In this article, I share my experience as a remote life coach who started a journey as a digital nomad.
The journey included a lot of struggles adapting to a lifestyle of living and working remotely.
How will you benefit from reading my article?
Hopefully, you will find out that you’re not alone with your daily challenges living a digital nomad lifestyle.
This will boost your self-confidence and make it easier for you to take the initiative when connecting with other nomads.
Let’s dive right into it.
Getting More Control in Life – The Search For Ultimate Freedom
A common reason that people want to become a digital nomad is freedom.
A lot of people are sick of the 9-to-5 treadmill in the corporate world. They’re tired of selling their time for money. They’re sick of being told what to do by their boss – who somehow seems to make more money while doing less work.
I felt this way too.
On the other hand, the opportunity to travel the world while working remotely looked like the ultimate freedom.
No boss. No set location. No set hours. No office dress code. Paradise.
This is a strong attractor and motivator for digital nomads. And it has never been easier to find remote work or start an online business.
But I guess these facts are obvious so let’s dig deeper…
Searching For Meaning – A Lot of Digital Nomads Do
Throughout my journey, I had the chance to talk to a lot of digital nomads and online entrepreneurs.
I ended up coaching a lot of them.
That’s right…I became a digital nomads coach almost by accident. 😊
And it quickly became clear that once they have reached this ‘ultimate freedom’, the journey isn’t over.
As humans, we get used to a new reality very quickly. This is how our brains work.
So, for most nomads, this new ‘ultimate freedom’ rarely leads to true fulfilment.
Instead, it just becomes the ‘new normal’.
A New Journey
In many cases, the nomad lifestyle will give you the opportunity to begin searching for more meaning in life.
A remote job gives you more free time – and more time alone with yourself.
This creates the opportunity to explore in more depth what true fulfilment means to you.
Perhaps you were too busy in the corporate hamster wheel to consider this before…
On my journey as a digital nomads coach, I found a lot of inspiring examples of online entrepreneurs finding deep satisfaction and meaning by:
- building their online business;
- delivering value to their audience;
- building true connections with their audience;
- following their passion (hobbies like art, music, travelling etc.) and sharing it online;
- growing personally through going in front of a camera (YouTube).
How To Find Your Passion
A great question to ask yourself is: if money was no object, what would you spend your time doing?
Once you’ve found the answer to this question, explore whether there is a way to make money while also following your passion.
Many digital nomads are lucky/talented enough to build a location-independent business out of their passion.
Others have a remote job that’s unrelated to their passion, but the income and location independence still allows them to do what they truly love.
If you’re not sure what your passion is: a location-independent lifestyle gives you the opportunity to try a lot of new things.
Many people stumble across their passion accidentally while travelling, experiencing new cultures and saying “yes” to new adventures.
Longing for Connection
On one hand, it’s easy to make connections as a digital nomad.
Co-working spaces, community events and travel tours make it easy to connect with like-minded people.
However, a big concern shared by many nomads is: a lack of deeper connections.
It is not as easy to find a close friend with whom one can share deeper thoughts.
I had to learn how to make these deeper connections during my journey as a digital nomad – and it’s a topic that often pops up during my online coaching sessions.
Desire to find “The One”
As most digital nomads are single, I often came across the deep desire to find “The One”.
What if I go to my favorite café today and meet the love of my life? The partner of my dreams who is ideally also a nomad with whom I can travel with…
Or I finally find the love of my life and the reason to settle somewhere…Most nomads I asked would settle for the right partner.
These questions seem to travel together with most nomads.
I caught myself not once with thoughts like this as well. 😊
Often, it’s not that simple though.
As fate would have it, many nomads end up developing feelings for people who can’t fit into their lifestyle.
This creates all kinds of emotional dilemmas – and can lead to many nomads questioning what they really want in life.
Coping with Loneliness
During my nomad journey, I struggled with loneliness. It soon became clear that most nomads feel this way at some point.
Even if you keep yourself busy with work, travel and networking, there will still come the point where you face some alone time.
During these moments, it can feel like you are lost, especially when you are in a foreign country.
Sometimes this mood can switch also to listlessness.
We as humans all want social connection. We are hard-wired for it. It is one of our basic needs.
Sure, social media can distract us for a while, but it can’t replace a real conversation and connection.
During my nomad coaching sessions, I often find myself sharing ideas for coping with loneliness.
A lot of digital nomads to whom I spoke were searching for something.
- a sense or purpose in life;
- clarity about what they want;
- a business idea;
- a way to earn an income online;
- a more efficient way to work;
- new professional connections to work with;
- the love of their life;
- a way back to themselves.
The list goes on and on.
It seems that we are all searching for something in life.
A digital nomad’s journey manifests and channels that search.
While travelling, it’s easy to come across these people. It can be a joy to talk to people with a lot of wisdom and experience – and to learn what they are searching for in life.
It is very fulfilling and inspiring to share these stories – and discover the motives behind other people’s journeys.
Catalysts That Push People Into Remote Work
In order to make a big change in life, we often need a catalyst. Many times, this catalyst is tragic and painful.
In my case, it was a breakup from my partner that triggered me to try and work remotely.
Many of the nomads I spoke to had a similar experience.
Many were pushed to begin remote work following major life events such as:
- a breakup or divorce;
- losing or quitting a job;
- death of a loved one;
Humans tend to be risk-averse. If things are going kind of “OK”, it is rare that we will risk this to chase what we really want.
This is actually a giant shame.
Without a painful catalyst to spark us into action, many of us will never push ourselves to live our dream lives.
Then, as we get older, we begin to regret not taking enough chances and wondering “what if?”. This is perhaps the most painful experience of all.
Most of the nomads I met were ‘lucky’ enough to have experienced this painful trigger.
For them (as for myself), it was a blessing in disguise.
I would encourage you to try and push yourself to do this, without having to suffer a painful catalyst first!
Fleeing from Something
I made it a habit to ask many nomad fellows what triggered them to start their journey.
On a few occasions, I met some individuals who were fleeing from something.
- their 9-to-5 job;
- personal responsibility;
- a bad relationship with their family;
- some sort of shame or embarrassment in their home city.
In my experience, it is rarely a good long-term solution to run away from your problems.
Typically, the pain and trauma from this remains inside us until we deal with the problem head-on.
In my coaching calls, I am often helping nomads process unresolved problems, both internally and externally.
Do you have any questions about remote work?
Hopefully this article paints a clear picture of the problems that location-independent individuals tend to struggle with – and how a digital nomad coach can help.
If you have a question about leaving full-time work or living a location-independent lifestyle, make sure to drop it in the comments.
It would be great to hear from you.