4 Challenges to Expect as a Digital Nomad

Ashley exploring Ireland Ashley Madden

Want to become location independent? Be prepared to compromise.

There are only two defining qualities to becoming a digital nomad:

1. A digital nomad must be a remote worker. This could mean that you have your own business (as I do) or that you work for a company remotely (as my husband does).

2. You need to be location independent. In general, this means not having a home and having the ability to choose where you want to live for the time being.

While that may sound simple, we have found, it doesn't come without its fair share of challenges. Here's what we've learned on our journey about remote work, nomadism, and work-life balance.

It's hard to be your partner's coworker

Since my husband and I both work remotely from various cities across Ireland, we are often each other's only office mate. We also don't know anyone else in the places that we've travelled so far, which means we spend every waking hour with each other.

It only took a month to realize we'd have to implement a solution. Now, we try to work in different rooms, and take the time to run errands alone. While I love spending time travelling with my husband, no one wants to spend every waking moment with someone else for months on end. 

It can be difficult to establish a work-life balance

As a remote worker—and especially as a business owner—working more than eight hour days is easy. After all, you are always by your phone or laptop. Depending on where you are working from and who you are working for, you could have time zone issues as well.

It's important to talk to your bosses, clients and coworkers about your working hours. More so, you should stick to those hours. After all, working too much goes against the very reason you chose to be nomadic in the first place!  Travelling and seeing new places can only be done if you aren't on your computer all week. If you see yourself working too much, look at your budget, think about your responsibilities, take account of your time, and see how much you can cut back so that you can enjoy where you are in life and on earth.

It's impossible to plan for everything

Though I might want to plan my whole life, unfortunately, I can't do that. In fact, in the two short months that we've been in Ireland, we've had to change our plans entirely over five times. It's taught us that when it comes to both work and play, you need to be ready for plans to change.  

You should ensure that your employer or clients understand your situation. You should also be mindful of your situation yourself. As we learned the hard way, it's one thing to say it will all be okay and another to believe it. You have to know that even if you're going through challenges, fun times and adventures are around the corner.

The honeymoon will end

While it might all seem like rainbows and sunshine at first, life as a digital nomad is very similar to life as a traditional employee. No matter where you are in the world, you'll have bills to pay, plans to make, work to do and groceries to buy. 

When we first moved abroad, we expected everything to always feel like an adventure. At the same time, we planned to work during the week and travel on weekends. Unfortunately, those two things don't combine. Now, we understand that life is life and work won't be part of our nomadic adventure. We save our "dream life" for the weekends.

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Published in Work Abroad Blogs
Ashley Madden

Ashley Madden is a free-spirited digital nomad, writer, photographer and content creator. She owns Helianthus Advising through which she helps small businesses grow. In her free time, she creates videos to help the world.

Website: www.ashleymariemadden.com

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