The Digital Nomad Style

Joven en el campo con un escritorio desde el que trabaja.

“Being lord and master of your own time is priceless”, Victoria Feixes writes in her LinkedIn profile. In recent months she has come to define herself as a digital nomad, and her new lifestyle is already showing positive results. 

Digital nomads are known for not having a fixed place to work, relying on the internet to carry out their projects and travelling around the world continuously. It is the new way of living and working and, in spite of being a relatively new term, it’s a rising trend in recent years. The consolidation of remote working, the democratisation of Internet access and the evolution of electronic devices have made it possible for digital nomads to find their place in the world. 

For long periods of time, these remote workers live in different countries. Co-working spaces, cafeterias or terraces with a view of the sea become their temporary offices. Freedom is the only covenant that rules this lifestyle. However, the amount of flexibility and freedom will vary depending on what type of digital nomad you are — most can be divided into three groups. 

  • Employees whose companies allow them to work remotely anywhere in the world
  • Freelance workers — as long as their work can be done online and from anywhere in the world. This is the case of Victoria Feixes, who’s an independent marketing professional.
  • Start-up owners or entrepreneurs who start their own business using this methodology from the start.

Whether they belong to one group or the other, digital nomads tend to seek some basic principles. In the first place, the destination must have the minimal technical conditions in order to carry out their work —  such as an internet connection. Then come all the other aspects like culture, language, civil liberties and, usually, proximity to natural environments like mountains or the sea. That’s why Portugal, Spain, Hungary, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia are some of the most popular destinations among digital nomads. Often, the only rule that applies to digital nomads is finding an ideal place to live, with a good quality of life, nice weather and beautiful landscapes.

The Perks of Being a Digital Nomad

Henry Jiménez landed in the Netherlands some months ago with his office in his backpack. He works in digital marketing and he also defines himself as a digital nomad. He has decided to turn his passion —travelling— part of his work. This is certainly one of the greatests perks of this lifestyle. However, there are a lot of benefits that come with it:

  • Freedom (in the broadest sense of the word) – Geographical and professional freedom, and great flexibility are the main characteristics of digital nomadism.
  • Autonomy – Being your own boss and setting your own schedule is one of those privileges that most of humanity wants and one of the great perks of being a digital nomad.
  • It’s About Outcomes, Not Hours – Sitting there doing nothing is something of a standard in the global professional environment and the inefficiency that this entails makes other practices more attractive. Digital nomads don’t work on a schedule, they work to complete goals, no matter the time it involves.
  • Better Quality of Life – Adventure takes hold of digital nomads and not only it improves their quality of life, but it also helps find a better balance between personal and professional life. Isn’t that the goal of more and more employees lately?

However, many of these benefits can become challenges if they are not managed correctly. Portugal, Colombia, the Czech Republic and Mexico were some of Henry’s last destinations. What kind of challenges did he encounter along his journey? Let’s take a look!

The Challenges of Being a Digital Nomad

“I’ve been a digital nomad for 5 years. I’ve spent long seasons in cities like New York, Glasgow, Mexico City and Buenos Aires, and I never had to share a room, always had a working area, a fully equipped apartment and  lived and spent with no problems and I never needed more than 10K per month”, Juan José Mateo tells us. He’s a copywriter and a digital nomad. But, is it really all that great as his disciples make it out to be.

It may often seem like the perfect future but it isn’t always like that. These are some of the main challenges that digital nomads have to face when choosing this lifestyle.

  • The Dilemma of New Technologies – Not all paradise beaches have an internet connection and there are days in which technological devices turn on us. Outside of the office, this becomes a big challenge.
  • Productivity – Some people really are more productive when they depend exclusively on themselves. However, self-management can be a hard test to pass sometimes.
  • The Line that Divides Working hours and Free Time – Setting your own schedule may blur the line that divides work from free time, which will take away the benefits of being a digital nomad, turning it into a hostile environment.
  • Health, Solitude and Balance – The perfect triangle. Being a digital nomad and mastering oneself is all about finding balance. Nomads must take care of their health, both physical and mental, and should be aware that they will have to deal with being alone and with a lack of family ties.

That’s why being a digital nomad isn’t for everyone or every job, even though this lifestyle threatens to permeate every line of work as a consequence of globalisation and the standardisation of remote working. Will your sector be the next to jump on the nomad train?

Buying a house, having their own car and an 8 hours job wasn’t in the plans of Victoria, Henry and Juan José. Their freedom came from other concepts and, for them, not having to wait to go on holidays has become a priceless privilege.

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