Since Tim Ferriss published his 4-Hour Workweek in 2007, digital nomads have become a hot topic for debate.
While there’s certainly something romantic about the idea of travelling wherever the wind takes you, making money online with only a few hours’ work a day.
There’s also plenty of hot air, colourful stereotypes and mystery surrounding the digital nomad lifestyle.
Let’s have a look at some of the most common stereotypes working digital nomads have to put up with, and if there is any truth behind them. Here’s our top 10, in no particular order:
1. The digital nomad lifestyle is only for the young
Social media posts help to propagate this stereotype – tanned 20-somethings travelling the globe, funding their nomad lifestyle as they go. This is merely an assumption and it doesn’t mean that older generations are not fit for digital nomad lifestyle.
Being older, you can have more experience and bigger network which can aid you in the process of becoming a digital nomad.
2. The lives of digital nomads are always action packed and exciting
Again, social media is to blame for this stereotype! Nobody wants to look at pictures of digital nomads sitting on public transport or in crowded cafes getting their work done. No working nomad is going to be thinking about taking pictures as they scramble to find a stable Wi-Fi spot, or a quiet place to conduct a conference call.
This means that the digital nomads you know, and follow on social media only have profiles full of interesting pictures showing them scuba diving, rope swinging, eating exotic foods etc. It sounds exciting but you miss out the part where digital nomads spend ages working and even overworking to catch up on their deadlines and plan their next trip. It’s not always about having fun.
3. Digital nomads are constantly travelling
Many people are under the impression that digital nomads are constantly roaming the planet, and never really stopping in one place.
Can you imagine how exhausting that would be? Most digital nomads either travel slowly or have a base that they travel from. That doesn’t mean they’re not real digital nomads, it just means they prioritise their mental and physical health.
4. Digital nomads struggle to make ends meet
The simple answer here is that some do, some don’t. Just as with any career, when you start out, you are going to be earning less than you would be with ten years’ experience. Being a digital nomad can actually afford you a cheaper way of living, as long as you pick the right countries and cities to live in.
Once you have experience and have found your ideal clients, it’s time to scale your business and make more money. After a few years of working their way up the ladder, many digital nomads who work as freelancers or remote employees, often earn more than they did in their previous corporate jobs while working fewer hours and doing work they love.
5. Finding a good place to live is tough
This stereotype is closely linked to #5 from this list. You can also see why this one could put people off the digital nomad lifestyle – people hate moving! The truth is that moving house is simpler as a digital nomad. Short-term rentals can be easier to find, and services like Airbnb take away a lot of the stress.
6. It’s hard to build long-lasting friendships
If you were planning on starting out as a digital nomad, this would be an understandable fear. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult to make lasting connections as a working nomad.
There are so many ways to meet new people, make friends and stay in touch while working and travelling. It’s simply not true that you have to keep saying goodbye to people you’ve just met. Sure, there can be less time to hang out and get to know each other than usual, but you can surely make it count!
Hopefully, this list has straightened-out a few of the most common stereotypes surrounding the digital nomad lifestyle. Nomad life can be cool and exciting, but it also requires a lot of dedication and discipline to keep motivated and productive.
However, once people get over the initial teething problems they will surely face as a novice nomad, they will find it very hard to go back to a more conventional lifestyle. Why not try it for yourself?
Noise can have a drastic impact on productivity and concentration, and a clear line during remote conference calls is essential. All digital nomads should definitely check out Krisp.
This nifty noise cancelling app filters out pesky background noise at both ends, leading to a significant boost in the quality of your calls. Try it for yourself, and let us know how you get on in the comments!
Are there any stereotypes about digital nomads out there that we haven’t mentioned? Which worries do you have concerning becoming a digital nomad? Let us know in the comments below!