Are all Digital Nomads Millennials?

In the latest years, a new working class has emerged – the Digital Nomads. What are they? You may have stumbled upon them in a coffee shop or lying on a beach, tapping away on their laptops. They are people who leverage wireless digital technologies to perform their work duties, while leading a more or less nomadic life. The lifestyle involves working remotely and moving frequently from place to place, not having a home base, while being able to earn an income to fund traveling. But are all digital nomads millennials?

Well, I’m a 30-something young woman who believes that age is (mostly) just a number and it’s never too late to follow our dreams and passions and redesign our lifestyle!

A digital nomad's laptop on a table outdoors.
Digital nomads often work outdoors on their laptop | Photo by Bram Naus on Unsplash

Who exactly is considered a Millennial?

The term millennial is used to define individuals who reach young adulthood in the 21st century. Millennials comprise “generation Y”, and under that definition the term can refer to anyone born in or later than the early ’80s.

This age group has also been called the “Peter Pan Generation”. Some negative characteristics attributed to millennials are:

  • their unrealistic expectations of working environments. This results in the propensity of some of them to move back in with their parents, since they can’t be financially responsible for themselves.
  • tendencies to be lazy, narcissistic and indulging in job-hopping, following selfish quests for meaning and personal fulfillment.
  • delaying some of the typical rites of passage into adulthood, like marrying, having kids, or climbing a career ladder.

But millennials may be simply forced to adapt quicker to a world undergoing rapid technological change.
Some positive characteristics defining this Generation are:

  • they are usually confident, not afraid to express themselves.
  • being more open-minded, they are more receptive to new ideas that would benefit society.
  • they are energetic and upbeat, willing to explore new ways of living and being productive.

Is it an issue of Responsibilities?

Maybe the reason why millennials appear to dominate the scene is because of their lower level of responsibilities. Many digital nomads often don’t have heavy financial and other responsibilities such as mortgages, raising kids or providing parental support.

This certainly allows them an amount of freedom that they may not have when they grow older and go after things like creating a family and growing roots in order to be surrounded by friends.

In the other end of the spectrum, you encounter people who have raised their children and find themselves with an “empty” house and all the free time to pursue their own interests, start an online business and move into early retirement with remote work funding their new-kindled spark for traveling.

As a single, childless 34 y.o. woman, I find I have far more in common with younger people than I do with my peers. I’ve always been drawn to the non-conventional path, away from the “finish school – go to university and get a degree – find a good job – buy a house – get married – raise kids – die” model of societal expectations.

I’ve chosen to travel frequently, to live as a serial expat and to pursue remote work, thus I’m not worried about mortgages and school choices. I also find I have a lot in common with older people, who aren’t in a child-rearing stage in their lives, but they have often had very different life experiences than my own.

It’s definitely a Mindset!

During my journey to location independence, I quickly learnt NOT to worry about what other people are doing, and try to discover a viable lifestyle that fits my specific needs and strengths. What led one person to success might prove to be a disaster for someone else!

We all come from different backgrounds and we have acquired our own life experiences. But in this journey called Life, the older you grow the more you realize that you are never too old to make new beginnings. With technology’s help nowadays, you can easily identify what interests you, take online courses and educate yourself – even free YouTube tutorials can provide you with knowledge – and at the end of the day “Just Do It”! (so much power in this slogan for chronic over-thinkers)

A digital nomad's accessories
Photo by Héctor Martínez on Unsplash

Keep in mind that this lifestyle often requires a very high hustle in order to maintain it. And in the beginning, it would be wiser to base yourself and focus your travels in cheaper countries. For example, I have friends in the USA trying to make a living through mostly working online, and the hustle gets pretty aggressive.

And there’s the question of products/market. Many decisions depend on where you want to focus your freelance services or to which audiences you want to sell your products. You’ll face choices; designing an online business from the inside out (who you are, who’s your target audience, what you want to create, what business model can get it out there) vs designing a business that serves an external need in the market (what suits your passions/skills/strengths/expertise and financial viability – People will pay for something that they want and you can do, having the experience to back it up.)

Are you above 30? Embrace the Lifestyle that Suits you

Personally, I scoff at the idea that older more experienced women cannot make it as digital nomads. NO age is too old to decide to adopt the lifestyle that resonates with you. As with most things in life, I believe that if you want something bad enough, you will try to make it happen.

Be prepared though – it takes a lot of time and effort to work out how you really want to spend your life and success doesn’t come overnight. Also, have in mind that you can pursue a lifestyle for a few years, and after a while you could find that your wants have changed and now it’s time for something new. Nothing is set in stone!

Worst case scenario, you went for it and tried it out and you concluded that it doesn’t suit you. Fine, go back and settle down in one place or travel sporadically or pick up a 9-5 job because you value the steady paycheck and having a routine. There is no need to feel pressure for anything, or feel like a failure if your venture doesn’t work out.

On the contrary, you gained valuable life experience and came to know yourself a little better.

But what if you succeed? What if everything works out in your favor, and after putting in the hard work, you find yourself living the lifestyle of your dreams? I get goosebumps just by thinking about it! (Getting goosebumps from excitement is definitely a sign that you should try something out)

The only thing I always consider when making life choices, is not to hurt anybody in the process. For example, if you have people dependent on you and you set off in the sunset to follow your dreams – that paints you a selfish, irresponsible portrait. Or if you burden your parents with paying off your debt using their pensions. Nope.

On the other hand, your friends skulking or your boss thinking you’re crazy AREN’T viable reasons that should deter you from following your heart. The people who really care about you, will support you eventually even if they don’t agree with your decisions in the beginning.

A girl working on her laptop.
Digital Nomads work in coffee shops, airport lounges, outdoors… As long as there’s Wi-Fi!

Conclusion

Anyone can successfully carve out a niche over the age of 30 and make money while traveling. So, don’t succumb to the arbitrary age boundaries that somebody else has established and if you aren’t chained with any restraining responsibilities, take the risk.
Anything worth your while involves getting out of your comfort zone and growing. The Digital Nomad lifestyle isn’t suitable only to millennials, it has to do with one’s mindset. There are many ways to earn a living online nowadays, and I’ll explore them in following articles.

My advice to anyone who wants to dip into the Freedom Lifestyle is this:

Invest your time looking at your passions, your skills, your strengths and your dreams and figure out how they all fit together. Don’t worry too much about what other people are doing. They aren’t you! Always have in your mind the idea of “I’d like to try this out remotely” if that’s what you want and brainstorm and funnel your creativity!

One of the best ways to earn money online is affiliate marketing and creating a successful online business around a niche. If you have a passion and you want to create a website and share it with the world, without breaking the bank, click here to check out my #1 recommendation. It’s free!

What are your experiences? Have you met older people that are traveling the world making an income online? Drop me a comment and let me know!

 

8 Comments

  1. Hi Nicky
    I’m one of those older people who wanted a change(sick of 9-5 lifestyle), and took action. My dream is to be a Digital Nomad, and travel the world.
    It takes time to set up an online business, but that’s what i am working on currently. So not all Digital Nomads are young, some are older!
    I quit work at age 61, looked for an alternative way forward, and decided an online business was the best option. While not successful yet, i am definitely giving it my best shot, and hope to be a Digital Nomad in a few years.
    Being single, no kids as well, certainly helps.
    Good Luck
    Cheers

    gregS
    1. Hi Greg, thanks for commenting.
      We share the same dream! I’ve been traveling the world for the past 7 years, but still being tied down to some countries for a longer period than I’d have liked, either for studies or work. I believe setting up an online business (and especially affiliate marketing) is the long but sure path to location independence. And there is really no age limit, as you prove after quitting work at 61!
      Kudos for that, good luck with achieving your goals too, it definitely takes some time but it’s so worth it. 
      If you ever need anything, drop me a line 🙂

      Nicky_admin
    1. Thank you for commenting, Maura!
      I’m glad you found my post encouraging, sometimes I was getting fed up of media associating the freedom lifestyle with young people exclusively! Everyone can find the lifestyle/working balance that works best for them and go after the path that can offer it, no matter their age. Cheers to freedom 🙂

      Nicky_admin
  2. I am glad that I am part of Digital Nomads generation. Thankful that I was not born too early. 🙂

    It is true that young generations today are well-educated in technology and social media and they learn faster than old school guys (no offend please :), I am just aware that you are driving in your article about affiliate marketing and creating a website.

    Does it not require any experience in programming to do such job?

    delroaustria
    1. Hi, thanks for your comment 🙂

      Yes it’s true that millennials are more handy with technology and social media, since most of them grew up with all these technological advances available. But even old school people (no offence!) can take advantage of all the digital information and learn, even if they are progressing more slowly compared to the young generations. All we need is a good internet connection and a laptop.

      I believe that affiliate marketing is one of the best paths leading to a digital nomad lifestyle. It doesn’t require any programming knowledge, because if you use a platform like Wealthy Affiliate, you get all the training you need and the ability to build your own website from scratch. They use WordPress which is the best blogging platform providing you with thousands of free website themes, so you don’t need to write any code. From then on, your own focus is on creating content, promoting your site in social media to gain traffic, and partnering with affiliate programs and products you use and like 🙂

      Nicky_admin
  3. Hey Nicky, I am above 30 and totally living my own life. Just like you, I relate a lot to people who are more opinionated – not necessarily old or young – but people who are unique and motivated in their own way.

    I always thought that I would be a mother of two by this age, but it never turned out that way. Nevertheless, there are always other things to look forward to in life and I think it’s more important to find happiness in one self than to seek for it externally.

    Cathy
    1. Hi Cathy, thanks for commenting! Yesterday it was my 35th birthday and I also had some expectations of what I would have accomplished by this age. Most of them didn’t pan out, but I’m fine with it since I’ve realized that everyone lives life according to their own pace, and that I can still work on my goals and dreams even if I’m 40. 

      And you are absolutely right – happiness is short-lasted if we rely on external circumstances as its source. True happiness and contentment come from within 🙂 

      Nicky_admin

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