Why is the digital nomad lifestyle growing?
On one level, the traditional way of life is no longer appealing, sustainable, or even the only way to live. Thanks to the internet, we now have access to more information and opportunities than ever before. People don’t have to get married, get a job, buy a house, or ‘put down roots’ if they don’t want to, or if they don’t see the benefits in it.
Part of this comes from the reality that more and more people can’t afford that traditional way of life. As just one example, houses are becoming more expensive even as people don’t have the down payments necessary to buy them. Life becomes about more than having things, but in sharing experiences and having the flexibility to do what you like.
More people look at ownership of things as optional. Why buy a car when you can take an Uber? Why buy a house when you can get an Airbnb? I need not own something to enjoy something.
On another level, the digital nomad lifestyle is increasingly sustainable, supportive, and accepted. We’re well past the ‘early adopter’ stage and well into the ‘mainstream’ mindset now, and people have been digital nomads for well over a decade now.
To be sure, plenty of people still get married, get a job, and buy a house — they just may not be doing all three of those in the same city, or even the same country!
Why should I become a digital nomad?
There are plenty of reasons, but these are some of the most common ones include:
- You want to travel more, or see more of the world
- You want to live life your way, on your terms
- You want to feel free from cultural or social traditions
- You’re ready to try a different pace or pattern of life
- You want more control over your life
This lifestyle isn’t for everyone, and that’s OK. Some folks have a pretty good life, and they don’t want the status quo to change. This lifestyle may not tempt you, or may look like too much work to get started.
Before you click out of the site, though, I have to ask: what are you looking for out of life? Is where you are and what you’re doing really that awesome? Is the status quo really working for you? I’m not here to preach a sermon to you, and there’s no ‘red pill / blue pill’ scene that’s about to happen.
If you’re curious but uncertain, I’d invite you to give the digital nomad lifestyle a test run. Don’t sell your car, your house, or give anything away yet. There’s an entire chapter in the book (the ‘Nomadus Interruptus’ chapter) that focuses on trying out this new lifestyle / mindset before making the leap.
Some people jump into the nomadic lifestyle with both feet. Sometimes it works for them, but it doesn’t work for everyone. After all, what would happen if you quit your job, sold your car, and bought a one-way ticket to Thailand… and then realized you actually hated the lifestyle?
The bad news: It can happen.
The good news: Getting yourself in that situation is a completely avoidable issue.
The digital nomad lifestyle does not require a full-time commitment. Be a part-time digital nomad six months out of the year, or during the coldest / hottest months of the year, or during your kid’s school break. It’s entirely up to you.
Why do people stop being digital nomads?
Just like the reasons people start being a digital nomad, there are many reasons why people stop being a digital nomad:
- You miss your friends and family
- You’re ready to start a new chapter in life
- You find you prefer a more traditional lifestyle
- You want to take a more traditional job
- You discover a place you want to live / stay for a long time
Very few people remain digital nomads for their entire lives, and virtually every digital nomad will return to their home country after a time. Step 8 in the book focuses on seeing your home country through the lens of the digital nomad lifestyle and the experiences you’ve had, helping you deal with ‘reverse culture shock’, and re-acclimating to a new, post-digital-nomad life.
The circumstances of returning where you came from can be anywhere from a glorious return involving plenty of pomp and circumstance to a reluctant trip home out of necessity: a loved one is getting married, having a child, has passed away, has some sort of medical emergency, or the like. Maybe you enjoyed your time as a digital nomad, but are now ready to settle in, buy a house, or otherwise return to a more traditional lifestyle. Whatever the circumstances, a decision has been made, and the journey is changing.
Step 8: What’s Next? goes into our personal story and how to transition to the next chapter in your life. It doesn’t have to be back to your home city, or even your home country…
This is just getting good.
Hey, I’m Chris. That’s my book to the right, Becoming a Digital Nomad. It’s a step-by-step guide that helps you test and transition into the digital nomad lifestyle. It comes with access to 12 worksheets and access to a Facebook group to connect with other digital nomads.