It seems like everywhere we look, more and more people are choosing to become digital nomads and embracing the #workfromanywhere lifestyle. While the thought of living and working on the road is what a lot of people aspire to do, it’s important to realize that once you take the leap, it isn’t all just sangria on the coast of Spain (although that is an added perk).
When you’re thinking about becoming location independent, either working remotely for a company, freelancing, or realizing that your current business simply requires an internet connection and a good cup of coffee... it’s important to remember these three things:
Slow Travel Is Sustainable Travel
When you’re starting this new chapter of your life, odds are you’re going to want to book a ticket around the world and head to a different country every week. Heed my advice: slow travel is sustainable travel.
If being a digital nomad or location independent is something you want to keep up for a while, make an effort to be in one place for 3 to 4 weeks at a time so you can truly make the most of your experience.
Being on the road takes time and energy, but when you’re fully immersed in a place for around a month, there are endless benefits. You’ll be able to feel settled, create a routine, and most importantly be able to be present instead of worrying about the next plane ticket you have to buy or when the next train leaves.
When you opt for slower travel, it also allows you to become fully immersed in the culture you’re in. When you’re in a new country or city for 4 to 5 days, you’ll only just scratch the surface of what it has to offer.
Learn How To Work Smarter, Not Harder
Don’t believe the Instagram hype. Being a digital nomad doesn’t mean that you’ll be on the beach in the Amalfi Coast all day long or ziplining through Guatemala from sunrise to sundown. While these new experiences might be part of your journey, don’t forget that you’ll still need to work to pay the bills (and lattes).
Choosing to work from anywhere will force you to work smarter, not harder. With new experiences, people, and places at your fingertips, you’ll learn how to get the essentials done in less time so you can enjoy where you are.
A few ways to keep things under control especially when starting out....
When planning your travel, think about where your team or clients are based so that you don’t have to work odds hours. Let’s be real, conference calls at 2 am in Thailand isn’t ideal.
Create a new schedule that allows you to still respect your ideal working hours while you’re on the road so you can stay balanced and happy while still checking off items on your to-do list.
Consider spending “off-peak” hours exploring so that you aren’t stuck behind a computer all day long. If you’re traveling through Europe and your team is in the U.S., consider taking the morning hours to get to know your new city so that when everyone else is headed into the office (6 hours later) you’ll be readily available without regret.
Find Community That Fosters Deep Connection
“Why do I need to find community? I have my friends and family at home as my support system.”
While that may be true, one of the things that connects us as human beings is shared experiences. When you start life on the road, you’ll find yourself longing for real connections with others who are on the same path. Loneliness as a location independent worker is real.
While you’ll meet a lot of new people, it’s important to go the extra mile to foster relationships that aren’t just surface level.
Many people who work and travel choose to stay at coliving spaces exactly for that reason. Coliving is an up-and-coming trend where you live and work with other like-minded people for a period of time, normally between 2 - 8 weeks.
Something I’ve seen time and time again at one of the leading coliving spaces in Europe is when you’re in a place that offers both personal and professional development, you seem to connect on a deeper level. Sharing a space and certain experiences with others positively impacts life on the road and creates long-lasting friendships.
Choosing to work and travel the world is now easier than ever and such a rewarding experience at the same time. Be sure to do your research before you get ready to take the leap and remember that slow and steady wins the race. You want to make the most of your digital nomad experience and when you set yourself up for success before even leaving home, you’ll have that much more of an opportunity to thrive along the way.
Sienna Brown is an entrepreneur and expat thriving on the coast of Spain. Her mission is to teach others how to build a life that they love. She’s the founder of Las Morenas de Espana, a platform teaching women of color how to move abroad and thrive. She also leads business development at Sun and Co., one of the leading coliving spaces in Europe. Follow her on Instagram @siempregirando and reach out firstname.lastname@example.org