Everything you need to know about living a nomadic lifestyle. To those who are interested in or already practicing the nomadic life.
reading time about 15 minutes
Did you know that a lot of nomadic lifers experience loneliness? And did you also know that digital nomads find it hard to get into a serious relationship? If you look through all the “Insta-Happiness” you will notice living a nomadic lifestyle is not suited for everybody. You need to deal with insecurity and you need to be open for personal growth. If you are not comfortable with one of them, probably a nomadic lifestyle is not your obvious choice of how to organise your life.
We wrote this article to open up the box of the nomadic lifestyle. So you can learn, share or reflect on your own lifestyle. And hopefully this information helps you to tweak some loose ends you are struggling with in living the nomadic lifestyle you want.
Yes. We will answer the two questions we started this article with. And we will give you a perception of the nomadic lifestyle paradox. What are the struggles? And what are the perks of living a nomad life?
- Some nomad life statistics to start with…
- Living a Nomadic Lifestyle, why on earth..
- What is a Nomadic Lifestyle?
- Nomad Life Ambitions
- Funding your Nomadic Lifestyle
- Register a Business flexible to your nomadic lifestyle
- Choose your Digital Nomad Job
- Necessary Nomad skills
- Productivity hacks for nomads
- Nomad struggles. No more myths about joy all the time. Time to open up the downside of the nomadic lifestyle box as well
- Digital Nomad Housing – What are the options?
- Digital Nomad Co-Living spaces conditions
- Nomadic Lifestyle Communities – An existential need or a convenient distraction?
- How to find Nomadic love
- What are the perks of being a (Digital) Nomadic Couple
- How to stay in shape while living a Nomadic Lifestyle. A nomad workout is easier than you think.
- I love pets. How do I incorporate furballs in a Nomadic Lifestyle?
- The Nomadic Lifestyle paradox exposed? A personal reflection to a question with many answers.
Some nomad life statistics to start with…
There are approximately 35,000,000 digital nomads out there. If you give them some land they rank in population size #41 in the world. That is impressive right? The majority of nomads preferably stay 3 to 6 months at the same location and loneliness is the number one reason why they stop or quit their nomadic lifestyle.
So if you flirt with a nomadic lifestyle? Stop flirting. Dive in the world of location independent and remote work. Technology is not the problem. The challenge is you. What holds you back? What kind of excuses do you tell yourself that a nomadic lifestyle isn’t made for you?
Let’s start exploring the (digital) nomadic lifestyle.
Living a Nomadic Lifestyle, why on earth..
.. would someone choose this lifestyle?
Obviously there are many different reasons why someone would live a nomadic life. An explanation would be something like: you are curious, seeking freedom, you do like challenges and you are questioning the status quo, disciplined and are open to personal growth.
I didn’t mention travel. Perhaps it feels odd or you disagree, but the reason I chose this is that I believe travel is a possible outcome of curiosity and or seeking for freedom. People who live a nomadic life could be people who love to travel but also people who like the sun or are interested in other cultures. Or like to live a great life in a cheaper place. There are a lot of possible outcomes imaginable.
What is a Nomadic Lifestyle?
People who live a nomadic lifestyle don’t have a permanent place to live. They move along with the necessities they need to survive. In our modern world this means work. 10.000 years ago you needed to hunt for animals and search for nuts and berries. Nowadays homo sapiens swapped the nuts and berries for wifi and co working spaces. Although it needs to be said; here are still nuts and berries. Look into your breakfast bowl…
You need work to earn money. You need to have money for sufficient nutrients and a proper roof above your head. It is that simple. How much you need depends on your wishes and desires. This is one of the most important things you need to figure out.
How much money do you need to live the life you desire? And this is where your challenge starts.
Nomad Life Ambitions
Before you can answer the question: “how much money do I need?” One of the challenges you must face is the question of what you expect from life. What are your ambitions living a nomadic lifestyle? If you draw a painting of your ideal life, what’s in it?
Why is this important to a (digital) nomadic lifestyle?
What you draw will determine your challenges. If your painting is filled with a lot of close friends and family, you need to figure out for yourself how to incorporate the “missing of people” into your nomadic lifestyle. If you want a family of your own, how will you be able to find someone with the same values along your nomadic journey?
This list is different for everybody. But this is a practical exercise to figure out your challenges along the way and gives you meaningful inside information on how to handle the challenges that will become visible in your drawing. Perhaps something pops up you never thought of before.
In the end you need to be honest to yourself and push yourself to deeply understand your expectations of your nomad life. A nomadic lifestyle is not a goal to attain but an outcome of a process of choosing, reflecting and adapting to the circumstances you put yourself in. And every moment you can choose different how hard or impossible it perhaps feels like at that specific moment.
One challenge will be the same for everybody. How much money do I need and how do I earn it to maintain my nomadic lifestyle?
Funding your Nomadic Lifestyle
If you like it or not. Every lifestyle needs a financial plan. As a nomadic lifer you need a lifestyle funding model that serves your wishes and is flexible at the same time. Because oldschool cubicle work is not the idea of your nomadic lifestyle, right?
This is why the question “how much money do you need”, is a very relevant and important question to answer. Your answer defines the framework of your nomadic life funding model.
Choose your Nomad funding model
The whole idea of living a nomadic lifestyle is that you don’t want to live a fixed sedentary lifestyle anymore. Modern technology and a little bit of luck with which passport you have gives you a lot of options to choose from.
The main idea is to earn money in a way you are not obliged or imprisoned to be “stuck” at 1 place the whole year round.
To understand or determine your possible “nomadic lifestyle funding options” you need to know yourself. You need to know in what kind of environment or context your skills are highly likeable performing best.
If you are not a self starter don’t choose a context where you are alone all day and you need to kickstart yourself to be productive every time again. And if you are easily distracted don’t choose your base-to-work-from in a party-like hostel atmosphere. If you cannot handle pressure very well don’t put your money in bitcoin trading.
In short a funding model implies that you find and or create a model for how to earn your money and live a nomadic life.
The holy grail for a digital nomad
Earning your money while exploring the world. This would be the dream of many want-2-be nomad lifers. I talk about passive income. You create something which provides you enough money and simultaneously doesn’t take a lot of effort to maintain. Everybody who read the 4-hour-workweek knows what I am talking about.
They also know it is not that simple…
#Nomad lifestyle funding model TipIf you are born in a western country and you earn dollars, pounds or euros. Try to create a funding model which involves making those currencies and living in less strong ones. It feels perhaps a bit sad as well. But you don’t have to blame yourself for being born in a rich country.
Register a Business flexible to your nomadic lifestyle
To earn your money means you trade your time, skills and risk taking for currency. With this trade off you can live your free nomadic lifestyle. You can choose where you live, work and with your nomadic funding model you collect your money from customers. To collect your money you need a business banking account and an official registered business. And this can be a challenge.
Where and how do you incorporate your nomadic lifestyle business?
Since you don’t live anywhere officially you can choose as well where to incorporate your business and where to pay your taxes as a digital nomad. But you want to have a legitimate business and you want to prevent and stay away from the shadowy veil of tax evasion at all times. Which is not that easy if you don’t know what is legit and what is not.
We did some extended research in 2018 because we needed an official registered business. Because without an official registered business we couldn’t get access to payment processors. And without this we couldn’t collect money from our clients. We found a solution and are happy to share this solution with you.
The solution we found answered 3 requirements that mattered most to us in a positive way: It needed to be Legal, Flexible and Affordable.
Discover our online solution that has enabled us to do business worry-free since 2018. Read all about it in our blog “Get your Digital Company Registration done.”
Choose your Digital Nomad Job
Within every funding model there are different digital nomad jobs to choose from. I would rather talk about remote jobs instead of digital nomad jobs. It is not necessarily a digital job you need to have when you live a nomadic lifestyle. You can be a teacher somewhere for some time and then continue teaching somewhere else. Or you can manage a hostel for 6 months. Perhaps you do some trading or other form of passive income.
You don’t need to be an online marketeer, coach or bitcoin trader. You could. But it is not the only way to provide the fundings for your nomadic lifestyle.
If you don’t know what to do or what options are out there? Don’t worry we wrote a blog as well about what kind of remote jobs you can choose from.
#Choosing a digital nomad job Tip:Focus on your skills and become accustomed and interested in connecting with other people. When you feel comfortable doing some networking a lot of things are possible for you.
Necessary Nomad skills
One of the most asked questions on Reddit, in Facebook groups or other socials is: What skills do I need as a digital nomad? If you google “nomad skills + reddit” the whole first page is filled with links to this topic on r/digitalnomad.
In this paragraph I talk about skills and not jobs. These two terms can be mixed up sometimes. A nomad job would be an online marketeer. The skill necessary for the job would be, for example, excellent copywriting. In short you need skills to do the job.
So what kind of nomad skills are necessary in a nomadic lifestyle? Obviously this is different to everybody. But we try to generalize as nuanced as we can.
#1 Dealing with Stress
If you live a nomadic lifestyle you have for example to deal with uncertainty. You need to be comfortable that you are not always in control. You will face moments of income uncertainty. Clients who don’t pay in time or stop the collaboration without warning you in advance. Sometimes you will experience moments you don’t understand the reasons anymore why you chose a nomadic lifestyle in the first place – F%$#$k it! I will go back to the normal way.
This all is normal and this all will pass by too. It is like the passing clouds in the sky. We experience these uncertainty moments as well. It can be a cause for stress and or discomfort. If you now and then experience stress because of your nomadic lifestyle choice, perhaps our article about coping with stress is something you might be interested in.
Productivity hacks for nomads
For our businesses we use active campaign as our email marketing software. While researching the topics for this article I stumbled upon a very interesting article they wrote about being more productive during your day. They wrote an article about habits highly productive, people use to be… YES…. more productive.
Productivity is important to get things done. It doesn’t matter how big or small the goal is. You need to focus on what you need to do. You can always read about our search and answers to be more productive.
Every nomad needs to manage their productivity somehow. Which can be tricky when you live a nomadic lifestyle.
Many books are written about productivity. Ted Talks are spoken and workshops are given on how to be as productive as possible. If you live a ‘normal’ life, which means if you have a desk and colleagues, it isn’t even easy to handle your productivity (although it is even that important. You will collect your salary despite of unproductivity anyway). So how can you be productive in a nomadic lifestyle with all those distractions?
Some tasks are easy to manage, others are not. Some tasks need serious time, focus and intense devotion to crack the code. You need to be mentally sharp and those tasks are most of the time the most important tasks to complete. When you live like a nomad, those tasks are hard.
What tasks am I talking about? Deep Work tasks. If you manage to master some skills necessary for Deep Work you have a huge advantage over people who lack these skills. If you want to read more about Deep Work check out Cal Newport bestselling book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.
Nomad struggles. No more myths about joy all the time. Time to open up the downside of the nomadic lifestyle box as well
In the land of the perpetual traveler there are many myths and stories suggesting a nomadic lifestyle is struggle free. Every nomad knows it couldn’t be more off the truth.
Living a nomadic lifestyle brings along struggles. Just as every lifestyle does. Living life nomadically puts yourself in a pressure cooker. Everything will blow up fast. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Perhaps one of the biggest struggles is that you have to struggle with your struggles alone. And to struggle alone is not your most favorite activity to do alone. It is difficult to bring positivity, trust, opportunity and sunshine to your struggle as long there is nobody to talk to.
Being alone means you have to deal with a variety of emotions and feelings all by yourself.
You get the idea. Being alone is part of the job. This is a positive thing as much as a negative thing. You must learn to be good alone. To be at peace with yourself. Otherwise living a nomadic lifestyle can knock you off your feet very easily.
If you solve the struggle of being alone you walk life with an everlasting smile. We shared the #1 struggle living a nomadic lifestyle. Curious for more struggles? What about some insight about How to deal with personal struggle.
Digital Nomad Housing – What are the options?
You need to have a solid base to work from and perform well. Every nomad knows this. Yes it is nice to travel. To meet new like minded people. Explore culture and nature. But in the end you need to work and focus too. The choice where to stay put is the key to an everlasting nomadic lifestyle full of joy, results and friends.
So what are the options?
#1 – Rent a place for a short period
Living as a nomad means sometimes a bit of a hassle to organise your next place. Especially if you try to travel as much as you want and work at the same time. For me personally I like to stay put for a while in 1 location. Settle down. Get to know the surroundings and create a nice work/life balance for a short time.
To rent out a place is a very easy way to live for 3/6 months in a place and move forward to your next already booked location.
#2 Try Housesitting
Marleen and I are full time housesitters. We travel from housesit to housesit. For us this is a super solution to live as a local for a while, to cut our expenses and most of the time we have some nice pets to take care of as well.
You don’t need to be a full time housesitter. This way of living you can combine with other models too. You can rent for some months, do a house sit and travel some afterwards. It all depends obviously on your own preferences.
#3 Live and work in Hostels
If you like the buzzling vibe of a hostel and you are skilled enough not to be social all the time and focus on your work too, then living in a hostel is a perfect option as well.
But be careful, the more fun the hostel vibe is the harder it is for you to do the work necessary to provide the funding for your nomadic lifestyle in the first place ;).
#4 Nomad Co-Living spaces
This option is very interesting if you want to focus on meeting other inspirational nomads from a business and personal perspective.
Co-Living spaces provide you with both. You are surrounded primarily with people who are already living a long term nomadic lifestyle. This means people focus on a base to work from and interact with fellow like minded people as well. A big bonus for this option is: You learn a lot of people who use their business/work as an instrument to fund their nomadic lifestyle.
To choose your perfect “nomad co-living spaces fit” you need to know which conditions you need to perform well. Your ideal nomad house needs to support these conditions.
Digital Nomad Co-Living spaces conditions
To make it easy we listed the most important factors to choose from. So you are able to choose your best digital nomad co-living context.
- What kind of nomad are you? More introverted or extraverted?
- Do you need a lot of luxury or do you do fine with basic needs in your nomadic lifestyle
- Do you prefer privacy or don’t you care about your privacy at all?
- What is your budget per month to spend on housing?
- Do you get energy from a lot of social nomad activity or can this as well be an energy lack?
If you know what you need personally to perform well you can have a lot of extra’s to choose from.
- Do you want a shared room or single room?
- Or do you want to be in a ‘hostel’ vibe kind of a nomad co-living space?
- Do you want spa facilities, gym, yoga lessons, veggie food, swimming pool, movieroom, local activities?
Probably this all depends on your budget. There is a lot out there. You can live your nomadic lifestyle in co-living spaces all over the world. Prices vary from 250 usd/mo up untill 3500 usd/mo. It all depends on what you want, need and desire for.
The best thing to consider is to create an environment that gives you enough inspiration, energy and the determination to get the work done. And last but not least surround yourself with people who make you a better version of yourself.
#Important working context pro Tip:Working in different places all the time forces you to make sure you have a proper desk to work at. And you have a good chair for a good working posture while working. One tip we heard over time was to bring a pillow with you. It is a perfect item to use to adjust a good position on a lousy chair ;). It is a cheap investment, not too heavy and you will benefit from it.
Nomadic Lifestyle Communities – An existential need or a convenient distraction?
As a nomadic lifer you live an above average independent life. You face life, live life to the fullest and find solutions for life obstacles on your own. This makes you strong, creative, resilient, adaptive and flexible. But the life of a [digital] nomad can feel lonely as well.
Sometimes you just feel the urge to be connected with another person. To make a deeper connection than the small talks during your travels. In the end those deeper connections help you to define who you are. What you want. And want to contribute and or give back to others on your journey on this beautiful spaceship earth.
Many nomads have many different perspectives on the subject of nomad connectivity. Some people need brief contacts with other like minded digital nomads to get some energy or inspiration. To be charged with energy to thrive further on their own. Other nomads need a deeper connection to feel they are a part of a bigger picture, they feel an existential purpose in connecting with others.
Why join a Nomad Community?
We live a nomadic life as a couple. Which means we are friends, lovers & business partners at the same time. Our need for me time is perhaps the same need as the need of a nomad craving for some together time.
We distinguish 5 different elements why you should actively connect with other like minded nomads.
You work alone. You live alone. If you are able to network in nomad communities you will benefit from it in many ways. In ways you can not think of in advance.
To collaborate with others means as well you get help from others. Being alone facing obstacles sometimes can be a bit too much. To be able to have a community with like minded people. Who now and then face the same life obstacles. It feels like a big support when you need advice or if you need someone listening to your struggles. Or it shows a collaboration with a client which enables you to make money 😉
Everybody needs inspiration to move forward. To focus on what really matters in life. A [digital] nomad community will bring you inspiration in many ways.
You can as well join a nomad community because you want to challenge and grow as a person. And nowadays a lot of likeminded nomads are connecting with eachother for personal growth purposes.
Personal growth happens in the connection you make with others. In that connection lies your growing potential.
Last but not least. Making friends. Friends are like ‘the glue’ for existential purposes. Because with friends you’re not alone. You can as well focus on being comfortable in being alone. Everybody who read some buddhism or did a vipassana course knows real happiness comes from within.
There are many digital nomad communities. Both online, offline and hybrid forms.
How to find Nomadic love
Everybody needs love, right? A true connection between two people who chose each other. That could be one of the higher goals in life..
To live independently as a (digital) nomad is perhaps the best school of life you will ever get. Because life presents itself in many forms and you need to find solutions for challenges that come across all by yourself. But there is a downside to being super independent as well. It is hard to find a person who has the same life values as you do. And perhaps you are not always that open too (because you are used to living alone) for other people to interfere with your views of life….
If you still manage to live a nomadic lifestyle after let’s say 2 or 3 years you do pretty well. And at the same time you discovered being with somebody is quite a puzzle. Because other nomad lifers like their freedom too. So how do you find love living a nomadic lifestyle?
And does it work: a relation between a digital nomad and a ‘permanent settler’? Misschien leuk hier iets over te zeggen?
Nomad Dating Platforms
Probably Tinder or Couchsurfing is kind of boring for you by now. If you are eager to find someone to explore potential love with, there are some platforms for you to check out.
In the end finding love is not a purpose as in ticking off a goal. Love will find you when you are ready for it ;).
What are the perks of being a (Digital) Nomadic Couple
Being a Digital Nomad Couple. How does that work?
Travelling and working from every location you wish or dream for with the most important person in your life. Perhaps this is a wish you cherish or you now or then dream of. We don’t blame you because if it works it is the best life ever. As a digital nomad couple you have the advantage of living a dream and not to be alone at the same time (=super perk).
This lifestyle with a partner also has its challenges. How do you cope with each other if you have a fight and you are 24/7 together, your partner is grumpy and you don’t feel like the patient sweet partner or just want to do something else in life?
Real questions. Normal questions and normal moments every couple has to deal with. But in the pressure cooker of a nomadic lifestyle it is not always easy to break that circle and come back after you met a friend or had a long day of work. And a nice stroll just doesn’t do the trick all the time.
So how do we do it? Read How it is like to be a digital nomad couple and learn 🙂
How to stay in shape while living a Nomadic Lifestyle. A nomad workout is easier than you think.
Stay fit. Live healthy. Living a nomadic lifestyle challenges you to do some proper workout. Especially when you are on the move.
It doesn’t matter whether you like to run, do some squads or yoga. You need your discipline to make it work. We experienced so many times that if you slip one day the next day it is even easier to delay your good intentions. Skip your workout once as a nomad you will skip it twice. Guaranteed.
If you are fit and feel good. You are more creative, more productive and you feel more joy in what you do. This is free dopamine that will serve you personally and businesswise.
To help you with some workout inspiration the two apps listed below are perfect for a nomad. And they are both free of charge. Darebee and TheNomadWorkout. Both apps are easy to use and deliver good fitness programs.
Yoga with Adriene
We like yoga and hiking. If you want to try some guided yoga try YogawithAdriene. How you respond on your mat is a metaphor for how you react in real life. It is true. Try it and observe what happens.
It is also possible to use a platform like Meetup to find people to do some real offline workout with. The advantage is, that if you workout with other people you are probably less likely to cancel. How a little social pressure works for you ;).
Another option is to earch for workout buddies in Facebook groups. Just enter the name of the place your reside + nomad (madrid nomad, medellin nomad etc).
I love pets. How do I incorporate furballs in a Nomadic Lifestyle?
How do you combine pets and a nomadic lifestyle? As a nomad it is hard to integrate furry friends in your life. If you are a slow traveler and your base is a van it is a bit easier to take your cat, dog or even bunny with you. But how do you have both: animals and freedom of location?
Furballs and a nomadic lifestyle? It is possible but not suited for everybody.
Since 2017 we are full time pet sitters. We take care of pets, house and garden when the owners are traveling or away for other reasons.
One disadvantage of pet sitting is that you are less flexible. Because you take care of a dog or cat. So going away for a couple of days is not part of your commitment.
If that is not a problem for you, pet sitting could be your next thing, because:
- It is cheap. You live for free in someone else’s home;
- And you live like a local for x time in different locations;
- You have furry friends as roommates;
- You meet new people and perhaps make new friends;
- Also read Pet sitter hosts: The ultimate guide for the best experience if you like the subject.
There are several platforms you can join. There are paid memberships where demand and supply can connect. The most well known is TrustedHousesitters. They offer three plans at this moment you can start from 99 usd/year. This is probably the most professional platform out there. They offer free calls with vets. Cancellation insurance. Mobile support and a lot more. But it comes with a price.
Other (cheaper) pet sitting competitors are Pawshake, MindMyHouse and Nomador. There are a lot more but these are good, professional and well known.
The Nomadic Lifestyle paradox exposed? A personal reflection to a question with many answers.
The Nomad Lifestyle paradox.
“You live as free as you want and at the same time you are searching for some kind of rooting.”
“Or you want to encompass yourself with people you can make meaningful connections with and you want to explore new countries and possibilities too.” And the cycle repeats itself again and again.
A life full of paradoxes
The nomadic lifestyle is a life full of paradoxes. You crave for new experiences and are sad if you leave the new friends you made deeper connections with. But it doesnt make you stop. Your curiosity and drive for freedom are too strong. They make you leave and start all over again. Your feelings are your reward. Leaving makes you feel alive. You live life to the fullest.
I think the solution to the paradox of a nomadic lifestyle is to fully accept the paradox as it is. Your nomadic life is a conscious outcome of your curiosity. And if you at the same time feel comfortable with being alone. Every new person that crosses your path will bring you something extra. Something valuable. Something worth experiencing.
Everything you learn from others guides you to a deeper meaning and understanding of yourself. And this is perhaps the biggest reward of exploring and living a nomadic lifestyle.