Digital nomads: The new way of working

Here, we explore the digital nomad trend: A new wave of people who are taking flexible working to a whole new level.

Everyone is familiar with the (outdated) 9-5 working week. Popularly characterised by white walls, office cubicles and desk-bound jobs, there is a new wave of people who are taking flexible working to a whole new level. And who are they? Digital nomads.

These are people who travel the world while still maintaining their successful careers. It’s taking remote working and flexible working and using it to its full potential. And the result? The ideal work-life balance.

Here’s what some of them said about living as a digital nomads:

David and Diane Daniel of business strategy consultant and a photographer and digital designer, can’t think of anything else they’d rather be doing.

David says, ‘While some people save up their time and money to travel for brief periods during the year, we have the ability to do so full time.

‘We slow travel, so we’re able to spend several weeks or months in a location and get to experience it more as a local than a tourist,’ adds Diane.

She says that technology and the internet mean that communication and connectivity don’t have to be sacrificed (unless you’re in somewhere like Cuba). ‘Wi-Fi being available in almost every country means that staying in touch with teams, clients and employers is easy with the likes of instant chat, email and video conferencing. Not to mention that earning money without having to take holiday leave is definitely a perk.’

Popular choices for the digital nomads of the world

According to Twitter and Instagram and research from Crimson Hexagon, the US – specifically California, Florida and New York come out on top as the most favoured locations. A close second comes right here in the UK and Australia.

Related: Which countries offer a digital nomad visa?

Blogger and entrepreneur Tomas Laurinaricius admits that there are certain limitations to where you can realistically travel to without having it impact on your work. He says, ‘Sometimes it’s a challenge to cope with lower hygiene standards, the language barrier and poor Wi-Fi, so it’s important to do a bit of research before you decide on your next location.’

This doesn’t mean travelling to countries where you don’t speak the language is off bounds, in fact it’s quite the contrary. Indonesia, Spain, and Thailand have become popular non-English speaking destinations for the digital nomads.

Professional blogger Ryan Biddulph has been a strong advocate for working on the road. ‘You’ll learn how to see the world from a bunch of different perspectives, you’ll suspend judgment more easily and you’ll appreciate both similarities and differences of certain cultures, in relation to your own,’ he says.

Laura Bronner of highlights that having the autonomy of being able to choose where and when you work has been one of the biggest advantages.

‘I know that my earning potential isn’t capped, and that I truly have all the power to increase it, which wasn’t the case in any of my previous jobs,’ she says. ‘I get to do all this while doing work that I truly love, and have the opportunity to help other people do the same.’

There are a couple of drawbacks though. ‘The only con I’ve experienced is the ‘nomad’ part of the phrase. I love travelling, but feel a bit sad each time I leave behind friends I’ve made, animals I’ve grown attached to and magical places I’ve spent time in,’ says Biddulph, and Bronner reveals that ‘moving around constantly means you don’t make truly long lasting connections with people in the same way that you would if you lived somewhere for an extended period of time’.

Top tips on managing the lifestyle

If you’re considering to try it out for yourself, see how you go with managing your out-of-office lifestyle and whether it works for you. Self-motivation can be an obstacle as Laura points out that it is important to have a genuine desire to not only travel, but work too.

You also need to narrow down your essentials, as your laptop and 24-hour Wi-Fi should be the priority. And having view few essentials is a huge benefit for some. Laurinaricius expresses how his perspectives have changed, as he says, ‘I appreciate everything, I own almost nothing and feel richer than ever.’

Earning a proper income while traveling the world sounds like a dream for most, but what you’ll find is that it’s a lot more accessible than you realise. It just requires an open mind from you and your employer and the tools to keep you connected, because what you’ll find is that it can quickly help you grow personally and professionally.

This piece was written by Powwownow.

Further reading on flexible working

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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