The idea of becoming a digital nomad seems like a dream come true. Non-stop traveling, flexible schedules, meeting new people and cultures, eating exotic food, and much more! However, as the saying goes, “not all that shines is gold” the digital nomad lifestyle also has its challenges, and it’s definitely not for everyone. So, how to know if this lifestyle is for you? By answering these digital nomad questions!
Digital Nomad Questions You Need to Answer Before Becoming A Digital Nomad
Maybe you´ve wondered about the questions to ask nomads about their lifestyle or to share their experiences. While these are helpful, the best way to know if becoming a digital nomad is for you is by reflecting on similar questions based on your personality and previous experiences.
1. Why do you want to become a digital nomad?
This simple question is more powerful than it seems. It will help you explore the real reasons why you want to transform your lifestyle.
If you want to become a digital nomad because you dream of working on a paradisiac beach, then you should reconsider your reasons. Being a digital nomad implies working from outstanding locations, but it also means continually adapting to unforeseen situations.
Delayed planes, Airbnb or hostel cancelations, problems with your credit card, and feeling lonely are many other challenges with this lifestyle. Exploring new places is just a part of what being a digital nomad truly means.
2. Do you adapt easily to change?
This, without a doubt, is one of the most important digital nomad questions to ask yourself.
Being a planner is a great skill to ensure you find the best places and prices and have a great time at each destination. However, if you´re a strict planner, you can get easily stressed when you see that things aren´t going as they were supposed to. Think of delayed flights, going to a place that didn´t match your expectations or cultures you don´t understand.
Besides unexpected situations, being a digital nomad means constant change. You’ll be traveling to different places with different languages, cultures, and people, and therefore, you need to have the energy for it.
3. What sacrifices are you willing to make?
Every decision we make has both positive and negative aspects. Becoming a digital nomad means having a world of possibilities, exploring cultures, vibrant cities, nature, and more! But, it also means having to leave things behind.
If you have a stable job that doesn´t give room for flexibility, then you´ll need to either find another job or become a location-independent entrepreneur. But these things require time, energy, and budget, so you need to plan.
Additionally, you´ll be leaving your friends and family behind. Or, in some cases, your partner. In this case, sustaining long-distance relationships also becomes challenging. You need to think things through and see how to make them work.
4. Do you have a job that allows you to work and travel?
In line with the previous question, to become a digital nomad, you need a job that sustains this lifestyle. Think of the common expenses you´ll make, like food, accommodation, transportation, health insurance, emergencies, etc. You need to have a job that supports these expenses.
But besides the financial aspect of it, your job should be flexible enough to let you work in different time zones and let you arrange your schedule the way it works best for you. This is easier if you have a business, but if not, having remote work (with flexible hours) or being a freelancer is the way to go.
5. Do you like traveling light?
Or, in other words, are you a minimalist?
Most digital nomads learn to be minimalist the hard way. You might think that taking a lot of your clothes with you makes sense as you´ll probably travel to locations with opposite weather. However, this mindset is a double-edged sword because you´ll realize how it makes it harder to move around, and in many cases, you’ll have to pay more money for an extra suitcase or backpack.
The easiest way is to go with the basics. In some cases, you´ll need to buy clothes, but if you pack the essentials, you´re likely good to go anywhere. Check out this article where we share the ultimate digital nomad packing list!
6. Where will you keep your residency?
This question helps you determine where you will pay your taxes based on your country of residence. There are countries that tax you based on where you live permanently. For example, if you are registered there and have an apartment there, you´ll need to pay taxes regardless if you´re living there or traveling.
Other countries are more flexible. Thailand, for instance, will tax you based on your source of income. If you live there but make money online, you likely won´t pay income taxes.
7. Are you self-disciplined?
Like remote workers, digital nomads don´t have any managers lurking in their offices to check whether they are working. With the exception, digital nomads tend to have more temptations if they work in places with fun activities.
This is where you´ll have to be self-determined to finish your tasks before surfing or wine tasting. Or, have a schedule that helps you do all you want during the morning but do some deep work during the afternoon.
8. Do you have the necessary digital nomad equipment?
While some tools are great for marketing, the truth is that digital nomads need to have certain equipment to travel comfortably. A lightweight and small laptop will allow them to easily carry it in their backpack. A good pair of headphones is also a must, especially when you need to work from airports or in loud places. And mobile hotspot is indispensable!
The equipment always depends on your type of job, but what matters is that you feel you can carry it with you without becoming a burden.
9. What countries do you want to visit?
There´s not just one way to travel and plan the countries you want to visit. Some love having an agenda; others choose based on their mood or budget. However, what you do need to take into account is the permissions you´ll need to go to the country.
Organizing your trips will help you have a process where you learn which countries you need a visa to go to, their policies and requirements, and if you need vaccines (besides COVID-19, some countries require yellow fever vaccine, among others).
Also, you´ll need to consider the cost of living, as for some countries you’ll require an entirely different budget than others. For example, in Costa Rica, a night in a regular hostel could cost you a minimum of $20 approximately, while in Argentina, good hostels can cost $8. Same with food and activities.
10. Are you good at managing your finances?
Even if you have a stable business or job, you´ll need to have an emergency fund in case something unexpected happens. Additionally, you´ll need to be cautious about spending money while traveling to ensure you always have the basics for accommodation and food.
11. Are you prepared to deal with FOMO?
FOMO, or fear of missing out, is common for those who spend constantly traveling or moving out of their country. Imagine missing your best friend’s birthday party or Sunday’s barbeques because you’re on the other side of the world?
While in the beginning, the adrenaline of living new experiences will make this disappear; eventually, you will become more homesick. It’s completely normal! However, you need to be willing to miss these things out in order to embrace this lifestyle.
12. Do you have a plan B?
We don´t want to be negative and burst your bubble. But what if your digital nomad plan fails? Maybe you realized you wanted to be steady in one place, surrounded by the people you care about. Or maybe you thought you wanted to travel but realized being a digital nomad is different from being a tourist.
Whatever the case, if you realize the digital nomad lifestyle is not for you, it’s always better to have a plan B. Maybe this involves returning to your hometown or moving to a different place.
Once you´ve taken the time to answer these questions and think if being a digital nomad is your dream, now is the time to start building your next steps. It could be saving more money, getting a new job, or starting your own business!
Best of luck!