Reality Check: The Unexpected Challenges Of Digital Nomad Lifestyle Exposed

Reality Check: The Unexpected Challenges Of Digital Nomad Lifestyle

In your quest to become a digital nomad, there are some less obvious obstacles to overcome. Perhaps, like Kat Baranowska a few years ago, you’ve wondered how you can travel without going broke.

Continue reading if you’re yearning to travel the world while earning a living.

She was a graphic designer for many years and has a lifelong desire to travel. The term “workcation” was previously used to describe her desire to work remotely. But instead of restricting herself to a single yearly trip, she wanted to continuously travel the world and earn a living.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, she packed her backpack and traveled to Thailand, where she resumed her career as a graphic designer for clients based in Europe. 

It wasn’t as cheap as she had thought. The costs she saw when she returned were higher than what she remembered from her Thailand holiday a year earlier. 

As a recent convert to digital nomadism, she soon discovered that in order to balance work and travel, she would also require a  workspace.

The Thai island of Koh Lipe was a great place to unwind, but the Wi-Fi was so bad that she couldn’t make video calls.

She spent days watching YouTube videos about making money passively. The creators told her that she could easily earn 400 dollars a day or 5,000 dollars a month.

The Illusion of Easy Money: Confronting Reality in the World of Passive Income

She decided to look for passive income to fund her lifestyle as a digital nomad, as the 3,000 dollars a month for a fantasy rental was way out of her price range. She started offering her graphic designs for sale on Etsy.

After her Etsy shop failed to generate thousands of dollars, she took a risk and started drop-shipping, believing she could locate nearby vendors and sell their products through her website. The supplier would take care of everything, and she would get a commission. It felt like a win-win situation to have a business without having to worry about maintaining the warehouse. However, the profit mixture did not turn out as expected, so she received more “drop” than “shipping.”

A Game-Changing Moment: When Everything Took an Unexpected Turn

She started looking for an apartment in Phuket, the biggest island in Thailand, while she was still on Koh Lipe. She was aware that it was a lovely location with strong internet. It turns out the flat she reserved on Airbnb was not only cozy but rather charming, despite the fact that it only had horrifying photographs and no reviews—which perhaps explains the low cost of the rental.

Then she had a very clever idea. Being a graphic designer, she understood what people needed from a short-term residence. So, she proposed to the landlord that she would take pictures of the flat in return for a month of free lodging. The landowner accepted.

As soon as she had updated the photos of the property and refined the description, the first reservations came in. And with them, she also found a way to put her skills to use, opening up a new source of income.

She took the time to go through Airbnb properties that required some attention once a week. She made her services available for a reduced charge, which allowed her to save a significant amount of money on lodging and further fed her desire to become a digital nomad.

It was not long before she had a plethora of options to choose from, including scuba diving, buying a new drone, or simply living in an air-conditioned flat free of ants.

She succeeded, even though she failed along the way. She also discovered that all you need for success is to get on the board.

2023 Study Sheds Light on the Challenges of Digital Nomadism

In an effort to fully understand the digital nomad lifestyle, researchers conducted a comprehensive study involving nearly a thousand U.S.-based digital nomads, revealing some of the lifestyle’s more challenging aspects.

Key findings from the study include:

  • A significant 41% of digital nomads find that their lifestyle hampers the maintenance of romantic relationships.
  • A notable 83% of these professionals struggle with guilt when attempting to take breaks or disconnect from work.
  • Burnout is a common issue, with 77% experiencing it at least once; this is especially prevalent among entrepreneurs at 80%.
  • Feelings of loneliness are reported by 40% of digital nomads, indicating a substantial impact on their social well-being.
  • Financial stability remains a concern for 77%, with remote workers feeling the most anxious at 84%, compared to entrepreneurs and freelancers at 71% and 75%, respectively.
  • Tax complications have been an issue for 84% of digital nomads at some point.
  • Despite these challenges, a remarkable 94% intend to persist with their nomadic lifestyle into 2023 and beyond.