This will be a throwaway account - I will sign up properly once I’m ready to embark on this exciting new journey. However, I need some support and advice before taking the plunge. I think this post is about to get a tad lengthy given that I need to explain my circumstances, but if you stick with me, you could possibly become a huge influence on my life and one of the catalysts for a drastic lifestyle change! (Scroll to the bottom for the TL;DR version)
First up, I am 26 years old, currently living in Australia. I work full-time in a web development/designer position, and have been employed for almost 6 months. Previous to this, I was running my own graphic and web design business, and I did this for about 3 years. Why did I decide to go back to working “for the man”? A few reasons: more money, more security, less headaches. I own my own apartment and my expenses exceed $2000/month, so I needed to increase my income in order to live more comfortably.
I’ve recently discovered the “digital nomad” phenomenon, even though I actually kind of lived this lifestyle while travelling for 3 months (US/UK/parts of Europe), but the difference is I always stayed with friends or family and was never alone. I also never considered moving overseas to where expenses are low and building my business and other passive income ventures - until now, that is. I would love to have more time to work on some of my own projects that I have started over the years (e.g. finish writing my first novel, have more time to work on an online game that I started with a couple of buddies, blogging/vlogging, maybe even start setting up new online businesses like dropshipping, etc.)
I’ve been thinking about moving to Chiang Mai in Thailand. I’ve been doing a lot of research online and it seems like this is one of the biggest digital nomad hot-spots. I would also love to visit Thailand and experience the culture, people, and food. However, all I see online is the positives about being a digital nomad. Nobody seems to talk about how lonely it can be or the downsides to this way of life. For all of you out there that are currently living this lifestyle by yourselves (without partners), be frank with me! What’s it like? Do you get lonely? Do you find it hard to go out and meet new people? Are the people you meet always temporary companions, or are you able to cultivate meaningful friendships with others that extend past the “business” side of things? I’m a bit of an introvert at heart, and I have never gone out to a club by myself or anything like that in my life - it’s always been with friends. However, I know that I would have to put myself out there if I decide to pursue this lifestyle. Honestly, this kind of excites me and terrifies me at the same time, but I know that it would be a great experience!
Another issue that I face is with my family. My parents are very… shall we say… “invested” in my life. They take a lot of interest in what I do and how I should be living my life. I say this in the most positive way possible, but sometimes I wish they weren’t so protective and paranoid about the world. My mother in particular worries all the time, and this is what she thinks of the whole idea: It’s dangerous. People will rob me. What if I get sick? She thinks the healthcare system in Thailand is horrible (despite her only knowledge of Thailand stemming from documentaries she has watched pertaining to the sex industry). Drugs. Hookers. Corruption. Loneliness. “You’ll be taking several steps back in your life/career if you do this.” I mean, I could go on, but this post is getting long enough. How can I convince my family that this will be something positive and that I am not crazy for wanting to do this?
Is the whole thing worth it? My life right now is not bad by any means. I have the well-paying job, I have the apartment, the car, the (what some consider) “perfect” country. Am I not being humble? Do I not appreciate what I have? These are questions my parents are asking me. But alas, I am unhappy. Even though I have it beyond “good” when compared to other people, I am still not satisfied. I can’t stand the 9-5 lifestyle. I am getting sick of my job and the people I have to put up with. I’m watching my life pass me by as I am getting older and older. I really want to experience more of the world and have the ability to work on projects that actually make me happy. Tell me I’m not crazy for wanting to drop everything to pursue a nomadic lifestyle!
I’m going to try to wrap this up now. Let me give you guys a breakdown of what I would need to do in order to become a digital nomad:
Rent out my apartment (It’s been renovated and has new expensive furniture. I am definitely afraid that someone will come in and wreck it all, but hey, I wouldn’t have much choice).
Quit my job and get in touch with my old clients again (I think I could easily start getting freelance work again from my previous clients, so I probably wouldn’t have an issue with getting by).
Book my tickets and do all the preparations (Vaccinations, changing my address so my parents get my mail, sort out accommodation for Thailand, get my visa in order, etc. etc.)
It’s a huge change with a fair few financial risks, and all it boils down to is: Would it be worth it? Here’s a brief run-down of the questions I need answers to in case you couldn’t be bothered reading the wall of text above.
- How lonely does it get as a digital nomad?
- Is it safe to travel to Thailand? What are the risks? What should I be wary of?
- How has being a digital nomad worked out of you? Don’t just give me the glamorous version either! I want the gritty details too.
- Is it easy to make new friends that actually stick around?
- If you could do it all over again, would you?