Digital Nomads, Working Whenever, Wherever

One of the thoughts that came to my mind when I started out as a Digital Nomad was how great it would be to be able to work from wherever I wanted to be, whenever I feel like working. Shakira’s whenever, wherever song got stuck in my head for weeks!

Then there was a moment of shock when I found out that working whenever wherever isn’t possible. Of course, what was I thinking. How could I have been so naive? I know, you probably didn’t prepare for this either, right? How can I disappoint you by saying such things when every other Digital Nomad convinced you to become a Digital Nomad so you would be able to work from wherever you want at any time you want? Let me explain myself.

Digital Nomads, Working Wherever

Let’s look at the “Wherever” part first. Of course you can live almost everywhere you want as a Digital Nomad. There is no doubt about that. If you like to surf, you most likely will be in a surfing spot with good waves at a sunny beach location. When you’re a big snowboarding fan you rather spend your time in the high mountains full with lots of fresh snow. This is often one of the main, and in my opinion one of the best, reasons to live the Digital Nomad Lifestyle. But, there’s still a lot to consider when you’re moving to a new place and dive into the world of remote work.

Digital Nomads Often Look For A Good Quality Of Living

You didn’t start your remote lifestyle because you wanted a worse life than the 9 to 5 you had in the corporate world. You started this lifestyle change because you wanted to have certain improvements in your life. You won’t be able to get the quality and certain life standards you’re looking for everywhere.

Wherever you like to be, if you have to be productive the next day it’s best to be rested. So get that good night sleep to be productive the next day.

Digital Nomads Need A Place With Internet

How about living in a place close to the wilderness, those beautiful mountains, in the desert or on a boat sailing the ocean? It looks like a dream, but in those places it might be harder to get high speed internet, if there will be any internet connection at all.

What about electricity? Even if you can survive without internet, you will need to be able to charge all the typical Digital Nomad gadgets. The places in the wilderness, mountains, deserts and on the ocean are great when you visit them for a few days, when you need to have your offline time. But this aren’t places where you would be able to live as a Digital Nomad.

Of course you will learn a lot and gain some experience about how to survive in the wilderness, but getting work done is almost impossible. And won’t that be too boring and lonely after a while too?

Wherever means anywhere with good internet

Digital Nomads Need A Place They Can Afford

Ok, you found that one spot where there’s everything you are looking for. You’ve been there for a while, and found out that this place isn’t as affordable as you’ve hoped for. We all love San Francisco, Hawaii and New York, but that doesn’t mean everyone can afford to permanently live there.

Would you like to live in a place where cost of living costs are twice as much as you earn per month? I for sure won’t.

This is one of the reasons you see a lot of Digital Nomads in more affordable places in East Europe or Asia.

Digital Nomads Often Look For Places With A Digital Nomad Community

Some Digital Nomads left their home country because they wanted to get away from all the political inconvenience. They are looking for a life away from all the hassle, away from Trump’s stupidities and Brexit nonsense. No wonder they don’t always try to emerge into the local community. There’s simply no incentive for them to do so.

Although you might find a connection with a local person or a traveler, people tend to look for like minded people to surround themselves with. People who are in the same boat, have the same issues and same interests. A traveller might have the same interest, they don’t always understand you don’t have time to do all the fun stuff every day. A traveller has a lot of time to do the things they like, have fun and party while you as a Digital Nomad have to work and earn some money. You won’t always be able to join them and have the same kind of conversations.

Digital Nomads tend to look for each other and build their own community of like minded people. You will feel very lonely without any kind of community. Belonging to a community is important for your health and great for your business.

Digital Nomads Need A Place Where It’s Safe And Secure

When you pick your next destination, you might want to check on some safety issues before you book a flight. Personally I don’t think governmental advices are always right, and I have no problems in going solo to Egypt or other countries which scare other tourist away, I do think twice to go to Salvador, Brazil. As from experience I do know this isn’t the safest place to bring all my gadgets.

As a Digital Nomad you carry around quite a bit of expensive stuff. A laptop, smartphone, sometimes a tablet, a camera or even a drone. And wherever you decide to go, safe or not safe, make sure you’re insured with special travel insurance and be careful when you take your equipment with you.

Digital Nomad Friendly Places And Visas

Because Digital Nomads created those communities, a few worldwide Digital Nomad hotspots were automatically created. Great weather, specific time zones, a good currency exchange and affordable cost of living are the reason for those hubs.

Some of those spots are the reason special Digital Nomad visas are nowadays available. Thailand approved the Smart Visa (also known as Digital Nomad visa). This visa allows entrepreneurs to live and work without a work permit for maximum four years in Thailand.

Other countries are mostly entered with a tourist visa, what allow you to be somewhere for a few days up to a few months. So, although you’re free to go to many places, visas can be a major restriction. Sometimes due to your passport and sometimes because of the duration you would like to stay in a specific place.

Digital Nomad Offices On The Road, Coworking Places

If you really want to be productive and make sure you have high speed internet, heading into an office might be a great solution. There are plenty of coworking spaces around the world. In some places more than others. And those coworking places aren’t for the local entrepreneurs only. There are plenty of coworking spaces where you can rent a desk for a week, a day or sometimes even a few hours.

The best offices on the road you will find in a coworking space!

Digital Nomads, Working Whenever

Now, let’s come to the “Whenever” part. As a Digital Nomad, you may be on your own with little to no one to be accountable for (with the exception of the tax authority of course :)). You might be a freelancer, employee or entrepreneur. No matter what you are, in most cases you have to deal with clients or bosses.

Trust me, unless you are not actively working, you will not be working “whenever you want” as you may have thought.

Clients And Timezones

If you would ask yourself if you actually work “whenever” you want? The answer would most likely be Yes. If you are a morning person, you stick to working in the morning and spending the evening on anything fun you like to do. If you are an evening person, you can rest or have fun in the morning and work in the evening. You are in charge of when you want to work.

If your kind of work demands working with overseas clients this is very, very different. You might have clients from all over the world, clients in all timezones, clients who want or sometimes need your immediate support. They don’t care that you decided to work from your favourite beach on the other side of the world, they only care if you deliver they way they expect you to deliver.

The difference between your current timezone and your clients timezone can affect your business and your personal health. Depending on where you are and what you do, you may have to stay up late or wake extremely early. It means you might have to get up at 2am or work until late at night sometimes. This is no problem if it happens once or twice, it will become a problem if you have to do this every day.

This is where the reality kicks in.

Digital Nomad Deadlines

Like in any other kind of job, with most Digital Nomad jobs you will have to deal with deadlines as well. Time might not be your best friend when you plan an event, launch a website or a product. Calendars work closely, tasks have to be finished. The closer you come to the date of the event, the more last minute things have to be done. Even if the sun is shining and you would like to swim in the ocean for a rest, priorities have to be set and your relaxing Sunday has to wait, yet another week.

Working Wherever Whenever Isn’t Always A Positive Thing

Most Digital Nomads juggle a lot between their laptop and their smartphones to get work done. How often you touch your devices depends on how much work you need to get done.

Digital Nomads Work From Literally Everywhere

As a Digital Nomad you will be opening your laptop at the most ridiculous and random places you can think off. When you used to read a book or catch up on your social life be prepared to now open your laptop and get some last minute things done. You will open your laptop when you’re waiting for your next flight at the airport, when you’re in the next touring bus that brings you to your next destination, when you’re waiting to check in your new hotel and so on.

Digital Nomads Work Literally All The Time

And even when you’re not working, you will still always work. Future clients can be everywhere. Your interest in a person changes from wanting to get to know that person to wanting to get to know if this person can be of any interest for you and your business.

All the birthday parties, weddings, girls nights out, they suddenly turn into business conversations. Sometimes there’s no escape. Even if you don’t intent to, the curiosity of people will lead to asking you about your business, so even when you would like to give yourself an evening off work, be prepared to still talk about it. Working is brought to a totally new level.

How Do Digital Nomads Handle Their Lifestyle?

Before your life as a Digital Nomad, you might think that working whenever, wherever is ideal. This lifestyle comes with a lot of discipline. One of the best ways to improve your productivity and efficiency is to be disciplined and manage your time well. The greatest asset as a Digital Nomad is your time. If any of it is wasted, you will feel like losing control of your life.

You will find yourself in situations and circumstances that won’t let you enjoy that freedom to be everywhere you want at almost anytime. You will likely have some tight schedules that can make you stressed sometimes if you don’t manage your resources, especially your time, well. Acceptance is key, life isn’t always only fun and work sometimes simply has to be done.

Even though you might have a tight schedule, rest and relaxation are equally important for you as a Digital Nomad. You must find time to sleep and relax. Especially after a hard working day. This will help recover your body with new energy. It’s totally ok and recommendable to unplug from your devices once a while as well.

You have any questions or comments, let me know, I’m happy to answer them 🙂

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