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How do you take care of your mental health during the transition to a digital nomad lifestyle?


by @kalitherapy | 5yr  | 8 comments

Iโ€™m a professional psychotherapist who is starting out in this lifestyle and Iโ€™m curious to hear what specific psychological struggles people had to overcome while making the transition to life as a DM. Also, what do you do to stay mentally healthy while traveling to foreign lands. Iโ€™m interested in hearing any insights people may have, especially since I am working on a book on psychological resilience and I canโ€™t think of a more stressful transition than moving from a static to a nomadic lifestyle. If youโ€™re not comfortable putting your experiences on a public forum, feel free to PM me.

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@kalitherapy | 5yr

Thank you all so much for your thoughtful and introspective replies so far, I am really enjoying thinking about themโ€ฆ

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

I donโ€™t really have a lot of issues with loneliness or being away from friends/family. Iโ€™m a real introvert and make my money writing so the isolation really suits me. Iโ€™m at my most productive when I have uninterrupted periods of time to get into a flow state.

The hardest thing for me to cope with when transitioning to a new location is the mental overhead of things like learning a new transport system, shopping for food in a different culture/language, etc. The every day things that become more difficult. Itโ€™s not so much a stress thing but that it pulls me out of my work focus.

At the moment, Iโ€™m in Tokyo. Iโ€™ve spent a lot of time here previously so there was no settling in period which has increased my productivity significantly.

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@lantano | 3yr

Tokyo or Japan in general is a good place inspiration for creative writers :wink: You are in one of the best backdrop, setting for your next material!

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@syneryder | 5yr

Personally, I find thatโ€™s actually a reason to travel to foreign lands. I remember my extended stays in Berlin and in Hawaii as some of the happiest times Iโ€™ve ever had, happier than day-to-day life at home. I woke up in Berlin every single day feeling incredibly lucky & grateful for the opportunity I had.

One trick I had in Berlin if I felt slightly below 100% was to go and sit in the train station for a while and watch all the people going by. Inevitably someone would ask me for help with directions, and it felt great to help someone & practice a foreign language at the same time.

I donโ€™t find life on the road terribly difficult. I bypass the โ€˜lonelinessโ€™ by trying to attend events & conferences in the places I travel to, which helps me build a network of friends worldwide to meet with as I travel.

What is difficult is a transition to life back home. Family & friends at home will be more focused on โ€˜smallerโ€™ things, because theyโ€™re living within a smaller world. They will be more interested in gossip and what is on television, which feels very difficult to deal with when youโ€™re used to meeting new people everyday from all over the world. I donโ€™t have a solution to this, besides planning another trip to look forward to and accepting that Iโ€™ll be grumpy on my return home for several weeks. Though I also try to treat my home city as a tourist when I return, exploring and noting the changes & trying to find unique things to appreciate.

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@kalitherapy | 5yr

The transition back to โ€˜homeโ€™ and interacting with family and friends who stayed behind and the difficulty this creates for some people. You raise a great point I havenโ€™t thought about until now. I worked with a few Peace Corps and other international volunteers in the past, while in the Washington, DC area and they struggled with this same issue as well. Especially when many of them were improving the lives of villagers or working with war torn refugees and now they are listening to their friends and family complain about nonsensical issues (i.e. โ€œFirst World problemsโ€).

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@gnefkow | 5yr

I donโ€™t know that this lifestyle is for everyone. At the end of the day, moving to a new place can be very lonely - especially when you first get there. It helps to know that this is always just a phase of moving anywhere and that, eventually, youโ€™ll get through it and meet people.

Iโ€™ve learned that one way to curb the loneliness is to find places to live where there will be people around. Hostels are great because there are lots of other travelers coming in and out. City centers will have places to go that are within walking distance and opportunities to meet people. Coworking spaces are also good ways to quickly surround yourself with a group of like-minded people (if youโ€™re lucky enough to be a developer/designer/entrepreneur/ etcโ€ฆ)

When it comes to meeting people, Iโ€™ve just found youโ€™ll be at the extremes. You get to have conversations with people that are MUCH more different than you would if you never leave your comfort zone. At the same time, sometimes you spend friday night drinking a beer alone and reading a book. It isnโ€™t good or bad, it is just the trade you make. For people who value โ€œinterestingโ€ conversation, this is fantastic. For those who value deeper, more intimate conversations, you can still find them, but theyโ€™ll be more rare.

In general, I think that most people would agree that there are some things that the lifestyle forces you to develop that are rewarding.

The first is minimalism. Weโ€™ve all given up a lot of physical crap to get here and, from what Iโ€™ve experienced and read, most of us donโ€™t miss it. It clears our minds. Everything that I own can be carried on to a plane which means everything has been thought out and selected on purpose. I understand the word โ€œneedโ€ in a different way now. I place higher value on things like โ€œexperiencesโ€ and โ€œconversationsโ€ than I do on items. Even most of the items that I do obsess over are tools like my camera or exactly how much computer stuff I need to do my job. I donโ€™t celebrate them for what they are, but what they enable me to do.

Second, for those of us who work on remote teams, we learn to be a lot more focused. Our schedules donโ€™t align with our teams and we depend much more on written communication. We train ourselves to concentrate more, be more productive for shorter periods of time, and express our productivity to others (because they donโ€™t SEE us every day, so our presence needs to be known in other ways). Similar to the way we manage physical objects, this means we have to be a lot more deliberate and conscious of the work that we do.

We also learn - because we have to - to go with the flow. The simplest things are hard when you donโ€™t speak the language. The internet will stop working and you donโ€™t know why. You have to pay attention to the locals to know where the safe and unsafe areas of town are. Stuff isnโ€™t open on Sundays. Every little thing is a challenge and some things take a lot longer than the โ€œshould.โ€ We learn to roll with it - we appreciate the journey because it will always be an interesting story later.
In general, I think that some people are more driven by new experiences and this is a rather extreme version of that. I know that I, personally, get board easily and this satisfies that problem for me.

Iโ€™m also incredibly lucky to be currently living in places with a much lower standard of living than I am used to. When I have conversations with the locals, Iโ€™m daily reminded about how lucky I am to be where Iโ€™m from, to make what I make, and to have been raised in such a peaceful and stable place. When your Uber driver tells you about starting his life over because of the violence in his home village, you start to see your own life from a different perspective.

Iโ€™ve become a lot more introspective since I started travelling. I read more. Write more. Contemplate things more. When I walk away from wherever Iโ€™m staying my phone no longer has internet - anyone who wants my attention will have to wait until later. I can sit and read at a restaurant without interruption.

Personally, I spend less time with โ€œjunk food,โ€ like netflix and facebook. I still fire them up when Iโ€™m feeling home sick or want to relax, but it becomes a treat once every week or two rather than a staple of my evening. I can walk outside and find something interesting - I donโ€™t have to rely on my computer.

So, at the end of the day, I would say that you adjust to the lifestyle and learn to become more open to experience and more introspective - both of which stretch your independence muscles. It helps to consciously recognize how lucky you are to experience things that most people donโ€™t get to experience. It feels good.

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Hi Aaron! Itโ€™s interesting you brought that up. Although Iโ€™m a online career coach and help others figure out ways of having a happy career, Iโ€™m always struggling with the questions that come along this journey like โ€œwhat are you looking forโ€, or โ€œare you traveling to celebrate freedom or to run away from something you donโ€™t likeโ€ when is it time to settle again", โ€œam I too old for thisโ€, โ€œwhere should I go nextโ€(this one nomadlist really kinda helped me with), "how long should I stay(this one the visa limits kind answer for itself), โ€œwhat is home for meโ€, โ€œis it possible to have a family with this lifestyle that Iโ€™ve learned to love so muchโ€, and many more. Those are the ones that โ€œvisit me the mostโ€ during my everyday daily mediation sessions. It would be nice to hear other DN thoughts on this, so if you do have some research on this as a professional counselor, Iโ€™d be very interested in reading or exploring it further because this community is growing exponentially and Iโ€™d like to figure out some ways to deal with these questions in a productive way. Many of my clients in Brazil who are becoming DN will struggle with this as well so I want to be able to help them out, too. Thank you!!!

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@kalitherapy | 5yr

Maxi,

Meditation is a great start I believe. Although no research on digital nomads and mental health exist. The studies on the work/life benefits of the various types of meditation (from mindfulness, to sitting and walking styles to yoga) are numerous. Also, knowing exactly why you are choosing this lifestyle seems to be important factor on a personโ€™s psychology as well. You bring up the issue of negative thoughts, e.g. โ€œam I too old for this.โ€ This is a common issue that everyone struggles with and is a popular topic of cognitive behavioral therapists. Thanks for replying to my post and I hope others chime in!

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Read and participate in 13,918 discussions on Nomad List

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Any nomads working on startups?

 

by @mattlock | 3mo 2 months ago | 33 comments

Hoping to see all the cool stuff people are working on while they live an extraordinary life.

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Any Ph.D students dissertating while a digital nomad?


by @larsheather | 3mo 3 months ago | 5 comments

Anyone know of any groups or resources for Ph.D. students working on dissertation while living as a digital nomad? I know there are several virtual writing groups around, but wondered if there were any specifically for digital nomads, particularly those who are dissertating.

Thanks!

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Any Ph.D students dissertating while a digital nomad?


by @larsheather | 3mo 3 months ago | 5 comments

Anyone know of any groups or resources for Ph.D. students working on dissertation while living as a digital nomad? I know there are several virtual writing groups around, but wondered if there were any specifically for digital nomads, particularly those who are dissertating.

Thanks!

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Does international health insurance for digital nomads exist?

 

by @al_steffen | 3mo 3 months ago | 59 comments

Hey Nomads!

Iโ€™m looking for an international health insurance (no travel insurance) for my nomadic life. It should cover the basic services and at least be accepted in the EU (itโ€™s ok if itโ€™s not accepted in the US as Iโ€™m aware they rarely are). Nice to have: enter into a contract online. Anyone got a good experience or a recommendation?

Thanks in advance!

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Does international health insurance for digital nomads exist?

 

by @al_steffen | 3mo 3 months ago | 59 comments

Hey Nomads!

Iโ€™m looking for an international health insurance (no travel insurance) for my nomadic life. It should cover the basic services and at least be accepted in the EU (itโ€™s ok if itโ€™s not accepted in the US as Iโ€™m aware they rarely are). Nice to have: enter into a contract online. Anyone got a good experience or a recommendation?

Thanks in advance!

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Does international health insurance for digital nomads exist?

 

by @al_steffen | 3mo 3 months ago | 59 comments

Hey Nomads!

Iโ€™m looking for an international health insurance (no travel insurance) for my nomadic life. It should cover the basic services and at least be accepted in the EU (itโ€™s ok if itโ€™s not accepted in the US as Iโ€™m aware they rarely are). Nice to have: enter into a contract online. Anyone got a good experience or a recommendation?

Thanks in advance!

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What is the gender split on NomadList?


by @iamhopeless | 4mo 3 months ago | 1 comment

Just curious. What percentage of men vs women are on here.

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How is the health and safety in Bali right now amid the global crisis?


by @valentineworld | 4mo 3 months ago | 1 comment

I would like to avoid having to come right back home, ya know? <3

I plan to be in Bali a lot, but if this is a terrible time to go,
it could stunt my future plans of being in Bali for an extended period of time.

Would love to see you guys! <3

@valentineworld

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How do you invest internationally as a nomad?


by @mateuszwieloch | 4mo 4 months ago | 17 comments

I have finally saved enough money to start investing. What company gives good, diversified access to stock, ETFs and mutual funds? Does it make sense to use company like Vanguard or Fidelity for that? Iโ€™m a EU/Poland citizen, how would I transfer my money back and forth without incurring significant fees?

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I dream of being a digital nomad? How do I do it?


by @programmingmark | 5mo 4 months ago | 2 comments

Hello digital nomad!

I dream of being an independent digital nomad. But it feels very elusive & unattainable with my success rate. In full disclosure, whilst I have dreamed about making money online since high school; I have not earned a single cent making money online. $0, nada, zilch!! On the contrary, I have spent a lot of time & money on books, podcasts. Even though I have spent a lot of time reading/listening to others, I do not have anything to show for it!

I have made attempts in the past to start an online business, but these fizzle out quite quickly when I do not see traction especially when the goal I have set myself is too high.

Instead of reaching for the ultimate nomadic lifestyle goal, I want to start much smaller. Really small! I am simply looking to make $50 profit per month from a new online business. Thatโ€™s it.

I need some advice from you please!

  • Is $50 profit too low? How long did it take you to earn $50 profit per month?

  • What is a good way of achieving this goal?

Thanks
Mark
aka the $0 online business entrepreneur

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I dream of being a digital nomad? How do I do it?


by @programmingmark | 5mo 4 months ago | 2 comments

Hello digital nomad!

I dream of being an independent digital nomad. But it feels very elusive & unattainable with my success rate. In full disclosure, whilst I have dreamed about making money online since high school; I have not earned a single cent making money online. $0, nada, zilch!! On the contrary, I have spent a lot of time & money on books, podcasts. Even though I have spent a lot of time reading/listening to others, I do not have anything to show for it!

I have made attempts in the past to start an online business, but these fizzle out quite quickly when I do not see traction especially when the goal I have set myself is too high.

Instead of reaching for the ultimate nomadic lifestyle goal, I want to start much smaller. Really small! I am simply looking to make $50 profit per month from a new online business. Thatโ€™s it.

I need some advice from you please!

  • Is $50 profit too low? How long did it take you to earn $50 profit per month?

  • What is a good way of achieving this goal?

Thanks
Mark
aka the $0 online business entrepreneur

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Are there any nomad meetups in Osaka?


in Osaka, Japan by @freddychanut | 5mo 5 months ago | 1 comment

Will be in Osaka this April/May and was curious to discover interesting groups/events.
I had a look at FB + Meetup but there doesnโ€™t seem to be much. Any advice on where to look?

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How do digital nomads pay tax?


by @rodriigovieira | 5mo 5 months ago | 19 comments

Hello everyone! Iโ€™m new here and probably this is a very newbie question, but it doesnโ€™t leave my head.

How do you, nomads, pay your taxes? I mean, if youโ€™re constantly traveling, how are you going to pay taxes for a certain country if you are going to stay there a short period of time?
Or do you return to your โ€œoriginal countryโ€ and then pay them?

By the way, this forum has very nice cool formatting features! :smile:

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How do digital nomads pay tax?


by @rodriigovieira | 5mo 5 months ago | 19 comments

Hello everyone! Iโ€™m new here and probably this is a very newbie question, but it doesnโ€™t leave my head.

How do you, nomads, pay your taxes? I mean, if youโ€™re constantly traveling, how are you going to pay taxes for a certain country if you are going to stay there a short period of time?
Or do you return to your โ€œoriginal countryโ€ and then pay them?

By the way, this forum has very nice cool formatting features! :smile:

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Are there nomad families here and how do you choose your next destination?


by @martinratinaud | 5mo 5 months ago | 4 comments

All members of my family has different needs and hobbies so how do you pick the perfect places?

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My first time nomad-ing... Spain or Portugal?


in Portugal by @jasraj | 5mo 5 months ago | 6 comments

Hey everyone,

Iโ€™m a freelance + nomad newbie, off for my 1st proper trip in May. Iโ€™m wanting to spend a month somewhere and go from there.

I just came back from Slovenia/Ljubljana and loved it there (just a week). I donโ€™t mind โ€œsleepierโ€ places par-say, as long as theyโ€™re close to a beach or nature of some kind. In fact, I kinda like places less-busy and a bit smaller/cosier.

Iโ€™m been swaying towards Porto, but have been impressed by the rave reviews Iโ€™ve seen for Valencia.

-> Have you every nomad-ed in a Spanish/Portuguese city? Iโ€™d love to know where and what you liked/disliked :slight_smile:

Thanks! :slight_smile:

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How to save filter settings on Nomad List?


by @krzemian | 6mo 6 months ago | 3 comments

Hey, is there currently a way to save filter settings? I feel like it would be helpful for planning the trip as I have several ideas on what to target and would like to cycle between them

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Anyone know an accountant for Canadian nomads/expats?


by @noam_lightstone | 6mo 6 months ago | 16 comments

Hey guys, this was my first year as a Canadian nomad.

As far as I know of, Canadians donโ€™t pay taxes if they do not live in the country for 6 months.

But Iโ€™d like to talk to an accountant or someone who does Canadian taxes specifically for expats and nomads to get clear on the rules and for help on my return coming up.

Does anyone know someone who specializes in Canada who can help? Iโ€™ve seen plenty of US recommendations but none for us canucks.

Thanks guys!

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Best place for Digital Nomad in Latin America?


by @rose_davis | 7mo 7 months ago | 7 comments

Hi!

I am planning to move to Latin America for 3-4 months (Oct-January). Iโ€™ve narrowed down 6 different places that I want to visit before committing to settling down, but Iโ€™d love to get some community input.

Here are the cities Iโ€™m considering:

  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Medellin, Columbia
  • Cartagena, Columbia
  • Antigua, Guatemala
  • San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala

The most important things Iโ€™m looking for:

  • Fast/easily accessible internet
  • Easy to meet other nomads/make friends in general
  • Safe for women
  • Some sort of spiritual community (Iโ€™m also a yoga teacher)
  • Easily walkable city

Anyone have any experience with these places and can give some insight? Iโ€™m also completely open to other recommendations.

Thanks!
Rose

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952
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Best place for Digital Nomad in Latin America?


by @rose_davis | 7mo 7 months ago | 7 comments

Hi!

I am planning to move to Latin America for 3-4 months (Oct-January). Iโ€™ve narrowed down 6 different places that I want to visit before committing to settling down, but Iโ€™d love to get some community input.

Here are the cities Iโ€™m considering:

  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Medellin, Columbia
  • Cartagena, Columbia
  • Antigua, Guatemala
  • San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala

The most important things Iโ€™m looking for:

  • Fast/easily accessible internet
  • Easy to meet other nomads/make friends in general
  • Safe for women
  • Some sort of spiritual community (Iโ€™m also a yoga teacher)
  • Easily walkable city

Anyone have any experience with these places and can give some insight? Iโ€™m also completely open to other recommendations.

Thanks!
Rose

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