Habits I had to get rid of in order to become a digital nomad
Becoming a digital nomad was one of the most assertive decisions of my life so far. Also, it was one of the most predictable ones after I started freelancing from home.
Having no commitment on where I’ll be but being able to do my work either way is a highlight of my own story that I haven’t dreamed before. At the time, I barely knew people doing it and it sounded crazy — now, it’s not only a reality but almost a normal thing.
Four years ago I left the place I called home for 24 years to enjoy the problems and pleasures of being a so called digital nomad. Along with family, friends and personal belongings, I left behind a handful of habits that didn’t fit my new lifefstyle.
Attachments of any sort
I didn’t really understood the feeling-lonely-talk until I started living a location independent lifestyle myself. Don’t get me wrong: at some point we all feel lonely. But being an outsider the whole time is exhausting — and lonely as hell.
It takes some time to stop being attached to things in general. This café you like to work from, that friendly front door neighbor or even the person that gets your order at the bakery. Because, one way or another, your life in this city is temporary.
The same applies for an amazing short-term accommodation, crazy cool surroundings, favorite restaurants and drinks that you can only find in a specific city. Everything is temporary and you gotta deal with that.
Delaying things until tomorrow
When you’re staying in a place for just a few weeks, you make plans. You wanna work from this café. You wanna eat at that restaurant. You’re daydreaming about going for a run on the banks of the Danube River.
Time goes fast.
When you open your eyes, it’s time to leave again. After such a long time as a nomad, I had to learn the hard way that if you wanna do something and you have the time, just do it. Or find time. There will be no tomorrow — for real.
Shitty days, boring jobs, frustrating routine. We’ve all been there. When I got rid of everything I had, it hit me: having all those things was never pleasant. Buying all that was. When I started traveling, swiping my credit card became anything but fulfilling — especially when I switched to hand-luggage-only.
Do I still go out shopping? Of course. But I know what I want to buy, I’m not just browsing for the sake of doing so. Since I became nomadic, money basically goes to food — things you can carry in your belly and not in your luggage. 😛
Procrastinate — constant work in progress
Living in a whole new place gifts some of us with pretty strong FOMO — the fear of missing out. When you work fast, you have more time to enjoy the city. Get to know locals, have fun and live a bit in there like a regular person would.
When you procrastinate, you sit in front of the computer hoping things will get done soon. Every minute you procrastinate cuts off time you could spend enjoying the city you’re living in for a limited amount of time.
For me particularly this topic is a constant work in progress with some days better than others.
Feeling uncomfortable outside of your comfort zone
Comfort zones for digital nomads are pretty scarce. If you live in a place long enough, you create your own bubble where you’re almost comfortable with.
Until the moment the language you don’t speak hits you hard in the face. The bureaucracy you had no clue about stops you from doing things. Or the culture shock makes you wonder what the heck you’re doing with your life.
For some, this is really uncomfortable. For us, it’s just another day.
To become a digital nomad you have to learn how to live holding hands with the uncomfortable. Fall in love with the constant change and not let fear guide you.
The craziest thing about all this is that even when it’s tiring, you’re still in love with being outside of your comfort zone.