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7 challenges digital nomads face and what to do about them

What is a nomadic lifestyle? When we think of life as a digital nomad, the very first things most of us think of are the perks of nomad living: the location-independent lifestyle, the personally tailored working schedule, the idea of living in one of those attractive and appealing nomad locations… The list goes on and on. But how about some challenges that all digital nomads face?

Similar to pretty much all the other forms of employment, a nomadic lifestyle comes along with its particular challenges. Although living as a nomad can be full of new experiences and adventures, it is not always the easiest way of life. Most of the time, a nomadic lifestyle requires solo professionals to be the only responsible party in taking care of most of their needs.

7 common problems digital nomads may encounter

It is true that nomad life has some challenges but that doesn’t mean you should give up on your dreams and be discouraged by the hardships you might face. This being said, here are the 7 most common digital nomad problems and tips on how to tackle them.

  • Difficulty in maintaining a work-life balance
  • Choosing suitable locations to travel
  • Lack of social life and emotional support
  • Keeping up with finances and taxes
  • Maintaining a consistent routine
  • Having access to adequate healthcare
  • Dealing with burnout and taking care of your mental health

Maintaining a work-life balance

Becoming a working nomad requires arranging your own working hours. Proportionate to the workload, the number of hours that you work will vary.

Especially at the beginning of their careers, many of us who go down the path of the nomadic way of life struggle finding the true work-life balance. As a solution, try crafting the daily schedule that suits you best. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Are you a morning person or a night person?
  • How often do you start new projects?
  • How long does it take you to finish a project?
  • How strict are your deadlines?

You can choose to work on certain days of the week or hours of the day as well as only in certain periods of the year entirely based on your personal/professional habits and your relationship with your clients.

Try not to miss out on life while taking up one project after another. Likewise, make sure you are paid enough for socializing and enjoying life as a digital nomad! Remember that jobs with the best work life balance are the ones that are best planned.

Finding the right locations

Finding the ideal digital nomad city is not easy! Not being able to find the right destination is one of the nomad struggles that challenge solo professionals most. Some countries/cities are known to be among the best options in accommodating the digital nomad lifestyle, while others are harder to live in and navigate. Here are some of the factors that you should take into account while choosing the right destination for you:

  • Logistics
  • Internet and other infrastructure
  • Accommodation
  • Costs of nomadic living
  • Local tax legislation
  • Bureaucratic necessities
  • The amount of paperwork you need to do
  • The availability of coworking spaces
  • How nomad-friendly the destination is
  • Visa applications and other regulations

Make sure that your destination of choice meets your expectations and necessities. You wouldn’t probably enjoy living in a place that is well over your budget. Likewise, being in a remote region with bad internet connection wouldn’t be the best choice.

Lack of social life and emotional support

Relations with family members, friends, acquaintances, business contacts and other people in your network-all of our social connections need to be cultivated, nurtured and maintained over time.

Unfortunately, one of the most profound challenges that digital nomads face is the lack of social life and shortage of emotional support, sometimes made harder coupled with how hard it can be to maintain social connections around the globe.

Luckily, modern technology can help us deal with some of the alienation and isolation,  and it can compensate for the social life we might need more in our lives. Try benefitting from some of the online platforms where you can meet other digital nomads and expats. Some of these platforms will also facilitate face to face meetings among nomads and expats.

Keeping up with finances and taxes

How to make money as a nomad? Ways to make money on the road while keeping up with budgeting and taxes is one of the most important subjects a digital nomad needs to pay attention to. Yes, you may be making some money every now and then but unless you have a sustainable cash flow, it may not be the best choice for you to try the nomadic lifestyle.

Every digital nomad should take into consideration how to get paid and how to increase and maintain the volume of cash they are making. Choosing your clients wisely, working with the best banks for digital nomads, figuring out how to get paid in multiple currencies, knowing the market value of your work, effectively communicating with your clients and using online tools for invoicing are just some of the things you can evaluate beforehand in order to avoid future problems.

While Ruul aims to gather useful information for freelancers on its blog, it also offers freelancers and digital nomads the means to invoice clients easily and collect payment from anywhere in the world, in their preferred currency. Using Ruul’s practical features for solo talents, digital nomads can forget about the hassle of billing and receiving their earnings. You can also register at Ruul and enjoy easy and smooth invoicing and cross-currency payments around the world!

Having a consistent routine

Being a digital nomad means being constantly on the move. While location independence is generally considered as a fascinating prospect, it may make it harder for some to establish consistent routines that help us navigate daily life easier.

Although the idea of having a repetitive routine sounds dull to most of us, it is actually beneficial when we need some consistency in our lives. When the daily aspects of life such as time management, task management, socializing, taking care of the household and running errands are done in a consistent manner, we can actually prevent the accumulation of boring tasks as well as being overwhelmed by them in the end.

Accessing healthcare

No matter how globalized today’s world is, healthcare is a matter that is still, largely, handled by the laws of a given country. Therefore, depending on the regulations of where you are based, and which country’s citizen you are, it may be complicated for you to access healthcare in certain regions or certain countries.

Freelance healthcare coverage is an important matter that everyone who wishes to become a digital nomad should pay great attention to. Thankfully, there are ways for digital nomads and solo professionals to get good healthcare and insurance packages without having to stick to a single employer or a single country.

Insured Nomads, one of Ruul’s most recent partners, offers extensive healthcare insurance for talents who are constantly on the move. If you are planning to get a global insurance package aimed at digital nomads, you can register to Ruul and benefit from special discounts for Ruulers!

Dealing with burnout & taking care of mental health

Like we said above, getting the best out of being a digital nomad is best done by having a balance between your work and social life. While over socializing can cause social fatigue or social burnout, the lack of human interaction can have negative effects on your mental health.

Some of the practical solutions that you can try in order to deal with burnout and improve your overall mental health are:

  • Setting a work routine
  • Separating work and life
  • Taking regular breaks
  • Socializing
  • Exercising
  • Getting enough sleep

Dealing with these challenges

Life of a digital nomad can be demanding. Difficulties in maintaining a work-life balance, not finding the right destination, lack of social life, financial hardships, problems regarding your routine and mental health problems as well as access to healthcare can be considered as some of the most common challenges digital nomads face.

Addressing your issues separately, handling them one by one and coming up with preemptive and effective solutions can save you most of the trouble, and help you start or continue living the life you dream of. Be mindful that although the life of a digital nomad can seem to be full of ups and downs, it is surely a rewarding one that’s worth trying.

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Arno Yeramyan
Arno Yeramyan is a polyglot who’s a fan of constantly learning new languages.

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