These past few months I have noticed a boom of travel bloggers who decided to quit their jobs and sold all they had to live a nomadic life. It used to be “crazy” and it seems to become now more “trendy”. For some, it is just for a little while whereas it is a long-term plan for others. With the Internet now globally available, remote work opportunities have increased. So are people who are not location-based to work: the digital nomads.
I often meet people who are dreaming in front of digital nomads’ travel blog posts thinking how perfect their lives are. Don’t misunderstand me: I do dream too when I read them. That’s the reason why I read them. But I don’t feel unhappy about my status and my life because I envy theirs. We often tend to see only the greener part of others’ lives and forget what’s positive in our own situation.
I work in digital marketing. I have skills that could allow me to try this nomad freelance experience as opposed to working 9 to 5 in an office and building my career within a company. To be honest, I thought about it about two years ago. Yes, as most travel addicts, the idea of moving on a permanent basis or making a round-the-world trip makes me dream from time to time. Yet, the envy did not last and did not go a step further. Thinking about it made me realise there are advantages in my current part-time traveller status. Although I never say never, I would not change the status I have today.
This post is not about which lifestyle is the best as I don’t think one is better than the other. Indeed, they both have advantages and disadvantages. Also, a way of life is something too personal to be judged: what is the best for you is not the best for everybody. This is an article to look at things positively from a non-nomad point of view. Because it also has its advantages.
Here are four reasons why I currently like being a part-time traveller more than a travelling digital nomad:
1. What is scarce becomes more valuable
I have a full-time job that does not imply travelling so, obviously, the time I have to travel is limited. I still manage to travel a lot tough (see my post here to find out how). Why do I like this situation more than full-time travelling if travelling is my passion?
I do think that working during the week has a very positive impact on my excitement for the weekend or my holidays. I have time to build envy, to be eager to travel again. These moments away are rare, so they become very precious. I have to make careful decisions on how to use my free time.
Although I am not saying that I would not like to travel all the time, I am sure I appreciate travelling even more now that I have less time to do it.
2. If I don’t live 24/7 my passion for travelling, I do live it at 100%
Unless you are retired, have a sugar daddy or have found success very early in your life, you cannot truly afford to travel only as leisure. Most of the nomads have to work to be able to carry on their lifestyle. They do travel 24/7, but they are not on holidays when they do so. As it is a way of life, travelling must be sustainable to be long-term. It implies budgeting and watching money a lot while travelling is crucial.
There are different types of jobs you can have as a digital nomad, and most of them (or maybe most of the ones I could have?) would be nowhere as reliable and secured as the 9-5 office job I have. This can be fine: you may not need the security; it can be part of the lifestyle. But no one can argue that more money security does create advantages.
I like to be pressure-free when I travel. I am on holidays having a real-time: I unplug from work-related thoughts and worries. I don’t have to worry about my bills or my work; I leave all these behind in the office and at home. I do like my job don’t get me wrong, but I also like to disconnect everything and just enjoy the trip itself. I know this would be a lot harder if I were a full-time traveller. When you can work from anywhere, it can be harder to disconnect.
I know we meet a lot of people when we travel. That’s something I enjoy. As strong as these relations can be, most remain ephemeral when you are a nomad, and I get tired of saying goodbye. As I grow older, I want to focus more on ongoing and profound relationships.
Do I need to have many people who I love physically close to me? Probably not. I am an expat so most of my family and long-life friends are thousands of kilometres away. Technology, video calls, and social media have somehow reduced the distance. This being said I appreciate having people I care about and who care about me “physically” in my life. They add another dimension to life that is not focused on an individual anymore. They also bring some safety and stability. We may not all need these feelings to the same extent; it is still something nice to have.
4. Ability to fulfil other passions
I love playing soccer and being part of a team. Sometimes, I love it as much as travelling. I could make the choice to stay home for the weekend just because I want to play a match. I would terribly miss soccer and my team if I chose to be on the road.
I know there are many ways to do sport and even opportunities to play football while travelling. But it cannot be compared to the significant commitment of being part of a team in a club for a few seasons. As a nomad, I would have to leave behind my second passion. I am so happy I can manage to travel and commit to my soccer team today.
What about you? Are you satisfied with your current traveller status? Is there something you’d like to change?
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