Is being a digital nomad sustainable long-term?

We can all understand the allure of travel. Seeing the world beyond the sometimes cramped environments we happened to born and raised in is an urge we’ve probably all felt, and for some people, it never goes away. Previous generations had to more or less suck it up and bear with their geographically constricted lives, but the situation today has changed dramatically. Globalization, the internet, and ever-more innovative technological and logistical advances now allow those of us not born into royalty to be truly global citizens. Have laptop, will travel, as they say.

The ever-growing popularity of the digital nomad lifestyle around the world is perfectly understandable. The prospect of being free of the 9-5 routine, seeing the world and still having a fulfilling career seems irresistible.There is, however, a very pertinent question that needs asking and that is whether traveling the world while working is a lifestyle that can be maintained indefinitely. Is it just a phase young people are prone to experiencing or is it viable for the long-haul that is life?


Thankfully, there are a few digital nomads who’ve lived their lives this way long enough to give us some credible insights into some of the challenges this path might present down the way. Hopefully, they’ll provide some food for thought as well as advice for us before we quit the office and pick up the laptop.

1. Chronic Loneliness
Changing your location every few weeks or so, according to those who’ve lived it, is exhilarating, but it can get to be pretty old faster than we might expect. You will constantly find yourself going through the motions of getting to know our new community, but you won’t get to settle and sink your roots in deeply enough to satisfy that basic need for a community we all have before you’re on the go again.
To somewhat alleviate this problem though, there’re mushrooming online communities of digital nomads and events planned with them in mind that allow you to interact and network with like-minded people all over the world. Be sure to tap into these resources should you decide to go full nomad.

2. Financial Considerations
One of the most appealing aspects of the digital nomad lifestyle is the opportunity to experience a higher standard of living than you would be able to afford in the western world in exotic locations such as Bali, Chiang Mai, the Philippines or any number of sprouting nomad-friendly cities around the world.
There is nothing much to be said against this sort of â€Geo-arbitrage’ in the short term, but should the idea really be to live off $400 forever? It would seem that taking the time and making the effort to make your freelance or online business truly financially rewarding and sustainable should be the first consideration when contemplating a truly nomadic lifestyle.

The real estate industry is changing rapidly and many brokers are beginning to look at a more nomadic lifestyle, with many utilising their large social followings to sell property across the world. The high levels of commission available make this an attractive proposition. Nottingham Estate Agents, Ogilvy & Sneyd have dealt with many digital nomad brokers over their history:

It’s not particularly a lifestyle that I’d choose, but I can definitely see the benefits and we’ve had many nomads bring us buyers for our more high end properties. There’s also the ability for influencers to make money by advertising new properties, giving a different spin on it.



3. Relationship Troubles
The life of the digital nomad, we can all imagine, isn’t very conducive to the nurturing of long-term relationships. Long-distance relationships have horrifying failure rates, and constant motion makes getting to know each other deeply a difficult proposition. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones that happen to fall for a fellow nomad, you’re going to have a hard time.
The fact that the majority of digital nomads are relatively young means they are at a crucial relationship-building point in their lives, with quite a few of them looking to start families. This has to be carefully considered if at all your nomadic lifestyle will manage to bring you the fulfillment you so desire.

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