Given the staggering number of tips and advice floating around about how to be a digital nomad, it’s easy to think that you’ve already got it down pat. You have a good and dependable internet connection, a steady stream of clients or a trustworthy remote employer, and enough savvy to pull off a lot of yearly traveling. I can’t blame you if you start thinking of yourself as an expert on the subject!
And yet, things do change over time. We have just entered the new year, and the factors and issues that define how to become a digital nomad do not necessarily remain the same year after year. Unavoidable things like inflation, economic or political upheavals, job requirements, technology, and even personal circumstances will always affect your decision to become a digital nomad. It is vital that a digital nomad becomes aware of these factors because it can affect a lot of things in their chosen career.
So let’s take things one day at a time – or at least, a year at a time, which is fair enough timeline for a remote worker to make meaningful career or lifestyle decisions. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what a digital nomad needs in the year 2019.
Update (and upgrade) your skills list
A couple of years into your digital nomad journey can significantly add updates to your list of newly-mastered skills. You could already be an expert at operating more apps and software, picked up a new language, gotten a promotion, or traveled a couple of countries and learned all about their culture and traditions. Bear in mind that a lot of moving and taking on new clients will change you and your circumstances (hopefully for the better).
Whatever skill or experience it is you have learned, make sure that your resumė reflects it! Doing this will advertise your eagerness to keep learning from others, and how you acknowledge that you are continually evolving. Some digital nomads I know get too complacent about having enough skills and experience to start with, so they don’t bother with updating their resumė yearly. Don’t fall into this same arrogant practice because it will make your career appear stagnated.
Be aware of current events
You might want to visit a country that’s peaceful now, but might be on the brink of political upheavals in the near future. Or a location that is known for inexpensive food, lodging, and where you can stretch out your budget for longer might suddenly have monetary inflation which in turn could affect the kind of lifestyle you want to have there.
To avoid feeling trapped and helpless in a strange place, make sure you are continually updated on current events all over the world. Some digital nomads I know that have no choice about going to war-torn or “unsafe” countries are usually journalists (or similar). But if you aren’t one, it’s best to make travel decisions based on how a specific country is positioned politically, economically, and even geographically (hopefully, with no natural calamities involved when you plan to visit).
Take inventory of your communication gadgets and tools
What is a digital nomad without an army of communication gadgets? The answer: someone helpless and “cannot be reached”! With technology and innovation evolving in such a fast-paced manner, you have to know when to upgrade your current roster of communication tools or replace them altogether for more efficient ones.
Some of the stuff you always use could also be helpful in a particular place or situation but could be redundant or useless in another. So keep track of all the devices you use for your digital nomad lifestyle. You wouldn’t want to be stuck in a place where nobody could reach you, or have a hard time doing so just because your gadgets have become obsolete or entirely unreliable.
Be updated on the latest flight, cruise, or transportation prices
A lot of the digital nomads I know (including myself) keep an alert for airline promos (what many call “seat sales”) and travel agencies offering discounts for special deals. Because I travel regularly, I have an idea of how much airfare, a cruise, or land transportation fees would cost to go to an individual country at a particular time of the year. Knowing these things also help me set aside an adequate budget for traveling and all its accompanying costs.
But there was one time when I neglected to check the prices before booking a flight to an Asian country and was shocked that it was almost double the usual rate I pay! The agent informed me of how a newly-minted holiday in that country had rendered it to have “peak season” rates, which was frustrating – but there was nothing I could do about it because I didn’t bother checking. So, my bad!
Keep in touch with family and friends
Arguably the most essential item on this 2019 digital nomad to-do list is also the most personal. It was a difficult decision at first to work remotely from various parts of the globe every year because it meant less time to see my parents, siblings, and close friends. We do get together around Christmas time and on certain holidays, but even those brief reunions sometimes get compromised because of unexpected demands with my work (or unavailable flights back home). When I can tell that our gatherings have to be delayed or postponed altogether, I make sure to inform my family in advance. That way, there would be no broken promises, disappointment, heartaches, or unnecessary drama involved.
To become a digital nomad means to be aware of how fast and often things change. It’s a lifestyle that’s dependent on a lot of factors, including technology, political, geographical, and economic situations, and personal circumstances. The important thing is never to be complacent that things will remain the same from when you first started on this journey. Being aware, updated, and always open to change will make your life as a digital nomad more fulfilling and rewarding.