This article might bring me some internet enemies, but it’s something I want to put out there as a public statement.
This article is inspired by the big question asked a thousand times daily on the internet: “How do I start a career as digital nomad?” as if digital nomad is a job like a doctor, pilot, etc.
First, the term digital nomad bugs me. Big time! Maybe because I hear it too often and the hype around it. Or maybe because people say it way too much and use it like a title or a status.
So if you ever thought about these questions and if you ever posted it somewhere online, then this is for you:
DIGITAL NOMAD IS NOT A CAREER OR A JOB TITLE.
There’s no school, training or university that will show you how to become one. If you ask this question, you clearly misunderstand the idea.
Wherever you are now, ask yourself these two simple questions:
1. Can I do my work from somewhere else (home, in a café, on a train, in an airport)?
2. Can I do something else that will allow me to be anywhere?
If you are a surgeon, a firefighter, a nurse, a kindergarten teacher and a few more amazing roles (you know, the kind of work with a real sense of urgency), then your mobility will probably be limited.
If you work any other job, especially the ones you find in shiny buildings and grey cubicles, the answers to these two questions are always YES.
Now, how to transition from a traditional office job to a location-independent lifestyle is too much to cover in a few hundred words left in this article. To be continued on future blog posts…
But let’s get back to why digital nomad is not a job title. It’s all about skills. And a few more things like mindset and attitude.
If you have the set of skills which you can carry with you, if you can negotiate with your employer a more flexible way of working, then you are free to go wherever you wish — wherever your passport allows you to go!
Because of my lifestyle and the places I live in, I am surrounded by these “laptop people” as I call them. And I want to reveal something shocking: It’s not all glamour and Instagrammable. Life is certainly not easy, especially for the ones always on the move (no more than a few weeks in a place at a time).
As a remote worker or full-time traveler, you’re in a constant search of proper living conditions and good internet connections and quietness to get your work done, but very seldom do all the stars align to find the sweet spot.
I hope I don’t sound intense or negative about this topic. I’m not. All too often, I just see this question come up, and there are too few genuine resources or insights on what this digital nomadism is about.
Know this: It’s far from what you see on Instagram.
But don’t get me wrong, I believe that the future of our work won’t happen in cubicles. I am all about getting out of the traditional way of working — the patterns, the grind. I believe people are more productive and creative when they are in their happy place, when they have more flexibility and freedom over their own schedule. I believe firmly that people should spend more time outside watching the sky or the ocean waves.
I cannot stand the “work hard, play hard” mentality because life is a continuous search for balance. Something which is not always easy to achieve when you’re constantly on the road. But that’s a topic for another blog post.
I’m curious to hear what “digital nomad” means to you.