Three years ago Phoebe was diagnosed with illnesses doctors told her she would never be able to fully recover from to lead a normal life. Fast forward three years to the surprise of the doctors of University College London she has recovered. She openly discusses the health battles she was faced with and still faces. But now she is making the most of her life. She is aiming to be the second woman in history to travel to every country in the world being a digital nomad. All the while presenting to the younger generation about her journey with her health and challenge as she goes.
There are hundreds upon hundred of articles out there on exactly how to become a digital nomad or ways to make money online. When I first started doing my research that’s all I saw, just a variety of ways as to how to make a living of being a digital nomad a reality. Having gone through the process myself, I now think the why is just as important as the how.
The learning curve
Previously I learnt to work in an office, to wake up to an alarm every morning at 6:45am and to stay in the office until 6pm. I learnt the skills required for my office job in investment relationship management. I did enjoy my job in investments and I know I learnt a lot, but the skills I learnt were for that company and that exact role. On deciding to be a digital nomad it felt like I was free falling. But the learning curve of that has been huge, and entirely self motivated as to what I wanted my niche to be. I took courses, read endlessly, listened to podcasts, watched videos to understand everything surrounding my goal. My understanding of self-employment, the entrepreneurial world, content writing, website development, SEO and social media strategy have increased drastically. I have loved learning and the steep curve I have been on and continue to be on is so rewarding. I chose what I learn, I am moulding my skill set and not being moulded to fit a companies requirement. As a result of this, it only motivates me to want to learn more and to be better. While my skill set is now far wider, it is something I can fall back on if all of a sudden the travel industry bottoms out. Which according to statisticians and economists is very unlikely to happen, in fact, predictions are quite the opposite.
The lifestyle that being a digital nomad is very different from simply travelling. But because you are your own boss it is completely on your terms. Particularly for me with my health (I am in remission of two chronic illnesses) I want to strive for something that if I need to completely relax one day because I have had zero sleep the night before, I can do. However, because I want this lifestyle so much, I find myself working hard, more productively and with more focus than I have done with any other job working for someone else. Getting a taster for the lifestyle of being digitally nomadic may make you realise it’s not for you. Or it will light a fire inside you that drives you so much further than any 9-5 job would do. Your eyes are well and truly opened to the possibility of opportunities, even if you do fail.
Proving your mind-set and self-motivation
‘It is better to try and fail than to not try at all.’
Whenever I doubt the choices I am making, this is the mantra I say over and over in my head. By taking on the choice to take this risk, to develop numerous new skills, shows you have self-motivation. You are a go-getter. Seth Godin, an innovative thinker in the entrepreneurial world has coined the term ‘the dip’. These are stages in any business development, including being a digital nomad where you feel like you have plateaued in both your personal and business development. It feels like it’s not going anywhere. Many thousands of people, luckily for you, see these dips and either stop or do not try at all as a result. It is the people who take the plunge, that know and push through these potential dips, that show they have the real desire. Even with failure if you have shown to have tried to push through every dip the journey has thrown your way? You have developed a USP of resilience in business, an incredible attribute to be able to fall back on.
There is an opportunity cost of trying to become a digital nomad, but not trying may be a looking back and thinking ‘What if?’ affair. Trying, you will not have that. Very few people mention the mental side of trying to be a digital nomad. Trying to be a digital nomad has made me so content and happy with my life choices. I am doing exactly what I want, whenever I want. I am my own boss and I love it. If you are as content as can be in a 9-5 job, stay there. But if you are questioning, or are doing something because everyone else is, go over exactly what you have to lose. Having taken the plunge and knowing the benefits despite not being 100% digitally nomadic myself yet, I believe their is only things to gain by trying. While I try, the feeling of contentment is worth it.
I used to hate the words ‘personal development’, my previous employers used to throw around this term like their was no tomorrow. The personal development for me they were talking about was for their gain. Don’t get me wrong, when employed or even simply living, personal development is almost an inevitability. However the time between deciding on my challenge and today, the gradient my personal development is on has been infinitely steeper than one compared to what I was on being employed in the investment industry. When other successful entrepreneurs, the ones who say only in the face of hardship and risk do you truly develop? It turns out, I’m starting to agree with them, that’s aside from simply increasing my knowledge on how to be a digital nomad. Their is now also the personal resilience, the self-discipline and the ability to ignore the negative that is thrown my way. I’ve developed a steel-clad resilience to things that, had they happened a year previously would have stopped me in my tracks.