Digital nomadism has been hyped of late. As a result, more and more people are considering giving it a go.

While there’s nothing wrong about that, it would be prudent to learn the perks and downfalls before choosing your lifestyle dramatically.

Firstly, digital nomadism may be exciting but that doesn’t mean everyone finds it exciting. People not likely to enjoy working overtime for days on end shouldn’t bother with the choice.

For a digital nomad to be financially independent in a long run, two conditions must be met. First, you’ll need to have considerable savings. Second, you’d better have a reliable client list and guaranteed upcoming gigs or a stable employer.

Next on, keep in mind that traveling isn’t always cheap, even when you’re using low-cost options. Finally, if you’re planning to keep traveling continually (e.g., without setting up a base of operations abroad), different time zones may easily ruin your plan.

Also, digital nomadism comes coupled with certain emotional conundrums, the most obvious one of which is the fact that you’ll be leaving your family and friends behind.

Let’s start with that and expand on other potential emotional conditions likely to befall a digital nomad sooner or later.

Moving on Without Your Loved Ones Keeping Up

Personally, this isn’t the first emotional issue I’d pick but polls say otherwise. The majority of digital nomads indeed name this as the biggest (or at least one of the biggest) obstacle.

Needless to say, digital nomads are adventurous, more often than not. For solo digital nomads (without a partner or a family), this sort of lifestyle may be an adventure. They enjoy it while the sentiment holds and eventually go back home.

Even for these people, depending on the amount of time they spend abroad, will influence the outcome. Time doesn’t stand still for those having been left behind, either. The longer your digital nomadism adventure lasts, the more your loved ones back home will change before you return.

For people who decide to go nomadic all out, the issue is even more difficult. Meeting new people and expanding your views cannot be detrimental but abruptly changing lifestyles and having no one to support you may well spell doom for novice digital nomads.

The first tip experienced colleagues give to novice digital nomads is to get connected with the local expat community ASAP. Not only do these people know many tricks of the trade, but they are also familiar with emotional issues typical for the lifestyle.

Growing Apart From Friends and Family

As mentioned above, even if you manage to handle leaving your family and friends behind, there’s no saying whether you’ll be able to fit back in when you get back.

These are two very different points. Missing your loved ones or having no one by your side to support you when you’re under the weather is bad enough. Coming back to the loved ones you don’t recognize anymore (and vice versa) is a far greater shock and one that may never be reversed.

Online communication may be running strong but not being there for your loved ones when they need you is something no virtual space can counter.

On the upside, you’ll finally learn who your false friends were. An exciting prospect, to be sure.

Lack of Purpose

Hardly anything can be more difficult than a lack of purpose. Isn’t this the main reason why people keep looking for new jobs in the first place?

Replacing an office job with a similarly meaningless role as a digital nomad won’t get you very far.

Another thing nobody tells novice digital nomads is that — while they may live in a country with lower costs of living, but living a minimal life may be not that alluring as time goes by.

Generally speaking, there are many digital nomads in Bali, Tbilisi, and Chiang Mai, who picked these locations because they could work less and still make a living. Over time, they stop looking for better jobs and, down the road, the practice will come to haunt them.

Of course, not every digital nomad falls under this category. Some people make quite a decent living and keep traveling to new places. However, while traveling in itself is undoubtedly an invaluable experience, it’s not a legacy. Sooner or later, the majority of these people will have seen everything they wanted to and won’t know where to next.

This can be avoided or, at least, alleviated by defining a purpose. After all, traveling all the time and running a successful business is an impossible mission. Digital nomadism also requires sacrifices. They may be different from those office workers face but they’re still sacrifices.

Taxes or No Taxes?

Sadly, there’s no single article dealing with digital nomadism insights that doesn’t mention taxes. U.S. citizens are, as you probably already know, liable to federal taxes regardless of where they reside.

Understanding U.S. expat taxes is something that must be done before you set off as there various ways to mitigate the costs.

Some digital nomads choose to give it all up — they up and renounce their citizenship. However, before you make a final decision, keep in mind that when you renounce your U.S. citizenship, you’ll lose all benefits you are used to.

In the worst-case scenario, you may be forbidden entry to the U.S. even if your family still lives there. More on the link above; if you’re seriously considering this option, make sure to compare pros and cons… and be detailed about it!

Feeling Alienated
This happens to all digital nomads. If they say it doesn’t, they’re lying through their teeth!

If you’re of adventurous nature (no, not all digital nomads are!), you’ll no doubt enjoy many an encounter with fellow world travelers.

The internet is full of images of international adventurers merrymaking in different locations but are you feeling at home among all those super cool people?

The “what next” puzzle is akin to the lack of purpose mentioned above but it’s not the same. Many digital nomads report feeling alone in that mass of people not because there’s something amiss with them but because it’s a never-ending party.

Finding a kindred soul among a slew of partygoers may well prove impossible. As a result, even though you’ll be living to the fullest (in terms of consumerism), you won’t get a chance to meet any single person because digital nomads are moving all the time.

Once you realize this, you’ll start missing the loved ones you left behind, not realizing they may already be falling out with you for the same reason you’re feeling alienated. It truly is difficult to maintain a close relationship with people who are far away. An out-of-sight, out-of-mind kind of issue.

How to Stay Cool and Enjoy Digital Nomadism

It would be pointless to name the hurdles and not provide any kind of conclusion. Are you hoping for a happy ending?

While it may sound too harsh, there often isn’t. People go their own ways all the time. On the upside, the same may happen even if you stay home.

The best thing digital nomads can do is to find a purpose and keep chasing it. No point in racking your brains about what the future may bring… unless you encounter a clairvoyant in your travels.

Author's Bio: 

Angela Ash is a professional writer and editor, focusing on business, mental health and travel.