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Apr 30, 2019 20:58:29

Digital Nomadism Isn't For Everyone

by @jacklyons PATRON | 488 words | 🐣 | 127💌

Jack Lyons

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Total posts: 127💌
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It's amazing how lucky I am to be able to work and travel. I'm not saying this to gloat nor to put anyone else down. I'm saying it because there are so many people in the world who would probably kill to have this kind of freedom and flexibility.

However, Digital Nomadism isn't for everyone and can be quite the illusion for those who have never had to hustle for their every paycheck. When I tell people I work and travel the most common response I get is "Oh, that sounds awesome but I don't think I'd ever get any work done, I'd be way too tempted to just watch TV or go shopping at the mall. "

And I gotta say, that is so, so true. It's so damn hard to get into a decent flow state when working from home, a cafe, the park, or a co-working lab. Distractions are everywhere and it takes double the amount of discipline to shut them out than if you were working from an office.

This is especially true when travelling to places like Asia, where everyone is enjoying their holiday by the beach, sipping cocktails. It's not always fun to work when everyone else is partying and enjoying the sunshine.

I think most people see the Digital Nomad as this kind of hipster, beach bum, yuppie kind of type. And that's certainly true, but what certainly isn't true is working from a laptop in a hammock on the beach! C'mon, that just doesn't happen!

Most of the time I get restless extremely quickly because the environment isn't set up for working long hours. For example, the tables and chairs at Starbucks are intentionally positioned and built to detract customers from staying a long time.

I know it sounds so much like these are first world problems, but when you don't have access to internet or power, then you simply cannot work. Meeting deadlines can be tricky when you're travelling and that has certainly made for some incredibly long days and late nights.

So, in the end all I'm saying is that digital nomadding isn't for everyone. I love it and won't be trading in this lifestyle anytime soon. However, I honestly think it takes more than double the willpower and discipline to get things done than that of an ordinary job. Nothing is consistent when you travel, which makes it hard to get into into a productive routine.


I realise that a lot of my posts have been rather gloomy of late. This really wasn't intentional, but could be a product of me squeezing in these posts in the evening before I shut off. In some future posts I think I'd like to deconstruct some of my best and most productive days on the road and explore why things worked well. There are a lot of factors at play, but surely there would be some common threads to tie together.

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    @jacklyons Thanks for sharing the realities of the digital nomad lifestyle. You could probably create many memes comparing the Instagram photos of laptop on a hammock on a beach and sipping cocktails with umbrellas with the harsh realities.

    Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | May 01, 2019 04:34:54
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    Maybe instead of squeezing in the evening, you can try reminiscing and at the same time looking forward, in the mornings? This will also help in setting the day as well. Also the writing will have less competition -- will not have to compete with TV, tourist things, going out drinking with people you just met.

    Honestly, with Digital nomadism, I feel like writing to share on 200WAD in the evenings is a terrible idea. The evenings to me should be spontaneous and left open. So if I do meet someone cool who wants to have dinner, I want to not have to worry about doing a writing to share with people here. I'd still be down to do a reflective writing for myself, but not somethign that I have to squeeze like you said.

    However, no matter how busy you are as a digital nomad, there are still chunks of time that you can own and make consistent. Maybe not the location is consistent or the environment... but the work you do. And I think that's the more optimal time to do the daily writing rather than the sponatenous evenings time.

    Abe avatar Abe | May 01, 2019 13:18:25
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    @jacklyons I fully agree! I recently had to complete an urgent client project while staring at the most gorgeous beach in the Phillippines. Man, that was hard! Looking forward to read more of your insights into freelancing and travelling.

    Julia Saxena avatar Julia Saxena | May 01, 2019 02:50:40
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      @juliasaxena Haha, yeah it can be hard sometimes, and its hard to explain a lot of people who are having fun partying up - they just think you are also on holidays. But anyway, regardless, working and travelling is such a great feeling.

      Jack Lyons avatar Jack Lyons | May 01, 2019 14:15:01
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