Life’s been an adventure since I left my full-time job and embarked upon this dope (and not so easy) journey of being a Digital Nomad. As cool as it may seem (and it really is, but wait, there is another side to it), there is a lot that goes on behind the scene which you do not get to see as often as you should. Every day (EVERY FREAKIN’ DAY), I receive messages seeking tips for this nomadic life that I am trying to figure out and solo travel. And you know what? I am happy that you exuberant fellas are curious and inclined towards it. Why?
1. We are a generation of free will and free spirit.
2. We want to step out of our comfort zone and insecurities.
3. We want to earn experiences more than money (in most cases).
4. Location independence offers room to do more with your life.
5. We want to keep the ownership of our life in our own hands.
6. #YOLO or whatever teenagers are calling it these days.
Now that we have established the fact that it indeed is the best thing that you can do for yourself, the next question is, are you ready for it?
Mmhmm, seems like you are in a pickle. But am I going to burst this bubble of your adventure-filled nomadic dreams? Naw! Don’t worry. It is for everyone, you may need some time or preparation for it, but trust me, it is for everyone as long you have your priorities all set.
To help you understand if you are there yet, here are a few things you should consider before MAKING THE BIG MOVE –
First things first, basic reality check
Do you really want to give up on the comfort of a conventional lifestyle?
Your instant reaction to this question will be – HELL YEAH!
But, it should be – umm, what exactly am I giving up here? Let’s see, a comfortable bed? Decent internet connectivity? Access to regular grooming sesh? Online shopping? Parties? A stable source of income? Sanity? ALL OF IT!
It is a love triangle
“All you need is a one-way ticket”
“Anyone can travel”
“All you need is wanderlust”
“Travel needs will, not money”
What a load of crap! I had heard it all but none of it made sense to me. I had enough wanderlust in me to feed the love for travel to the entire HSR Layout in Bangalore but that ain’t going to pay for the ticket. You love to travel and travel loves money. It is one hell of a vicious love triangle and you have no choice but suck it in and deal with it.
Say hello to AME
Only Include your absolutely necessary monthly expenses, like average monthly rent/accommodation cost (a tentative number would work, it varies from location to location), food, travel cost, phone and wifi, medicines etc. You now have a number that you’d need to see in your bank account every month. Let’s call it AME (Average Monthly Expenditure).
Make AME your b*tch!
Now that you know how much you’d need every month, do you have a source of income to earn that money? It could be a freelance gig or a remote job, but you’d need to make at least your AME every month to sustain the life you are dreaming of. Earning a substantial amount of money while travelling full-time takes energy, efforts, a spoonful of frustration, a handful of reality checks and a hell lot of patience. I often find myself worrying about my bank balance (which is literally a joke, right now, just FYI). But I am trying to hustle hard, scoring a freelance gig in content writing, social media management and digital marketing. See, that’s the thing. You need to focus on your skill set and use them to make yourself some $$$. Work on your skills if you need to, polish, hone, grind, but get shit done! So coming back to the big question, do you have a plan?
If your answer is yes, move on to the next point.
If your answer is no, read on-
It is okay to not have an immediate plan of action or even an idea for that matter. And I believe in all that ‘life unravels itself with time, so let it’ and ‘life gets better’ but things get hard in reality and it is always good to be prepared. So, take a minute or twenty, or just sleep on it, but come up with a basic plan. You can always reiterate as and when you get more direction.
Realism vs Optimism
Let’s just get one thing straight. Everything in life has 2 sides. One is tempting enough to make you pursue it, the other one is bleak enough for you to ignore it. But, BUT, sometimes, the bleak side is what comes back to bite you in your exhausted, frustrated ass! Yes, travel is beautiful but it is not the fuel of life. You’d still need to deal with shit, even in the most exotic locations. Be it the unwanted attention (especially while travelling solo), health issues due to the change in climatic conditions, bank balance that is forever ready to screw you, unpredicted downpour or lost luggage, life gets REAL and it is quite common to have second thoughts.
My advice? Be more practical. Think and see beyond the lush landscapes. Consider both the sides. Make a pros and cons list if that helps. But do your research and self-analyse the risk/impact vs. potential. Or just move on to the next point. Your call.
Pack your fu*king backpack. Your life is about to change!
Pack yourself a toothbrush dear
Pack yourself a favorite blouse
Take a withdrawal slip
Take all of your savings out
‘Cause if we don’t leave this town
We might never make it out
Yep, Sleep On The Floor by The Lumineer is what I played when I packed my bags in Bangalore, sold or donated what I owned and left the city to live a life that I always wanted for myself. Even after reading everything I mentioned above, if you are still adamant that you are ready, then go ahead and take the plunge! It is a beautiful experience. It is challenging. It is nerve-wracking. It is risky. It may leave you broke. BUT IT IS WORTH IT ALL!
PS. there are 10 other external factors that you will have to consider/deal with, like explaining the term Digital Nomad to your parents and convincing them that it’s a real thing (good luck with that), addressing and acknowledging the dynamics of your relationship with people close to you and so much more. But once you are sure from within, it’d be easier to figure the rest out. Let me know in a comment below if you’d like me to write more about my life as a Digital Nomad or any other specific topic that you’d like me to cover.
You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. I am quite responsive there. If you looking for a few hidden gems to explore in India, try reading my blogs on Jibhi, Totam and Varkala.
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Until next time.