Work from wherever.
Location free life.
All very trendy phrases at the moment; and both the phrases and the possibilities have been increasing thanks to those of us who choose to travel the world working from our laptops.
Now whilst this lifestyle may seem glamorous or exciting, let´s just bring it back a step or two and get really present to what it actually means to be a Digital Nomad, and have a location free life working from wherever we choose.
Now first of all, being a digital nomad is very different from being a freelancer who gets to take their laptop to the local café or beach, work there for the day and then return home.
(As is the case with quite a few “Digital Nomads” I have met over the past two years).
Working from wherever is also a very different concept to being a Digital Nomad, and being location free kind of likes to dance between the two concepts.
Working from wherever is simply a concept which was born with the invention of a laptop and hand-held device, which back in the 1990´s only a lot of top executives could achieve.
They would walk into their local electrical store buy a Psion Palm Pilot, a laptop the connecting cables and for up to 2 hours be able to get work done on the train between meetings.
Just reading reports and writing notes; and perhaps make a start or finish the report or presentation they too were creating.
Working from wherever isn´t a new thing. It´s now at least 30 years old.
Location free is the next step up because not only do we now have data connectivity on all our tech, but most towns, cities and some beaches have their own local WiFi provider. Normally for locals who live there, but still, if you are lucky you can tap in for free from a nearby café.
Location free isn´t the same as a Digital Nomad. Location free means you have the options available to you travel for extended periods of time, always returning to a certain place or town called home.
Many of the online entrepreneurs jumped on this band wagon of being Location free, when in fact all they did was go on holiday for 2-3 weeks taking their laptop with them, took loads of photos of them chilling out on the beach and by the pool, ready to upload to their social media profiles whilst they sat at back at home freezing their faces off in jumpers and thermals.
Being a Digital Nomad however is something very different; and something I have become without actually intending to become.
As a self-published author, I wanted to do a global book tour. I also wanted to travel the world in the most environmentally friendly way possible, i.e. no flying, only sailing and only using public transport.
And when I say sailing, I mean actually sailing, with sails not a motorised sea caravan. Not on one of those awful cruise ships which create more pollution that this article can go into right now. (Richard Branson take note with your Scarlet Lady!)
I have also wanted to live at sea for a very long time, so packing up all my things, handing over my old apartment to my ex-husband so our boys and my dogs didn´t have to move, was the next natural step in a serious of steps to take to be able to fulfil many goals.
I have been referred to as “homeless by choice” which I guess some people would find horrifying, but which I found quite amusing.
One, because I am not homeless; and two, well… it´s just an interesting comment to make about someone else’s lifestyle when said lifestyle doesn´t compute into a certain set of parameters in someone´s mind.
Being nomadic isn’t a new concept either. Humans have been nomadic since man first walked the earth.
Romany Gypsies have been travelling around the world, exempt from tax and the law, living under Gypsy Law for decades, if not centuries.
Sailors have been travelling the world for centuries living life out on the high seas where there is no law other than Mariner’s law, which actually underpins a lot of the laws on land.
Go out far enough to sea as I like doing and there really is no need for laws at all.
Baring all this in mind, and given that free spirits tend to think differently, is there any wonder yours truly became a Digital Nomad who simply travels the world, as close to the water as she can, writing articles such as this, and reading and writing as many books as she can get her hands on?
Being a Digital Nomad brings together the modern and the ancient ways of living, and really taps in the core value of freedom; so long as you are not trapped by work and social media for the whole time you are travelling.
Because then really, all you’ve done is given yourself a self-imposed prison with a great view.
The life of a Digital Nomad takes a lot out of you energetically in many ways. You have to be able, and willing, to change plans at a moment´s notice.
You have to become self-disciplined so you can “work from wherever” and still enjoy the countries you visit as you go. What would be the point of going to the country if you didn´t explore it?
Unless of course it is on the way to another place you are heading to and you need to re-provision the boat you are sailing on; or you have visa issues, which brings me onto my next point.
Making sure you understand immigration law is one of the most important things you are going to have to understand as you travel, especially if you have a passport which attaches you to a country in the midst of a huge political problem.
Keeping your eyes on current affairs may not have been something you wanted to do when you “escaped the rat race” but it is certainly something to keep in mind when losing track of time and entering new countries.
The laws of the land are as different as the people, as are the cultures and the ways in which you communicate. We all like to think we are great communicators but you try being a really enthusiastic person who uses really excitable words, who comes from a hierarchical culture and spending 6 weeks on a sailing ship with someone who thinks excitable words are only for major life events such as having a baby and buying your first home, and who comes from an egalitarian society.
Interesting times ahead for all those involved and will make you realise just how great you really do understand culture and communication, as well as cultural communication.
Life as a Digital Nomad is a great way of life, but it takes courage. It takes logistical skills to the extreme, and a level of self-belief and trust to a whole other level.
There is also a lot of alone time, and when you are not alone the level of conversation can become very tedious as the questions you get asked tend to be the same ones over and over again; hence why I have developed my own Digital Nomad webinar (which you can access via visiting DawnBates.com).
Being alone is great for the mind, body and soul because it allows you to get present to who you truly are, enables you to discover what you really want out of life and makes you realise who and what is important to you.
But then again, if you are not willing to go deep, you´ll never discover the hidden treasures which lurk beneath the surface.