Everything has its downsides, right? Including being a digital nomad, someone who works online and travels.
I love the lifestyle overall. But there are definitely aspects I do not like. And because I keep things real, I’m sharing some of the negative aspects of nomadism. You can listen to this as an audio podcast or read the show notes below.
Here are 7 things I hate about the digital nomad lifestyle:
There’s always a lot of research to do before going to a new location and sometimes it feels never-ending.
Here’s what I’ve found to be some of the most essential things to research:
My research typically includes at least the following:
*Safety in the area
*Things to do/places to see
*Possible places to work (for example, coworking spots, cafes, etc.)
*How best to get around the area
*Where/how to get a local SIM card
Being Tied to the Internet
As a digital nomad, you work online and travel. This means your work is ‘digital’. You need the internet. This can limit where and when you can go.
It also can become problematic if you have trouble finding fast wifi. Not all wifi is created equal, and slow wifi can make work (and life in general) painful.
I’ve had countless experiences where fast wifi is promised in an apartment, only to get there and it’s too slow to even update social media.
There are a few things you can do to try to prevent this (research before choosing a location, visiting potential apartments, and doing ‘speed tests’ on site. But it’s not always possible to do these things ahead of time.
Balancing Work with Exploring
Being a nomad is not all fun and games. You have work to do.
It’s great to explore a new location, but you also must get your work done. This can be difficult and sometimes you feel like you’re missing out on sightseeing, meeting people, etc. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is strong. But I get over that feeling by planning for times to explore.
This doesn’t happen often, but it does happen, especially in locations where you may have heard other nomads rave about the place. There has been more than one time, I got to a location and absolutely did not like it. This can be a costly lesson, financially and energetically. Sometimes research can help avoid going to a place you regret later.
But most times you just don’t know how you’ll feel about a place until you get there.
The Transiency of Connections
You meet new people but often the people you vibe with most are on their way somewhere else, or you’re about to go someplace else. Either way, it means connections can be transient.
For me, it’s super important to make meaningful connections while I travel. So to get around the transiency, I make a concerted effort to keep in touch with people, and even meet up in other locations, where it lines up.
With travel comes international entry laws. If you want to nomad internationally, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the entry restrictions and exit requirements of the countries you plan to stay in. Are you allowed to be there? For how long? Do you need a visa? etc. etc.
These are just a few of the legal logistics you must understand and follow before you book your travel. And it can get complicated. Couple this with residency and tax regulations, it can make your head spin (in certain countries).
Again, do your research. Sometimes you may need to connect with a specialist who can answer these questions for you. At the very least, connect with other nomads in the location you want to go to. Ask questions and do your own due diligence.
Witnessing the Nomad Bubble
Most ‘digital nomads’ / ‘location independent’ people are from western countries. And many of them travel to non-western countries but choose to exclusively stay in a western-nomad bubble. I’ve seen people in countries who love the weather and food of a country but outright demean and degrade the local people.
I get it that some people feel safer in a community of people similar to what they’re familiar with. But what I don’t empathize with is the refusal to even entertain the local culture or make any effort to understand it and/or interact with the native community. And demeaning/degrading remarks and behavior are despicable. It irritates me to see it.
Overall, I enjoy the lifestyle of digital nomadism, but it definitely has its downsides. This goes for everything in life. To counter this, I try to focus on the positive aspects and I don’t sweat the things I cannot change. I’ve chosen this lifestyle and so I must accept the good and bad.
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