Becoming A Digital Nomad – Episode 1
Becoming A Digital Nomad Ep1
Welcome to the first in the series of videos dedicated to the Digital Nomad Lifestyle.
I am putting this video series together in an effort to help people, just like you, become Digital Nomads themselves. In future videos, we are going to be having a look at
* How to prepare yourself for this journey
* Who is best suited to becoming a Digital Nomad
* What steps are involved along the way
* Resources & equipment needed
* Challenges that you are likely to face and how you can potentially overcome them
* Digital Nomads hacks, hints, tips, shortcuts designed to save you both time and money.
All things that I have learned at great costs to myself.
Each video is going to run for around the ten-minute mark so they do not take up too much of your valuable time. You can grab a cup of your favourite beverage and make yourself comfortable while you watch.
Being a Digital Nomad gives me a great degree of freedom, a great degree of flexibility and it gives me a lifestyle that many people would give their right arm for. As an example, earlier this year (in January, 2016 to be precise), I had my sixtieth birthday.
Now that is quite a milestone in anybody’s life, I am sure you will agree. For milestones, what do you do? Well you want to do something special, you want to do something memorable and enjoyable.
My wife and I did all of those things because we spent my sixtieth birthday weekend in Vienna, Austria. We ate beautiful food, we drank delicious wine, we explored historic buildings and Architecture and we soaked up the culture.
But the highlight of the weekend for me was taking our first dance lesson, a Waltz lesson in the home of the Waltz – in Vienna, Austria. Now that is an experience! That is a memory! That is the sort of thing that the freedom of being a Digital Nomad brings you.
It does not bring you all of that without some effort. As we go through these series of videos you will start to understand the sort of effort that is required to enjoy this lifestyle but make no mistake, I and others like me are living proof that it is possible. If I can do it as a sixty-year old I am sure you, watching this, can do it also!
What exactly is a Digital Nomad? The term “Nomad” has been around for quite a long time and we all have an understanding of what that means. Probably one of the first terms that come to mind in relation to that word “Nomad” is the Grey Nomad – the army of retirees and semi retirees that travel around their home country’s towns, cities and have a caravan on the back of their car or travel around in a motor home and they spend a day here or a week there or a couple of months here.
They have a fairly free-wheeling lifestyle. At the other end of the age spectrum, we have the back-packers. Those intrepid young people who pack all of their essential, worldly, belongings into a backpack and go off to explore and experience the world.
Then there are those fortunate few who, by chance or by design, have a particular career or skill set that allows them mobility to go & live just about anywhere on the planet. People that have skills that are eminently transferable. People such as teachers, nurses and doctors. People in the building industry, plumbers, electricians and carpenters. These people, not withstanding language barriers, can go just about anywhere they choose because their skills are in demand in most countries of the world.
But here is the thing, all of those Nomads have one thing in common. They are limited by a particular time frame or skill set. Back packers for example, might not have a skill set that allows them to get work in their chosen profession anywhere they go.
But they will get work as things like fruit-pickers or part-time cleaners, menial tasks. People with teaching, nursing and building qualifications have to go where the work is. They are limited by the jobs that would fuel and fund their travel lifestyle – their free-wheeling lifestyle.
Digital Nomads take this travel lifestyle and ramp it up, they take it to another level. Because a Digital Nomad is neither restricted by a particular skill set nor they are restricted by Geography or locked into a particular time frame.
The only thing that Digital Nomads truly require is a reliable and viable fast Internet connection. Everything else is optional. That gives them a tremendous amount of freedom. Digital Nomads are self-reliant. They are not reliant on an employer, on a job or necessarily on a particular skill set. That gives them a tremendous amount of freedom and flexibility.
So, why now? Why is it that so many people seem to be considering this Digital Nomad lifestyle at this particular point in time? Because it is a fairly recent phenomenon.
Certainly, within the last three to five years the Digital Nomad lifestyle has become more and more prevalent. As more and more people elect to take it up. Why now? Well it is probably due to three main things.
1) Internet. The Internet has matured incredibly over the last decade. There are now very few places on the planet that do not have reliable, fast Internet connections. And that is a prerequisite for a Digital Nomad.
2) Communications Technologies; voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) & mobile phones have changed the way we communicate. The cost to talk to people across the other side of the planet is minimal comparison to what it was five years ago.
Every one of us, I am sure, has used Skype or other voice over Internet protocols. These applications (or Apps as they are more commonly known) are either free or, if you want to pay for a little more quality, are only cents in a dollar.
3) Hardware that harnesses all of these – tablet & laptop computers, smart phones these technologies are becoming cheaper, faster, more reliable and easier to use almost by the day.
The combination of these three elements, the fast Internet, the communications technologies and hardware technologies have come together to create almost the perfect storm. So that we now have a situation where to live and work anywhere on the globe is more than feasible and certainly not expensive.
And then of course there is the realization among more and more people that life should be about a lot more than just paying bills. And is it not true? Life should be about a lot more than just paying bills – but so many people are trapped in that treadmill!
They are living to work rather than working to live. And here lies the greatest appeal of the Digital Nomad lifestyle – the freedom, the flexibility, the control you have over your life is unparalleled and probably unprecedented in modern times.
Yes, we are all familiar with the situation you can find yourself in where you have to do a particular job for a particular period of time because, quite simply, you have just got to be able to put a roof over your head and food on the table.
We have all painted ourselves into economic corners where we have to do jobs that we have disliked intensely. But here is the thing, you are not trapped in those jobs forever! You do not have to stay there. You can work your way out of those situations.
I know, I have been there. You have probably been there too, who knows? Maybe you are still there right now! If you are, what I am about to say might be an uncomfortable truth for you…..
Here is the thing, any of us can find ourselves in circumstances that are beyond our control or have been beyond our control – where we have to do things that we do not like. We have to do a job that we dislike because we just have to get money in.
But that should only ever be a short-term situation. If you find yourself in that sort of situation for any longer than six months, then it is no longer circumstances that are calling the shots, it is you. Because you have taken the decision to stay there, to remain in that situation.
It does not matter what excuses you have in your head. That is all they are, excuses. Because if you start planning to make changes to your life, to free you from those shackles, and then you act on those plans, you will be successful in getting yourself out of that situation!
That is what the Digital Nomad lifestyle provides you with – an opportunity to do; to break the shackles, to break free. I have been a Digital Nomad for a little over a year. In the next video, I will explain a little bit more about what that journey looked like.
In the last ten months my wife and I have been based in Germany, just outside of Frankfurt. In those ten months, we have visited many German cities. Frankfurt, obviously, being very close to us, Heidelberg, Hannover, Salzsburg to name but a few.
We have also visited several countries and in a little under ten months, we have been to Switzerland, we’ve been to Luxemburg, we’ve been to France, we’ve been to Monaco, we’ve been to Italy and we’ve been to Austria (Vienna for my 60th birthday – remember?). That’s not bad, not bad at all!
I am not saying this to brag, although it does feel good to say it. I am saying it to show you that the Digital Nomad lifestyle is real and it does deliver on freedom. It does deliver on flexibility. It does gives you more control in your life.
It gives you more control of your life than you are ever likely to get anywhere else. And for as long as you are going to live in society – a society that is driven by laws, which are in turn created through the political machinery of wherever it is you are living. Then you are always going to have things that are not in your control which impact on your life.
Always! There is no getting away from that. In society, there is no such thing as total freedom. Not when we want to be considerate to others, and we need to be. But as far as it goes, the Digital Nomad lifestyle, gives you more control and more freedom than just about anything else.
I am going to leave you with that thought and in our next video, we are going to start to explore just who is best suited to becoming a Digital Nomad.
Thanks for watching (& reading), I will catch you in the next one!