We have called ourselves ‘Digital Nomads’ for around half a year now, and we have increasingly become aware that some people just don’t understand what we are doing exactly. And sometimes, people just have the wrong idea about what a digital nomad is. And granted, it’s kind of a difficult concept to grasp at times.
We’re also starting to see that the term ‘Digital Nomad’ somewhat negatively because of some assumptions that people make after they heard some stories. It’s even got so bad that Andrea doesn’t want to be called ‘ Digital Nomad’ anymore, but now prefers the term “Location Independent professional”. Therefore, I thought that I should clarify a few of these assumptions and prejudices because I personally don’t think being a digital nomad is a bad thing at all.
In this blog post you will find some of these ‘myths’ debunked:
Myth #1: We are on a very long vacation
I understand that some people might think that we are on a long vacation, as we did tell people that we would be in Asia for about 9 months. But, traveling & working as opposed to traveling and, for example, backpacking, is VERY different. During the week we are working (sometimes long hours) in cafe’s or at home, and we have to motivate ourselves to actually work, and prospect and chase clients for payments. We are constantly in desperate need of good Wifi, and sometimes we risk job opportunities because we can’t find good wifi anywhere, or we are stuck in a busy cafe where it is impossible to have a call.
So no, we are not on a year-long vacation. We are remote workers and we have to work sometimes long hours while traveling, which by itself can be pretty exhausting also. Though, we get to choose our own working hours and see exotic places that some people haven’t even dreamed of.
Myth #2: We are taking a big risk with this lifestyle
It might sound like a huge risk to take: Quitting a stable job and income, leaving your home and traveling the world while trying to make a living online and building up your own business. But if you think about it, is it really that much of a bigger risk than staying where you are? If you have a stable job that’s great; but don’t think that this is any less risky. A company often thinks about their own profit, and they can discard you at any time if they want to. Therefore, the risk is external: you often don’t have any control over this risk. As such, this could be more of a long-term risk that might not be evident in the short term.
Also, if you yearn to travel, isn’t staying at home a bigger risk? What’s more risky than not doing something that you dreamed about and regretting it in the future?
Myth #3: We are constantly broke
While this might be true for some Digital Nomads, the majority of people we met are actually very smart and creative entrepreneurs who have saved up something or built up a business before they embarked on their digital nomad journey. So, they had a plan and thought this true. The same applies to us: We prepared for this leap into being location independent professionals.
So no, we don’t live on 300$ a month and we are also not broke (all the time).
That is not to say that there are not people out there who claim they are ‘digital nomads’ and live on 300$ a year. Honestly, I don’t know any of them and I frankly don’t really want to have anything to do with them.
Myth #4: We always work on the beach
Hell no! Do you think we want all that sand in our laptop? Also, it’s hot on the beach, which actually makes it very hard to concentrate. And when you see all those people sunbathing and chilling in the sea, it’s kind of hard to focus on work. So actually, us location independent professionals prefer pretty and quiet cafes with good A/C and excellent coffee, as well as comfortable seats and working area.
Myth #5: We all sell online courses on ‘how to become a digital nomad in 1 week’
If you search online, there are countless of blog posts and online courses that promise to ‘teach you how to become a digital nomad in a few weeks and earn thousands of dollars within a couple of months’. Logically, these courses are mostly bullshit and cost a ton of money. So no wonder that the term ‘digital nomads’ gets a negative connotation.
Though selling an online course is definitely a great way to make passive income, most of us won’t create such a course on how to earn X amount of money. Mainly, because promising someone that they can earn thousands of dollars in a certain timeframe is quite frankly pretty unrealistic and depends on so many other factors. Of course, we can always give advice to other people who would like to become digital nomads based on our personal experiences, but ultimately, you have to find your own path and success.
I hope this post has somewhat cleared up some of the prejudices about digital nomads that are going around currently. Have you heard any other assumptions recently? What are your thoughts on this topic? We’d love to hear from you, so comment in the comment section below 🙂