Thinking of Going Nomadic? Reality Check From a Nomadic Designer

Marina Janeiko 3 years ago 11

If you are a professional in the digital field chances are you already heard a thing or two about digital nomads on Twitter, maybe stumbled upon Surf Office’s inspiring blog posts, or have wondered what’s the deal behind the trending Nomadlist. If you think something is going on — you’re right. There’s definitely something going on — the digital nomad community is growing, becoming connected and getting more and more remarkable work done via collaboration online.

If you think that’s something too distant and unobtainable for you — you’re wrong. Thinking “well, good for them!” might be the biggest obstacle to see the reality.

In the words of Kavi Guppta, nomadic writer for Forbes — “No other generation has had the freedom to carve out their own lifestyle”. This is not “good for them!”, this is “good for you!”.

With this article I’m touching the tip of the iceberg on the reality of what stands between you as a digital professional and your desired lifestyle. About myself: I am a UX designer, digital nomad and founder of What’s It Like. I’m inspired to be part of the growing #Nomad community, I work on the road for more than 5 years now and I’ve been working on What’s It Like from Southeast Asia, South America and Europe.


So here we go.

Common concerns (or should I say excuses)


– This lifestyle brings too much uncertainty

True. But so does your current lifestyle. Doing what others are doing and not sticking out often gives the illusion of certainty. Nothing is certain, it’s scary to realize, but it’s true. So grow a pair and choose to see the reality. Seeing the world without sacrificing your business is as real as you losing an important client tomorrow.

– I’m already too old to venture into this

So what are you going to do about it? Wait till you become younger? There’s just nothing else I can say to this. And how old are you anyway to make that kind of excuses?

– I have no money to travel

Good, it means you have to use your head and creativity from the very beginning. During my travels I’ve seen people on the road selling custom designed posters and books to sponsor their travels, people working at national parks as part time rangers to save up for the next country to visit, people exchanging their design or development skills for accommodation. If your location independent business is doing ok, you won’t need to do that and chances are you’ll be able to save money while traveling if you choose more affordable regions.

– I am not one of those super stars who launch multiple successful products on the road or start getting top notch clients line up for my remote services

Every time you start thinking others are more entitled than you — just stop that train of thought. They worked hard on it, and that’s what you have to do. Gotta start somewhere.

– I don’t know anything about working in other countries

That’s really simple. Just ask the community.

– So what am I getting? Just working from another location?

Apart from the more practical benefits, I’d say you’re getting something that does not often present itself while you’re in your comfort zone — proof of your human ability and confidence that you and only you decide how to live your life because everything you do can not be explained by anything else but your free choice.

Some practical stuff


If you’re thinking about going nomadic — stop worrying, start organizing yourself because one thing that you’ll start missing a lot is time.

You’ll have to juggle many things at once — finding accommodation, booking stuff, finding best places to work from, seeing places, talking to other travelers and getting advice, doing your work. This may put you in overdrive. Think about the following:

No overtime. Overtime will exhaust you. Learn about productivity enhancing strategies.

Delegate things — don’t spend 3 days torturing yourself over a 500 word article if writing is not your best skill. Find someone to help you, in exchange for some help from you. Trust me, you’ll do what you’re good at in no time for someone who will happily do something they’re good at for you.

Automate and organize your work — use tools that help you stay organized, communicate and collaborate with your team and clients more effectively without losing focus.

Being a digital nomad takes hard work, and it’s ok to drop this idea if you think hard work is not for you. But please, don’t drop this idea because of your illusions about the obstacles that stand between you and your goals.

This is a guest post written by an independent contributor. If you have something you’d like to appear in our blog, drop us a line to [email protected] with a draft or topics you would be interested to write about.

Marina Janeiko

Marina Janeiko is an independent UX designer, digital nomad and founder of What's It Like

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