Many people may think a life of working while you're travelling may be a glamourous one, that's not really the case. Yes, you can have some great experiences, but there are some drawbacks that people don't consider. Before you drop everything to pursue a life of a digital nomad, here are a few misconceptions to consider.
#1 You make lots of money when you're working and travelling
Unfortunately, like I’ve experienced first-hand, not everyone makes thousands of dollars to live off each and every month. In reality, some people who are working and travelling are just making enough to live and get by. They work along the way so they can live and travel. With just enough to scrape by, many digital nomads aren’t living the glamourous life that you see in photos. If they are, it’s only just half of what they’re really experiencing and they may be struggling financially to get through.
#2 There's always a stable internet connection to work on
Working on the computer while traveling is a dream, but unfortunately one false expectation of those who are starting out as a digital nomad is that there's fast internet connection everywhere you go. This simple isn’t true. In many areas, internet connectivity is limited, slow and you may have to pay to use it. So before making your journey across the world based upon the preconception that you'll have reliable internet everywhere, it’s best to check the areas of the world that offer good internet services for you to use.
#3 You can work anywhere
While in a sense yes you can work anywhere you go when you have a computer in hand, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can work ‘anywhere’. Remote locations like forests and deserts don’t offer much in the way of internet and some countries are prone to sudden changes in weather where electronics aren’t much good outdoors. Many have the assumption you can sit on the beach, alongside a country road, or at a lookout overlooking amazing views while sitting on the grass. While this is an ideal scenario, sometimes it’s just not plausible.
#4 You can unplug from the day any time you want to
Many believe working and traveling allows you to easily unplug from the day’s work and sit back and relax. Unfortunately, like I have experienced firsthand, it can be hard to look away from the computer screen when you have it alongside you 24/7. I’ve found when you’re trying to relax you still have this urge to check for work updates. This can be problematic if you really need some downtime.
#5 You will be very efficient and motivated
Many people who start their journey, like I did all those years ago, believe they’ll be highly efficient in getting their work done. Sometimes this can be difficult, especially when you’re visiting a new area with new sights to see.
You need to really focus on setting some time aside for work and for sightseeing. Remember that if you want to keep your current digital nomad lifestyle going, you'll need to fund it through your work.
Don’t worry; over time you’ll be able to get into a rhythm of work and play without compromising on both.
#6 You'll form long lasting friendships
When traveling the world, there is an assumption that you’ll make new long lasting friendships only to find this expectation derailed depending on how long you stay in one place.
A traveling digital nomad life limits you from getting too close to people to make a real long lasting connection. Unless you’re living in the one area for over a year, you have little chance of making friends that will last for years.
Living the digital nomad life can be exciting, challenging and rewarding. But all this will only be possible if you are realistic and accept that there will be drawbacks to this kind of lifestyle. So are you going to become a digital nomad? What country are you going to visit first? Let us know in the comments.
Aaron Gray is the co-founder of Studio 56, a digital marketing agency based in Melbourne, and has been a digital nomad for many years.