Working Nomads: How Does It Really Feel To Be a Remote Worker?
Less than a week ago, in one of the cutest coffee shops in Nha Trang, Mark and I had an engaging conversation with one couple from Russia. They have recently arrived in Nha Trang on their vacation and decided to stop by the coffee shop, where we were at, to get a smoothie.
Not speaking any English or the Vietnamese language made it difficult for them to place an order, so they asked us to translate. A simple request to help grew into the conversation about life, work, and travels. We talked for a few hours learning about each other work and life scene, and that particular conversation prompted me to write today’s post about remote work and lifestyle of working nomads.
Who are Working Nomads?
Working nomads are people who live and travel abroad while working online. They decide how much time to spend in one place and where to go next. More and more folks try to go remote and work from home instead of sticking to office life.
Recently, we have chosen this path for ourselves too, and until this day keep learning what is it like to work remotely. Even though working nomads lifestyle is not all sunshine and rainbows, we personally wouldn’t trade it on anything else. However, after meeting that couple in Nha Trang’s coffee shop we re-evaluated our approach to remote work.
How Does it Feel to be a Working Nomad?
No one ever really felt pity for us working independently without a need to go to the office. Surprisingly those two did. There was enough pity in their voices when Mark and I told them we came to the coffee shop to work on our laptops, and that in general, we were working nomads.
“You are probably feeling lonely, aren’t you? Since you are not physically present with your colleagues you most likely don’t stay in the loop too,” the guy commented.
“And it may be difficult to cope with the absence of discipline,” his wife added.
“Discipline? Loneliness? Staying in the loop? Seriously?”
Wow, those are all great thoughts that we have never really considered before going remote. We love being flexible and independent, and most importantly location free. Working away from the office helps us personally do things we love, be mobile, and have a balance in life. Apparently, not everyone sees it as a benefit. After having a conversation with people who prefer working among others and sticking to a certain schedule helps us look at remote work from a different angle.
I put some thought into this topic and realized that each aspect of remote work can be seen differently by different people. It is not really about the pros and cons of working nomads lifestyle. Because what I consider to be an advantage may look like a big disadvantage for you and vise versa.
Thanks to Online world remote work can help you move freely between the borders and choose where to base.
Our dream is not only to travel the world but to live on each continent at least during a short period of time. If your goal is similar then becoming a working nomad will help you accomplish that.
It will be possible though only if you are working for yourself or a company that lets you work internationally. Otherwise, you can be limited to some walls of a particular place. There are a lot of jobs from home that limit you in terms of location and require to have a home office, stable wifi signal, or be in a one-time zone.
If you decide to go remote, don’t overlook requirements and check what a company asks for. Desires change and you may want to settle down in one place with time. But even in that case, you’ll be free to decide on your own.
Those people who appreciate living in one place without a need to move around can find any remote work a bit challenging in terms of money. Usually, salaries are lower if you work remotely comparing to the same type of job in the office. Also, depending on the position and currency your earnings are in, it may be difficult to live in a more expensive location.
ABILITY TO MAKE YOUR OWN SCHEDULE
Our new acquaintances see an ability to make their own schedule as a destructive pattern which leads to lack of discipline. They prefer situations when someone tells them at what time and how much to work.
People who are like them, who work at home, also may distract from work with home chores, phone calls, neighbors, and some other things. Offering them to create their own schedule most likely will turn into the stress.
Other people, who are like us, find motivation when given a choice to decide on their own hours. We get really pumped because it means we can hustle and finish our work faster, and spend more time with each other.
Another note is that from time to time I become a night owl who gets more productive in the evening while Mark works better in the morning and early afternoon. Being able to decide on our schedule helps us 100 percent. Does it motivate you?
NO NEED TO COMMUTE
When you don’t commute to and from work you save money and lots of time. Additionally, you are engaging in positive ways of making our planet better and greener. When we lived in Los Angeles we were spending alone more than two hours per day in a car and traffic jam just to commute to work, not to mention a few hundred dollars splashed on gas.
Instead of wasting your life on a constant commute, there is a chance to work smarter getting the best out of your time. Working remotely is the best bet for that.
Nonetheless, in our experience, there is a percentage of people who don’t mind commuting. They enjoy the drive, read a novel on a bus, go together with a colleague, be able to call a friend, or listen to a podcast. If you are one of them then remote work will take this pleasure away.
To be honest, I haven’t thought about this one until I met that Russian guy in a coffee shop. With my type of personality, I don’t mind working alone away from other people.
My job actually includes tasks when I am helping others, but there is no need to be physically present with someone in the same room. Moments of socialization are not essential at all. I actually find it more distracting working among other people than alone, but there are folks who can go bananas from lack of communication and physical interaction.
At the present time, while working remotely, I am making lots of calls, meeting people from different backgrounds, and being socially active. So active that I need to unplug and take a break. All the communication which is happening online works great for me.
It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea though. There are a lot of people out there who prefer spending time with their peers, sharing ideas, or going out for lunch together. Depending on your type of personality remote work can either increase your productivity or make you feel isolated.
As you can see, it doesn’t make sense to single out only the advantages or disadvantages of working nomads lifestyle. What one person perceives as a gain another one can regard as a loss.
At this stage of life, we are enjoying the ability to work remotely and viewing it as a way to learn new skills and grow. Somebody else may be struggling, wishing to return back into the office life.
Anya is originally from Ukraine but in heart she is a citizen of the world. She is working online and that’s why has an opportunity to travel a lot and live in different countries. At present time, she is based in Spain while waiting for the war in Ukraine to be over to be able to return home. On this blog, her main goal is to inspire others to travel to under-the-radar places and discover the world while working remotely.
Hi Anya, Loved reading few posts on your blog. I found your blog as I was researching about Ukraine.
I have successfully built an online business where I make good enough money that I can live anywhere in the world.
I am from India and currently 31 and single. Even though I dream about it, but My biggest challenge is I find the hardest thing to do is to travel alone, that’s the reason I haven’t done it yet.
I am an introvert and I feel if I travel alone I will be just isolated in my hotel room with the fear of going out alone.
I have lived and worked in the U.S. for 6 years. Built my online business and now even travel to china often for business.
But to go to any new country without knowing anyone feels exciting but scary.
Do you have any advise or tips how can I start traveling alone ?
Hi Nick, first of all, thank you for checking out my blog, if you found it helpful – I am happy.
I know exactly what you mean when saying that you may feel isolated in your hotel room during your travels. I’ve been there too sometime ago. Today, even though we travel with Mark often, I still love traveling by myself and be completely alone.
My first advice for you to become comfortable when traveling alone (the issue is not to start traveling, but not to have an anxiety and fear, right?) is to start with small travels in a place where you are currently living. Do not plan big trips to foreign places if you are not comfortable traveling around/in a place that seems familiar. Start with small things. And let me ask you, what is the true reason behind your fear?
You are mentioning that you are an introvert. But what exactly is scaring you off? Being around the people or not being able to socialize? Do you worry that people you are going to meet won’t be nice?
To be able to give more tips that actually help, it would be useful to understand underlying reasons.
I recently started working on a post about the fears and doubts that keep us from traveling. It should be up within the next a few weeks. Hopefully it will be inspiring.
I love reading about your experiences traveling and living as a working nomad. This has been my dream for a while, but it was hard to get started and until recently, I didn’t have an employer that would allow remote working at all. But I joined a new company and they now allow full remote work, which is exciting! My biggest barrier still though is that I am confined to a regular work shift – I can’t leave early or start late or work different days. They offer some flexibility with that, but only a little bit. I would still need to be available for meetings, even if those meeting times would be very odd hours for me.
So, I’m still not sure whether I could travel full-time the way you and your husband have, but I am enjoying reading your blog to learn all your tips and see if I can still find a way to make it work! I’m hoping to learn a lot and also convince my boyfriend to try this lifestyle with me.
Thanks for sharing all your great insight!