COVID smashed the world order and personal schedules last year, and continues to cost the lives of millions.
Not all has been dire. Great opportunity in great disruption, right? The benefit to be since March 2020 has been to explore the lifestyle of digital nomadism.
Here are my takeaways:
The Good and the Bad
Good: Being free of the office is glorious. Only requiring internet, a digital nomad has the world to extend out to (COVID conscious, of course). Flexible hours and flexible locations are benefits folks who haven’t had them before can’t imagine.
Bad: Workplaces tend to substitute for a lot of the social effort a person puts into their groups and friends. Losing that, it behooves a person to not only want to “go out,” but to be militant on having a regular schedule of escaping the home. This can be adventurous, but it demands work.
Good: Digital nomadism has shown me how much can be saved monetarily (I’ll post about the numbers someday). Specifically, Airbnbs are cheaper than rent. Much cheaper. And did I mention how you aren’t tied down to the place by signing away your life and earnings for a year? Nor is a nomad tied down by as much “stuff” that invariably crusts over typical homes.
Bad: Speaking of “stuff,” there is little available to move around. A nomad has at best a laptop computer, a duffle of clothes, toiletries, misc. small papers and electronics, and perhaps a vehicle. That’s it. Digital nomadism is an amazing opportunity to find out what a person can get along without, but that big TV? The favorite couch? The desktop gaming station? The golf clubs? They get left behind or long-termed stored.
Good: The future is yours as a nomad. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? When to do it all? The immensity of it all can be… let’s say nomads have great powers.
Bad: Yet also great responsibilities come with nomadism. Schedules must be kept, wi-fi attained, social experiences had, and more. A nomad can do what they want, but they need to know what they want then follow through. All this on their own too, as the lack of a “base camp” adds a level of uncertainty to life and strains relationships of all kinds.
Now, I might be missing things from the above. I can do without a lot, and inconveniences I may not consider to be outright “bad,” just something to deal with or go without. And the “good” qualities are largely a point of perspective. Do with that what you will 🤷♂️
What I’ve Learned
Digital nomadism has been wild, beyond these little words on this blog post.
Regardless of what I have found good or bad about the lifestyle, it has been an experience I cannot regret. The adventure bar none has been well worth missed trips over the last two years. The self-confidence in both my capabilities and what’s possible no matter what happens in the future is beyond value.
All that said, I have learned some important points:
- If driving while being a nomad, get a vehicle large enough for your sleeping accommodations, preferably a hybrid or electric vehicle so you can run the AC at night for less than half-a-gallon of gas.
- Rest areas and truck stops are your friends. Not all rest areas are created equally.
- Airports and public libraries have work-ready wi-fi and charging ports. (i.e. aim not to take time off on travel days.)
- If you are in no rush, find somewhere quiet in nature to eat and meditate. Otherwise, have some go-to food options that are clean enough to dine on while driving – refrigeration (e.g. car food coolers) is somewhat overrated.
- Visit people over places. People come with their own places, are someone to share experience with, and as COVID has shown us, may not last as long as places do.
- Invest in that better laptop computer.
- Get audiobooks and movies digitally through public library apps such as Hoopla and Libby. These will save your sanity and your back when not having to carry even more things along.
- Earplugs, melatonin, and an eye mask. Get these and be comfortable sleeping with them. (Earplugs also for long drives and flights.)
- You need less than you think you do. Less than that.
- Digital nomadism is largely safe, especially in between cities (rest stops) and being around truckers.
Keeping this short since by the time you are reading this, I’m traveling again!
Clearly I haven’t completely given up on the digital nomadism lifestyle despite the “bad” points above. However, I do need a base camp going into 2022, so it’s about time to “pump the brakes” a little.
Will I find this slowdown sufficient for me? Time will tell. I’ll be a different person in 2022 – the world will be novel too. Regardless of what I do next, having the option to travel and work wherever, whenever is a thought of great comfort.
How about you? Have you traveled on little to far reaches? Have you been on the fence about taking on the nomad lifestyle? I’m happy to hear your stories or to clarify points of mine.
Hit me up! Safe travels. Cheers ~
3 thoughts on “A Taste of Digital Nomadism”
I worked as a digital nomad last year when schools were remote. My school was based in NYC but I taught remotely from Miami for 6 weeks. While I loved it, access to strong wifi was always my biggest hurdle. Sometimes that experience makes me hesitant to work remotely again, but I’m hoping to do more research this time and find consistent work spaces. The benefit of not being tied down to a lease is super appealing.
Thank you for posting this! It was an interesting read.
Miami sounds great!! But absolutely – internet is the digital killer 💀
That’s why airports and libraries are my hidden gems of 2021. Even the small nooks in the Midwest typically had good (or great!) signal 👍