CONFESSIONS OF A FULLTIME TRAVELER AND DIGITAL NOMAD
Last summer I gave up my apartment and sold all my stuff to go traveling as a yoga teacher and digital nomad, only planning to come back to Germany for a few months in between destinations (and preferably in summer). And while it may look like I’m living a perfect life, there are times where I’m asking myself – is it really worth it?
Because it really isn’t only palm trees, sunshine and yoga classes with a view of the sea (although I have a lot of this). Like everything, it’s not black and white. My old life hasn’t always been terrible and it’s not always wonderful now. There are a lot of things I’ve given up. There are also a lot of things I gained. But it’s not a dream – life goes on with all its ups and downs. If you are wondering what could be so terrible about living on a tropical island paradise, here are some reasons why long term traveling as a digital nomad sucks, followed by five reasons why it’s the best thing ever.
5 reasons why long term traveling as a digital nomad sucks:
1. I miss my friends and family
Traveling brings with it a lot of solitude, being away from loved ones. My friendships with people from home are suffering because I’m just not involved enough anymore in their day-to-day lives, nor they in mine. And it’s difficult to build up new long-lasting friendships when you are moving all the time.
2. Financials still matter
There’s financial insecurity. Questioning if I’m on the right track. Not knowing what the future will bring. This is not always easy, though I’m grateful that I have enough savings for the moment and my online projects slowly start to bring in more money too.
3. Setting up a routine is hard
I love working for myself, but the downside is that there’s always more you can do. It can be hard to switch off as a result, and that’s something I’m really working on this year. I love work but I also know it’s important to take proper time out to relax, breathe, and enjoy other aspects of life.
4. Sweet comforts of home, where are you
Traveling brings with it all kinds of accommodation. In the last months I stayed in a simple bungalow, a guest house, a single room with shared bathroom… but mostly it’s much more basic than my living situation used to be back home. And sometimes I miss having my own bathroom… my washing machine… my kitchen… my sofa…
5. Okay – sometimes I miss shopping
There, I said it. Sometimes it’s boring wearing the same old clothes day in, day out. I used to love fashion, checking out the shows and what’s new, looking at online shopping sites. Today I’m totally aware that shopping doesn’t make me happy and I don’t need any new things, but still – a small part of me will always love it. New shiny things, who doesn’t want them?
5 reasons why traveling fulltime as a digital nomad is worth it:
1. I live my life on my terms
While I still work a lot and spend quite a lot of time in front of the computer, I don’t have to be in an office at 9am for 8 to 10 hours. I don’t have to wait for the weekend to do something fun. If I don’t feel good I can take it easy. I might still have obligations like teaching yoga, but that normally doesn’t account for a full day. I love being my own boss, and I feel so grateful to do something that I love every day. It’s exciting to see your dreams unfold and come to life.
2. I can travel wherever and whenever I want
Traveling solo means I can choose exactly when and where to I travel next. There are still financial reasons to consider (living in South East Asia is a lot cheaper than almost anywhere else), but it’s an exhilarating feeling. All these possibilities! Total freedom!
3. I have time to take care of me – and not only of things
I realized this when I was coming home in-between traveling. How much time I spent just taking care of my THINGS. My apartment, my car, my clothes – there was a never-ending to-do list full of stuff to do. Now that I only own what fits into my backpack, life is so much easier to manage. This is something I want to take with me even if I settle down again – live a more minimalist lifestyle. And making time for myself.
4. I meet the most amazing people
There are so many truly inspiring people on this planet. Local people from the countries I visit and fellow travellers from all over the world. Back home I have great friends, but it’s not what you would call a diverse group of people. I love it that I meet such different and inspiring people when I’m traveling.
5. I live on a tropical island
How amazing is that? I can go to the beach every day. It’s always warm. I see the stars in the sky at night. I can have fresh coconuts and relax in a hammock. And when I’m not on a tropical island, you can bet I’ll be at another amazing place.
So is fulltime traveling for everyone? Definitely not. Am I enjoying it? Absolutely, I love my life. And I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to make this lifestyle work for me. But traveling is not the only road to happiness. It just might give you the chance to work through the things that keep you from being happy.
This list is my gift for me. To look at whenever my travel life looks less than wonderful and blessed and remind me why it’s really worth it. And it’s for everyone else who is traveling fulltime or dreams about it. Happy yoga travels!