Digital nomads have become the latest lifestyle buzz term, and as is often the case with buzz-creators, it is misunderstood and misinterpreted by many. Just because a certain concept seems like the dream we’ve been having for years on end, doesn’t mean we truly get what it’s all about. Unfortunately, many of the misconceptions surrounding digital nomads give people the excuse they’ve been looking for to refrain from going after their dreams and turning them into an everyday reality. If you can relate to one of the following beliefs regarding digital nomads, it’s time to reconsider:
1. It only works for specific jobs
OK, so you think that only programmers and digital marketers can run their professional lives while on the road? Think again. Ask yourself what percentage of your work is done in front of a computer and how many of your brainstorming meetings can move to Skype and still be just as effective, or even more.
In today’s world, most jobs can easily be adjusted to fit a digital nomad lifestyle and those that don’t fit the list just yet, will change to meet the new standards soon. Sure, if you’re a chiropractor you might find it difficult to do your job remotely, but many other jobs will work just fine. You can also always open a chiropractic YouTube channel.
2. You must be single
While it’s true that being single and free makes digital nomadism easier to manage, family men and women can still join the party and bring their kids, too. In fact, if your family has been dreaming about taking a year off and traveling the world together, it makes perfect sense that instead of quitting your jobs, you’ll just take a laptop on the road with you.
It will require a little more planning and adjusting to make sure that everyone’s needs are met, mainly the kids’, but it is more than possible and probably the most rewarding form of digital nomadism there is. Teach your kids that wishes do come true and that the world is big, beautiful, and in the palm of their hand.
3. The world is for the young
Back in the day, people would wait for retirement to travel and today, they say that being too old is the problem and you can only embrace digital nomadism if you’re young enough. Well, guess what? They’re all wrong! There’s no right or wrong age for discovering new places and meeting new cultures. The only number you should worry about is the flight number on your ticket, or the time the ferry you booked online is scheduled to leave.
4. It’s just a phase
If a friend or family relative of yours decided to work remotely and travel while they do it, you may have said to yourself that they will be quick to come home and realize that this lifestyle cannot be sustained for very long. And while many digital nomads don’t choose this way of living for good (or at least make bold statements and commit to it), there’s no expiration date on digital nomadism.
You can give it a go for a few weeks, months or even years, come back home for a while and then hit the road once again. Do whatever works for you but embrace the lifelong freedom of knowing that it is your choice, and your alone.
5. They’re probably already rich
People often think of digital nomads as a group of rich, young programmers who can probably do without a day job at all, but choose to dabble with software while surfing the waves. First of all, you must not know a whole lot about programmers if you imagine them surfing anything other than websites (kidding!) and second, there are many different types of nomads who come from a variety of financial backgrounds. Some put a stronger focus on earning more money and others on traveling and taking a break. You might find a few trust fund babies, but not too many.
6. They’re probably broke
A report by FlexJobs found that 38% of digital nomads report feeling less financially stressed. This could be the result of getting out of the rat race, may be related to the lower cost of living in some travel destination (hey, it’s cheaper to travel from Ao Nang to Koh Phi Phi than from New York to Chicago), and could have something to do with 22% of nomads making between $50,000 and $99,999 a year. Either way, many digital nomads live a very comfortable life and even manage to save more money than they would have had they stayed back home and paid big city rent.
Who is the digital nomad? The answer is: anyone, including you. Leave those stereotypes and assumptions behind and focus on the person behind the laptop, not their age, status or salary. You’ll soon realize that digital nomadism has very little boundaries and that the limits you think this lifestyle poses – the ones that leave you fantasizing about it without going for it – are all false. The limits preventing you from adopting a digital nomad way of living exist only in your mind.