The Pitfalls of Being a Digital Nomad
For all of the fantastic information about out there about how to become a digital nomad and live a life of freedom and independence—there’s rarely any content about the downfalls.
Sometimes the information is pushed by guys trying to make money directly off a product, or simply because they’re in the honeymoon phase of their journey. That’s not to say that living this life isn’t amazing, but I do think it’s important to put unbiased information out there for those of you who want to make the leap. It’s important to note the potential pitfalls of life abroad.
Here are the potential downsides of living the life of a digital nomad.
You Have No Home
Changing apartments every month (hell, I know some guys who do it nearly every week) gets exhausting. No place feels like home. This is especially true if you’re staying in the same city every month.
It’s a little different when you’re moving to a new country or city, because the excitement of exploring a new place makes it worth it. Regardless, having no place to truly call your own home, where you can truly settle in, can be disheartening. It’s especially true when you factor in whatever you are trying to accomplish in life—such as building a business.
Tip: Make sure you get home to see your family (provided you like them and they don’t try to bring you down with blue pill garbage). Spend a month or so to recharge your batteries before hitting the road again.
Something else that I’m considering doing is picking a city I really like, actually signing a lease—and still spending several months a year on the road. The cost saved on a yearly lease versus a monthly rental will outweigh the costs, even if I don’t live in that apartment for 3-4 months a year.
The Language Issue
Don’t get me wrong—I’m a big proponent of learning some of the local language before you head to a new country. But months and months of not being around many native English speakers can wear you down. It’s the constant struggle of trying to communicate basic things on a day-to-day basis.
Add in a few dates with girls who speak poor English (though they can be fun, and are still infinitely better than American women), and you could see why this can be a downfall.
Tip: Network and make friends with your fellow Westerners. Just screen them properly—you don’t want to escape the Western world only to find more of the poison. But try to go to a expat meeting and screen the people out. You might meet some great people who have been living abroad for years and can be a lot of fun to hang out with.
Electronics Are EXPENSIVE
My laptop died on me a few weeks ago. I thought I was going to have to buy a new one, with the typical 30% markup on electronics in Ukraine. Yikes.
I lucked out and managed to have it fixed for a modest $50, but I was still without my laptop for a week (more on service later). Kind of a problem for a digital nomad.
Simply put, anything you need to buy overseas from an electronic sense is going to burn you. This is made up by an overall cheaper cost of living, but you also have to factor in that most aspiring nomads are not making a full-time American salary (that allows you to manage large expenses like electronics).
Tip: The solution is to network with people around the globe. As soon as my laptop died, I contacted my good friend from the RVF forum (who was coming in two weeks). He agreed to bring a laptop should I need it. It’s those kind of connections around the world that can make your life much easier.
The Service Can Leave A Lot To Be Desired
It’s just part of living abroad. Sometimes, the service can be really bad in places. Take my computer problem for example. I was told I’d get a call back in two days. Nothing. Then they told me another day. Nothing. I call again on the fifth day.
“Uhh, we are working on your computer starting in one hour…we did not pay our internet bill, so we could not work on your computer.”
Yes, a computer shop that didn’t pay it’s internet bill!
Restaurants are generally much slower—sometimes they’ll forget an entire dish, bring main deals and then appetizers 45 minutes later, or just flat-out forget about you. Simply things that you wouldn’t see in a place with an emphasis on Western customer service.
Again, it’s just part of the tradeoff for a much better life overall, but these kind of situations can frustrate someone who is not used to it (or isn’t expecting it).
Tip: Not much you can do, really! The more time you spend on the road, the more you’ll likely grow to enjoy the slower pace of the service. Rather than a restaurant in America that has a 45-minute table turnover, you’ll like getting to take your time and truly enjoy your dining experience.
Life abroad as a digital nomad is still infinitely better than being stuck in the jail cell, corporate life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. With that being said, there are definitely pitfalls about the life—but you learn to take the good with the bad. There are always way to counter these, as I’ve illustrated above.
I’d continue to encourage men to try to break free and travel the world, but take both the good and the bad into account when you make such a huge choice like this.