What is a digital nomad, I hear you ask? Well for me, and for right now, it’s the lifestyle that I want to pursue.
According to Oxford Languages, a digital nomad is “a person who earns a living working online in various locations of their choosing (rather than a fixed business location).”
And if you look at the Google Images result for this term, you’ll be met with an array of people with laptops sat by the beach, living the ultimate ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle.
Sounds pretty cool, right?
Who are the digital nomads?
For many people that have heard this term before, the words ‘digital nomad’ are usually used to describe someone that lives in Bali or Thailand, spends their day working in an island cafe doing something on the internet for money and living their absolute best life by telling the world about it on social media.
Yes, there are the Lost Leblancs of the world, and there are the Sinead Hegarty’s that I mention time and time again, and there are also the Siobhan and Joe O’Deas of the world who I had the pleasure of interviewing for my podcast (you can listen to that episode here).
But there are also the digital nomads that work from cafe’s or from home in your local towns, or your nearest city. There are those that work in Starbucks on the high street, or from their bed if they like.
A digital nomad is no longer someone that lives in a villa in Bali, but is now probably anyone that was working in an office prior to March 2020.
The new era of digital nomads
One of the nicer things that COVID-19 brought us was the acceleration of the digital workforce.
It showed companies that a lot of our jobs could be performed just as well, if not better, in the comfort of our own homes. All we needed was a good wifi connection and a quiet place, free from distractions and interruptions.
For some, this was much easier than for others. For those like me, I was living in an apartment with a strong Wifi connection and not many distractions.
For others, they had kids and pets to contend with as well as poor internet connection or meetings that needed to be conducted in-person.
And so, a new era of digital nomads was born. The ability to work from anywhere (mostly home) with a laptop and a Wifi connection.
Why I want to be a digital nomad
Laptop by the beach? I mean, sign me up, right?
After seeing a few people I follow on Instagram make the move to Bali/Thailand and work online and tell me that ‘you can do this too!!’ I can’t help but feel some want to do the same thing as them.
I can only imagine how freeing it must feel to wake up in a villa in Bali with only yourself to answer to as you are your own boss. No 9-5, no waiting for the end of the month for wages to come in and no one else having control over your allowance of holidays or time off.
I think for a lot of young people, the allure of being your own boss is a lot more enticing and also seemingly quite do-able with more and more people making money online by offering a product or service, or influencing.
For me, of course I want that freedom. I would give my right arm to be able to blog/write/podcast/create content/read/help people as a full-time job, all within my own company.
Being my own boss sounds like something I would very much love to do, especially if it meant I could do so by the side of my pool in a villa in Bali.
Why I can now be a digital nomad
Since I’ve recently started a new job, I’ve been able to work this fully remotely. Meaning, I may never have to go into an office in the future and can choose any location (in the UK) to work.
I spent the first few weeks in Liverpool, waiting for my lease to end, am in the midst of a five-week stint in Edinburgh and am soon to move around four other cities in the coming months.
Related post: I Moved to Edinburgh, Scotland!
My job allows me to sit at a desk 9-5, but then explore my new surroundings in the evenings and on weekends.
Yes, I’m only exploring the UK for the moment, but these are places I never would have had the opportunity to visit/stay for a long period of time in before and allows me to fully explore other places.
How I want to take advantage of being a digital nomad
Like I just said, I’m almost coming to the end of my time in Edinburgh and will be moving again in a few weeks, with another few cities to hit before October.
I want to take advantage of working remotely, working from my laptop and from any location of my choosing (well, UK-dependant, obviously).
But I’m hoping that in the future, I’ll be able to travel to Spain, or France, or Italy, or Holland and work from my laptop for a few weeks at a time, all while seeing amazing new cities and countries.
In the future, in a free COVID-19 world, I would love to live out of one suitcase and only need my laptop and passport to keep seeing and exploring.
How I don’t see this as a forever lifestyle
I wouldn’t say the moving around lifestyle will be one that I would want to do permanently. At the moment, I’m enjoying flitting around every few weeks, but I can only imagine in a few months that I will want to be more settled for a while.
Ideally, this will be a base that I will be able to travel around and out of, if it’s only spending a weekend here and there over a few months.
I’m unsure that a digital nomad lifestyle is sustainable, especially right now, but perhaps in the next few years, I will be able to move around freely and work from where I am until I want to be somewhere for a long period of time.
As I’m still in my early 20s, I think this is probably the best time to take advantage of a digital lifestyle such as this; moving from place to place, exploring the world and not having a permanent home.
The future of my digital nomad journey
My digital nomad journey is very much in its infancy. I was working for six months from Liverpool and have just began my flitting of cities, having recently moved to Edinburgh.
We only have 9 days (!!) left in Edinburgh and it’s all gone by so quickly. We’ll be making our next move next week to be located in a new city for a month or so, before moving around a few more places in the summer.
After this, it’s all a little up in the air. I think I know where I’m going to be for Christmas and New Year, although this will be a holiday – no digital nomadding there!
But I hope with COVID-19 easing here in the UK, and hopefully getting better in Europe that I’ll be able to travel and work in 2021.
I would loooove to hear your thoughts about the digital nomad lifestyle! Are you a digital nomad? Does it interest you? Do you have any tips/experiences that you want to share?