With the end of the pandemic, businesses are returning to regular office work. Many companies, however, are encouraging staff to work remotely if they prefer. And this trend appears to be fueling an increase in so-called “digital nomads”—those who travel while working remotely.
The problem is many assume living the digital nomad life is absolutely carefree and rush into it with no preparation. But the reality is different. Although being a digital nomad can be truly exciting, it’s not always as straightforward as many people believe. In this article, we’re going to dispel the myths about the life of a digital nomad and give some handy advice so you are fully prepared for the possible hardships. This way, you can enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle to the fullest. Let’s roll!
Tips for living as a digital nomad
1. Integrate work into your life.
Most people wanting the digital nomad life don’t worry about work-life balance. From the outside looking in, the lifestyle looks like one big vacation. But this actually isn’t the case. Digital nomads often struggle to integrate work into their busy lives and find a work-life rhythm that allows meeting their travel requirements and not just deadlines.
Be aware that as a digital nomad you should be able to fit in work in between beach walks, camping in the mountains, and surfing. Believe us, it’s not that easy! It will be a whole lot better if you find that natural balance between your traveling and work. Your goal should be to work enough to afford this lifestyle while still having time to move around freely.
2. Set up a comfortable workspace.
A comfortable workspace is a key to anyone's productivity. And for digital nomads, this becomes one of the most, if not the most, important things to consider as they travel. Make sure your work equipment, such as your desk and chair, are comfortable enough to maintain proper posture while working and that the monitor is positioned in front of your face to avoid bending your neck.
3. Join a coworking space.
Even if you're an introvert by nature, give it a try. A coworking space might give you numerous perks, such as a fast internet connection, a proper workplace, and most importantly a community of like-minded people.
4. Set boundaries.
Almost every digital nomad has had to attend a late-night meeting at least once in their career because of the time-zone differences. And that’s absolutely normal as long as it doesn’t happen every day.
Remember, turning off your computer and leaving your workspace at the end of the day is crucial. The easiest way to do this is to define boundaries for your clients or management. Inform people you work with of the hours you are available to receive calls or meetings. And don’t forget to establish the boundaries of your working day for yourself as well. Consider how much time you need to manage your everyday tasks and stick to this schedule without making any excuses.
5. Keep moving throughout the day.
For digital nomads, it is essential to include frequent activity throughout your workday because there’s often either too much or too little happening. As such, it’s easy to get caught in the spiral of events or get too bored and start overworking.
So try to balance the amount of sitting and moving you do during the day. Even if you have too many urgent tasks and can't leave your desk, there are activities you can perform from your home office, such as taking a walk or exercising. The good news is that there are plenty of apps that can remind you to get up and move every hour. You don’t want to get a stiff neck or back, do you?
6. Eat healthily.
When traveling we frequently use the excuse "I'm on vacation" to consume everything that we see. Don’t fall into this trap! Try to eat healthy food like veggies, fruits, and whole grains and avoid any processed or deep-fried foods if possible.
If at all feasible, prepare your meals at home. A good way to do this is to set aside a few hours during your day off and prepare meals for a couple of days ahead. This way, you’ll eliminate a lot of worrying about what you’re going to eat and always have nutritious meals on hand.
7. Slow down.
Slowing down and prioritizing quality over quantity is an excellent way to combine work and travel. Our best advice is to consider spending weeks, if not months, in one location. In so doing, you'll be able to develop effective habits and routines while also getting a full-on experience of the place you're staying. So move around, explore, network, attend events, and get a better sense of life in general!
8. Make the most of your flexible schedule.
It’s hard to argue that a digital nomad lifestyle is one of the most versatile ways to live. If you’re able to let go of location- and materialistic-based attachments, you'll discover that you can live and work from anywhere in the world.
The good news is that your work performance will not be assessed by the number of hours you spend. But instead, efficiency will be highly rewarded. Your one and only goal is to get things done. If that takes you fifty hours a week, that’s fine. If less, then congratulations—you’ll get extra time for your leisure activities!
9. Connect with your peers.
In addition to all of the benefits of being a digital nomad, one of the most challenging aspects is maintaining relationships and staying connected with others. Yes, being a digital nomad may feel lonely at times, especially when surrounded by vacationers. And no wonder, because these are two completely different lifestyles. That’s why connecting with other digital nomads who understand your way of living is essential.
So make an effort to go out of your shell and interact with other nomads on a regular basis. Not only will it be enjoyable, but will bring you networking possibilities that are beneficial to your work or business.
Digital nomad community and events
Now you might be wondering, “Where the heck do I find other digital nomads?” Don’t worry, we got you covered. Keep reading to find out about the best online and offline digital nomad communities.
One of the truly unique experiences for digital nomads is a Mediterranean cruise that combines parties, masterminds, workshops, networking, and lots of remote work, of course.
Every year, nomads gather in Bulgaria for a week-long festival to celebrate living an independent lifestyle with a mix of business activities, hiking, yoga, and speed-dating.
Nomad Island Fest
If you want to get an inspiring business experience and open up to new opportunities while being surrounded by like-minded people working in diverse industries all over the world, look to this yearly digital nomad retreat in the beautiful city of Madeira, Portugal.
If you are just thinking about adopting a digital nomad lifestyle, going on a cruise might seem like too much for a start. So our best advice is to start researching online.
If you haven’t decided on your destination, the easiest way to learn more about digital nomad life and blend into the tribe is to join one of the world's fastest-growing digital nomad communities owned by Slack, a messaging software designed specifically for work communication.
Online communities by country
Due to its great digital nomad community, Chiang Mai is one of the best locations for digital nomads. Remote Collective coworking space, for instance, conducts weekly networking events, as well as more casual gatherings such as salsa dancing and island tours. However, if you search more you’ll find plenty of other Facebook groups for nomads living in Phuket, Bangkok, or Koh Phangan.
It’s hard to think of another place more associated with the digital nomad lifestyle than Bali. The most popular and well-developed locations for a comfortable digital nomad life are Canggu and Ubud. But if you want to live in a more relaxed surfer-like community, you can settle on the south of the island, which with a few coworking spaces opening is becoming more and more developed. The most active Facebook groups here are Bali Digital Nomads and Canggu Nomad girls.
Portugal, and Lisbon in particular, is now Europe's most popular digital nomad destination. Thanks to its excellent vibe and advanced digital nomad community, there’s always something going on, from weekly coworking days and meet-ups to more laid-back activities such as comedy and beer nights.
With a new digital nomad visa introduced at the end of May 2022, Buenos Aires is becoming another rapidly growing destination for nomads. There are a few groups on Facebook where digital nomads can connect and learn about upcoming events.
Barcelona is gaining popularity among digital nomads and visitors alike. If you join Barcelona Digital Nomads on Meetup, you’ll stay on top of all social gatherings from business workshops to wine tasting and tapas nights.
Another famous nomad city in Spain is Gran Canaria. On their website, you can find general information about the place, together with event announcements where you can meet other digital nomads while casually drinking or eating.
The bottom line
At this point, we've covered just about everything. So no matter whether you are already a digital nomad or are just looking to become one, you are now fully equipped with all the necessary information to anticipate all sorts of difficulties and happily connect with your tribe. 😉