The challenges of a full-time traveller and digital nomad
Sometimes I think about how easy my old me used to navigate through everyday life. All I had to worry about was my job and what I would want to do afterwards or during the weekends. Today, every day looks different and I constantly have to organise every single day: where to sleep, what to eat and where to go next. Of course, this is one huge part of the travel fun and why I love being a full-time traveller! There is no one else to blame but me for the sometimes very exhausting and never-ending task of travel planning. Here is how life as a full-time traveller looks like… with all its facets, the good and the bad ones.
So, the real challenge of being a (digital) nomad is probably to become bad-ass in time-management, organizing and prioritizing things in everyday life. And this can become a really tough one, especially if you’ve decided to become a travel blogger on top of that! You then also have to cut out some time to write about all the things that you’ve just ticked off your sightseeing list. But don’t you worry, it’s all doable! Helpful sites like JetsetterJobs give you nowadays at least the option to search for local jobs in one place – one point on my to-do-list has become less stressful thanks to that! And then, there is always the advice: Just sit back and relax every once in a while!!
When I have these moments of exhaustion, I tell myself to remember how it was before I started to become a full-time traveller. And that puts me quickly back into perspective. Back then it was a lot worse than now because usually, the constant feeling of being exhausted would not go away. So I’ve decided to look at it that way: I think, it’s a natural reaction to feel exhausted every now and then when you are doing some serious travelling. But I know by now that I would miss the road a lot more than my sofa and blanket which I usually imagine in those weak moments. What I am trying to say is that you have to be organised no matter what you do in life, even if it’s “JUST” travelling.
Plan your trip ahead of time!
It’s one big piece of learning that I can share with you after having travelled full-time for four years: make a travel plan before you start. If you invest this extra bit of time in front of your computer before you leave for a new destination, you will save a lot of time and money when you get there! At least try to get an idea about the accommodation prices, so that you can negotiate confidently on arrival. We don’t always book ahead but knowing the average price helps a lot in order to not accept foolishly high prices that mostly get offered to people who arrive with their luggage in their hands….
Then try to think about what you want to do and what not when you get there. Keep in mind, everyone has a different taste. So when you read about “must-sees” in guidebooks or on travel sites, be sceptical…It sometimes really only means that there was a passionate writer behind that list. In the end, you need to decide for yourself and choose the things that personally interest you the most. Skip that church or museum if you’d rather spend another day hiking in the mountains, for example. When you travel full-time it’s so much more worth to go slow and see half of the things in one place in order to really enjoy your stay. No regrets skipping things!
A Typical Day in a Life of a Nomadic Travel Blogger:
In case it sounds like a nomadic lifestyle is pure fun and all about non-stop sight-seeing, there is an intent to describe a typical day. Although it’s not very easy to do so, there is hardly one day that looks like the other…
- WAKE UP! I usually get up between 7 and 8 o’clock in the morning. This might sound obvious but I still put it out there: We all have to get out of bed! That’s right, no matter what we do in life, we all have to get up and make it happen. If you are a nomad like me, your time is under your own management and sleeping in is a no go (with some occasional exceptions of course J). But sleep-ins only mean that you are losing time to achieve your goals. So, nope, get up and exercise and afterwards, you deserve a big breakfast.
- LET’S GET SOME WORK DONE: Around 9am I open my computer and spent a couple of hours online: answering emails, being active on preferably all my social media accounts, checking house sitting options for our next destination(s), browsing volunteering positions and trying to find a perfect route with stops in places that are of interest to us; I try to skype and keep in touch with as many friends and family members as possible. Apologies for this part, I sometimes suck in keeping up with my email correspondence, but I do love and miss you all!
- LUNCHTIME: Later on comes one of my favourite parts of travelling: go out to find some local food. I love to get to know different flavours and I am always interested in typical dishes from the places that we visit.
- PLAY HARD/WORK HARD: The afternoon and evening is usually the time for exploring, going to the beach, doing some sight-seeing or simply more working on my online projects. It really depends on where we are. If we, for example, stay for more than one or two days in one place, we usually use this part of the day to get to know the location or do some sort of typical activity there. In the case of a longer stay, we usually spend our afternoons and evenings working. Yep, that’s right!
Are you made for a nomadic life and travel full-time?
You never know before you try it! Isn’t that a saying? Here is the thing: Before I started out to travel the world, I had no idea that there was such a thing called ‘Digital Nomad Lifestyle’. Only after a bit of researching for options to keep travelling and after meeting people on the road, I realised that there is already a huge community of people around the world that live according to this (new) concept of living. I had no idea how ‘normal’ it sounds to some people who have already been following this lifestyle for some time. I’m so naive sometimes! And I would go as far as to say that this alternative way of thinking will be a new era and has become a new standard of living for a considerable amount of people. It is connected to the fact that the internet gives us the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world. And why not do so if you can!?
If you need more reasons to join the travel life, check out Stephen and Jane’s post about their Best Travel Experiences from 20 Years of Travel.
Here is a list of the Top 10 Digital Hotspots according to DNX Global:
- BERLIN, GERMANY
- CHIANG MAI, THAILAND
- HO CHI MINH CITY (SAIGON), VIETNAM
- MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA
- BARCELONA, SPAIN
- BALI, INDONESIA
- GRAN CANARIA, SPAIN
- BANGKOK, THAILAND
- BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
- SAN FRANCISCO, USA
Open-minded and creative people who work online and let go of certain paradigms that they were taught by society, take the decision to live a life according to their own terms. Especially people who love to travel embrace the fact that there are certain jobs where it doesn’t matter where in the world you are. This is a big movement, I believe, and I think it will revolutionise the entire work/career standards. Actually, I think it is already happening, considering that there are co-working spaces around the world that are built especially for Digital Nomads. Conferences, Seminars and Workshops attract a huge crowd in many places around the globe. If you consider working remotely while travelling the world, check out the following two pages where you find events to connect with like-minded people and companies:
- Digital Nomad Conference: MARCH 1 + MARCH 2, 2016 | BANGKOK, THAILAND
- 7in7: 7 CONFERENCES. 7 YEARS. 7 CONTINENTS.
Will a nomadic life ever end?
Honestly, I don’t know. Perhaps it all will have to come to an end one day. I like to think about it differently though. Perhaps also because I no longer feel like I would ‘fit in’. Home seemed to be the only option, it was a safe place where all made sense. Everything far and unknown sounded always a bit too far and too scary. Society used to be familiar, standards used to be acceptable and the ‘common way’ made perfect sense to me. But this all turned upside down. Today it sometimes scares me more when thinking about going back to a ‘normal’ life than packing my bags again without knowing how the next destination looks like.
Ever since I bought that one-way ticket though and decided to travel full-time, I feel happy. I am chasing the sun because I hate the cold and I am addicted to seeing what else is out there. What helps me a lot when I have a moment of exhaustion, is to appreciate the wonderful and unique moments that I get from travelling. Every time when I see the ocean, climb a mountain, visit thousands of years old monument or look into the eyes of smiling people from different countries, I feel rewarded. In these moments I tell myself that I would not want to change a thing in my life. They get me going and show me, that I am doing exactly what I love the most in life.
I am fighting for this alternative road that I chose four years ago. I’m convinced that one has to choose the life that makes the most sense to oneself, no matter what others say and no matter how challenging it sometimes can be. But for all you wanderlust souls out there: Keep moving, as long as it keeps you being moved every once in a while!