When my husband and I decided to travel abroad, we did so for quite a few reasons. The main being, we wanted to explore and learn about places all over the world. As an online business owner since shortly after my college graduation, thinking about regular employment is something I never do. My job also means travel is far simpler for myself than for others.
However, we did have worries about travel as well. One worry was that it would stunt future opportunities for Carter. My husband is a construction manager and loves his job. When we were planning to leave the country, some told us not to worry and others told us that taking a two-year break when we're this young would look bad.
Now that we've been here in the U.K. for two months, we realize that this break will not hurt Carter. Rather, it will help both of us look better if and when we ever need to change jobs. More importantly, it's taught both of us soft skills that we couldn't have learned as easily any other way.
Here are just five of the skills we've developed as digital nomads.
Working remotely from ever-changing situations means daily clear communication. When we look for new housing, attend virtual meetings, plan our week, or decide where to go next, we must be clear. Each day we talk with hosts, employers, employees, and clients, not to mention each other.
Effective talking makes us more productive. There's a smaller chance for error when all parties know what to expect and what's in play. In addition, being able to ask questions effectively means finding what we are looking for and completing work with better results.
If you have a passion for facts, then you might know that the average office worker only spends three hours of his day being productive. That means the average worker is wasting five hours a day. On the other hand, both Carter and I put more than three productive hours of work each day.
In general, I work five to eight productive hours a day while Carter works eight or more. We've learned to cut out distractions by taking longer breaks at lunch and in the morning. When and if we get back into the office setting, this will make us two or more times better than the average worker right away.
When you work remotely, you can't always choose when and where something happens. For example, in one living situation we had bad Internet when it rained. Since we knew that, our work scheduled changed with the weather. At the same time, working five hours ahead means being alright with late meetings.
When things don't go as planned, we don't dig in our heels. Rather, we pivot and look for solutions and alternatives right away.
We've both learned to go with the flow. When things don't go as planned, we don't dig in our heels. Rather, we pivot and look for solutions and alternatives right away. Since the workplace is an ever-changing space, we've been able to take life lessons right into our businesses with ease.
Changing homes every three to five weeks means not having all the answers. Our first long-term housing situation abroad was a disaster. The landlord lied about the Internet speed and caused us to be unable to work. However, unlike a vacation that ends up back at home, we had nowhere else to go.
As such, we didn't have time to complain about the issue and wait. Rather, we took action and navigated all the unexpected challenges along the way. In the months since we've learned to see the issue, look for a solution, then present the issue and the solution to those around us.
Confidence & Bravery
Graduated, married, and halfway across the world all within a year means a deep dive into being an adult. Being millions of miles from family means being confident in each thing we do. Going hand-in-hand with this, taking the plunge into life as a digital nomad also means being brave. However, these aren't skills that we've mastered.
In fact, in the two months that we've been here, our skills have grown further. Now, we're better at believing in our abilities. While we know we have many things to learn, we know that what we have already learned is more than enough to get us the rest of the way to whatever our version of success may be.Add this article to your reading list