Digital Nomads: What we love and hate
As I settle back to “normal life” if this is what we call living in one place for anything longer than 6 months, I ask fellow Digital Nomads in reddit what they love and hate about this lifestyle of constant work and travel and put a list of the most common answers.
Let’s start with some Love. Here is a list of the things most nomads mentioned they loved about their lifestyle.
Freedom: nomadrelocation mentioned “It’s so natural to me to work for myself compared to seeing all the office robots out in the world: commuting, everyone wearing a blue dress shirt, getting let out for lunch/coffee hour, etc (especially visible in the US). I think it’s sad that people spend their entire childhood in school then get locked in an office building the rest of their lives. -I also like paying less traditional expenses: car payment, house payment/mortgage, gas, health insurance, car insurance, regular taxes, etc. -I like that politics don’t affect me as much as if I lived in my home country full time.”
Travel, Food & Experiences: rocketbrainsurgeon said they enjoyed how every meal can be an experience. The excitement of Life as a traveler: “yesterday we climbed the mountains in Delphi, this week we’ll be scuba diving Crete”
levelsi on being able to travel on the spot -” I like that I can fly to Tokyo, go live in a random neighborhood that I know nothing about for 3 months. Then fly to Kigali in Africa, stay there for 3 months and then fly on to Colombia and live there. It’s all immensely weird to me even after 2 years of doing it. It just doesn’t get normal. But that whole weirdness about it is great.”
Simple living and focusing on what matters: Most digital nomads travel light and they are happy about it. If you ask any of them, they are perfectly happy with their laptops and cell phones, a couple of pieces of clothing and that’s about it. Getting to know that you do not need the new car and fancy apartment to live a very fulfilling life makes you feel good about yourself.
Things Digital Nomad Dislike
From the constant nagging of locals that try to sell you whatever they are selling (Hello Tuk Tuk) to the loneliness of the long term travels, being a Digital Nomad is not always flowers and rainbows as some make it to be.
Missing Friends & Family: bananabastard hated the fact of “Not having any close friends. Sure, I make friends, but I’m talking about my true friends I’ve known since 20+ years ago.” This is a true reality of most long term travelers, we all love to spend quality time with the people we love the most and being constantly away from home makes it hard. itsbecca “Man I have a new baby niece and I really wish I could go see her, but in reality it probably won’t be for another year. I’ve always been pretty independent, but as I’m getting older I’ve started to cherish time with family a lot. It sucks having to choose between them or travel.”
Other nomad noted “I hate that it’s hard to keep a social home base. You need to see friends every 3 months at least or things DO get less strong. I know my friends are live long so I know that when I’m back again, we’ll be super close again. But there is a drop off and that SUCKS. When I made Nomad List, part of it was to hope push this nomad stuff so that everyone (including my friends) were also going to do it. That hasn’t happened as fast yet though.
I think once it becomes mainstream, I’ll feel much better and less weird about doing this. And it’ll be more normal for me to have friends everywhere as everyone will be flying around the world anyway.”
Finding good places to stay for 1/2/3 months at a time can be tricky and expensive in most cities.
Finding Good Internet: Internet access is so spotty that I’d beg for Time Warner, Mediacom, or Comcast in other countries.
Time Difference: Waking up for 3 AM conference calls.
A good amount of nomads mention Cigarettes, I guess this is most of an issue in some Asian countries.
Dating: codyc1515 said “Even as a female, it’s hard to get anybody to take me seriously and write me off as a light-hearted short romance. It comes with the territory from being nomadic I guess. Being disconnected/lonely sometimes if you’re in a place without friends or other nomads/expats and you’re an outsider to the locals. People always thinking you’re lost or running away from something (or thinking you won the lottery or have a sugar daddy).
This is the thing that worries me the most about becoming a nomad.”
Grey Areas depending on the situation!
Taxes: Depending on where you are from and how long you stay abroad bangsecks remembered us that if you are outside the US for 330 days a year you don’t pay income taxes.
Some people suggested that you could always give up your American citizenship, but this is not very realistic – For any American giving up the citizenship will be pretty crazy, specially when you want to visit friends and family regularly. Besides that, I guess if anything goes wrong in your nomadic lifestyle you can always go back and find a job. – I guess only if you make it big like Saverin when you get a crazy amount of money (FuckYou Money) – then you probably don’t care about the citizenship.
Too Many Options of Places to Visit: After you go to a large number of countries and places you always wanted to visit it becomes harder to pick a place to live for a while. joelrunyon points “But as a digital nomad, you can live ANYWHERE! It makes it that much harder to pick a spot and stay there (when there are so many alternative options to choose – ala paradox of choice). I constantly find myself picking between going back to favorite spots & choosing a new spot.” – dymockpoet – For me this is one of the biggest downsides. Should I stay where I am now? Go to Thailand for a while? Or Barcelona? Or Berlin? Or Prague? Go ‘home’ for a bit? How do you decide and not feel like you’re missing out on being somewhere else?