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The Emergence Of A New Lifestyle: The Digital Nomad

09/06/2016 01:54 pm ET | Updated Sep 07, 2016

 Recent years have seen the emergence of a new lifestyle that is growing in popularity all around the world: Life as a Digital Nomad.

The term “Digital Nomad” refers to a location independent lifestyle that allows digital freelancers and internet entrepreneurs to work remotely from anywhere in the world via the internet while nurturing their passion for travelling and exploring new cultures and countries.

A growing number of Wi-Fi and broadband cellular networks in addition to the advent of cloud services have enabled this kind of lifestyle from almost any country in the world.

Digital Nomads frequently work from coffee shops, hotels or cafes, and the saturation of affordable wireless-capable electronic devices in the consumer electronics market have allowed for easy and affordable ways to connect with clients, staff and business partners.

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While Digital Nomads incur more frequent travel expenses and forgo the comforts of a regular home, their savings on other core expenses such as rent, car or utilities can be substantial, especially since cost of living in other countries is often much lower.

Employing the services of a digital nomad can also be advantageous to a company as nomads usually work on a freelance / independent contractor basis and don’t require benefits such as health insurance, social security etc. Nor does an office or work space have to be provided and all communication happens digitally at no extra expense to the client.

While digital nomads enjoy an unusual degree of freedom and adventure in their lives, this kind of lifestyle also has its downsides.

Like every freelancer or entrepreneur, a digital nomad is fully responsible for every aspect of their professional lives, incl. generating income on a consistent basis and attracting new clients. This can be  challenging in regions where infrastructure is weak and internet not consistent or steady.

Bookkeeping, taxes, insurance and even something as basic as finding a good computer or mobile phone repair can be challenging and frustrating at times, especially with looming deadlines.

Managing different time zones when communicating with clients or business partners can be complicated and require additional planning. As can internet restrictions in countries such as China or unsecure connections when shared wifi in hotels or public places is the only available internet source.

On a personal level, this lifestyle can lead to loneliness and depression, especially when friends and family are far away. Travelling for a few weeks during a vacation is different from travelling continuously without a home base to return to. Not everyone is suited for the uncertainty and restlessless that are part of the nomadic lifestyle and this can lead to mental and physical exhaustion.

Overall though, most Digital Nomads seem to thrive on their unusual lifestyle and genuinely enjoy the freedom and adventure that come with it. Their numbers are constantly growing all around the globe , as is the number of companies wanting to work with them.

The growing evolution of digital tools and gadgets as well as the emergence of ever new budget travel resources and travel search engines will only further enhance the options for anyone choosing this lifestyle. There is already an entire industry catering specifically to digital nomads and this will only grow in years to come.

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