How it feels being a Digital Nomad in 2021 in a pandemic scenario
Well! It feels empowering, however, the travelling has been unarguably complicated.
Read through for I’m going to share with you my experience and tell you about a Digital Nomad’s life. While I further in this exercise, hopefully, my words will offer you some inspiration and food for thought, especially if you’re considering taking the leap into a new career path.
If you’re wondering, I’m one of those workers who has undertaken a fully digital nomad career due to his job having gone busted during the pandemic.
Before I proceed with my story, you ought to know that I’m of the warm climate kind of nomad. For me, home might be any place where the outside temperature is above 15 degrees Celsius. Preferably where I can enjoy free unlimited access to the ocean and a reliable internet connection. Read me well! I didn’t write ‘fast internet’, because that’s luxury for some places a DN may end up roaming.
In the last seventeen years, I’ve always lived and worked in tropical to subtropical areas (Australia, Fiji, Thailand, Egypt, Maldives, and the likes), as a scuba diving instructor. In my pilgrimage, I kind of follow the summer trying to make sure that I won’t need winter clothing – which I don’t even own anymore.
My nomadic career as an instructor has taken me to many wonderful places. Besides the diving fun, it’s been a fantastic learning experience. Along the path I achieved a B.Sc., majoring in marine biology, learnt how to use tens of software, a few coding languages, witnessed the rise of smartphones and social media. When the pandemic began, I already had skills that allowed me to find online work, more importantly, I was accustomed to the joys and the richness of a travelling life. Hence, it didn’t take me much to decide that the way forward could only be phasing into a fully remote working career. After I realized that my chances to return to my non-digital yet nomadic life as a diver were slim to none, at least in the short term, it wasn’t even a choice, rather an obliged route.
I was in Thailand when the pandemic surged, scary news from media outlets and on the internet were buzzing. Ironically, I immediately thought to myself: ‘if I get stuck in Koh Phangan (Southern Gulf of Thailand) for an indefinite amount of time, I’d probably spend the sweetest lockdown I could imagine’. And so it was!
Bearing with the Thai government restrictions, and following the WHO’s guidelines on self-protection and distancing, I was able to endure the first wave free to soak the sun on the beach and be outside, while the entire world seemed to be locked indoors.
It was going all nice and well, till I decided it was time to go visit family back in Europe. It was July, and sure enough, it was not a good time to travel. Flights were being cancelled continuously and boarding requirements changed at short notice. In fact, after long research to even find a flight to Italy, the first attempt to board was unsuccessful, due to my failure to provide a PCR test at check-in. Long story short, I got a voucher for the lost flight, booked another flight for which a PCR test wasn’t compulsory, and a week later I made it to Italy.
I spent a few months with family and friends, and used my time to build upon my coding skills. In fall, as the temperature was cooling, I began feeling again the urge of moving to warmer resorts. This time though, I was racing against a rising curve, many countries were resuming lockdowns, and there was a serious risk of getting stuck again. Only this time in cold weather.
With that unsettling idea looming on me, conscious that my travelling options were dwindling every day a little more, I went online and checked to which warm weathered destination flights were still available, and actually departing. Spain came inside the radar, so without much hesitation, the flight was booked and due to take off within three days. I made my way out of Italy, shortly before it went back into lockdown. Fast forward a few months during which I’ve been working as final editor and marketing advisor for a soon-to-be-launched language learning app. Today, I’m happily writing this article from warm Fuerteventura (Canary Islands). At the moment, after I spent the winter learning and getting certified for Google analytics and ads, I’m doing SEO and marketing on social media. My travelling wish list is still very long, but you can bet on the fact that I have no idea (luckily for me) of where I’ll be in six months.
Concluding, I wanted to partake with you my experience as an exemplification of what being a DN may look like. I love my lifestyle, it really affords me the resilience and the capacity to adapt quickly to situations. If a certain environment doesn’t provide for my needs or whims, or becomes hostile, unbearable, and what not! I just move to a different place. That’s a priceless feeling of freedom that empowers me.
Indeed, turning to a DN’s career in such a scenario, provided a reassuring sense of confidence within a state of affairs of absolute uncertainty. Working remotely during the lengthy, exponential, curvy development of the pandemic, has given me peace of mind, thanks to the awareness that it didn’t matter how long the lockdowns would last, I’d be able to produce income and keep myself afloat.
As we all know the pandemic is far from being over, nonetheless, it would take just a quick internet search, to realize that finding remote work has never been as easy as nowadays. The contagion has accelerated the demand for remote workers as businesses seek to overcome the economic downturn inflicted on us by the COVID emergency. The internet is chockfull with jobs for those who wish to embrace the new opportunities. In this regard, I’d suggest that you take a look at the other articles in this section for some useful tips on the type of jobs a nomad could be involved with.
So you see! I’m not here to dissuade you from the ‘pursuit of happiness’. Quite the opposite! Be brave, challenge yourself and push through, I’m sure you won’t regret changing your life.