Is digital nomad lifestyle escapism rather than a passion for travel? 30-year-old shares her struggles

Is digital nomad lifestyle escapism rather than a passion for travel

Motivated by influencers on social media working from Bali beaches, Francesca Specter rented out her apartment and began working remotely, supplementing her income with travel writing commissions. Her offices were an immaculately clean train compartment in Geneva, a coworking space in Barcelona, a friend’s apartment in Brooklyn, and a shoebox-sized Airbnb in downtown Berlin.

In one year, she worked in ten different countries on four continents, living the professional fantasy of the twenty-first century, working from the beach, choosing her own hours, and going surfing during her lunch break.

She has come to realize the importance of scheduling adequate time off when working as a freelancer. But she overcompensated because she was afraid of the cost of travel. A full day off was rare, but she squeezed in morning and midday hikes and art visits. She turned departure lounges into offices. The only thing she needed when traveling was a fully charged laptop.

She found it confusing to be on the road all the time. A victim of language problems, she lived out of a bag full of wrinkled T-shirts and craved domestic comforts like her beloved cup of Twinings Earl Grey. Her daily worries were problems like misplaced luggage and the jet lag that prevented her from getting enough sleep.

She doesn’t regret running away from her home life for a while; she enjoyed it. But to be perfectly honest, her motivation for being a digital nomad was escapism rather than a passion for travel. The hidden costs of such a lifestyle eventually became too great to bear. As the Swedes say, “Away is good, but home is best,” and now she finally gets it.

The Hidden Aspects of Digital Nomadism: A Comprehensive 2023 Study

Researchers met with about a thousand digital nomads in the United States to gain insight into the less glamorous side of digital nomadism in order to better prepare those thinking about adopting this lifestyle.

These are the key findings:

  • About 41% of digital nomads acknowledge that their lifestyle has an impact on their ability to maintain romantic relationships.
  • A striking 83% of location-independent professionals grapple with feelings of guilt when taking time off or disconnecting from work.
  • A significant 77% of nomads have experienced burnout at least once, with entrepreneurs (80%) being the most affected by this issue.
  • On average, 40% of location-independent workers frequently or always contend with loneliness.
  • Nearly 77% of nomads express concerns about their financial stability, with remote workers (84%) displaying the highest level of apprehension, surpassing entrepreneurs (71%) and freelancers (75%).
  • A substantial 84% of digital nomads have faced challenges related to taxes on at least one occasion.
  • Despite these challenges, an impressive 94% have intentions to continue their nomadic lifestyle in 2023 and beyond.