June 10, 2024

7 Realities of Being a Digital Nomad and How to Handle Them

Long before remote work became perfectly ordinary, people discovered that if they could submit work online, they could do so from any country in the world. So, they reasoned, why not travel and take their work with them? Today, we call people who roam from country to country, supporting themselves through remote work “digital nomads.”

7 Realities of Being a Digital Nomad and How to Handle Them: eAskme
7 Realities of Being a Digital Nomad and How to Handle Them: eAskme

It’s a redolent term of adventure and excitement, but before you get carried away with the poetry of it all, there are a few realities to process.

Moving away from the idealized notion and looking at realities, here’s what you need to know.

You Absolutely Must Have Health Insurance:

No country wants to end up saddled with the cost of caring for you if your health fails or you have an accident.

You’ll need insurance similar to that offered in Cigna International health coverage.

And, since you never know when or how things might go wrong, you might want to be sure that you’re near a center with good healthcare facilities - at least, most of the time.

You’ll Still Have to Put in the Hours:

The romanticized notion of being a digital nomad may see you picturing yourself spending most of your days lounging on a beach with a cocktail, but the reality is far from that.

You still have to pay your way; to do so; you must work.

Sure, you get to choose when you work, but your livelihood depends on a regular income, so the answer to “when” may turn out to be “every day” and “as much as possible.”

There’ll be no chance of paid time off, even if you’re unwell, so you’ll be putting in those hours and saving up against contingencies.

You May Have to Put up With a Pretty Basic Lifestyle:

How luxuriously you can live as a digital nomad depends on what you’re capable of earning.

For most of us, it isn’t a matter of choosing which five-star hotel or resort we’ll base ourselves from.

One of the advantages of choosing this lifestyle is that you can choose countries where the cost of living is low and live a better and more interesting lifestyle at a lower cost.

But there will be times when those costs will loom large, and unless you’re earning a lot of money, you’ll be looking for modest accommodation, eating low-cost meals, and forgoing most tourist traps.

You’ll Need a Substantial Emergency Fund:

Whether it’s just deciding that there’s no place like home or family emergencies that require your attendance, you’ll need a substantial emergency fund that, at minimum, covers the cost of your return plus some downtime.

There may be inconveniences that you have to be financially prepared for. Even a minor illness can be costly if you can’t work for a few days.

Be sure to have a substantial cushion of funds to tide you over when things don’t run as smoothly as you may have hoped.

Your Financial Life Could Could Get Very Complicated:

Your financial life could get complicated depending on where you’re from and traveling.

Digital nomads may be far from home but still have to deal with banking and taxation.

You will need good international banking services that accept transfers from your clients and that keep charges low, even when you’re overseas.

You’ll Need to Attend to Visa Requirements:

Before considering getting on a plane and heading out for a life of travel in exotic places, look into the travel documentation requirements.

Most countries will let you in fairly easily and grant you a three-month tourist visa.

Theoretically, that doesn’t allow you to work, but since you aren’t employed locally, most nomads settle for the tourist visa and carry on working as normal.

However, that does mean working within a legal grey area and moving on after just three months.

Some countries recognize freelancers as a new type of traveler and offer longer visas that will allow you to settle down for a little longer - but in most instances, you’ll also be expected to pay tax during your stay.

Despite the tax, it’s an improvement!

It Can Be a Lonely Lifestyle:

A backpack on your back, a laptop bag, and a reliable source of remote income: the world is your oyster.

But there will be times when you need a friend to look out for you - or when you wish you had one.

While you will certainly meet many interesting people on your travels, you might miss the security of a family and a steady circle of friends.

Traveling with a friend or life partner goes some way toward combating loneliness, but you may still find yourself missing familiar faces and places.

Still up for combining work and overseas travel as a free agent?

You’ll certainly make some interesting memories.

It may not be the beach lifestyle everyone imagines, but you can enjoy the sights and leisure activities once your daily work is done.

Be aware of the realities, prepare, and enjoy the opportunity.

Still have any question, do share via comments.

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