Are digital nomads happy with their lifestyles?

Are digital nomads happy with their lifestyles?

Are digital nomads happy with their lifestyles?

Calculating the ups and downs of being a digital nomad in a series of strange lands.

Becoming a digital nomad is yet another of the internet age’s conundrums as it takes a certain type of expatriate to cope with the stress of continual change. Many would-be expatriates sick of the humdrum reality of life in the home country decide to earn as they go, either by writing about their experiences or by picking up on online jobs as they travel. They’re envied for their freedom, the ability to go almost anywhere in the world and the fact that it all seems so easy when it’s written about on a blog or in an advertorial.

In the real world, digital nomadism is another of life’s ‘all that glitters isn’t gold’ experiences, as many try and rather less actually succeed in turning the dream into reality via money in a home country or offshore bank. The strains and stresses of the nomadic lifestyle are written about in terms intended to fascinate or amuse, but the reality is that the lifestyle isn’t what it seems to be for most of the time. Basically, the average digital nomad’s major problem is keeping his or her head straight in order to cope with unfamiliar cultures, languages and a lack of close relationships.

Social isolation is one aspect of this popular lifestyle which can produce depression, especially when the unexpected becomes a problem. Not having one place to call home is another disorienting result of choosing this life, and culture shock is a familiar but disturbing reality of the lifestyle as most digital nomads don’t stay in any one place long enough to feel ‘at home’. Another problem is that, in many countries, it’s impossible to get a legal visa to work, even online, meaning there’s always a change you’ll get arrested and thrown out. For a very few, it’s all part of the experience, but it’s simply not worth risking, especially in less than democratic states.

Another major issue is relationships which develop during travels, especially if they start via social media. The legend of two strangers meeting and falling in love is just that – a legend - and keeping grounded enough to continue with your chosen lifestyle isn’t easy when there’s another person to consider. As a result, the dichotomy of the aforementioned social isolation versus the charms of a relationship doesn’t always end well. Obsessive focusing on work can bring on a burnout, especially as many digital nomads seem to have problems with admitting that ‘people need people’ in their lives.

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