You’ve probably heard the term digital nomad already. It’s been getting more and more popular – and being overused – lately. So who really call themselves digital nomads? How programming allows to work and travel the world? I’m trying to address these questions in today’s article 🙂
Who is a digital nomad?
There are many terms defining people who work remotely and travel. Such people call themselves digital nomads, location independent professionals or freelancers. I won’t focus on exact definitions here, but for me a digital nomad is a person who is location-independent, but is still doing some kind of paid professional work.
Being location-independent means that you can be at any place in the world and still get your work done. There are some limitations, like Internet access and electricity, but it’s just to grasp the general idea 😉
How programming allowed me to travel full-time?
There are many professions in which you can find a remote job. However, IT is definitely the most popular one. It’s relatively easy to find a fully-remote job, especially being a programmer. Despite remote working is very popular in western countries and in the US, it’s still not that popular in Poland. According to 2019 research results, around 30% of Polish companies allow remote working. However, most of them allow only part-time remote working e.g. one day per week. Number of companies offering 100% remote positions is much lower.
Fortunately, I managed to find my full-time, 100% remote job at Yumasoft as a software developer. Thanks to that I could start our round-the-world trip with my wife. As for the time of writing this article, we’ve been traveling for 8 months and lived in 8 different Asian countries. All this time I’ve been working remotely.
3 lessons learnt from digital nomad lifestyle
Working remotely and traveling for several months has taught me a few interesting lessons. I’m presenting 3 most interesting ones below.
We don’t need much in life
When starting our travel, we got rid of most of the things we possessed. We sold our car, unneeded clothes other stuff we didn’t take with us. We left with two 50-L backpacks (+2 small ones for laptops mostly), but with time we dropped out one of them and stayed with only one. Traveling teaches a lot about possession, especially seeing how simply people live in places like SE Asia. As soon as you decide to be a digital nomad, you just need a laptop, smartphone, chargers and a few clothes to live. Really 😉
You can work remotely as effectively as in the office
To become a digital nomad, you need to be a well-organized person. I was initially afraid if I’d be able to organize my days and work being away from the office and teammates. As it turned out, with good organization you can be as productive as sitting in the office. As a side effect, you can also happen to be drinking a lot of cheap and great Vietnamese coffee 😉
Life is too short to stay in one place
With nowadays possibilities of working remotely the world is literally open for us. I remember the excitement of coming holidays few times a year when I still lived in Poland. It was finally the time to go and see something new. Now, when traveling and changing the places we live in frequently, I’m getting bored after 2 weeks in a single place. There’s so much to see in the world that it’s not worth spending it in a single place. Just try it and you’ll see! 😉
Can you become a digital nomad?
I assume that if you read this article until this point, you either already are a digital nomad or you’re at least thinking about such a lifestyle. If you belong to the second group, let’s see – can you become a digital nomad and start traveling the world?
Of course you can! Especially if you work in IT. Try to talk with your employer about a possibility to work remotely. Even it’s not a common practice at your workplace, start by asking for a possibility to work remotely few times a month. If it goes well, why not convincing your boss to let you work more remotely and maybe even 100% remotely in the future?
If this isn’t possible at your current company, try to find another workplace. It’s really worth it! There are companies in Poland like Yumasoft offering remote positions, especially for programmers. It doesn’t even need to be a fully remote team. Our team in Yumasoft is half-remote – some of the people work in the office, while few other of us work remotely. If well-organized, every team will manage remote and asynchronous work.
There’s one feature that you should possess or gain – bravery. Don’t be afraid to take the final decision about starting a new lifestyle. Don’t think what others will say or think. Think and do it for yourself. You really don’t have much to lose, so give it a try! 😉