others, where professionals are able to rent amazing villas at half the price of an apartment in the big capitals of the world.  In 2023 around 30 countries activated digital nomads’ visas to draw remote workers.

Advantages and challenges:

One of the biggest advantages of being a digital nomad is, of course, the ability to work from anywhere. This means that digital nomads can travel to new places and work from exotic locations, all while earning a living. This has opened a world of possibilities for those who wanderlust.

However, being a digital nomad is not without its challenges. One of the biggest challenges is finding reliable and consistent internet access. Without a stable internet connection, it can be difficult to get work done and communicate with clients or co-workers. Additionally, digital nomads must be self-motivated and disciplined in order to stay productive and meet their deadlines.

Despite these challenges, the benefits of being a digital nomad are clear. Not only does it offer a great deal of freedom and flexibility, but it also allows individuals to pursue their passions and explore new opportunities. For many, the digital nomad lifestyle is the perfect way to achieve work-life balance and live life on their own terms.

Becoming a Digital Nomad: Important Questions

  1. Can you easily adapt to new situations?
  2. Do you have any dependencies?
  3. Are you willing to make sacrifices?
  4. How much money can you save?
  5. How are you going to make money?
  6. How much work are you willing to put into your new job?
  7.  Do you have enough self-discipline?
  8.  What are you going to do with your personal belongings?
  9.  Can you live a minimalist life?
  10.  Where do you want to keep your residency? (The famous Flag Theory encourages the idea that “a person should go where she/he is treated best.“)
  11.  Where do you want to travel to?
  12.  How long do you want to spend in each country?
  13.  What is your preferred travel style?
  14.  What will you do if you fail?
  15.  Do you need any help?

The key ingredient for the digital nomad lifestyle: MONEY. This is what can unlock this kind of lifestyle. So, it’s important to find a way to make money WHILE living as a digital nomad (to be able to travel and have a decent life that can help rising the wellbeing).

So, how to make the money? First, finding a job from the category ¨location independent¨ that allows remote jobs as employee (software engineer, graphic designer, video creator etc) or as entrepreneur (freelance, web designer etc) is crucial. And the truth is that almost any office-based job can be done remotely.

Probably the aspiration for most of the people that desire this kind of lifestyle is to be ¨location-independent entrepreneur¨ to be able to control their time. Paths to become one:

  • Creativity path (building content on internet that can help to gain an audience/ community and generates revenue from many different types of online businesses).
  • Entrepreneur path (building own business/ start-up).
  • Freelancer path (one person needs a skill that can do remotely and needs to find people (clients) to pay for this skill, because money is just an exchange of value). Probably this is the best alternative for a digital nomad lifestyle.

Each of these paths have its own leverages: the creativity path = has media (that can help to obtain passive income in time). The entrepreneur path = has the ¨code¨ element as leverage (e.g., creating a tech product/ App etc that can ¨work¨ for you). The freelancer path doesn’t really have a leverage – it’s just about trading your time for money.

Anyway, freelancer path can be the easiest way to start the digital nomad life and after a while to redirect to the creativity pathway (audience) or entrepreneur pathway (creating an agency/company). But staying stuck at this level (trading time for money) is not convenient with the passage of time (implicates more effort than the other two ways). The money gets quickly from freelancing, but it is complicated to reach big profits because time is limited.

For all these three available paths, one important aspect to consider is: how to make yourself findable. Depending on the niche a digital nomad is targeting, the way she/he presents her/himself to the world to make a business or create a thing, it’s very important (through a LinkedIn page, a personal website, Twitter account etc). This is how we create trust – that represents the key element in any beginning of collaboration.

Wise phrase to be reminded: ¨ It’s the work on your desk. Do well with what you already have, and more will come in¨ (Charlie Munger, investor).

It is obvious that the world is moving irreversibly in a remote work direction. Not embracing borderless remote work and culture of trust will mean getting left behind for many organizations.

Anyway, when a digital nomad decides to distribute his/her life across different countries or jurisdictions is important to take into consideration the different types of taxation that exists, because represent a very complex issue. This detail will help these perpetual travelers to get to choose the best parts of every country and can design their perfect lifestyles.

As technology continues to advance and more companies embrace remote work, it’s likely that we’ll see even more people adopting this way of living in the years to come.

So, for someone who craves adventure, flexibility, and the freedom to work from anywhere, becoming a digital nomad might be the perfect choice. With the right mindset and the right tools, a person can embrace this new lifestyle and experience all that the world has to offer.

I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.” – Carl Sandburg, poet.

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