The concept of digital nomads is not a new one but has become trendy as new opportunities and different types of jobs emerge.
The focus on digital throws up opportunities to work remotely in cheap places with a high quality of life, as the number of people with jobs in the areas of software development, digital marketing and other online activities increases.
With video calls and chat services now so advanced, it is easy to connect people from many different points on the globe, enabling companies and employees/freelancers to stay in touch. However, there are many pros and cons to this way of living — which is not just a matter of developing new online platforms in a Taiwanese hammock.
Being a digital nomad is about more than having the experience of working remotely; it is about finding a balance between work and personal life, enjoying the experience of travelling and discovering new cultures, and above all learning.
Role of Startups
Startups offer great opportunities where learning and getting in touch with the digital world is concerned. Usually, despite scarce resources, a quite flexible structure and relaxed environment makes it possible to keep in touch with the various parts of the business — which is wonderful, especially if you ever want to manage a business by yourself.
This means that starting your career in a small, newly created company (especially a tech-related one) may be a great opportunity to learn and develop a solid digital background.
Depending on which part of the business you focus on there may be many opportunities to travel and get to know different local circumstances before choosing a place to settle.
You will understand that not all startups are in the same position, especially where investment is concerned. Some really struggle to survive, and it soon becomes pretty clear why some 90% fail. So it is important to be in a startup that offers you a lot of opportunities, with a product or service that you believe in and which generates commitment from you and your peers.
Some startups offer good opportunities for digital nomads, with the chance to work remotely in development teams, content production, reviewing texts and myriad other openings.
As previously mentioned, it is not mandatory to work remotely on a beach or in cafés to embrace this lifestyle. Coworking places such as incubators often offer amazing opportunities for contact with people from many different areas of expertise that may prove to be valuable connections for future projects.
Some phases of a project call for direct contact between the people involved, and coworking spaces offer good solutions with a broad range of prices; some also extend options for hosting meetings and events, without demanding a fixed period of stay.
New tech is coming out every day with useful solutions for digital nomads that make it easy to embrace this way of living:
Communications — Being in contact with other people is radically simplified by platforms such as Google Meet for high-quality video meetings and Slack to manage regular interactions between the various employees of a company.
Accommodation — There are many options available to rent accommodation in the place where you want to stay. Airbnb, for example, offers amazing solutions with discounts on monthly stays and is a great platform for the first couple of days when you arrive in a new location. You can rent a bedroom with beach view in Thailand for about €400 — which really is just about all you could ask for!
Mobility — Airlines are cutting their prices every day to match the competition, making it easier to travel cheaply. Local mobility is also being greatly improved by solutions such as Uber and bike-sharing systems if you prefer a bigger city.
Banking solutions — Recently, well-known companies such as Revolut and N26 have started offering practical solutions for people who travel regularly. Insurance and free ATM cash withdrawals are some of their most valued features.
There are some drawbacks associated with this way of living, especially where uncertainty and instability are concerned.
A fixed job allows you to be in touch with people from different backgrounds. If you work by yourself there will be people with whom you establish contact that you will never really get to know personally. It is also not the best solution for settling down, since you are far from friends and family.
Some of the places you get to know will certainly not be quite as you expected, and three or four months are also hardly enough to get used to somewhere new — which is something that might affect your job performance.
Most important of all, keep in mind that some people are not made for this lifestyle at all. It may be a bed of roses if you have the right mindset and fit the profile, but it can be awful, especially if you quit your job and then find out that you do not like working abroad or you miss home terribly.
So far as these kinds of experiences go there is nothing as effective as trying it out to find out if you are suited to it or not. Of course, it depends on what stage in life you are at; after all, it is easier to do this after your first job or right after you finish college, rather than when you are older, although with the right motivation and enough determination nothing can stop you from trying.