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!
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)
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.
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!
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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!