Digital nomads usually fall into two camps, either freelancers and entrepreneurs or remote workers and telecommuters. The main difference is that freelancers and entrepreneurs run their businesses, while telecommuters and remote workers are employees of a company.
The advantage of being a freelancer or entrepreneur is that you really can make your hours and choose the work you want to do. The downside is the potential for unstable income and the constant attraction of new guests.
As a telecommuter, you have a stable income and the flexibility to travel. On the other hand, you have to contend with a toxic workplace, unreliable co-workers and the demands of a tight-knit company, not yourself.
It was the unpredictability that made employees deeply uncomfortable, so they apply for full-time remote work. No matter which path you choose or if you switch from one to another, there is always a compromise.
You just have to know what works for you. Browse any telecommuting site like We Work Remotely or Remote OK and you’ll find jobs that tend to fall under the four orders of software development, design, writing and customer service.
Throughout history, software inventors have dominated the opening of remote working and digital nomads. Fortunately for the rest of us, the trend has changed and it’s now possible to pretty much work in any profession while on the road.
However, it’s also a digital nomad career that looks like a vacation and acts like work. Let’s be honest. There’s something to be said for cultivating that Instagram persona, but you might be shooting yourself in the foot.
Surveillance is a beast and often illegal. You know you work 40+ hours a week in a stuffy hostel room with little time for sightseeing, but it’s hard to sympathize when you seem to be alive. Be prepared to burst some unpleasant bubbles about what your daily life is like.
In the words of Kristi Thompson, Customer Service Master at Help Scout, “I was at a constant low tension with my Internet connection. When she was a digital nomad in the United States and Argentina, Costa Rica, France and Austria, she learned to work near or in workplaces with a stable internet connection. I strategically planned certain hostel accommodations in Lhasa, TAR where I knew they would have the strongest Wi-Fi signal.
When I was in Dharamsala, India, there were days when it wasn’t 16 hours. However, I would sweat pellets to keep the power burning when the chop was ready to break if I had the time to plan. It was valuable to learn to always keep working.
A digital traveller who is several time zones below the pilot can easily miss this. Is it waking up at 4:00 am for meetings or giving presentations at 11:00 p.m., it’s hard to tell when you’re off the clock. In other specialities, the hours of the page must be taken care of by the customer service personnel who fixed the hours.
Be specific about setting clear guidelines for when co-workers can check you in so you don’t end up at 2 am one-on-ones. Digital nomads come in all shapes and sizes. You can travel every week or choose a place to live and stay in one country for a longer period.
When she (Kristi) burned out on a one-to-three-month pattern, I lived in Alanya, Turkey for a while because I could meet their residency requirements. It was a great base for traveling around the area but still felt like I had a home.