Why This Freelancer Doesn't Want to Be a Digital Nomad

According to many, I’m living the dream. I don’t go to a traditional 9–5 job. Instead, I sit at home and work from a computer. I write for many websites, including The Fortunate Investor. I also run my own website, Money Manifesto. Between these tasks, I earn enough money to work from home without working at a traditional job.

My wife, on the other hand, does work full time as a registered nurse (RN). Our combined earnings give us great freedom to make choices that work best for our family. For instance, I am able to stay home during the day and watch our son. Even though I don’t work during the day, I still work. Instead, I work in the evenings and when my wife is off work.

Our Work Offers Flexibility

I can work ahead when I need to so I don’t have to work when we travel to visit family or go on vacation. Additionally, my wife can arrange her schedule so she can take eight days off without taking a single day of PTO. Heck, if we wanted to, my wife could become a highly paid contract travel nurse. We could roam the country. If my business takes off, we could even have my wife quit her job. Technically, I would be able to work from anywhere with an internet connection.

Digital Nomad

In theory, I could be a digital nomad with a travel nurse wife right now. One day I could be a complete digital nomad after I devote more time to my business down the road. My family could travel the country or the globe and I could earn enough money to support us as we travel as long as I have access to an internet connection.

To many, being a digital nomad sounds like a dream come true. Many bloggers sell it as the ultimate goal of starting your own blog. Eventually, you could be just like these people, earning a ton of money from a laptop with no cares of where you’ll end up next. It’s all an adventure!

You may even think it is my dream. After all, I’ve worked so hard to have the option to work from anywhere that has an internet connection. It isn’t. I never want to be a true digital nomad. Here’s why.

I Grew Up Moving Often

I grew up as a military brat. Every two to four years, we would have to move when my dad got new orders. While growing up a military brat definitely had perks, it wasn’t all amazing.

Each time we moved, I’d have to leave the friends I had made over the previous few years. I’d have to start all over in a new place. I learned a lot from those experiences. I found ways to make friends quickly and learned how to figure out who to avoid along with many other lessons.

Family Stability

Even with the lessons I learned, I always wondered what it would have been like to grow up in the same town for my whole childhood. I’ll never know. However, I now have the opportunity to live in one place for more than just two to four years.

If we want, we can stay where we live now for the rest of our lives assuming everything else works out. Will we? I don’t know. But after moving every two to four years for the first few decades of my life, I’m ready to settle down and see what that has to offer.

Don’t get me wrong, we still want to travel and see the country and the world. We just don’t want to make travelling our lives.

I Want My Son to Have a Stable Environment Growing Up

stable family environment

As I previously mentioned, I didn’t get to grow up in just one area. I think it’ll be great to stay in one place and allow our son to grow up with some stability. If we stay put until he graduates high school, he’ll only have to attend two different school assuming school districts don’t change.

There is a high likelihood that many of the people our son meets will continue going to school with him throughout his education. Yes, other people may come and go, but there will be a sense of stability I didn’t have when I was growing up.

I Wouldn’t Enjoy Travel as Much if I Had to Work Every Day I Traveled

While some people don’t mind working while they travel, I wouldn’t fall in that camp. I can’t imagine being able to relax and actually enjoy myself when I know work needs to be done. While travelling to some amazing place, my mind might be stuck on what topic to write about next for one of my clients rather than focusing on the amazing sight right in front of me.

Work Life Balance

Some people take whole work days during their extended travel. I think this would be a better option, but I would still feel like I would be missing out. I wouldn’t get to tag along when my wife and son head off to explore some new area of our current location.

What I love about vacation is the ability to disconnect. If I have to work while I’m travelling, the ability to disconnect simply cannot be accomplished. My relaxing vacations would turn into just another week at the office.

I’m a Homebody

While most people try to find a way to get out of the house as much as possible, I actually like staying at home. Since I now work at home, I have been itching to go out and about a bit more than in the past. That said, I still like being at home more than the average person.

If I was travelling the world as a digital nomad, I wouldn’t have a home base. I’d feel out of place. I wouldn’t have a place to go recharge when I need a few minutes to myself. Even if I was travelling in a tiny house or RV rather than renting places through Airbnb, I doubt I’d want to lock myself up in such a tiny space for an extended period of time.

Even on Vacation, I Eventually Want to Go Home

My family vacations usually follow a fairly predictable series of emotions. When we’re getting ready for and first head out on vacation, I’m super excited to take some time off. A couple days later, the excitement of vacation wears off and I’m finally able to kick back and fully relax. However, after about a week, I’m usually ready to get back home.

I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed again or get back to our awesome shower. When we cruise, I’m always ready to get back to a full sized house rather than a cramped 200 square foot stateroom. I imagine being a digital nomad would eventually end up with me longing to head for home just like I do on vacation. The excitement time period may last a couple months, but in the end, I’d still want to return home.

Having Family Nearby Is Nice

Another benefit to sticking in one place is the ability to have family nearby. My wife and I made a conscious decision to try to always live near at least one set of our parents. After all, it’d be nice in case we need help while raising our son. While we’d love to live near both sets of our parents, unfortunately it isn’t possible. They live a whole day’s drive away from each other.

It’ll be nice to be able to call up the grandparents when we’re in a bind and need someone to watch our son for a couple hours. We don’t plan to do it on a regular basis, but you never know what will happen.

Being Near Family

family nearby

Living near family also allows us to keep in touch on a more regular basis. We usually try to meet up at least once a week so our son can visit. That way we can keep up to date on everything that is going on easier. We try to visit with our out of state family on a regular basis as well. Sadly, you can’t make weekly trips when they live a full day’s drive away.

If we were travelling the country or world, we’d have to rely on Skype or other video chat methods to keep in touch. I’ve lived far away from family a few different times. Despite the best intentions of staying in touch on a regular basis with video chat, it rarely happens. We could fly or drive home for the holidays, but that may not be reasonable depending on where we would be at in our travels.

Instead, we like sticking at home near family. It gives a bit of comfort knowing people you can rely on are just a quick drive away.

Our Plan

Instead of traveling the world with a laptop searching for internet connections, we’ll stick with keeping our home base. I’ll work from home, as was our plan, and work ahead to be able to travel when we want to. Yes, we’ll still explore the country and the world, it’ll just be a week or two at a time instead of a full time endeavor.