Digital nomads are very open to sharing their amazing lifestyle and most of them do this online, posting blogs about their latest experiences, documented with tons of attractive photos. But there are also many secrets a digital nomad burns to tell you yet never actually tells. Our lips are not sewn together by the perspective of losing our jobs, like flight attendants, for example, but we do have a certain amount of fear when it comes to sharing all the insides of the trade.
Being an expat is a fulfilling, amazing experience which has the power to teach you a lot more than any university or course. Traveling really opens up your mind and your perspective, showing you what really matters in one’s life. But it comes with a number of drawbacks as well, which most digital nomads simply refuse to share. Some of them keep the secret because they are simply too afraid to share them. Once they share the dirty side of nomading, it can’t be undone! You can’t deny all the issues and problems and you will have to acknowledge them. Which is hard!
This is exactly why I chose to tell you all the secrets a digital nomad burns to tell you! Let the tears flow down the cheeks as the fairy tale of life as an expat unwinds in its full glory!
Your family will be in deep pain
The choice of being a digital nomad is very, very selfish! There is no way one can deny that, even if we all try to cover the feeling with a lot of arguments. The reality is cruel: when you choose to become a digital nomad, you are only thinking about yourself. Yes, sometimes, the decision is being made with your spouse or partner, but this doesn’t makes it less selfish – in fact, it kinda makes it more selfish, as both of you are only thinking of personal happiness.
Is this a bad thing? No! No, life is short and one should live it in his own terms, but your family will be in a lot of pain. Your parents and siblings would never acknowledge in front of you, but they wish you’d stayed home, with them. But they will hide this selfish desire and will rejoice for you and your newly found happiness.
You will feel guilty AF
On the list of secrets a digital nomad burns to tell you is the fact we always feel guilty AF! Always! One moment we are enjoying the nomading life, caressing a baby koala while writing the latest blog post, the next moment we cry deep inside at the thought grandma is in hospital after breaking a leg. There are dozens of events you will never make it to, such as friends’ weddings, birthdays, bachelorettes and funerals. Plus all those everyday issues which come up! You won’t be there for your friends and family to comfort them when things go bad and you will feel guilty.
All digital nomads-to-be think they will be able to make it without boring weddings and family gatherings, but the reality is all these events you would probably refuse to attend if you would have been home will become a lot more important when you can’t attend them. It’s just human nature. If you can’t have it, you will want it desperately!
Your friends and family will blame you for the choice of missing the important events in their life and you will be struggling to find a great, solid excuse for all the times digital nomading will make you feel like a terrible daughter/son, sibling and friend.
You will lose most of your friends
When you travel the world you are going to make a lot of new friends, but in the process you will be losing most of your old friends, the ones you’ve left behind at home. Kindergarten, high school and college friends will simply move on from their expat friend who is never there for them. They will judge you for being able to attend your parents’ wedding anniversary, but not being able to attend their baby shower. Some of these people will stick with you, as you will communicate with them via phone and emails, but these are the exceptions. The longer you are gone, the more friends you will lose.
If you try to find a reason or a guilty person, you are all guilty. You are guilty for not being there, they are guilty for not struggling to keep up with you. However, in the end, facts are facts: distance will make you lose many friends back home.
You will be very lonely
This is not one of the secrets a digital nomad burns to tell you – we all know digital nomads are never alone, but very lonely. And it kinds of comes from the previous points: when you leave your home, your family and friends, start to lose some of your friends, you are approaching loneliness. However, you will rarely be alone: a digital nomad is always surrounded by lots of people, new friends and companions who help you explore the new country you are in. These people will surround you with their compassion and will often invite you to their own family events, but this won’t ease things for you – in fact, it will make it worse, as you will start missing your own family.
It’s all in a day’s work
Switching to a digital nomad life is going to change you forever. You will discover a new side of yourself and learn things you never knew existed. Lifting misconceptions is also integrative part of a digital nomads’ life. Embrace the new lifestyle and you will soon enjoy this new life. However, you will always feel a gap in your digital nomad life, which belongs to your family and close friends, the people you’ve left behind when you became an expat.
This is why the question of returning home is always haunting you, in the back of your mind.