Being location independent used to be just a dream for most people. But, nowadays, there are more and more of us digital nomads, lucky enough to enjoy this lifestyle. Making a living whilst on the road sounds like perfection to most people, sitting on a beach somewhere, cocktail in hand, typing away on your laptop whenever you feel like it. However, like any job, it has it’s struggles. Granted, these are all very much #firstworldproblems, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that sometimes the struggle is very very real. Here’s why;
1) I can only eat/sleep/breathe in places that have free wifi. This is pretty self explanatory. The first thing all digital nomads check about a hotel/hostel is whether or not it has free wifi. If I don’t have wifi, I end up acting like a hormonal teenager; everything is the end of the world and any little thing irritates me. Hence, I NEED wifi. It’s basically my job to be connected to the internet. Sorry, not sorry.
2) I want to travel light but I have SO MUCH TECH. I don’t want to bring my laptop because it’s bulky (well, mine is) but I also HATE blogging/working from my iPad/phone/tablet. I struggle with this all the time. When I’m trying to travel on hand luggage only, the last thing I want is to bring my laptop. BUT whenever I leave it behind I regret it massively. SO MANY DECISIONS!! How is a girl supposed to cope??
3) EVERYONE I meet tells me I’m on my phone too much. I’m sorry, I know, but my job has no set hours and I have no will power. Not only that, I have people all over the world in different time zones checking up on me. Don’t get me wrong, if I’m about to hop into bed with the man of my dreams I’ll throw my phone across the room in a heartbeat. But if I get an important email during dinner that needs an immediate reply, I’ll make my apologies and damn well reply to that email. Plus I just discovered SnapChat, so I’m addicted.
4) I have to remind myself that I actually DO have to work. I want to go do that cool activity and check out that beautiful view, but I haven’t posted anything in 3 days and my page views are dropping and it’s prime Instagram/Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter time and I just got an important email and I have a deadline. Annnnnnd breathe. It may be a beach, or a hostel, or a coffee shop, but it’s officially my office and I can’t always leave the office early. Damn it. The hardest part is trying to refuse an invite to a beach party/boat party/jelly wrestling match because you actually want to get some work done in the morning.
5) I have to keep telling EVERYONE ELSE that I am working. It’s hard when people ask about my job/ how I afford to travel and do not understand my answer at all. I can’t say, “I’m one of those digital nomads”, because I’d sound like a completely pretentious dick. Soooo, they either think I’m some sort of unemployed bum living off the charity of strangers, a straight up hooker, or I’m just a rich kid living off daddy’s money. Trying to explain that I may be in a tropical setting, but I am actually working to earn my own money is often hard and gets kind of repetitive. Sometimes I just make stuff up. For example, I could be a mystery novelist travelling around researching crimes for my latest thriller.
6) Getting sick. Ok, so everyone gets sick, but it’s a little different for digital nomads. When I’m dying of food poisoning but I’ve still got a blog post to write/deadline to meet/video to edit because I work for myself and nobody’s going to give me sick pay or fill in for me, no matter how many times I bat my eyelashes. There’s usually no one there to take care of me because they’re all out partying or enjoying their holiday or whatever healthy people do while I’m vomitting in a shared bathroom. Life is sometimes just not fair at all. The only upside is that depending on where you are in the world, medication can be a lot easier to get.
7) Battery issues. Constantly having to carry a spare battery with me because my phone just never lasts a day (yep, I know, because I’m always on it) can be frustrating. Those things can be heavy. And forget trying to find anywhere to plug my charger in, and even if I did then I’d have to carry the charger AND the converter (I have like a million but no idea where any of them are) around with me . Not to mention, if I do find a socket it’s usually beside the toilets with not a chair or table in sight. It’s all just so much hard work sometimes.
8) Protecting the tech. Trying to protect my gadgets from sand/sea/animal exposure or thieves is a serious concern when I’m working on the road. I’ve seen a GoPro lost to the ocean. I’ve also had a laptop stolen from a hostel. I’ve seen opportunists trying to steal a camera at a party in Rio. When your tech is not just your social life, when it’s your work, you’ve got to watch that shit like a hawk!
9) Time zone issues. Oh there’s an important Twitter convo/ interview/ family event I have to be online for? Great, it’s at 2am my time, lucky I’m in Asia where their energy drinks are basically just amphetamines in a can…. oh wait no……. I’m in Europe…… caffeine pills it is! Zzzzzzzzzz
10) Living out of a suitcase sometimes sucks. Basically I’m forever leaving places and people, and that’s not always fun. I miss my friends from home, my family, my pets. I especially miss them at times like reason #6. Then there’s relationships, well that’s next to impossible. What are the odds that you’ll meet someone that can travel with you? Slim, and even if you can, well……. if you’ve been reading my blog for long enough you’ll know that doesn’t always work out. hah. Then there’s the whole long distance thing. To be honest, I used to think that I’d never do that, mainly because I’d only ever had negative experiences, people trying to make me jealous and childish stuff like that. But now, I’ve kind of changed my mind. I reckon it MIGHT be possible if it’s a super cool, ruggedly handsome, kinda person. hah. BUT ENOUGH ABOUT MY PERSONAL LIFE! Digital nomads have it (kinda) hard , that’s all I’m saying.
11) My phone is ALWAYS running out of storage space. That little symbol just won’t go away. I keep trying to delete my photos, but I just keep taking more! And my phone is MASSIVE. It’s a Galaxy Note 3.