I’m just back from a work trip where I traveled to Yinchuan, China which reminds me of my time in China as a digital nomad. I have tons of work waiting for me at the office. As I get back to my home jetlagged, tired and remembering all the things that I progressed and need to follow-up, I’m amused at how attractive, and engaging travel to China can still be. I packed a full schedule into this trip – company meetings, high-level provincial government meetings, connecting with friends in Beijing, two-day exhibition stand duty and helping to drive a consortium of Finnish companies to make an offering to the City of Yinchuan. Despite a heavy work schedule, I did make the best use of my time to explore the places I went to and reached out to meet with old friends. A few years ago when I had my own business, this fully-packed schedule was a typical day. The digital nomad lifestyle is compelling and attractive for many reasons, and each person has their reasoning as to why they pursue this lifestyle. In fact, in my view, not only is each person’s motivator different; it also depends on the age or phase of life.
So what does make the digital nomad lifestyle so attractive? The digital nomad lifestyle is compelling because it allows a person to bring out their adventurous side, explore their curiosity to the maximum while at the same time being independent enough to work and cover their costs. By doing so, a person grows and develops. The bottom line is that a person can test his or her freedom, independence, intelligence and situational problem-solving. It promotes self-reliance and a person’s taste. Most importantly, it enables you to live your life on your terms.
The digital nomad lifestyle is compelling and attractive for many reasons, and each person has their reasoning as to why they pursue this lifestyle. In fact, in my view, not only is each person’s motivator different; it also depends on the age or phase of life. Here are a few more unknown tangible and intangible areas that impact the life of a digital nomad.
EXPLORE NEW PLACES IN YOUR OWN WAY
There is nothing better than deciding how, when and where to travel – basically doing it your way. Choosing by yourself gives you a chance to build the experience according to what you are genuinely interested. Interestingly, you need to have your in-country travel exploration options worked out as well as what your work targets you need to accomplish to take full advantage of deciding what to do. However, this is a small price to pay for doing things your way.
Once you have your options listed and the things you have to accomplish in your work, everything opens up. You can go by yourself or with a friend or a local guide. Take a walk, bicycle, take a tour, and you have the option to go back again if you want to spend more time there. Or you can go there, find a relaxed cafe or small restaurant and deep-zone work for 2 hours and then slowly head back knowing that you filled the day to the maximum – action plus adventure and the evening is free to do something too.
MEET NEW PEOPLE AND CULTURES
Isn’t it great to meet new people and find out how people live? I remember once I took an extended weekend trip while on a work trip to Geneva, Switzerland. The beauty of the country was fantastic. My hotel suggested some walking tours in the mountains where local people often hike, and this appealed to me. Meeting some local people, I got to know how they approached and experienced hiking, how regularly and when and also what gear they took on their trips.
LEARN TO WORK IN TOUGH SITUATIONS
Ever need to get an essential document from your email or cloud server, and the hotel WLAN was slow as a snail or cannot connect to your cloud server? Or you need to add some money to your account quickly, and the security alerts pop up every time you log in to your bank? Or you need to have that critical video conference, and the WLAN is too weak to connect you. Weak WLAN can happen even in modern big cities in Europe or Asia or the US.
TESTING THE STRENGTH OF YOUR CHARACTER & PERSONALITY
Traveling in different countries improves your character. It improves it by testing you in multiple different scenarios and situations. The tests can come in many shapes and forms and circumstances.
Work is one area where it tests you hard. For you to sustain your digital nomad lifestyle, you need to succeed in an internet business. Not only this, you must manage while working in a foreign country with different time zones and possibly in areas that don’t have functional connectivity.
Traveling around the city and countryside can also test your abilities, especially if you do not speak the local language. Tougher situations, involving people that disagree with you will make you grow too. For instance, resolving an argument or fighting for a discount that was advertised and now not offered to you, will test your personality and character. Finding ways to manage these situations will enable you to grow even if they may be uncomfortable when they happen.
GETTING TO KNOW YOUR ENERGY LEVEL
Wherever you travel to and whenever you decide to work, it will take energy to push you forward. There is a trend now in time management circles that to be most productive, you need to understand how you energize. How can you shine in your work if you don’t have any power? You get to know your energy level like when you are most energetic, when you are most social, whether you work best in the morning, afternoon or late at night.
Another important aspect of this knowing your energy is understanding how your energy recharges. How do you recharge your batteries? If you spent two hours of deep work and accomplished your work targets, how do you relax? Every person is different, and it’s incredible to me that many people do not know how they re-energize. For some people, it is jumping right away to an adventure of a place they’ve never seen before and explored it. For others, it is taking a swim. And still, for others, they want to go to the gym and workout for half an hour before anything else. I’ve noticed that I need to do something completely different than the work I was doing before. So that means that if I have spent two hours of deep work completing a report or writing, I need to be moving and experiencing something to recharge my batteries.
The benefits of knowing more about your energy level is very intangible because for instance, if you know your batteries are replenished not only by sleeping or sitting down doing nothing but instead by doing something social or adventurous or working out, can put more things into your day and have just as much energy without feeling tired. Anyway, this has been my experience.
FINDING YOUR REAL TASTES AND INTERESTS
Never knew you had a passion for grilled fish with olive oil, sea salt, and lemon? Well, sometimes you never know you like something until you are introduced to it by different circumstances.
Never knew you could deep work for 2 hours straight “in the zone” in a loud cafe restaurant with booming music? It wasn’t pressure that made you productive; it was the atmosphere! Can you duplicate this effectiveness again in other settings?
Part of the attraction of having a digital lifestyle is that you have the freedom in terms of time and decisions of doing what it takes to find out what your real taste and interests are in your life.
When you’re working a 9 to 5 job in one location with multiple responsibilities to do after work in your free time there sometimes isn’t enough time, and you don’t have enough energy for exploring your likes and dislikes. When you are on the road as a digital nomad, blocks of time and multiple opportunities can open up.
Finding out what you enjoy, what motivates you and what you are genuinely interested in, is an iterative process. It happens over time in most cases. But then again sometimes a situation presents itself which gives you an automatic opportunity for learning what you like.
A UNIQUE COMBINATION THAT LEADS TO PERSONAL GROWTH
When you travel as a digital nomad and start to realize how you perform -either in social situations or in working remotely – it starts to build self-confidence in your abilities that give you a unique perspective into yourself. You are probably having a big mix of extreme fun and extreme problem-solving. The fact that you are growing and getting to know yourself more through these intangible and tangible events is one of the best reasons that make people want to experience this lifestyle, even more, these days.
The attractive part of the digital nomad lifestyle combines all the elements of challenge and the promise of adventure growth and making a living while doing so is achievable, even more so now than ever before due to technology and acceptance in the world. Living your life on your terms comes at a price with that price is worth it in many ways, most of all because of your growth as a person.
Getting pulled into the attractive lifestyle of a digital nomad? No matter what circumstances you are in there are always possibilities that will open up for you to take part in the digital nomad lifestyle. It’s been my experience that if you want to experience the digital nomad lifestyle, there have never been so many opportunities and possibilities as we have today. It takes a lot of courage and determination; however if you end up learning more about yourself while building a business and experiencing different cultures may be worth it to you to explore what’s possible.
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.