Life on the Road: The Realities of Being a Digital Nomad

digital nomad

About a year ago, I wrote a post about what it’s like to be a travel writer and some of the perks and downsides of choosing this for your profession. Oftentimes, I’m asked about how I manage to make a living as a writer and what the digital nomad lifestyle is like—I haven’t had a permanent home since graduating college three years ago. While this has been a challenge in many ways, it has also taught me a lot about what I can do as an individual and how it is possible to develop a lifestyle on the road.

Thinking about taking up the digital nomad lifestyle? Here are some things you will want to keep in mind.

You’ll need to be open to new experiences.

When I first moved to Florence, I thought I was going to be an English teacher and that I would be happy doing that on the side. After about a month and after finishing my TEFL course, I knew immediately it wasn’t for me and went back to freelance writing.

However, when I was in Lucca, I was approached to teach English privately and was offered some extra cash for a few hours of my time. Instead of shirking from the offer, knowing I hated teaching, I chose to take it. I ended up making a new friend and some money—and I learned that as a digital nomad, you need to accept whatever experience you can in order to make it feasible for the long term.

You will be worried.

Being a digital nomad is an unsure thing—you might miss a deadline because you don’t have WiFi and you might be fired, you might end up spending more than you thought you would on accommodations, your computer can break…

The list goes on and on.

There will be times where you will wonder what you’re doing and whether you’re making the right choice or not. Security is not in the digital nomad’s vocabulary and you have to be okay with that.

You will be away from the people you love.

This is the hardest part for me. When you live in many different places, you form relationships with people in those locations. I miss my friends and family in Montana, my boyfriend in New York, the new connections I made in Italy. You have to accept that you might not see the people you really care about for a long time. One of the benefits of travel is that you are always meeting new people and forming new connections, but the ones that tend to matter are far away.

You might not be able to do it forever.

I’ve come to the conclusion that while I love my nomadic lifestyle now, it probably won’t be something that I can feasibly do well into my thirties. I’m enjoying this time as a young person to explore the world and to form experiences, but I also realize that this kind of situation isn’t the most realistic for me to continue for a lifetime.

Have you ever thought about becoming a digital nomad? Or have you already and what are your thoughts?

Keep wandering,

Alex Signature Wander


  1. tk1208

    Alex, I really want to do the same thing one day. Since I can work wherever I want, the lure of travelling all over the place is definitely one I’m feeling right now. It’s nice to read this now before wading into that lifestyle. There’s always ups and downs to everything. Very cool post–you inspire me man!

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