3 important things no one tells you before becoming a digital nomad in 2021

Give these a bit of thoughts before nomading!

Authored by Jerry Liu, Growth PM for Nomad

January 29, 2021

Read Time: 5 mins

One of the fastest growing trends in recent years has been the concept of remote work. The idea of being able to generate income without being restricted to a specific geographical region is appealing for many reasons. You’re able to travel wherever and whenever you want, and many who start their own businesses are able to choose their own working hours and durations each week. However, it can come at the cost of being lonely and it is more difficult to build relationships. There are also numerous hurdles to jump over while searching for clients. Anyways, everyone knows these already. Here are 3 things you likely didn’t know about being a digital nomad in 2021.

1. Personality Types

You may assume that it’ll be relatively easy to get along with other digital nomads. After all, you’re trying to achieve similar goals and can empathize with each other on a variety of topics. In addition, you face similar challenges regarding relocation and navigating the same issues. However, another important aspect to consider is the personality types that are more common in the digital nomad lifestyle. If you fit in, then that’s great. If not, then it’s something to consider.

Most digital nomads are self-starters who follow the latest trends on technology as well as make use of the technology that is available. Currently, that takes a few forms that are prevalent within the digital nomad community. 

First, the talk around startups is abundant. Digital nomads will constantly be looking at ways to grow their own business, incorporate, and build their expertise. Similarly, they will look at the startup landscape and the business opportunities available. Second, bitcoin and cryptocurrency is a hugely popular topic of discussion. It’s hard to explain why, but nowadays many digital nomads are investigating the potential of blockchain technology and the price fluctuations around bitcoin, which currently stand north of $30,000 USD. Third, a very common practice for digital nomad ventures is drop-shipping. Many have been successful using this approach to generating income and driving sales, however this may not be your preferred method. Regardless, it is likely you will be exposed to discussions on it and learn about it if you wish to engage in the digital nomad community. It is certainly more popular in some destinations where drop-shipping is easier to coordinate, and a common target market is the United States. 

Running a business online is common among digital nomads

2. Saying Goodbye

One aspect of the digital nomad lifestyle that is not discussed enough is the idea of saying goodbye to people. Some members of the community have commented that they wish they knew how often and how emotional farewells can be for digital nomads that rarely stay in one location. Despite wanting to engage with the local community, they know they will be gone in a couple months, and the relationships are unlikely to last. Each new adventure taken during one’s work as a digital nomad likely means saying goodbye and leaving all the friends that were met on the last adventure.

Constantly saying goodbye can be emotional

3. Visa Runs

Although the idea of working wherever you want sounds tempting, one logistical hurdle that isn’t emphasized is the idea of visa runs. A visa run is typically defined as a trip you have to take in order to remain in the country that you have a visa with when it is about to expire. Essentially, due to the visas you’re able to get or not able to get, it may be easier to stay on a tourist visa and refresh it as needed by exiting and entering the country again. It is worth noting that there are also specific rules on the type of travel (land, water, air) and how they affect the eligibility for visa runs. For example, this practice is commonly applied by digital nomads in Thailand who cycle through the 30 day tourist visas by flying out and back in to the country.

Digital nomads who are not aware of this hurdle beforehand could be in for an unwelcome surprise. Depending on the country and availability of travel, these visa runs could be trivial or a significant amount of time. You may want to consider adding this as a factor to which country you want to base yourself in should you become a digital nomad.

Most travel visas are 1-3 months


Have you thought about these factors before? Hopefully we presented at least one new idea that was helpful in deciding both whether the digital nomad lifestyle was right for you and where you may want to base yourself as a digital nomad. Overall, the digital nomad community is vast, worldwide and extremely willing to help one another regardless of experience level. You will definitely be able to find support and guidance no matter where your nomadic adventures take you. Best of luck on your journey!