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The Pros and Cons of Being a Digital Nomad That No One Tells You

Remote work is here to stay. Now, you can travel the world and still keep your day job. Digital nomadism has also steadily risen in popularity as more countries come out with digital nomad visas and programs to encourage economic activity.

All these advantages come with their fair share of challenges, too. To be better prepared, read about the pros and cons and what to expect with a digital nomad lifestyle.

Pros of Being a Digital Nomad

Life as a digital nomad offers some truly unique benefits. Here are some positives to having more freedom with your location, time, and budget.

1. Work From Anywhere

Being a digital nomad allows you to take your job with you. Working remotely can be across town, the back and beyond of Africa, or anywhere else your wanderlust takes you, as long as there’s WiFi! You can travel as much or as little as you like—provided you’re still getting your work done, of course—with just a laptop or a mobile device.

2. Your Time Is Your Own

Digital nomads enjoy lots of flexibility when it comes to their schedules. You can work when and how you want and spend your free time exploring incredible new places. 

While freelancers have a lot of flexibility, full-time workers and professionals are starting to realize the benefits of the digital nomad lifestyle and making it happen. But all that flexibility comes with a cost when flying or vagabonding across multiple time zones and figuring out the scheduling of zoom calls back in the home country. 

3. Improve Your Quality of Life

No doubt, life as a digital nomad offers boundless personal opportunities. Exploring new cities and cultures and gaining life lessons is baked into being a digital nomad. But, there are also unexpected opportunities to expand your professional network and maybe set up your own business in a foreign locale! 

Work-life balance and pursuing passions and achievements outside of work are also in the cards for digital nomads. Financial freedom is also a great benefit, as digital nomads can explore countries more aligned with their budgets.

4. Meet New People and Explore New Cultures

One of the more fascinating aspects of being a digital nomad is the non-stop opportunities to meet all kinds of people and experience different cultures—something that isn’t possible with your average desk job. And to get out of your comfort zone! 

You can be a peripatetic digital nomad, bouncing non-stop from place to place, or a “Slowmad,” spending as long as you want in a city that strikes your fancy, getting to know and connecting with locals and their culture. 

Cons of Being a Digital Nomad

Being a digital nomad is not all breathtaking beaches and world-famous attractions, though. Here are some unsavory realities you will likely face on the road.

1. Constant Change

If you’re always on the move, you’re always going to have to adjust—to new cultures, languages, money, food, and even mindsets. While this can seem fun to start, it can get rather exhausting over time. 

You’ll spend considerable time researching, planning, and booking your travels while keeping up with remote work responsibilities. For example, making sure there’s reliable WIFI at the next Airbnb. 

You also have to set aside time to prepare appropriate travel documents. Some countries require you to apply for a visa ahead of time, for example. 

2. Expenses and Income Will Fluctuate

While your quality of life may improve as a digital nomad, don’t forget that travel costs can add up quickly. You will want to enjoy each location you visit, so make sure that you set aside a portion of your budget for unique travel experiences and emergency needs. To save money, you may want to stay in one place for a while, as long as you follow the country’s visa laws.

3. The Isolation Is Real

One of the most significant challenges many digital nomads face is isolation. Traveling to new locations is exciting and can even sustain your energy for a time. After a while, it’s common to feel homesick or long for a more consistent daily routine. When you’re thousands of miles away from your family and friends, it’s easy to become lonely and discouraged without your support system nearby.

Finding a group of like-minded individuals to share your experience with is a great way to combat isolation and loneliness. Specific destinations have become popular digital nomad enclaves — these are great places to meet and connect with others with similar lifestyles.

4. Solo Travel Can Be Unsafe

Getting lost is part of the adventure of travel. Making an unexpected wrong turn can happen at precisely the wrong time, and if you’re alone, you’ll need to be extra cautious, especially if you end up out of mobile service range.

As you travel, you’ll find that most people are more than willing to help new visitors to their country, but not everyone will be welcoming. Digital nomads must always be prepared to protect themselves. If you plan and research locations well, you can usually avoid scams, robberies, and even violent crimes. 

Ready to Become a Digital Nomad?

It would be best if you did a lot of planning before you set off on your digital nomad adventure. One important thing on your to-do list is setting up your “permanent” mailing address so that you can continue to receive postal mail and keep your affairs in order in your home country. 

With Anytime Mailbox, you can manage your postal mail and packages from anywhere in the world, helping you maintain the flexibility and location independence that’s a must for any digital nomad.

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