Some call it “living the dream.” Others refer to it as “being the New Rich.” Ultimately, both parties describe a lifestyle where location is completely irrelevant to making an income. Those who love it still admit that there are tradeoffs and those who find those trades too difficult, leave it sooner rather than later.
The first description usually refers to those digital nomads who have been part of this new lifestyle for a year or two; are making enough money to support themselves and do the tourist things; find groups in various countries and have learned which foods to eat and which to avoid.
The latter description is in reference to those who have been very successful in their digital nomad ventures, commonly generating income in the mid-six figure range per year. They have been digital nomads for more than two years, have honed their networking skills, enjoy living on their own (usually alone) and work in more costly areas of the world. But, then, they can afford to do so.
The first thing that Westerners discover on landing in a foreign nation is that the cultural norms and expectations, the pace of life, typical work days and hours and preconceived notions of the environment will be challenged.
The exposure to new food sources or new ways that food is prepared is the ultimate for any foodie. But, it can also be dangerous. Eating foods that your body is unaccustomed to eating can land you in a hospital.
Sanitary conditions in non-western countries is less stringent to non-existent. For instance, you may or may not have an indoor bathroom. Even cooks in cafés as well as street vendors seldom wash their hands or use gloves in handling foods. Cross-contamination between sources is common as well. Flies may need to be shooed away from a food just prior to being cooked. Refrigeration is usually sporadic or even optional.
If you are starting out and are on a strict budget, your first location abroad is likely to be Bangkok or Chaing Mai in Thailand or Cebu in the Philippines. You can find a McDonald’s in both locations but the local foods could include fish eyeballs, sautéed spiders, deep fried crickets or steamed goat brains.
Unless you work for one specific company that allows you to change your locale periodically, you may find that you are constantly seeking work of any kind to ensure you have enough money to pay the rent next month.
Favorite jobs among nomads include tutoring, marketing management or consulting. Even with that, you may need a second source of income: a lot of the most successful nomads have mentioned that they filled in their income by working as an online trader with a reliable global platform such as Binary Uno.
Whether these techy nomads give it up after only a few months or stick it out for five or more years, there is unanimous agreement that the adventure of living in a new country or even a new region of your own country is worth the effort.