Growing as a Person While Living the Digital Nomad Way

You spend plenty of time growing your business, but have you ever stopped to think about how you’re growing and developing as a person? You may be so busy traveling here and there while putting in long hours at work that you haven’t had two seconds to think about your personal growth. Then on what, precisely, should you focus?

To grow as a person while living the digital nomad lifestyle, you might focus and spend time on:
Discovering and pouring time into your hobbies and interests
Exploring and immersing yourself in new cultures
Fostering your relationships with those back home as well as
Cutting out relationships that are toxic
Planning and meeting short-term and long-term personal goals
Maintaining time for exercise and a healthful diet
Staying organized, even if you’re a jet setter
Examining your happiness and fulfillment in your lifestyle  

GROWING AS A PERSON

As the leader of your own business, you likely spend countless hours tending to all aspects of your company. You make sure your customers are happy and your employees as well. What about yourself?

You may think that the freedom your lifestyle gives you to travel is enough to make you happy. While you do derive satisfaction from traveling, you have to make sure you’re growing as a person as well. Travel can actually impede this progress if you’re not careful.

Take a few minutes out of your busy day and set them aside to read through the items in this article. If you find any of these areas lacking, then it’s time to devote some extra time to them.

Personal growth is an incredibly important facet of your life and not one you should ignore. To understand those around you and succeed in life, you first have to know yourself. That all begins with self-growth.

The following tips and areas of growth are tailored to digital nomads like yourself.

DEVOTING TIME TO HOBBIES AND INTERESTS

What other kinds of interests do you have besides traveling? Perhaps you’re an animal lover, you enjoy hiking, you’re a reader, or you like cooking. Whatever your hobbies are, you need to take some time to get back to them. Yes, even amid your constant traveling and long, busy workdays.

It can be easier than you imagine to reclaim your interests, even if you’re in a strange place. If you like animals, then look for public places where they surround you, perhaps you visit a zoo, swim with the dolphins, or plan an afternoon at a farm. Hiking lovers can plan their next trip to a place that’s well-known for its hiking trails and incredible peaks.

If you like reading, then the next time you feel the urge to take a nap or watch an in-flight movie on a plane, open a book instead. You’ll get hours of (mostly) uninterrupted reading time. While it’s tough to cook while traveling, go to a grocery store instead of a restaurant one night. Whip up something simple but home-cooked to eat. We’ll talk more about this later, so keep reading.

You may find that your digital nomadism introduces you to new hobbies you didn’t have before. Make sure to explore these fully when you can. These will enrich you and propel you towards self-growth.

Ruins of a temple at the old roman city of Baalbek, Lebanon

IMMERSING YOURSELF IN NEW CULTURES

Few things make you realize and appreciate what you have than seeing what life is like in other parts of the world. Cultural differences can astound you as well.

You have the freedom to travel almost anywhere you wish to go thanks to your career path. Take advantage of it! It’s so easy sometimes to get off the plane and go straight to the hotel. There, you unpack, do some work, order room service, and sleep. The next day, you’re back at it, working until late into the day.

Before you know it, you’re ready to leave and head to your next destination without having explored the city where you’re already living. You’re missing out on a wealth of cultural opportunities that can reshape your worldview and forward your progress as a person.

Cut a day of work short to spend some time exploring city streets, cafes, markets, or anything else that catches your eye. Meet people and hear their stories. Try their foods. Follow some customs and traditions if you can.

You’ll walk away from the whole experience appreciating the varied gifts the world has to give us. Perhaps you go back home and live a more simplistic life or make other massive changes inspired by the cultures you got to experience firsthand. Either way, you’ll undoubtedly feel moved by what you’ve seen and lived.

RELATIONSHIPS NEAR AND FAR

The relationships you have can define you as a person. Since you’ve become a digital nomad, chances are, you don’t see a lot of people from your hometown anymore. Is there something you can do about this situation?

Now’s a good time to evaluate all the relationships in your life. These include professional and personal ones. Are there certain people in your life who don’t support your digital nomadism? Perhaps there are others you were once close with, but the years and distance have caused you two to grow apart.

You don’t necessarily have to make an overnight decision on who to keep and who to remove in your life unless the relationship is positively toxic. For those you’ve grown apart from, try reconnecting. If you can’t see one another in person, then use video chat or FaceTime to catch up on one another’s lives.

It’s possible you could remember how much you like the presence and support of this other person. If so, then strive to rebuild the connection, even across great distances. If the relationship isn’t working, then don’t be afraid to call it quits.

Don’t be closed off to meeting new people on your travels, either. You could stumble across your next best friend or the great love of your life as you venture from place to place if you’re open to those experiences (and providing you’re single, of course).

You might sometimes think it’s not worth getting close to anyone you meet when abroad because you won’t stay long. However, you’re only hurting yourself in the long run. If you have a genuine connection with someone you meet during a traveling adventure, you can maintain it the same way you would the bonds with those back home. It may take more time, effort, and, yes, work. If you feel the relationship is worth it at the end of the day, though, then that’s all the matters.

CREATING GOALS

Many people think you’re living life with your digital nomadism. Indeed, you’re undoubtedly enjoying a more privileged vocation than most, but that’s because you’ve put in the hard work. Just because you’ve gotten to a place where you can travel anywhere and your business still thrives doesn’t mean you should get complacent.

You should create both short-term and long-term goals for yourself. These may be related to travel or work, but they should include personal goals as well. These are the ones that will drive your sense of personal growth and fulfillment.

Using the example from earlier in the article, have you ever wanted to hike a mountain? Maybe you want to learn a new language or take a course in business management. These are all valuable short-term goals you can meet. They’re useful in that they benefit your lifestyle and career, but they’re personally rewarding as well. Think of how you’ll feel when you reach the summit of the hiking trail, or you can hold a conversation in another language. That’ll be a day for the record books for sure.

You should also set long-term goals. These are achievements you plan that may take months or years. For instance, maybe you want to buy a second house in another country, or you wish to expand your business in a different part of the world. These are great, viable goals, but they will not happen overnight.

To keep your long-term goals manageable, break them down into workable chunks. If you want to buy a house in another country, then you would start by researching property values. Then you’d budget, meet with a mortgage broker, find a real estate agent, and see houses. These are all little goals you can do over the next months that add up to the big goal: getting another home.

Having goals keeps you going in life. If you feel like even your impressive routine has become getting stale, perhaps you need a new challenge to fuel and motivate you.

FOCUS ON DIET AND EXERCISE

When you travel as much as you do, you’re often exhausted. When you fail to eat foods that nourish you, then you’re likely to feel even more tired. Sure, that calorie-laden coffee or sugary snack might seem like the right decision at the time but an hour later you then come down off your sugar high ready to pass out, and it’s a different story.

To provide you the fuel needed for your long days, you need nutritious food. That doesn’t mean you should never indulge and treat yourself. What you want to do is create a balance that works for your lifestyle.

Earlier in this article, we mentioned how nothing beats a homemade meal. Since you’re a digital nomad, most of your food probably comes from restaurants, airlines, and room service. When you get the opportunity to, cook for yourself, pay extra for a hotel room with a kitchen so you can whip up a healthy dish. Make one of your favorites as a reward for a good day’s work.

Get in exercise as well when you can. There are so many ways to move your body and all count as exercise. Maybe you’re up to with the sunrise stretching on a yoga mat. Perhaps you hit the hotel pool or take a stroll through a new city or town. Going to a gym isn’t the only means of physical activity by far. Whatever you enjoy doing, make sure you do it.

After all, in your life, you spend a lot of time sitting, either at your desk or on a plane. By eating well and getting up and moving your body, you have the energy to live life your way. That gives you the freedom to achieve growth along the way.

ORGANIZING YOUR LIFE

Do you struggle to stay organized with your jet setting lifestyle? You may feel like there’s hardly any point in organizing your belongings when you’ll pack them up in a few days anyway. Your wallet or purse may overflow with receipts from here, there, and everywhere. Who has time to do anything with them? You wish you did, but you never do.

To grow as a person, you need to give yourself the space to do so. That begins with organizing your life. When it comes to working, you could be overly meticulous, but you let your personal life’s organization fall by the wayside.

Living in clutter is no way to lead a satisfying life. To begin organizing, go through your suitcases first. Have you amassed small toiletry bottles, souvenirs you’ve meant to mail out, and other junk? It’s time to do something with this stuff. Either use it, send it out, or throw it away. It’s taking up unnecessary room and exhausting you as you drag it around everywhere.

Using a planner or an organizing app on your phone are two great ways to prioritize a cleaner, less clutter-filled life. By cleaning up, you’ll notice several things will happen. First, you’ll feel a lot more unencumbered. Second, some of your organization habits will bleed over into your work life, allowing you to do even better business. Third, you’ll pack and travel more efficiently than ever.

hand of a woman meditating in a yoga pose on the beach at sunset

TRACKING YOUR SATISFACTION, HAPPINESS AND FULFILLMENT

It’s time to step back for a moment and honestly think. Does being a digital nomad make you happy? This career track can be a rigorous and fatiguing one, so the answer is not the same for everyone.

If digital nomad living is making you happy and your answer is indeed yes, then great! If you answered no, then ask yourself why not. Do you miss people from back home? Are you tired of traveling so much? Do you feel like you could use a break, but you can’t get one?

The good news is those answers don’t necessarily mean you have to stop being a digital nomad. If you miss the company of your loved ones back home, then schedule a trip for a few weeks on your home turf. The same remedy applies if you’re tired of traveling. Stay home for a while and see if you feel more energized.

You could also extend the trip you’re currently on, spending a few extra weeks there. By spacing out the time between your adventures, you fly less. That could be all you need to overcome your traveling burnout. 

If it’s a break you need, then take one! We know, we know, this can feel just about impossible if you own a business. Who’s going to keep things running if you’re not around? If you have a trusted co-founder or a reliable team, they can keep things afloat.

We’re just talking a couple of days off, maybe a week at tops. Your company will still be there when you return from your break. Even better, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on what’s next to both personally and professionally.

If you find the digital nomad lifestyle is no longer working for you (which does happen), then it’s okay to scale back or stop altogether. You can always resume your adventures if the travel bug bites you again.

LAST THOUGHTS

As a digital nomad, it’s vital to grow as a person as much as it is to grow your business. In all the hustle and bustle of your daily life, you can forget about yourself and your needs; however, it is detrimental to your long-term health and happiness.

In this article, we presented a handful of different ways you can achieve growth, even with an active lifestyle like yours. Whether you focus on taking time off from travel, returning to hobbies, rebuilding long-distance relationships, or setting goals, you’ll start growing personally in no time.

Michael Haralson

I'm the owner of Digital Nomad Explorer. I've traveled to over 50 countries and been an expat in Scotland, Finland, and China. I was a digital nomad while having my own robotics company and traveled throughout Europe and China working remotely. Currently, I'm location independent with a home base in Kirkkonummi, Finland.

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