A digital nomad is a term describing an individual who doesn’t have a fixed home address and travels while working online and making cash. It is a definition of someone who works remotely at no permanent location. It is a lifestyle that lets you experience extended travel without the need to look for jobs at physical locations or pause traveling to get a job to fund it, all while meeting new people and discovering new things regularly.
However, there are also some challenges all too common for a digital nomad. Challenges that those who are stationary would find trivial. Challenges that are unique to the digital nomad lifestyle. Let’s see them.
Managing paperwork across multiple countries
Maybe there are taxes to look out for while living in a Thai beach house. Maybe there are visa restrictions for your nation in member countries in the EU. Do you require a permit to work in your destination, even remotely? These questions are all too common for today’s digital nomad and can be quite irritating as well. Making sure you have the adequate paperwork and understanding your legal rights, is imperative if you decide to work and live on the go. Each state has a different definition of what constitutes taxable status, not to mention where the work is completed and how it needs to be taxed.
Whether we are talking about the Blue Screen of Death, a slow-booting PC or an abnormally functioning operating system, a faulty machine is a digital nomad’s worst nightmare. There are literally hundreds of problems that your dearest machine could have, and any of them can slow down or even completely halt your work, and thus, your income as a digital nomad. The problem is even bigger when Mac computers come into play. Go a few years back, and the only place where you could confidently repair Apple computers was the U.S. Fortunately, today most developed countries have certified Apple repairs shops, including Australia, the U.K., Germany, Japan, etc. For instance, you will have no trouble finding apple repairs in Melbourne with teams that went through extensive Apple computer-repair training. Always go to a computer technician unless you have the necessary expertise to fix the problem yourself.
Sacrificing relationships with your loved ones
Changing locations all the time doesn’t contribute to good, healthy relationships. Especially if you’ve worked hard to build them in the first place. There will be fewer barbecues, laughs and basically less hanging out with your friends and family. Most of your friends won’t wait for you, and they shouldn’t. It is up to you to decide whether being a digital nomad is worth the sacrifice. Besides, when you’re moving at a fast pace – for instance, only staying in one place for two to three weeks – it’s almost unachievable to build new, meaningful relationships. Bonus tip – Anxiety and loneliness can ruin you completely, so just relax and focus on what you have to do. And be open to meeting new people as they come.
Keeping your belongings safe
It doesn’t hurt to repeat – digital nomads depend on technology. It’s the main reason they can get away with their lifestyle in the first place. They need a reliable laptop, smartphone, battery chargers and whatnot. Moreover, depending on your career path, you may need another few thousands of dollars’ worth of gear to do your job. For instance, extra monitors, cameras, keyboards, or any single of the many additional tools a graphic designer needs. Whatever you need, you’ll have to carry it with you wherever you travel to or at least leave it somewhere safe. While insurance can replace the financial loss of stolen or broken equipment, it will not replace the time lost or help you meet those tight deadlines. Keeping everything safe is a must of any would-be digital nomad.
Working with team members/clients in different time zones
It may seem that a person doesn’t respect your work-life boundaries when they call you at 10 p.m. until you discover that for them, it’s only 1 p.m. Although it is possible to work from sunset to sunrise, you may have to be quiet since someone’s trying to sleep next to you.
Some of these things are quite troublesome to deal with, but the truth is, being static comes with its own set of problems, too. Taoists say that everything is a combination of good and bad features. You’ll have to decide whether the pros are worth the cons.