Being a digital nomad is often portrayed with a beautiful photo of someone working on a laptop. Maybe they are sitting on a beach, beside a beautiful pool, or in a cabin in the rainforest. What is not seen in those photos is the challenge of being in a place and finding the things you need to work – space, light, and a good wifi connection.
It might sound like a cliché, but the reality is these are the things you need. It doesn’t matter if you are a digital nomad that stays in a place for a week, a month, or sometimes years. What someone decides to set up as their business that travels with them is a very personal thing.
How they choose to work their business can have some constraints based on business registration, stage of life, adventurous spirit, a partner or not, and ease of access to the internet. (Yes, there it is again – that is the one constant in this ‘new’ way of working.) There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer, thankfully!
Life as a digital nomad – so many opportunities
How do you move from corporate professional to digital nomad? You choose to do something different.
You choose to step outside ‘normal’ and most likely, try to rediscover that part of you you enjoyed as a child. That ‘thing’ you loved, and quite possibly, that you were told wouldn’t do as a career. Maybe it will come from a childhood or early adult dream. Maybe it is something you felt you needed to do ever since you read a book/watched a movie/heard someone talk about a place. The challenge might be finding it – or it might be containing it. It is your journey!
Importantly, it will include travel. I say this simply to be clear – not everyone will enjoy the life of a digital nomad. Some people want to stay put for the most part, and take short breaks to “stretch their legs and blow the cobwebs out of their minds” as a friend used to say. I get it, really I do. However, for some of us that simply isn’t enough!
My friend, Shannon, is in the process of one of the transitions a digital nomad can make. She is currently moving from the Cayman Islands – her home for the past four years – to Italy, to realize a 14-year dream of living here and study the language. And she has a coaching business she’s bringing with her.
We met in June 2015 in Venice at a travel writers retreat, and connected over a shared love of gelato and Italy! C’mon… it was June in Italy! …of COURSE there was gelato! Daily! Exploring the city, and finding gelaterias, was a great delight. And we’ve kept in touch over the past two years.
Moving countries is not for the faint-hearted – I know, I’ve done it a few times. While many understand this to be true, it doesn’t really help you understand the challenges you will probably go through in the process. It doesn’t give you perspective as you transfer your life from the known to the unknown. It doesn’t help you deal with the mix of emotions, as you move from dream, through plan, to walking your talk.
Through her fabulous Facebook group, Traveling Wild Woman Coaching Community, Shannon has shared much of the short-term roller coaster ride of the past few months that is part of this sort of move. She has support from family and friends who’ve known her for years, and that helps.
And she is dealing with the very interesting emotional journey of what it means to realize a dream – to make it happen… It might seem like the goal – and it is – but there is another side to consider, the whole ‘now what’ question. What do I do now that I am making my dream my reality? Maybe I’ve been in Italy just long enough to answer her. I say come, relax, enjoy this beautiful / challenging / rewarding /heady experience of Italy.
If you’d like to know more about her writing retreat in Lucca, head over to her website for details. When you send her an email, let her know the connection! Space is limited, so get in quick!