For many in the digital nomadic community, the months and years they spent working and traveling suddenly came to a halt this spring. Borders were closed and travel restricted. Many if not most digital nomads returned home.
In many cases home meant self isolation and lockdown. The very type of existence that digital nomads seek to avoid.
Why do people choose to become digital nomads?
There are different reasons for changing lifestyles and heading off overseas but probably the most common one is a love of travelling. Many digital nomads make a living by writing travel blogs. This can be single people, couples and sometimes even young families.
Of course not everyone writes blogs, many people teach online, design websites or are graphic designers. There are a massive variety of ways to make an income online. Some people dropship to allow them to continue travelling. Just a few hours a week online can finance time in a less expensive country than home.
How much income do you need to sustain this lifestyle?
This really depends on where you were living. Southeast Asia is a popular place for working online although Thailand has said that digital nomads can work legally but have still raided working spaces, especially in Chiang Mai. Countries like Thailand offer a lifestyle that couldn’t be matched at home on a lower income.
What are the benefits?
For example imagine a Swedish man or woman in their late teens. Sweden is an expensive country with a lot of hours of darkness a year. That teen can travel around Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam and enjoy beaches, blue seas and sunny skies while working half the hours they would back home. They wouldn’t get rich but when you can rent private property for less than $100 a month and live on a few $s a day the appeal is obvious compared to the rat race back home.
Freedom is the main reason anyone would choose to live this way. Choosing your own work hours, having no boss, deciding on a whim to move town. Of course many digital nomads do end up settling in one place.
Why would Covid affect the future of digital nomads?
For a start there are a lot of people forced back home who are itching to get back on the road. They may have gone back to a country where work is now hard to come by and their online work that once provided a fun, exciting life is now barely allowing them to scrape by.
The other reason there will be more digital nomads is that there are millions of people who have lost their jobs and been forced to stay at home. Others have become remote workers either under orders from their companies or by their own free will as a way to earn money. These people are the ones who might now be realising they can work anywhere in the world.
Working almost anywhere in the world
The appeal of this shouldn’t be underestimated. While most people do enjoy work they also want freedom both financially and physically to do what they want. Being a successful digital nomad promises this and more.
The phrase being a ‘successful’ digital nomad shouldn’t be ignored. If you were thinking of doing this then a digital nomad guide will help you to plan ahead and see the pitfalls.
What if you want to become a digital nomad after Covid?
There are many unknowns and many questions to answer about what will happen after Covid is finally under control. There is a certain likelihood that you will not be able to travel to at least some countries without having proper insurance, certified as Covid free and quite possibly have a vaccination certificate. Certainly the Southeast Asian nations popular with digital nomads are being very strict and at the time of writing, Laos and Thailand’s borders are closed to neighbouring countries. Vietnam and Cambodia have strict controls for entry.
Being a successful digital nomad
This takes planning. You need savings. You need to know where you are headed to begin with and how you will work. Ideally you already have employment online. Heading off with just a laptop and a whim sounds great but financial backup is necessary unless you have a great knowledge of the country you are heading to including an existing support network. You need to be productive if you are to be successful.
It isn’t unusual for people to fail within months of arriving in a new country so do your research and save as much cash as possible. Some countries are more developed than others and you will need to know what to bring and what you can buy there. With preparation, work and a little luck it is possible and post Covid will surely see the return of digital nomads.