There’s a particular school of thought surrounding digital nomadism that has finally grated on me to the point where I felt the need to write this sternly worded letter to the digital nomad manager.
This letter – or, perhaps, an ill-judged rant to let off some steam – is directed at a certain type of digital nomad who lets the life they lead to seep into every orifice and let it consume them in the worst way possible.
Recently, I’ve been reading more and more articles on digital nomadism, which is something I didn’t really do in the past. Some of the articles are phenomenal and give an amazing insight into how to make it as a working traveller, how to manage finances, and how to really find the optimal work-life balance – these articles are practical, informative, and enough for even a beginner to sink their teeth into.
However, I’ve seen a few other articles on the internet where the author has quite boldly (and proudly) claims no-one will ever understand what it’s like to be a digital nomad and the life we lead is tightly-wrapped in some confidential folder unable to be opened by the “common person”.
I even read one article (or maybe even a long Reddit post) where the author stated they found it difficult to go back to their hometown because close friends and family just didn’t understand the digital nomad life and could never comprehend the struggles this life brought with it.
This pretentiousness just oozes and drips from the page like too much butter on a bagel.
Of course there are struggles and hardships associated with living out of a suitcase and not staying in one place too long.
Of course there are times of isolation and loneliness.
Of course there are times when you just want to pack it in and have a real home to go to.
And, of course, these struggles might be different from what others have experienced in their lives, but the feeling is still the same regardless of what lifestyle or occupational choice they’ve made.
Taxi drivers struggle.
Hell, even the richest person in the world struggles.
The idea that struggle is incomprehensible to people just because you’ve chosen the digital nomad is both condescending and patronising.
Call me cynical or a little too sensitive to this, but come on now. I can’t be the only one thinking this is total bullshit.
I’ve often wondered where this idea of people not understanding digital nomadism even came from. I’ve been backward and forwards between countries for the better part of my 20s and I’ve never encountered anyone who “just didn’t understand” the lifestyle. They’ve asked me questions about it and have genuinely seemed interested in what I had experienced – not once was there any head-scratching over anything I explained.
Perhaps this all came from the misguided idea that work and travel combined is seen as a luxurious pastime for the lucky few brave enough to venture into or perhaps it has to do with these authors spending way too long locked in their own heads away from the rest of civilisation.
Regardless, I think it’s becoming increasingly clear there are certain digital nomads who rely heavily on pretense and view the whole concept as a way to ostracise themselves from the “normies” to appear more interesting – this, ultimately, is ridiculous to the point of humourous.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t think people care all that much as these authors think they do.
Realistically, all we do is work in different countries and explore new things. That, inherently, is very cool and interesting, and I’ve personally had a blast doing it for a living, but not enough for it to be mind-blowingly obtuse or complex.
Yes, it’s somewhat out of the ordinary not to be working a 9-5 day job.
Yes, it’s kind of weird to be temporarily holed up in different locations year in and year out.
Yes, it’s particularly strange to be living out of a backpack for extended periods of time.
However, we’re not a clique and we’re certainly not that hard to comprehend.