digital nomad in a pool

Being a digital nomad is about far more than sipping coconuts in Bali.

Ok. We love coconuts! 🥥

But anyone who pretends they work on a beach, or get six figures of passive income without having invested a huge amount of time, is lying to you.

There’s nothing fun about trying to read a MacBook screen in bright sunlight, while it roasts away in your lap in 35 degree heat – and you’re wondering if it will end up stolen, or covered in sand and suntan lotion.

Actually, Insta-posing for pool + laptop photos has become an in-joke among digital nomads (^ like my friend James!) – because we know it’s a silly idea! 🤪

Truthfully, nomads prefer to work in air-conditioned offices NEAR the beach!

influencers who pretend that being a digital nomad’s easy or perfect aren’t helping anyone.

I’ve got zero time for influencers who pretend that being a nomad’s easy.

  • It’s cruel, unhelpful and dishonest to make other people feel jealous about an exaggerated version of your lifestyle.
  • Anyone exaggerating the nomad lifestyle’s probably missing out on its real benefits – which go hand-in-hand with the tough stuff.

The truth is that being a digital nomad can be stressful and frustrating at times – especially when you’re starting out.

But there are some awesome benefits to building a business that you can run remotely and heading out to explore the big, wide world and its near-infinite opportunities.

Here are five unusual benefits of being a digital nomad!

1. Become a nomad and discover (or make) your identity.

Outside a corporate job, you’re more free to explore your passions, interests and preferred blend of lifestyle, friends and self-expression.

Sounds great?

Yup – but it’s also challenging.

Truthfully, most people are scared of freedom.

Sure, they’ll complain about how their job, financial commitments and lifestyle make them feel trapped and frustrated.

But just try suggesting they build an online business and free themselves. You’ll be amazed by how many creative excuses they discover!

Fear of losing the identity that we know, holds so many of us back from change – Even when we want it.

Subconsciously, a lot of people take comfort in the identities and value-systems that their jobs and communities force on them. And it’s that sense of identity that people are attached to, more than their jobs. Which is pretty limiting.

If you take the plunge, you’ll probably be surprised at some of the values and behaviours that you thought were ‘yours’, but which no longer serve you.

Becoming a digital nomad is an opportunity to reinvent your identity and relationship with the world. Especially if you’re building your own business.

What did I discover when I became a digital nomad?

  • I’m far more talented, capable and multi-skilled than I had realised.
  • I had horrible time-management skills – and an almost-unmatched ability to procrastinate and daydream.

I struggled with freedom.

With no manager or structure, I slipped into several months of wasted time, crap food and terrible sleeping patterns. I lost cash and felt terrible.

I had to create my own structure and started tracking my time, prioritising tasks and running each morning as soon as I wake up.

And I’ve built a creative lifestyle and identity.

2. Digital nomads tend to make great friends.

Nomads usually have grit. And without rules or HR policies, our social skills are the only tools we have to make friends and find business partners.

It takes a certain character to decide to quit a comfortable job, ignore warnings about how uncertain our path is – and then move to a developing nation, with no friends.

So, nomads tend to be rebellious, free-thinking and self-responsible.

And with constantly-evolving social groups, we have a unique exposure to people and cultures from around the world – which demands we evolve our social skills.

Relationships in co-working spaces are voluntary. No-one has to be friends, or to do business with anyone – so positive energy is key!

Nomads usually form social groups in co-working spaces; to hang-out, go on adventures, and help each other with business challenges.

Getting invites is usually as simple as being friendly, helpful, and interested in what other people are doing.

If someone’s rude or difficult, they simply stop getting invited – and quickly become lonely and distanced from opportunities.

So, there’s a strong incentive for nomads to have a positive impact on each other.

Nomads learn how to make friends quickly and find shared values.

In my experience, HR departments in big companies have the total opposite effect – by encouraging people to rely on protocol and rules, rather than feelings and empathy.

Your nomad friends will be with you throughout your entrepreneurial journey, nights out, weekend adventures and heartbreaks.

So don’t be surprised when you build bonds in four months that can take years back home!

3. Nomads enjoy huge lifestyle purchase power.

Nomad earnings are meaningless to someone living in a developed country, because our cost of living is so much lower.

And the double-whammy is we live in a holiday destination and own less stuff.

 

 

‘re typically happy, healthier and own less stuff.

Corporate lifestyles are designed to waste your cash.

Corporate earnings are a big, fat joke.

Property costs in a city like London or New York can wreck a six-figure paycheck – which only lands after it’s chucked through a brutal, hungry tax machine.

Less obvious, are the costs associated with an unfulfilling lifestyle.

Here’s a few comparisons between my corporate and nomad lifestyles.

Corporate Life
3-litre BMW coupe
£35 Italian lunches
£100 luxury restaurant meals
£50 Designer t-shirts
£300 blazers
£500+ suits
30 pairs of sneakers
Multiple £1k-£2k holidays each year

Nomad Life
125CC scooter
£5 Asian cuisine
£15 luxury restaurant meals
Vests and boardshorts
Vests and boardshorts
Vests and boardshorts
3 pairs of sneakers
Umm… we live on Bali?

Every item in the nomad column is more fun!

And this doesn’t include the sheer amount of cash I wasted in my corporate life, because I was so fat, depressed and unhappy.

Every item in the nomad column is more fun!

And the corporate life made me fat, miserable and depressed.

 

 

Currency arbitrage

Buying power

Lack of need for expensive items (sold BMW and love scooter)

Salary is irrelevant, unless you know someone’s responsibilit

Most people earn a high salary in an expensive place; or a low salary in a cheap place.

Digital nomads can get the best of both worlds.

And how much difference is there, really?

Someone’s monthly income is essentially useless information, without knowledge of their outgoings. And property decimates the take-home income for many ‘six-figure’ earners in ciites like London and New York.

 

4. Nomads can teach you skills for becoming more free.

corporate jobs teach you skills to make them more money

fellow nomads teach you skills to make them more free.

 

Start thinking in terms of freedom.

  1. Freedom to create

 

5. Build healthier, le relationships.

My perspective on the impact of location independence on relationships isn’t common (even among nomads ) – but I’m confident it’s correct.

Need is the single greatest source of human unhappiness.

So many relationships are ruined by the NEED for someone to tick boxes; fulfill obligations; commit to pre-conceived (and often socially-dictated) ideas about what a person, friend, or partner SHOULD be.

Life is transient.

People often kid themselves about this hard fact, by building a home, a family and friendships that they expect will last forever.

  • They don’t, because nothing does. And people who NEED permanence, face certain devastation and existential crisis when – inevitably – people leave home, leave the village, die, or change their personality.

Being a digital nomad requires you to let people come into your life – and leave.

My ability to accept people leaving my life, is directly proportional to my ability to welcome new people into my life. They’re the same thing.

By needing anyone to ‘BE’ anything, we restrict their personal development.

 

And the most obvious evidence is the high percentage of people who are too emotionally immature to remain friends with previous partners.

 

If you truly love and value someone, then – unless they’re abusive – you will want what’s best for them. And if that means being with another partner, then you must be capable of respecting that wish and continuing to value them as a friend.

 

 

 

  1. Access to awesome people

 

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👷 Alex is building Fringe, for nomads.
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