Signs you may not be ready to be a digital nomad

February 28, 2023

Mitch Malone

Digital nomads are either seen as completely crazy or living the ultimate dream. If you find yourself daydreaming of working whilst traveling, then you may be considering joining the ranks of the ever growing digital nomad community.

With so many decisions to be made and lifestyle changes to implement we want to break down a few key points that will help you decide whether digital nomadism is really for you.

The truth is digital nomadism isn’t all sunshine, hammocks, and cocktails on the beach. Breaking free from the 9-5 job can seem so appealing that sometimes people aren’t sure what they are getting themselves into. As awesome as being a digital nomad is, there are a lot of things that need to be considered Before setting out on your new path.

So, if you read this whilst packing your bag, then great you’ll be going into the experience with confidence. If you decide it’s still not time to make the transition don’t worry, it’s just motivation for when you’re finally ready!

Are you able to work remotely?

This may seem like a glaringly obvious place to start but it's imperative in becoming a digital nomad. You need to be working remotely and generally speaking you will be working online, hence the “digital”.

Perhaps you really found your rhythm and groove working from home during the pandemic and your boss may be happy with you continuing working out of the office. If you enjoy your job and have thought through the logistics (meetings/time differences) then this is a feasible option.

Perhaps you don’t have this flexibility in your current role so you will need to start looking for a new job. This job must be one that you are passionate about and can be done anywhere in the world. Many digital nomads decide to work for themselves in freelance roles. If you have a talent and motivation to work for yourself this can be a great choice. Writing, teaching, web developing, programming you name it there’s probably a market out there for your talents. Working for yourself and dictating your own workload and hours is a great way to inject extra freedom into your life.

Do you find it easy to motivate yourself?

If the answer to this question is no, then you should take a moment and have a real think about whether digital nomadism is for you. We are not talking about the occasional lack of inspiration or motivation, that’s natural. But if on a day-to-day basis you are unmotivated, a digital nomad lifestyle probably isn’t suited to you.

To get the most out of the digital nomad lifestyle, you need a certain level of discipline and motivation. Do you worry about getting your tasks done outside of working hours? Would you miss the pressure of having a boss looking over your shoulder? Well, you might need some character adjustments before you can effectively manage your own workday.

Being nomadic means, you might be working with people in different time zones or needing to schedule your workday around traveling between destinations. Some days you might even need to put in a few more hours so you can take the next day off for sightseeing. Being motivated enough to see the bigger picture is pivotal for a digital nomad life. If you are unsure whether you are able to do this because you’ve always conformed to a societal structure, then start implementing some changes in your current work life to see if you could manage.

Are you always seeking out new places and experience?

Nomads are notorious for seeking out new and exciting places to visit. If you don’t have that constant desire to explore then living without a fixed address may not be for you.

Most digital nomads have a story to tell about how and when they began a life of wandering. If you love the idea of the nomadic lifestyle but can’t yet imagine leaving your friends, family, even your home then perhaps you’re not yet in the right stage of your life to begin this endeavor.

Digital nomadism is more than just a holiday or adventure, it’s a lifestyle. A way of living that is completely unique, incredibly fun, exhausting at times but most importantly worth the sacrifices.

Do you have long-term relationships?

Whether we’re talking about romantic or platonic relationships, heading into a digital nomad life does place a potential burden on the people you love. Traveling around the globe, living in different time zones and not returning home often can place an inevitable strain on your relationships. Of course, many expatriates are professional video callers and always remember to wish their parents happy birthday but sometimes connecting with people back home can be difficult.

When you embark on a nomadic lifestyle it’s important to understand your ultimate aims. Is this a yearlong thing, is this going to be your lifestyle until you reach a certain goal or is this how you intend to spend the foreseeable future. Factoring in the longevity of your digital nomad life and the people you love is an important consideration.

Are you comfortable being alone?

Having just mentioned relationships it seems only natural to pose the questions: are you comfortable being alone? If you can’t imagine not seeing workmates every week or visiting your family and friends, then you may want to give digital nomadism a second thought.

Working alone is one thing but if you set out on a life of digital nomadism alone then you will really be alone. Inevitably you will make awesome friends along the way, you may even tag along on people's travel itineraries, but inevitably you will be getting flights alone and living alone at many points on your journey. That’s not to scare you away from this lifestyle just to prepare you for one of the toughest aspects.

The world is increasingly being set up for digital nomads however, co-working spaces are becoming more accessible and are proving invaluable for working travelers. As long as you throw yourself into life, embrace new cultures, and manage your time effectively, digital nomadism might just be one of the best decisions you make.

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