Digital Nomad Vs. Digital Expat: When Constant Travel Starts to Lose the Luster
[This is a guest post by Jake from Nomadic Hustle.]
Yes, I get it. You harvest the best damn coffee in the world. Right here. In this bullshit finca you designed to sell $25 USD tours to unsuspecting tourists looking for an “authentic” travel experience and “real” coffee.
I heard the exact same spiel two months ago while I was in a different country. Same thing a few years back in a different region.
I was onto their play. Charge tourists $25 bucks for one damn cup of coffee and take then on an hour walk around the coffee farm with an English-speaking guide. Profitable, but not exactly exhilarating for tourists after the first time you’ve been on a tour.
But this chode had convinced me this time would be different. It’s the best in Colombia, mate. Trust me. You’ll love it.
And then after about 15 minutes into this boring coffee tour, I realized this dipshit was a garden-variety digital nomad.
New cities every week or two. New countries every month or two. Never setting up a homebase. Never building roots. No language learning. Little in-depth interactions with the locals except for an occasional Tinder date.
When Constant Travel Starts to Lose It’s Luster
The “digital nomad” lifestyle is cool. Until it’s not.
New cities every week or month. Visiting country after country and barely getting to know the place. Chilling with backpackers and flashpackers galore – while mindlessly roaming around and making minor steps towards building a business.
It’s all fun and games. Literally.
Until the appeal begins to wear off.
You start to miss some creature comforts. The Wifi goes out in your Airbnb apartment for the fourth time in a week.
Or the air conditioner isn’t functioning, it’s hotter than hades outside, and the technician won’t be able to come fix it for 48 hours. I’m looking at you, Cartagena!
Alas, Latin American isn’t known for its service industries – and there’s a reason for that.
The point is? Constant travel starts to wear on you, especially when you have other goals – mainly growing a business, building real relationships, and staying in semi-decent shape.
I used to love the travel grind. The digital nomad lifestyle. Moving around every couple of weeks or months. Now, I can’t be arsed to stay less than three months in most cities.
Constant travel has lost its luster. Why? Because there’s a better solution.
What is a Digital Nomad?
Let’s discuss what is a digital nomad and why they blow. Well, not all of em’ – but a decent chunk.
You already know what a digital nomad is.
They’re basically a group of people who can work remotely. These individuals are location independent. They can work online with only a WiFi connection. As long as they have WiFi, they can make money and sustain a modern lifestyle with a nomadic twist.
In theory, it’s pretty dope. In practice…
Digital nomads tend to have a lot of issues. The premise that you work online and live cheap in third-world countries attracts low-lifes and slackers. I was once one of them.
You see dudes making $1,200 USD a month rocking cargo shorts and flip-flops all around the world while spending all their money on cheap wine, Tinderellas, and knock-off Plan B.
Wait, that might have just been me, again.
Overall, most associate the digital nomad lifestyle with:
- Living cheaply
- Constant travel and movement
- Backpacking and hostels
- Southeast Asia
- Barely scraping by
- Drinking, drugs, and the like
Again, in theory, being a digital nomad sounds lovely. Well, at least alright. Traveling around on the cheap, making money from a computer, and partying all the time. In practice, it’s just not.
You’ll find yourself around people you simply can’t relate to. Low lifes galore and hustlers who will swindle you for an $0.80 beer.
Plus, moving around all the time ends up costing one major thing…
The hours spent on a plane or bus, the Uber trips, packing, unpacking, booking Airbnbs, accommodation issues, and so much more add up.
Plus, who wants to work their first couple days in a new city? No one!
What is a Digital Expat?
On the other hand, a digital expat builds some roots.
Instead of a new city every week or three, these type of folks sign leases, build connections, and have a home base. We’re talking 3-6 months in a single city. Sometimes a few years.
You build a routine. You make more money. You don’t have to deal with the hassles of consistent travel each and every week.
It’s like being a digital nomad – except it’s pleasant. Like, you can live an enjoyable life in a foreign country for half the cost back home.
You find the perfect apartment with fast Internet. Or a coworking space. Maybe a cafe.
You meet a nice girl – or three. You stop drinking every other night. The juice bar down the street knows you need a beet, kale, and carrot juice around 4:30 every afternoon.
Overall, you develop a routine that helps you achieve your goals – all while living abroad in the country of your choosing.
Digital Nomad vs. Digital Expat
Now, there’s no real competition here.
While I could find merits of living like a digital nomad, i can’t be arsed to. I’ve done it. It’s not for me.
If you give a damn about health, wealth, and building real connections with other people – well, you probably won’t be too interested, either.
If you’re getting into the online game and starting to move around while making bread on the interwebs, I can’t recommend settling down after a month or two on the road.
Kyle’s done just that.
I recently decided to do the same.
No more moving around to a new city every couple weeks or months. Basing up in a city 3-6+ months minimum.
Sure, I can take side trips here and there. But mainly, I’ll be growing roots and building businesses.
Fulfilling shit and all that good stuff.
P.S: If you dig this post, check out my blog – Nomadic Hustle. As I’m addicted to the game, I publish more than most.