Living as a Nomad [4 Things No One Tells You]

by Diego Navarro | LAST UPDATED July 16, 2021

Living as a nomad
This article may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
Table of Contents
Primary Item (H2)

Most of us have a pretty routine lifestyle. We go to work, make enough money to get by, then go home and get ready to do it again the same day. That may be a bit of a bleak outlook on everyday life, but we don’t actually think that it’s all doom & gloom. There’s nothing wrong with doing the daily grind to cover your cost of living and then having fun in your free time, and most of us find a great deal of satisfaction in that way of life.

However, some people aren’t cut out for office work or the sedentary life and yearn for something more. This is the main reason why living as a nomad seems like a dream come true for those of us that have a profound sense of wanderlust that we just can’t seem to quench.

The Appeal of the Nomadic Life

Living as a digital nomad graphic

There are plenty of reasons why people choose to become a digital nomad, but perhaps the most notable one is the contrast it provides to your average everyday life. 

Even if you’re content with your way of living, all of us have our off days. Those days sometimes stretch out to weeks and sometimes even to months. Usually, taking a week off of work and going on a vacation is enough to recharge the batteries and get you ready to jump back in the saddle.

But what if you find that your batteries stay low and your enthusiasm for your job never picks back up? Burnout is a real thing, and it can lead to people getting really sick of the same repetitive routine day after day.

Situations like those are exactly why a lot of people are so attracted to the nomad life. You’ll be able to travel around the world, see exotic locations, experience new cultures, and breathe new life into your day-to-day. The ability to recapture some childlike joy and excitement that you thought was long gone is more than enough incentive for many people to start packing their bags.

Additionally, there are also a lot of digital nomad jobs that perfectly align with the location-independent way of living and make it possible for you to fund your nomadic lifestyle by doing part-time work.

However, as you might have guessed from the title of this article, there are a few things about the digital nomad lifestyle that aren’t all that great but are often overlooked or not talked about. 

We’d like to draw a bit more attention to the negative points of this way of life so that you have a much clearer picture of how things actually stand and you won’t get any nasty surprises if you decide to become a digital nomad yourself.

Insurance

Couple working on a laptop

Companies rarely cover remote workers they work for, especially if you’re a full-time freelancer who switches jobs frequently. And since paying for your own health insurance will cost you an arm and a leg, you’ll need to get a health insurance package on your own.

Luckily, travel insurance quite honestly isn’t all that hard to come by. Plenty of organizations provide coverage in pretty much any country or state you’re planning to go to, and sites like WorldNomads, IMG and SafetyWing can even provide you with nomad-specific insurance.

These packages are tailored specifically towards remote work and nomadic living. We mean that they don’t require a permanent residence or steady employment to offer you an insurance package. However, there are a few issues.

Unlike regular health insurance, travel insurance has a few more restrictions when it comes to the sorts of diseases or treatments that you’re covered for. The cheaper packages will obviously provide less coverage, while the more costly ones will cover your bases a lot more and burn a hole in your pocket.

Insurance companies are also a lot more likely to put you in a higher-risk package if you have a specific chronic disease or pre-existing condition. This is present in company insurance plans as well, and you might be denied a particular plan if your cholesterol is too high, for instance. The main point is that, other than potentially being rejected,  high-risk packages are usually a bit more costly.

Travel Burnout

Going from Thailand to Bali to Colombia in a few months must seem like a dream come true, and while a trip like this definitely has more than a few good points, there is also an issue that not many people talk about.

Being a globetrotter is an exciting way to live; you get to see some places that are so beautiful that you’d think they were photoshopped images on social media. However, after a few months, the novelty might die down a bit, and you might start to feel like the constant travel is taking a toll.

You’ll still get excited when you go to a new place, but where you were previously giddy with the excitement of a new city and culture for weeks on end, now you might get bored of your new surroundings in just a few days.

Regardless of where you go, if you get hit with travel fatigue, every Airbnb will start to look the same, and the new places that you travel to are going to start to blend together.

People are obviously very different, and you might never get tired of visiting new places, but in general, this is a common problem among people that have been on the road for a while, and it can lead them to become disenchanted with the notion of living as a nomad.

Finding a New Place

Speaking of travel issues, moving around a lot also means negotiating a lot of rent agreements and talking with a lot of landlords, not all of whom are going to be friendly or understanding. Again, we don’t mean that 9 out of 10 are going to be unbearable, but moving around often means that you’re going to run into your fair share of morons.

Expat communities usually take care of their own. However, there will likely be listings on Facebook groups or nomadism travel blogs that warn against renting a specific property or steering clear of certain areas of town.

However, you’re going to need to learn how to read people and actually tell what sort of person you’re going to be renting from before you sign any contracts. Speaking of, you’re also going to need to develop a habit of reading and then re-reading the rent contract several times before ever putting ink to paper to make sure that you know what you’re getting into.

Additionally, many people have an irrational fear of asking too many questions because they believe that they’re annoying. If you’re one of those people, you will need to get over that fear quickly and straight-up ask about everything you want to know about a property, especially if you feel that the landlord is getting annoyed.

If the person you’re negotiating with seems to be getting hot under the collar from a few simple questions, then they’re not going to handle complaints well, and you can take that as a sign that you don’t want to be renting that property.

Missing Old Friends

A group of friends having a picnic

The nomadic life is far from a lonely one. Every country you go to is likely going to have an active expat community with Facebook groups through which they organize weekly meetups where you can meet and talk to like-minded people.

These meetups are a great place to find new friends, learn about the local coworking spaces and the nightlife, and maybe even get a few travel tips from more experienced nomads. Additionally, you might not be traveling alone at all; you might have brought your friend or partner with you on your journey.

However, being away from home for a long period of time will mean having no contact with your family or your old friends outside of the occasional skype call. This means that you’ll be able to call them anytime you have wifi access, but you might start to miss hanging out with them in real life soon.

Conclusion

The purpose of this article was to point out that this lifestyle isn’t just a big road trip. Getting into it means leaving your comfort zone, making big alterations to your life, and sticking to your decision even when things seem tough.

In all honesty, we believe that the digital nomad has a lot more positive than negative points, and it’s well worth trying for yourself. Just make sure that you’re fully aware of what you’re signing up for.

Diego Navarro
Diego became interested in a nomadic lifestyle during a semester abroad during college. He spends most of his time in central Europe and the American southwest (where his family is from). He loves exotic food and playing video games on his Nintendo Switch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

OptOutLiving is an online destination for alternative lifestyle inspiration, advice and information. Our goal is to help people design a life that optimizes their time and happiness.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram