Pros and Cons of Being a Digital Nomad and How to Become One

Last edit July 18, 2016

Wouldn't it be awesome to travel around the world and earn money? Yes, at the same time. Become a digital nomad and make the world your office.

Making money doesn't necessarily need to fix you to one place and time. If you have skills you can sell online, why not going for a longer business holiday?

All you need is internet and a place to lay your head.

Who is a digital nomad? 

Digital nomad is a freelancer who spends most of the time on the road with a laptop, working online and discovering new places in between.

This lifestyle has become widely popular in the last couple of years. People just love to travel and what's better than earning money for another adventure?

Digital nomads are typically active people who crave for new experiences, love adventures, sports and meeting new people.

Many digital nomads choose exotic countries such as South East Asia, Carribean or Southern Europe. They usually spend most of the year abroad, either traveling from one place to another after a short period of time or they pick one place and linger there for longer.

How to become a digital nomad? 

Freelancing brings you a sense of freedom you wouldn't get with any other job. If you're a freelancer or plan to become one, why would you be stuck in one place when you don't have to?

All you need is your laptop, an internet connection, and a constant work supply to pay for your travels.

Naturally, you'll also need the initial capital to cover the plane tickets, accommodation and other costs living abroad requires.

But once you settle somewhere and start earning, it doesn't have to feel in any way different than living at home. You still have to pay rent and buy food wherever you are.

And when you save some more, you can just pack your bags and go to another place. Tempting, right?

So, if we just made you want to live like this, you might need to know what sort of jobs offer you such luxury of freedom.

What jobs are perfect to be a digital nomad?

Digital nomads usually work as copywriters, programmers, web developers, business developers, graphic designers, photographers, vloggers, bloggers, digital marketers, freelance journalists, writers, etc.

This lifestyle best suits people who work on their own projects or have clients to whom they deliver online products or content.

Writing this blog post for you from Hubud coworking in Ubud, Bali. Let me tell you, working while traveling feels absolutely great :)

The 5 best things about being a digital nomad 

1. Discovering the world

By working abroad, you earn much more than just money. Taking in the local culture, exploring beautiful places, learning new things about the world is life-changing and has a greater value than money.

2. Meeting new interesting people

You will meet many inspiring and influential people on the road, both locals and other travelers, that you can learn something from. These encounters can help develop your personality and teach you loads of valuable lessons. Also, some of them might become your future collaborates or valuable contacts.

3. You're the boss 

Your working hours and place of work is entirely in your hands which is incredibly liberating. You can work when you're most productive or take breaks anytime you want. Just don't forget to get your work done.

4. Freedom = happiness

As a digital nomad, you work from an environment of your choice. Hence, it is likely that you end up being more productive than those who cannot choose their workplace. Also, as a digital nomad, you surely travel to places that make you happy and we all know that happiness is the key to productivity and energy.

5. Better motivation to work

There are plenty of rewards waiting for you after work so you can always find a great motivation to work, like, "I'll do this and I'll go to the beach" or "If I finish this project, I can afford to buy another plane ticket". The international environment is very stimulating too, which also increases your motivation.

What are the possible challenges?

Being a digital nomad is not always glitz and glam. Three of the biggest challenges of almost all digital nomads are productivity, money and alienation.


Staying productive while traveling and having fun is a tough one. This lifestyle comes with many temptations that vacation brings.

Despite the fact digital nomads are not on vacation, they sometimes get so absorbed in the exciting lifestyle that they completely forget about work. That's when they get in trouble. They often lack money, become lethargic and careless about work or even tend to lose work habits.


Money seems to be the biggest challenge for most digital nomads. If you're doing the same kind of job every month and earn more or less the same money every month, you might still be limited with your location choices.

While your earnings might be enough to pay a very comfortable life in South East Asia, it might not be enough for living in European cities or the US.

With that said, if you have the means there’s nothing stoping you from working in the UK as foreigner. A rainy cottage with tea is quite a lovely combination. 

Also, money and freedom don't really come together. Not many digital nomads are entirely self-sustainable. There's always someone who you need to rely on and someone who you need to take seriously in between all that fun.

You have to be constantly in touch with your clients or business partners, communicate with them and perform well so they don't cut you off of your work. You need their money, after all.


Everybody gets homesick at some point. Even though most of the digital nomads chose this lifestyle because they enjoy traveling and being far from home, for many it is hard to see their friends and family only once in a while. Many digital nomads tend to get lonely, which might have a negative effect on their productivity and motivation to work.


If you're currently thinking about trying out digital nomad's lifestyle, we've got a couple of tips for you. We've been there so we know how hard it can get.

The best solution for a digital nomad is Coworking.

Working from a beach, beach cafe bar or your hotel/homestay room is as little effective as working from your living room or a coffee shop in your hometown. Wifi connection is not everything. You have to work from a place that's stimulating and productivity boosting.

Also, you meet other digital nomads from all over the world and that's motivating as well!

Coworking spaces are all around the world, it is up to you to choose whatever destination and just work and travel.

Some coworking spaces such as WeWork offer the possibility to pay just one membership and work from whichever WeWork space you choose. They even launched a new platform recently - WeLive - that offers fully equipped rooms you can stay in.

Many digital nomads choose coworking spaces in holiday places like Bali, Hawaii or Thailand so they can reward themselves for their work with surfing, diving, swimming or simply exploring the area.

If you've never tried working abroad before, don't push it and try getting only a months membership in a coworking space first and see for yourself whether this kind of lifestyle really is your thing.

If it doesn't feel right anymore, you can always quit and go back home. Or, you can settle in one place, no need to move around the world.

The greatest challenge of being a digital nomad - the unpredictable life - is at the same time the biggest advantage of it. You can always do as you please, even stop being a digital nomad :)

  • Katka Mrvova, Career Blogger at Kickresume
  • Katka Mrvova
    Career Blogger
    Author of Kickresume's popular ebook "The Jobseeker's Guide to the Galaxy". Avid traveller, photographer and recently also a fashion designer. The first writer to ever contribute to Kickresume's blog.

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