3 Skills To Learn As A New Digital Nomad
We think about the life of our dreams, we tend to highlight the positives and neglect the negatives.
This is certainly true for me. For years I worked a nine to five job and started traveling. I had goals of traveling the world while earning money. The anticipation of the moment is much like a kid waiting for Christmas only to be disappointed with his gifts. Thanks to COVID, I have started my digital nomad journey earlier than expected. These lessons I learned only can be learned through experience. Had I been aware of these lessons before, it still would have not stopped me from pursuing what I call a Freedom Lifestyle or known to others as a digital nomad lifestyle. Nothing is perfect and everything has a price.
1. Dealing With Isolation
As an introvert, I get great pleasure in spending a lot of time by myself. It’s not because I dislike people but I being inside of my own mind allows me to recharge, get creative, and come up with solutions. I can’t do this with people around. I prefer to put my best foot forward socially and give all my mental energy to whomever I am spending time with. I have noticed that spending time on the road in different cities and countries all through the year makes it challenging to build real friendships and relationships. In order to make friendships and relationships work, you have to be present. You also need time to nourish them and let them grow organically. Sometimes I don’t spend enough time in a location for all of these things to happen. Sometimes people treat you differently when they know your stay in their location is temporary. Even as an introvert, this can be an extremely lonely feeling. We need human connection. This can feel a bit like solitary confinement in prison. You have to put a lot of effort into meeting people and keeping in touch with them otherwise you will start to slowly isolate yourself from the world. Sometimes technology can be our best friend. Find a community and like-minded people who can understand your struggles that you will or have gone through living a digital nomad lifestyle. Most average people won’t understand and probably don’t care because they think you have nothing to complain about because you get to travel all over the world. This may be true as we are incredibly blessed to have and create an opportunity like the ones we have but that doesn’t mean we should be alone.
2. Community Building
What most of us digital nomads call “the rat race”, the hustle and bustle lifestyle of the average person, friendships generally require work. You have to maintain them, you have to be present, and you have to work to find people of like minds. Now just imagine how challenging this is living in different places and locations every two to three months at a time or however long the country your in allows you to stay. It’s one thing to belong to a nomad community but it’s another to meet and build friendships with people in the current location inside the local community. The biggest challenge you will find yourself overcoming is typically the language barrier when you are in another country. Be thankful for the nomad community but you will find yourself wanting to explore and trying to just live like a local. Prepare to learn the local language and customs really fast. If your goal is to live like a local, you are going to have to adapt really fast. Before you go to each country, make it a point to learn the most commonly used phrases in the local language. Knowing some of the basics will help you better connect with locals. I always use a program called Fluent in 3 Months. It helps to speed up the process of learning a new language.
3. Continue To Build Skills
What this COVID era has taught me is to get the skills to pay the bills. There isn’t a particular way to be a digital nomad. It all depends on what your values are and what kind of lifestyle you are looking for. I value freedom, freedom from many things. I value my freedom in life and I get it from traveling. I value freedom in my career and finances. I get my freedom in my career by working for myself and having skills that allow me to live a particular lifestyle. Some digital nomads value the remote aspect. Sometimes that means working for someone else and that can come with restrictions. I am not suggesting you get and continue to build skills because its what I value. I am suggesting it because being in another country when your main source of income goes kaboom can be a scary experience. Ask any travel influencer who relied on sponsorships or similar sources of income when it was taken away due to COVID. Similar to a rug being pulled from under you. If and when that happens, you want to land on your feet. The beauty of having valuable skills that clients or businesses pay you for is you will always know how to make money. Living a digital nomad lifestyle is not for the faint of heart due to the unpredictable nature of the lifestyle. This includes the remote job market and that's why having skills to pay the bills in a lifestyle of controlled chaos is a major skill.
Two other skills I didn’t discuss are how to adjust your dating expectations and understanding financial literacy as a digital nomad.
Perhaps a part two is in the works.