So this is a first for me. I am writing this blog post on a personal level and I hope it’s useful to at least one person out there, who sometimes feels alone or down travelling as a digital nomad.
“You’re so lucky”, “sounds like you’re living the dream” or “I wish I could do that but I have too many responsibilities” are things you may hear frequently when telling people about your digital nomad lifestyle. At least people say things like that to me all the time anyway. I know they don’t mean it in a negative way, however it does annoy me sometimes because they don’t realise how hard it is to maintain a lifestyle like this, and they certainly don’t understand the sacrifices we make to get here in the first place.
These people maybe living a mundane 9-5 lifestyle, getting away for 2 weeks each year and have a house (with a mortgage). So in reality they think that you have no pressure on you, your life is easy, a continuous holiday, you’re swaning off around the globe living the dream. What they don’t realise is this:
- We don’t have our families with us (well most digital nomads anyway) and we have a long-ass flight to get to them only a couple of times a year.
- Often it’s hard to find close friends, as people are moving around all the time and as adults we need to learn how to make friends again like when we were kids.
- We don’t all have a reliable or stable source of income or career progression, but we see our friends on Facebook getting promoted all the time.
- We have to organise and manage our travel, accommodation, food and drink, language, social time, safety, business, money, etc all by ourselves and from a foreign country.
- At times we feel like the dream is going to end and we will be back in our home countries again, doing a 9-5 as another cog in the system.
- It’s hard to find a partner as they need to be location independent as well.
- We left our old comfortable or safe lives behind. This meant leaving family, friends, jobs, possessions, pets, familiar places etc.
While the above may be true for you, people just don’t see that. This is because people find it hard to empathise or at least sympathise with these issues and to be fair I can’t really blame them. They aren’t living the same lifestyle as us and so we can’t expect them to know.
Anyway, recently I started to really feel the pressure and even questioned being a digital nomad anymore. That’s until I found a series of YouTube videos and started really thinking about (and writing down) my thoughts and feelings about life and my future.
Here’s what helped me…
Stop caring what people think about your digital nomad life
How to make friends as a digital nomad
Chatting to people as a digital nomad
Personally I love this video, I think it’s really relevent to a lot of interactions with people. Nick Sparks has also authored a short book which I have subsequently read. You can buy it here: As You Are: Ignite Your Charisma, Reclaim Your Confidence, Unleash Your Masculinity
Gaining confidence as digital nomad
Figuring out life
I am still going through this period of trying to keep a positive mental attitude, learn about myself, understand my psychology etc, so I’ll keep adding to this list as I go. I understand the way I write and my English skills will probably attract criticism, but to be honest I really couldnt give a shit what anyone thinks (courtesy of these videos). My only aim with this article is to hopefully help other digital nomads or travellers out there who may feel alone, down or like something is missing from their lives at times. These videos will help you either discover or change things about yourself and hopefully give you the confidence to get out there and be more fulfilled.
I will end this article with a short story about something that happened today…
“So I am currently in Barcelona and have been working on a laptop all day, for several weeks, not getting to see much of the outside world. I decided today I would just walk around the city by myself and think about what I want for my future, what job or business I want and ultimately come up with some sort of plan. I sat in a hidden medieval courtyard by the main cathedral in the square (you know, by the roman ruins in the gothic area). I was alone, writing my thoughts down about what I wanted from my life. It’s quite an atmospheric place, it’s really fucking old and the sound echoes around in a cool way. The only other people there were a busker and his grandson I’d assume. The kid was watching me writing for a while (he was obviously bored as hell) and came over to ask what I was writing about. I busted out some Spanglish and then apologised for my Spanish (I’m English, we always have to apologise for everything). Normally I am a stingy bastard and don’t give money away, but he was so polite and inquisitive that I gave the kid some money, telling him to go buy a notepad and pen so he could write too. He probably spent the money on cigarettes and women (ok maybe not but who knows what he did with it). The reason I am telling you this is because I had written down in my book “be a positive person and try and do more nice things for people”. There is no time like the present, life ticks by and before you know it you may have missed your chance to become who you really want to be. Go out today and do at least one thing different, smile at somebody, do a good deed for somebody who wouldn’t expect it, chat to that person on their own… just do something! Today is the day you start, not tomorrow!”
As Steve Jobs said “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.”.
Over and out.