Why Move Abroad or Become a Digital Nomad?
Contributing Author: Coddiwomp Sean
Of course, your reasons may be different than mine.
When you consider all perspectives, there are far too many titillating reasons to move abroad than can be covered in one article.
- On the surface, throwing It all away to move abroad or travel the world might sound like a silly idea.
- Living abroad as a digital nomad gives you a dizzying rush of experiences and freedom.
- There is no growth in the comfort zone. Develop yourself personally by traveling and living abroad.
- Actually, you can save money as a digital nomad and starting a remote business just got easier.
- Are you ready to move abroad and travel the world now?
On the Surface, Throwing It All Away to Move Abroad or Travel the World Might Sound like a Silly Idea
Look, I get it.
Try mentioning the idea to the people you know. Count how many raised eyebrows you get.
You’re trading a relatively comfortable, convenient life and sense of security for - what exactly?
The dramatic ups and downs and unique challenges of traveling, living abroad, and expat life aren’t for everyone. That’s also the reason why you shouldn’t let others discourage you from moving abroad if you feel the experience might bring something to your life.
It’s not for them, but it might be for you.
Like most things in life - there are tradeoffs. That’s why taking the leap does say something about who you want to become. You will be forever shaped by the untraditional lifestyle you live.
It doesn’t make you better than everyone else, but it can put you on the fast-track to a better life.
Here’s three reasons at the top of my list to consider living abroad.
1. Living Abroad As a DigitalNomad Gives You a Dizzying Rush of Experiences and Freedom
Here’s the average day for the majority of people, at least in western countries.
- Wake up.
- Eat some boring food.
- Waste hours of your life getting to and from work.
- Maybe go to the gym if you’re feeling ambitious.
- Turn off in front of Netflix.
- Roll over and go to sleep.
Living abroad has a way of turning these mundane activities into new adventures every day.
A. When do you want to wake up?
Depending on your line of work, the time you set your alarm for is usually a matter of personal preference.
Want to try being nocturnal for a month, or experiment with polyphasic sleep and nocturnal life? I did.
You find yourself with the freedom to try new things.
Keep in mind that some semblance of a schedule does help you be productive and retain your sanity. If you ever wondered how to work as a digital nomad, it’s by keeping some routine in your life.
That said, few things are as motivating as making your own decisions and living your life the way you choose.
B. Breakfast is a whole new world while living abroad.
It’s no secret that sampling the cuisine of your newfound location becomes its own tantalizing experience.
You’ll often find yourself looking at a menu without any idea what a single dish is.
Flip a coin, close your eyes, or roll a die and point at something. See what they bring out for you.
Here’s a tip: some of the best food is found on the street.
Not, it’s not literally on the street. You’ll find that the smoky stalls of local vendors lining the roads will provide you with some of the best - and the least expensive - food you will ever enjoy.
C. Work is more interesting as a digital nomad?
It’s certainly more convenient, assuming you can find WiFi.
Odds are that your office is only a few steps away in your Airbnb or hostel.
Of course, you can make it considerably more interesting.
I’ve found myself working while:
- surveying the rooftops of Antigua and typing to the beat of the volcano’s rumbling,
- relaxing on a beach watching the sun sink beneath the waves in Honduras,
- collapsed in a refugio’s beanbag chair during a week-long trek through the Torres del Paine mountains,
- longingly gazing over a stormy bay toward an island filled with thousands of penguins,
- lounging with a pack of friendly stray dogs at a cafe’s outdoor table in rural Argentina,
- surrounded by a folk dance class on the sun-drenched roof of a tango hostel,
- resting at the rustic table of a hostel listening to the clamor of the brass bands of Carnaval,
- and of course, buzzing with excitement in the seat of an airplane on the way to the next adventure.
You might find it hard to stay focused in these exotic places.
You’ll figure it out. There’s no question that it beats decaying in your cubicle in the fluorescent glare of an office.
D. Going to the gym while living abroad is anything but tedious
Here’s a caveat: I’ve never gone to a gym while living abroad. This might seem odd as I almost never missed a day of working out at home, but still work out every day.
Instead, you make fitness its own adventure.
Here’s the thing: it’s hard to take care of your health while traveling.
Inconsistent schedules, a constant parade of new experiences begging for your attention, and lack of workout equipment can quickly make fitness nothing more than a repressed memory.
At this point, you’re probably saying, “Look Sean, I could care less about what you do for fitness.”
I get it, but here’s the point: there are fun ways to get or stay in shape while enjoying your new surroundings as a digital nomad.
No more listening to the meatheads grunt in the squat rack, patiently waiting for a treadmill to open up, or choking on the stench of your sweaty clothes as you wait in traffic on your way home after along day at work.
Here’s an easy tip. Just go for a run or ruck through your new environment. It’s a great way to get acquainted with a new place quickly.
Who needs a gym when the world is your playground, anyway?
I decided to ditch the gym and instead design this efficient, science-based travel workout routine.It’ll increase your mental productivity by meshing perfectly with a digital nomad‘s chaotic lifestyle - while still giving you the best results in the least possible time.
E. Let me get this straight: you came all the way here, and you just want to watch Netflix?
Alright, there’s no point in judging. Go for it - if your WiFi connection can handle it and if you have a VPN to let you see your favorite shows from your home country.
Soon you’ll come to find that immersing yourself in the new sights and sounds around you are far more interesting than the staged world portrayed on shows.
The problem is, after a while It’s easy to become used to your surroundings. You forget the wonder you felt when you first stepped off the airplane into a new world.
That’s no good. How do you avoid this sense of jadedness?
It’s actually quite simple. As often as possible, take the opportunities expat life offers you to go try something new.
Break out of your routine. Take a several day trip to something nearby that interests you. Create an adventure for yourself. On my last one, I lost my passport 1600 kilometers away from the embassy. That will spice your life up quickly.
Never forget how amazing the world around you can be if you just look hard enough.
F. Yes, even sleeping can be an adventure.
- stumbling into your neighbor’s room during the middle of the night, half-naked and mostly asleep, while looking for the shared bathroom,
- laying awake listening to your neighbor’s exuberant asado grilling party at 3 AM,
- listening to the melodic crash of waves in your beachside villa, or dozing off to the sound of Volcan Fuego rumbling in the distance as you take shelter in your tent during a freak ice storm 11,000 feet in the sky, there’s always something different to experience when you venture outside “normal” life and live abroad.
Trying to find a place for peaceful sleep tends to be quite difficult when you’re traveling.
This is quite unfortunate. Good sleep is important for everything from your productivity, to fitness, and especially getting the most out of your journey.
Whether you’re on the road or simply living in shared housing, here are some travel hacks for better sleep learned the hard way.
2. There Is No Growth in the Comfort Zone- Develop Yourself Personally by Traveling and Moving Abroad
I’m sure you’ve seen the Instagram pictures.
Being a digital nomad is all warm, sunny beaches with a sugar-coated topping of elated selfies as the cashflows in effortlessly, right?
Sometimes it’s like that.
Here’s the truth: it’s not always a sunny beachside dream. At times, you’ll find yourself needing to work 20 hours a day while hopping buses and trying to find adequate WiFi.
Even if you’re not working, travel can be hard.
Finding food and water, dealing with unfamiliar local customs and inconsistently enforced laws, losing your passport, missing bus tickets, losing a paid client, or dealing with sickness while far away from friends and family can be difficult.
These challenges can be easier to deal with if you have a travel partner. Having the right travel apps on your phone can also make your life much easier, especially for networking with other nomads and expats.
Still, there’s often challenges in nomad life- which makes the highlights that much sweeter.
The struggles are worth every bit of effort.
There’s a saying that goes something like this: your level of success in life will depend on your personal development.
Which of the following options do you see helping your personal development as a happy, successful, and well-rounded individual?
- Living a relatively easy, comfortable life with minimal challenges in a familiar setting?
- Using your ever-growing creativity and strength to face the daily challenges that come with traveling and living abroad.
The new experiences you vagabond through increase your skills, and the fascinating people you meet increase your perspective on the world. This is done in a way that few books, seminars, or months of life at home could ever give you.
Every day is a new adventure.
Adventures bring problems.
You solve problems with creativity.
Creativity makes you feel alive.
3. Actually, You Can Save Money As a Digital Nomad andStarting a Remote Business Just Got Easier
If you’ve talked to others about your dream to live abroad or become a digital nomad, you’ve probably heard variations of the following responses.
- “Wow, I’d love to do that if I was rich.”
- “I wish I could do that, but my job won’t let me.”
- “I don’t have enough saved to quit my job and start freelancing or build a business.”
For some, these are excuses. For others, these are beliefs.
Fortunately, there are always options if you want them bad enough.
The truth is that living in many parts of the world can be incredibly cheaper than living at your home - at least if you live in a western country
This cost does increase the more you move around. Still, life as an expat or digital nomad can be exceptionally cost-effective.
For example, I currently live in Buenos Aires for about $12 a day. No, I didn’t forget to add a zero to the end of that number.
Suggested image with caption, “Those prices aren’t in USD. They’re in Argentinian pesos. At the time this was written, approximately 40 pesos equals one US dollar. That means a few bucks can go a long, long way.”
This number isn’t just for food, and I’m not sleeping on the street.
This is including an Airbnb - with WiFi - that is just a few blocks away from a tango studio, a perfectly balanced diet providing all the nutrients you need for an intensive fitness routine, and a few luxuries on the side.
It provides a similar lifestyle for a cost eight times less than what I was able to achieve in the United States.
Also, keep in mind that this number is forBuenos Aires. It’s not the cheapest place to live when you look at the big picture. There are many parts of the world where you can live on even less.
This cost-effective, minimalistic lifestyle while living abroad challenges you to focus on what really matters
Sometimes, less is more.
Material things come and go, but your experiences will stay with you forever.
Make the few things you carry in your backpack or suitcase high-quality, practical, and enjoy them to their fullest.
Grow creative to cut your costs, instead of sinking into the thoughtless consumer lifestyle of blindly throwing money at your problems.
Geo-arbitrage is an incredible opportunity for those who already have a remote job and want to save money or for those who wish to start their own business.
Starting a business or beginning freelancing is a huge financial barrier for most.
It’s especially hard when you’re paying high rates for rent, health insurance, expensive food, and the thousand other expenses at home. All these things suck away the money you’ve traded too many precious hours of your life for.
If money is what forms the bars holding you in your cubicle, the lock that holds them closed is usually your available time.
For many, this precious time is wasted trying to sustain an overpriced, unfulfilling lifestyle at home.
In our decade, living abroad offers you the perfect way to save money through geo-arbitrage. That’s a fancy word. It means is that you use the money you earned at home or online for its higher purchasing power in other countries.
For example, a quesadilla might cost you $8 at home. Instead, you could pay only $0.50 for the same - or often better -quesadilla at a street food stall.
This provides the perfect solution for those who need to cut expenses while pursuing their dreams.
You’ll meet more people on the same path as you.
Many expats and digital nomads living abroad either run their own businesses, freelance, or are on the path to achieving this.
This means you’ll often find yourself in a community of like-minded people - a key component of success in any arena of life.
You’ll be exposed to a massive number of new ideas and problems you never knew existed. Soon you’ll discover that you have, or can develop, skills that people will gladly pay you to use to solve these issues.
Maybe freelancing or starting your own business just isn’t your thing.That’s alright. Finding digital nomad jobs and remote work is easier now than it ever has been.
Many companies, especially smaller ones, are becoming more comfortable with the idea of remote workers. This is an unprecedented era of opportunity for those thinking of moving and living abroad.
You don’t want to work online? No problem. You probably have skills that can support you with local work while living abroad if you’re able to fulfill the country’s requirements.
Are you Ready to Move Abroad andTravel the World Now?
Maybe you chuckled while reading this as you reminisce on your own experiences.
Maybe you were already convinced you wanted to try this lifestyle. Don’t wait too long. Take action soon. The time will never be perfect.
Maybe you’re still on the fence, hesitating to take the plunge. That’s fine. Calculate your risks - it’s a big decision. Then buy your one-way airplane ticket or you’ll be forever left asking, “what if?”
Maybe you’re already committed to moving abroad and are just gathering information. Here’s the thing: you’ll never be fully prepared for the unexpected excitement coming your way. The best way to learn how to travel the world is to begin as soon as possible.
If the freedom to choose your own adventure, the desire to challenge yourself and achieve fulfillment through personal development, and the ethos of embracing a minimalist, less-materialist, more financially responsible lifestyle sounds like something you’d like - awesome.
I’ll see you out here.