Are you a millennial wanting to become a digital nomad but you’re afraid of taking that risk? I talk to many people who want to take that step but don’t know how. For me it was something that I just did, for life circumstances and because I felt it, as you can see in my post on my story. I can’t really give you a way, but I know that first of all you need a very strong motivation. Leaving your comfort zone and having this life style is not easy nor for everyone. You will do it only if you are ready to do it.
What I also recommend is to have a plan. Whatever motivation you have, you can’t just give up everything without having an idea of what you will do in your new life.
I found 5 reasons why people make this choice, based on my experience. Every story is different, though, you might find yourself in more than one category. So, have fun placing yourself!
The Indiana Jones type: travel the world while working
I think one of the best thigs in life is being able to see places and discover the world. I know I’m not the only one thinking this way: research actually shows that millennial prefer experience over stuff. But here’s the problem. If you have a traditional job you have to wait for your annual leave to be able to travel where and how you want. If you work remotely, on the other hand, you can explore while being productive and, most of all, you can stay longer in the different locations to know and enjoy the local vibe. So, this need for adventure is what motivates the Indiana Jones type to become a digital nomad.
Some people choose just one location to stay there several months or years. I am in this category because I like being stable for a while and being able to really settle in the local culture. Of course, I travel to places nearby for a short time, but I then like to come back to my temporary home. Some fellow nomads, on the other hand, are on the move all the time. They stay just a couple of weeks in every place before moving on to the next one. Of course, they get to see more.
The Jerry Maguire personality: quit your job and find the courage to be freer
I don’t know about you, but I have many friends who are bored of their office life and want something more adventurous. I actually started reading about a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly popular among millennials: give up a traditional job, maybe even a pay rise, to be able to better manage their time and life. Millennials want to be free from schedules and from those working hours they perceive as limiting for their creativity and potential. Some people see it as an arrogant laziness, but research shows that it is just a different way to pursue career goals.
So if you are the Jerry Maguire type, you’ll find the courage to be free from those restrictions. However, society does not always accept this craving for flexibility and you’ll have to go against what people you admire and care about say. This happened to me with one of my biggest mentors when I decide to quit my job in London and go to Chile. It was really hard to disappoint him, but I also know I will proof him I am right. I am choosing the lifestyle I want and suits me.
Love story type: Cutting long distance in love relationships
The Love Story type is the one who is willing to go against all odds for love. In a world where distances become shorter, it is likely that you find your significant other in a different country or even continent. It can be an amazing experience on one hand, but on the other a long-distance relationship is hard. So, leaving everything to be with the person you love, is a very strong motivation.
Certain couples end up working remotely and travelling the world together. They definitely become a stronger team, even if they both have their own jobs. It will also be much easier for them to overcome the difficulties of starting in a new place. Of course, not everybody is willing to give up their lives to follow their hearts. I also know some situations where a digital nomad moved and settled in the partner’s country. This was possible thanks to the flexible schedule, but this was also the reason to end a nomad life.
Change life in order to accomplish something: The pursuit of happiness
I met many people who, at a certain point, need to change life in order to accomplish something. They don’t want to keep working for someone else’s dream but build something that belongs to them. I found 2 main reasons why they would not create their project in their home country: cutting costs and educate themselves. Certain countries have quite high costs of living, but if you are creating a new business, you need to cut wherever possible. Moving to a cheaper location becomes a necessity, as well as a nice experience. Some people also want to learn and get inspirations from the working culture of a certain place. For instance, every person in tech dreams to end up in the Silicon Valley for at least a couple of months and absorb as much as possible.
Startup founders sometimes move to different locations because they are taking part to acceleration programs, where they get funding and mentorship. I was able to observe this phenomenon in Chile. For them, the company is their priority. So, it’s not them taking the business to the new place, it’s them chasing what’s best for their project. They are the Pursuit of Happiness type, and they’ll do anything to succeed.
Eat Pray Love: reflect on the past to change your future
When you live around the world, sometimes you meet people looking to find themselves, like in the movie Eat, Pray Love. They are typically from Western countries and just left or are still in a complicated situation, be it at work or in their personal sphere. So, they decide to take a break and move to a place where they can connect to their inner self and give meaning to what they do. As Bali is one of their favourite spots, I got the opportunity to talk to some of them.
Those people are looking back and reflecting on past decisions in order to make better choices. Society has given them a role that does not resonate with who they really are; so, they venture on this journey in order not to follow conventional norms. They usually have an online business to sustain themselves, but work has nothing to do with what they are really pursuing. I personally find their stories very inspiring, something you can learn from.
What do you think is your strongest motivation to become a digital nomad? If you already are one, what made you take this step?