Travelling the world while we work (online). That, in a nutshell, is what digital nomads do.
It’s not about taking a departure from reality. It’s about creating a different reality, a different way to live life.
And despite the growing popularity of the digital nomad lifestyle, there are still so many mysteries and myths about the digital nomad life.
Do all digital nomads really lay on hammocks and sip cocktails all day? (I wish)
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Is this lifestyle for real (YES!) or is it all one big scam? (NO!)
Why I Want To Bust These Digital Nomad Lifestyle Myths
But what’s the big deal about these myths any way?
Well personally, I don’t really care what anyone thinks about my lifestyle. It’s real, it’s legitimate and if you don’t believe it… it’s your problem, not mine.
So my mission to bust these digital nomad myths isn’t about me. It’s about you – the aspiring digital nomad. The ones with stars in their eyes and trepidation in their hearts (dramatic much? 😉 )
If you want to become a digital nomad, believing in these myths can be dangerous.
- They hold you back. You believe these myths and convince yourself that this lifestyle isn’t possible to achieve. Your dream fizzles out before you even give it a shot. Or,
- They give you unrealistic expectations. If you think the digital nomad life is all fun and no work, you’re going to be in for a rude shock when you realise “OMG, I have to work if I want to keep living this life.”
I want you to know and wholeheartedly believe that the work-from-anywhere dream is totally within your reach.
By giving you the truth behind some of these digital nomad myths, I hope you get a more realistic idea of what it’s really like to be a location independent, country-hopping, working from anywhere nomad.
So without further ado, let’s get into it.
Myth 1: We’re always on vacation
I know Instagram makes it look like all we (and other digital nomads) do is travel to exotic places. But hey, since when has social media been the whole truth?
This is NOT what our every day looks like 😉
This life isn’t just one long sabbatical. Nor is it a vacation with brief work sessions in between coconut drinks and pool breaks. I’m pretty sure many of our friends think this is what we do. 😉
The reality is that this is just another way to live life. Most of us have a “normal” life i.e. we work, we eat, we sleep, we laugh, we cry… you know, the whole shebang.
We just happen to be doing it in a different country because we can work online – and that is what it makes life so much more interesting.
Myth 2: It’s a temporary lifestyle
Being a digital nomad is not the same as taking a gap year.
When you tell people that digital nomads are often full time travellers, I get why they think it’s the same as being a backpacker who has sold up to go traveling. And eventually they will go home.
Except, digital nomads are actual business owners who are working and…traveling because they can, because they have the freedom to work from anywhere.
For most digital nomads, this is not a temporary break from “real life” but in fact it their real life. This is OUR real life.
Johnny working from the Philippines. Real life can look like this sometimes 😉
We’ve been doing it for over three years and don’t see ourselves going back to “traditional jobs”. Ever. Just because you couldn’t run a business online 20 years ago, doesn’t mean you can’t do it now.
Becoming a location-independent business owner is more than an escape plan from your current situation. It’s a long-term life plan
Myth 3: We’re just lucky
Argggh. This is the myth I probably hate the most. 🙄
Digital nomads didn’t simply get lucky enough to be able to travel the world and live abroad for long periods. We work hard to create a life around travel.
It’s not about luck because this lifestyle didn’t fall into our laps by happy chance. Most of us have worked (and continue to work) very hard to create it and sustain it.
Luck will only take you so far in life. Everything else is because of your own hard work and commitment to make this lifestyle sustainable.
Myth 4: Being a digital nomad is expensive
It’s a common misconception that long term travel is expensive.
Yes, of course it CAN be…BUT the slow travel lifestyle that most digital nomads live isn’t actually an expensive way to live.
In fact, most digital nomads spend a lot less overseas than they would living at home. Slow travel is much cheaper than blitzing through places.
For example, instead of staying in expensive hotels, most nomads will rent apartments. Or, you save money because you don’t always do all the tourist sights because, let’s face it,they’re not all worth doing. You end up eating at places that aren’t priced for tourists etc etc.
You tend to live a clutter-free, more minimalistic life where you need a lot less, buy a lot less. So life, even in not-so-cheap countries isn’t as expensive as you would think.
Myth 5: You need to be a techie to work remotely
People in the tech industry have been able to work from home/ work remotely for much longer than many of us. So, most people think that unless you’re in IT or a programmer, there aren’t many opportunities for working online.
This just isn’t true anymore.
It’s 2017 and the opportunities at the moment are endless. You can be a writer, a marketer, a virtual assistant, a blogger, a programmer, a business owner, a course creator….and SO MUCH MORE!
There are so many types of jobs that you can take on as a digital nomad. Many people are even turning existing businesses into a location independent one. What you choose to to make money on the road is only limited by your skills and creativity.
Myth 6: Working while you travel can’t be productive
I know that we’ve all been conditioned into believing that productive work can only happen in offices but newsflash: that’s not true.
Like I explained, most digital nomads (us included) travel slow and prioritise work. In fact, working outside of an office, in new and inspiring environments usually brings out the creativity in you even more and helps you do better work.
Working from Hubud coworking space in Bali
Of course there are a bunch of people who just can’t master the discipline of being the boss of their own time. But, for anyone who takes themselves (and their business) seriously – they will probably do MUCH better work because they can do it on their own and from wherever they please.
Myth 7: This is only possible for 20-somethings
Again, this is not a gap year. This is real life.
So why should age be a limit?
This lifestyle is possible whether you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s or really any age. Of course you’re going to need skills or develop them. That might make you a bit uncomfortable at the start, but if you push through that discomfort you could make the digital nomad lifestyle totally happen for you.
There is no age limit to becoming a digital nomad and making a change in your life.
No matter what your age, you will need to commit yourself to change and open your mind to the possibilities of making money online. That is so much more important than age.
Myth 8: The digital nomad lifestyle is a scam
I get it… traveling the world full time while we work – it sounds like some sort of scam. I mean, people are busting their arses off going to university, working long hours. Meanwhile, digital nomads are making money from working online.
It can’t be real. It can’t possible be legitimate.
But it is.
This is not a get-rich-quick scam (although definitely beware of the scammers – there are some shitty, unscrupulous peeps out there).
This is a real lifestyle, made possible by the ability to work online. If all your work is done online then do you really need to be tethered to one place?
If you really believe that making money online is a scam – you need to get your head out of 1999. 😉
The digital nomad lifestyle is totally legit. From freelancing to ecommerce, remote jobs to affiliate marketing, blogging to startups… there are so many ways to start making a legitimate income online. You’re only limited by your imagination.
The ultimate truth is that the only thing that will stop you from enjoying a successful digital nomad life is fear. Get over fear and see how much you’ll accomplish. Don’t let a bunch of myths hold you back.
I’m not going to pretend it’s an easy road. It takes work, it takes commitment and it takes a lot of mental grit. But if you can power through that, the digital nomad lifestyle is completely within your reach.
If you’re aspiring to digital nomad lifestyle – what is holding you back? I’d love to know if it’s a myth I can busy. Leave me a comment below.
After turning her back on office life in Australia, Radhika set out to create a life lived on her own terms (a constant work in progress). As co-founder of Fulltime Nomad, she is super passionate about helping others live life with more freedom and flexibility, and a bit of travel thrown in for good measure.