The pros and cons of working from anywhere
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The idea of ââbeing able to work from anywhere was something I idealized and worked hard for for years. Going up the corporate ladder and tolerating uninteresting work to retire when you’re old is a worldview that isn’t that of digital nomads, and that’s why most of them are freelance workers, freelancers, consultants, developers and / or contractors. After selling most of my belongings, booking a one-way flight, and living abroad for over six months, I learned that this lifestyle also comes with some incredible benefits and challenges.
With the advent of strong internet connections and the post-Covid ‘office-less’ world, the number of digital nomads has increased dramatically in recent years. According to data from MBO Partners, between 2019 and 2020, the number of digital nomads increased by 49%. Today, there are more than 10.9 million digital nomads in the United States alone, and new data shows there are more than 35,000,000 worldwide. Before taking the plunge, aspiring digital nomads need to conduct a cost-benefit analysis and decide if this lifestyle is right for them.
Benefits of being a digital nomad
1. Freedom of location
Most of us spend the majority of our lives in a specific geographic location, and the biggest advantage of being a nomad is that we get where you want to go, when you want to go. Being able to do business anywhere is living your life on your own terms and means you can escape freezing winters and go where you are best treated. The freedom that comes with this way of life and the experience of actually living and working in a foreign place outside of your home country is simply priceless.
2. Lifestyle freedom
Another perk is the lifestyle freedom of being able to prioritize your life to do the things you love. As a digital nomad, you can build your work around your lifestyle and not let your work take over your life. Not having to travel, dress, adhere to a conventional 9am to 5pm schedule, and avoid the distractions that come with a conventional office can actually increase productivity and performance.
3. Savings on the cost of living
Digital nomads can actually save money and live a better lifestyle, depending on the country they are in. Geographic arbitrage means that you can earn in a strong currency and spend in a weaker currency. Taking advantage of the low cost structure of a cheaper location, while still earning as if you lived in a more expensive location, can increase your quality of life and standard of living, saving you more money. money.
4. Learn about different cultures
By immersing yourself in new cultures, you have the chance to learn new skills. Most importantly, you will learn more about yourself. Developing a different perspective makes it possible to understand that there is more than one way of thinking and that many people are extremely happy because of their values ââand the fundamental ideas of their society. The stark contrast of seeing the majority of people living in poverty while you have lived in a Western country most of your life helps you truly appreciate how blessed you are. This gratitude is sure to improve your happiness.
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Disadvantages of being a digital nomad
1. Missing friends and family
The biggest downside of being a digital nomad is not being able to see your favorite people in person, skipping important life events, and witnessing changes in your relationships. Living abroad helps you recognize what you’re really looking for in a relationship and teaches you that not everyone is supposed to stay in your life. True friendships don’t just matter when they’re face to face, but being away from home for an extended period of time puts a strain on many relationships and is quite lonely. When you don’t know anyone or the native language, you really learn the importance of friends and family.
2. Lacks a conventional office environment
Questionable internet connections, noisy coworking spaces, and coworkers’ false perception of you ‘being on vacation’ can make digital nomads want to come back to the office. A conventional office environment improves collaboration, and having an ergonomic desk and chair with a dual monitor increases productivity and reduces back pain.
2. Lack of products, medical care and poor safety
Many developing countries that are hot spots for digital nomads are having problems. Some food items are non-existent, some cities are experiencing power outages and water shortages, and some hospitals are using medical devices that may be older than you. As a digital nomad, you also need to be on the lookout for criminals and scams, which can be very stressful at times (depending on where you are going).
3. Fatigue of travelers
Too many months spent constantly on âalertâ while traveling results in fatigue. Not only having to manage your job, explore new places and get used to new cultures, digital nomads also have to organize accommodation, coworking spaces and flights. What was once exciting can sometimes turn into a chore. The jet lag caused by the change of time zone leads to sleep problems, and living quarters without a kitchen for cooking can lead to weight gain.
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For some, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. For others, some of the downsides are big red flags. In my case, being a digital nomad for six months was a temporary lifestyle that helped me learn, grow, and truly appreciate my home country. Personally, the stability of my community and the routine at home are too hard to give up forever, but certainly worth replacing with a temporary digital nomadic lifestyle in the future.