The travel blogging community is obsessed with the term ‘digital nomad’. It pops up on every travel blog with top tips on how to be a digital nomad, why it’s so awesome being a digital nomad, a typical day in the life of a digital nomad and why everyone should quit their jobs to be a digital nomad.
I’ve got to admit, being a digital nomad is pretty flipping awesome and I did it myself for nearly a year – back in the days when I don’t even think the term existed. I worked as a copywriter while travelling around SE Asia and it was a great way to earn money while I travelled.
It came with frustrations such as being unable to find wifi or missing out on great experiences as I buried my head in my laptop while my friends went scuba diving or to an all-night beach party. I often found myself wondering if I’d be better off working hard at home and then 100% relaxing and enjoying myself while I travelled.
I returned home and got that all important journalism qualification that taught me next to nothing, got a job and got some life experience under my belt and thought that maybe one day I’d return to the digital nomad lifestyle.
When I quit my job to be a travel blogger I had the option to be a digital nomad again. I left London and I found myself attending fewer networking events and fewer face-to-face meetings, so being UK based wasn’t a priority. I didn’t really need to be based anywhere – so why didn’t I choose the digital nomad lifestyle?
It crossed my mind. In fact, it did more than cross my mind, I thought about it for a long time. I was living in a travel blogger bubble where most of my friends were travel bloggers or worked in the travel industry and everyone was aspiring to be a digital nomad.
But I chose to have a house and a car and a dog and a baby and all the normal things digital nomads tell us we shouldn’t want because they get in the way with travelling.
But I have them and I love them.
Admittedly, I don’t have a huge house or a flashy car and that’s because I’d rather save my money for travelling. I also have fabulous in-laws who look after my dog while I travel and my baby boy is still little enough to be flown around the world without really realizing what’s going on.
I love the fact I travel a lot for my blog. I love the excitement of planning my next trip and the anticipation as the date approaches. I like to pull my suitcase out from under the bed and carefully pack my clothes and plan my itinerary for while I’m away.
And I love being away from my regular routine and doing something different every day and exploring new places.
Then after a week or two I crave the normalcy of home. I want to work at my desk where I have a big screen, a comfy chair and all of my gadgets around me.
I want to sleep in my bed and wake up with my fiance. I love having a dog and taking him for long walks. I like making dinner in my kitchen and having my friends round whenever I want. I like having a local pub where I know all the staff and they know what I drink. I like being able to drop in at my parents house whenever I want and meet my friends for after-work drinks. I even like having a gym membership!
When I travel I often schedule in a few extra days in my destination just to work. It sounds weird being on holiday to work but I love it. Working in a different location, enjoying some sunshine, eating out for every meal and getting inspiration from the world around me is the highlight of my job. But I don’t want to do it everyday.
I even considered being a digital nomad because I thought it would make a better blog. People would rather read about a young woman travelling the world then a young woman who takes the odd holiday and then has a very normal life in Wales, right?
Actually, no, not always.
The main feedback I get from my readers is that they love the fact they can relate to my travel schedule. I take a couple of big trips a year and then fill the remainder of the year with weekenders and short trips. This is what most people do and this is what most people want to read about! I love reading about 6-month jaunts to South America but, realistically, when am I ever going to do that!?
So this post is for all the people who keep reading about digital nomads and thinking, ‘That sounds kinda cool but am I weird for not wanting it for myself?’ No, you’re not weird. But if you are, I am too!
I love having a job that allows me to work flexible hours and work from anywhere in the world. But I also love having a job that allows me to buy a house and live a ‘normal life’ when I feel like it.
If you’re interested in becoming a full time blogger, you might be interested in an e-course I’m launching about taking your blog to the next level and turning it into a full time income. The course is launching in May and you can join us on Facebook for regular updates.
Life as a digital nomad: My advice and truths by As the Bird Flies
The reality of being a digital nomad by Twenty-Something Travels
How to live the digital nomad lifestyle by Vicky Flip Flop Travels
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Friday 9th of September 2016
This is exactly the post that I have been looking for to reaffirm my longing to have a home/base with family and friends around me, and the chance to travel every few months. I also do 2 big trips and a couple of long weekend trips in a year. And I'm not embarrassed to say that I still prefer my own couch, TV, bed and my Malaysian food! Thanks for sharing this post ? cheers!
Monday 5th of September 2016
I'm glad you found your own balance.
Personally, I change of city every 4 to 6 months, living as a digital nomad, but trying to connect each time with locals and deeply meet people. It's very interesting.
Kevin Casey, The Jet-setting Copywriter
Friday 5th of August 2016
There are now a zillion different types of 'digital nomads' out there. The term doesn't really mean anything any more - or rather, it means too many things. In another ten or fifteen years, half the world might be freelancing.
I work as a Jet-setting Copywriter, which in my case means I work from home about 7 months year, have two months exploring remote wilderness rivers and do some 'normal' vacations and a spot of 'digital nomading' the other three months.
My freelance writing funds all my overseas adventures, and although I have a home base in Australia, I could easily take off for months (or years) with my location-independent business if I chose to. The amount of money I make from my writing business allows me to travel anywhere I want, whenever I want, for as long as I want.
Does that make me a part-time digital nomad, a writer who travels or a traveler who writes? Our self-descriptors are always going to be inadequate - I call myself a globe-trotting writer rather than a digital nomad, but the truth is, I (like so many others) are a combination of different 'labels' - we don't really fit into any single 'digital nomad' category.
Cheers, Kevin Casey The Jet-setting Copywriter