Well, the most obvious con of being a digital nomad is having to call yourself a digital nomad… can someone please come up with a less nerdy sounding name?!
A digital nomad is someone who is officially homeless. They roam around the world staying in hostels, hotels, Airbnb’s or wherever they fancy while earning a living working online. How can something so cool have such a terrible name?
I’ve been a digital nomad for a little over a year, currently residing in Lisbon. Here’s a photo of me writing this blog:
Pretty darn cool ehh? Over the last year, we have lived and worked from: Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Spain, Hungary, Croatia, Ireland, Gran Canaria, Malta and Lisbon. All for less money than it cost to live in London.
But just like everything in life, living the dream isn’t quite as great as the Instagram feeds make it looks. Here are some of the pros and cons of being a digital nomad.
1. You Get To Live On The Beach
But not just the beach, the best areas wherever you are. Everyone I know who lives in London lives out of the centre. A good half an hour to an hour trip in. Can you imagine the cost of renting a flat in Covent Garden or Knightsbridge? Well in Rio de Janeiro, or Budapest or Lisbon you can have a nice flat in their version of Knightsbridge or Park Avenue for the same price as a cardboard box in Peckham.
2. You Live In Year Round Summer
Or if you don’t like Summer, whatever your favourite temperature is.
3. You Have Jaw-Droppingly Good Photos
I don’t know much about photography, but some of the places I have been are so pretty my pictures even makes me jealous. It got so bad I have given up posting them on Facebook. I don’t think my friendships would stand it.
4. You Can Live Very Well, Very Cheaply
You know how millennials are always complaining about how they will never be able to afford their own place, or can’t eat out because it’s too expensive? Well, you can move to 90% of the world, take a pay cut and start saving. If you Google Digital Nomad, there are hundreds of blogs talking about places you can live well for under $1,000 a month. That’s not really my scene but it is definitely doable.
5. Freedom From Local Policies Or Politicians
Don’t like a change in the tax laws? Don’t like the schooling system? Don’t like paying for higher education? As a digital nomad, you can simply up and move to somewhere you prefer.
6. You Get Really Interested In World History & Geography
Talk to me about Chilean dictators and the subsequent art scene. Please! It’s fascinating!
Being somewhere and meeting the people who were involved is incredibly interesting and inspirational. It also makes me very thankful for the stability we have known in the UK.
1. You Have No Community Or Family
You know all those friends you’ve been cultivating for years? Who you hang out with, WhatsApp all the time and who know you inside out? Well, we don’t have that. Every time we land in a new place we need to go out and find new friends.
Then just as we start getting close to people, either us or they move on. It sucks. Plus I’m an introvert; it takes so much energy to make new friends every couple of weeks!
2. You Are Always Moving House
Moving house is rubbish. And stressful. And you end up spending half your life looking for where to live next.
3. You Have No Stuff
I really want to play GTA 5. But I can’t. I can’t buy a PS4 because there’s no way I can lug around. Here is everything I currently have with me:
I’m getting married in July. What are we going to put on the gift list?
4. You Aren’t Very Productive
As fun as it looks, working like this just isn’t practical:
The glare reflects off the screen. The wifi is rubbish. Everyone around is paddleboarding or chatting. There are no power sockets. And there is always something more interesting to do than working.
I’ve got so many business ideas and improvements I want to make, but just don’t have the time and motivation.
5. You Never Understand The Language Or Customs
Yes everyone speaks English, but only when they’re being polite. You can’t just fit in with local social groups because they talk to each other in the local language. So instead you hang out with other travellers, expats and digital nomads.
There’s also always this underlying level of stress about every little daily action which you don’t really notice until you return home and the stress washes off.
6. You Become A Massive Snob
“I had a lovely caipirinha in London yesterday” – normal friend
“It’s actually pronounced k-eye-pa-ring-yah. I bet it was disgusting, I’ve never had a proper one outside of Brazil. They always put in too much mixer and not enough sugar.” – massive snob you
7. You Have To Explain To People That You’re A Digital Nomad, And Then They Hate You
But despite that, it has been an amazing experience. I don’t think we’ll be digital nomads forever, but regardless of how we’ll be living in a years time, I have learnt a lot and will probably never be the same person again.
Written By: Sam Priestley, a professional gambler turned entrepreneur. Originally published in The Arbing blog