Think about it: a warm breeze, white sand at your toes, a clear turquoise sea to gaze across...wouldn’t we all want to have that in our 9-5?
But that’s the rub: the 9-5 is diminishing further and further. Whereas flexible working and technology allowed employees to work from home, many are pushing the envelope even further, and combining work with travel.
Particularly for those in creative industries - photographers, authors, painters - where they worked was never really an issue, more so when digital disrupted everything. But office- and task-based employees are now also finding that there are no limits when it comes to combining work with a passion to see more of the world.
Travel is on the rise, as employees take their project work with them when they fly out to far flung places. And destinations don’t necessarily involve the tourist hotspots and Ramada hotels with their wi-fi; internet signals are continually getting stronger in remote places. Admittedly, there are still places on Earth that don’t allow full internet capacity, and work has to fit into this picture; these tend to be struck from the digital nomads’ list.
But, otherwise, the world is your oyster. Beautiful backdrops, no office politics, abundant history and culture…what could possibly constitute a downside?! Of course, as with anything, there are some.
Your self-discipline has to be strong; however tempting it may be to spend the morning in that azure ocean, work must be completed, sent, and within deadline. That’s what makes it different to a holiday. Connectivity has to be absolutely solid - going too far from the beaten track may pose difficulties in our 24/7 world with differing time zones, which may mean working in blocks to accommodate everyone. Because of the work and equipment you may need to carry around, on and off planes, etc., you need to travel light; again, it’s not a holiday, and you therefore don’t need a ‘holiday wardrobe’.
The positives are obvious, though. Mental stimulation, experiencing different traditions and cultures, the broadening of the mind, meeting all kinds of people…these are attributes that could not only enrich your soul but the work you do, too.
To begin your ‘digital nomadic’ existence, experts recommend starting small. Says ‘Nomadic Matt’: “Try to negotiate with your boss a four-day work week and take short trips around your area in the three days you have off. Travel doesn’t have to be about going somewhere exotic to begin with, just somewhere new - and I bet there are many ‘new’ places near you.”
Jodi (Legal Nomads) adds: consider moving into a sector where the job will involve travel, be it teaching or consulting work or engineering. Another is to keep developing skills that would be useful (mobile app developer, web designer, etc.) from anywhere. It’s not a calming choice to walk away from what you grow up being told is normal, but at the same time, if you’re excited enough about the flexibility to build life on terms you find compelling, the latter is a very rewarding option.” Indeed.
Race you to the airport!