Digital nomads are the envy of people across the globe. These working travelers have found a way to beat the rat race, see the world, and (in some cases) earn a fantastic wage as they do it. Being a digital nomad is about as far as you can get from a traditional 9-5 job.
It is more of a lifestyle than a job, and although the world remains in a precarious state with the pandemic, there is plenty to suggest that 2021 will be the year of the digital nomad.
#1 More people are working from home
Perhaps the most striking effect of the pandemic was a dramatic shift towards working from home. As businesses closed their doors and remote work became the norm, people got a taste of life away from the daily commute and office politics. Restrictions also proved that the vast majority of work could be done remotely, a realization that came as a surprise to many.
A lot of people simply will not want to return to office life even when the pandemic ends. Remote work opens up endless possibilities. If you can do your job from your home, you can do it anywhere in the world with an internet connection. That is powerful, and it is likely to compel quite a few people to take to the road.
#2 There are more digital jobs than ever
More and more job opportunities appear within the digital sector every day. There are nearly too many to list here, but everything from online transcription services, digital marketing, and web design is perfectly suited to the digital nomad lifestyle. All of these jobs can be done without ever setting foot in a physical office, and ever more opportunities continue to appear.
A range of career opportunities in statistics are all fully applicable to the digital nomad lifestyle, as are those in programming and translating. The list of digital nomad jobs is nearly endless. Even careers like teaching can nowadays be fully digital. The pandemic has certainly accelerated this trend, and with so many digital opportunities available, restless individuals will inevitably be tempted onto the road.
#3 Countries want travelers
Tourism has taken a major hit over the course of the pandemic. This has damaged travel companies, but whole countries have also suffered. Tourist income plays a vital role in many economies. In some places, it can even be the main source of income. Countries need tourists, and they need travelers who spend and put money into the local economy.
Digital nomads are the best kind of traveler. They do not just visit a country but live there, rent an apartment, shop in local stores, and use local infrastructure. Indeed, there's evidence to suggest that countries are explicitly encouraging digital nomads to live and work there. Estonia recently released a visa specifically for digital nomads, and more countries will likely follow suit.
#4 People value freedom more than ever
A year of restricted movement has left many people feeling depressed. The desire for freedom has never been greater, as is evidenced by the scramble to book holidays at the first sign of restrictions easing. Everyday activities like going to the park or a restaurant have suddenly taken on a whole new significance. Society no longer takes for granted the freedoms it once had, and everybody is acutely aware of what it feels like to have those freedoms taken away.
What better tonic than the life of a digital nomad? No other career path offers this level of unparalleled freedom. Nomads can work how they want, doing what they want, when they want, and from wherever they feel like. You might start the week in Lisbon, take a flight to Tallinn and then ferry hop across the Baltic to Helsinki. After such a difficult period, the call of utter freedom will be too loud for many to ignore.
#5 Many are looking for new jobs
There are no two ways about it. A lot of people lost their jobs during their pandemic. This led them to search out employment elsewhere, usually turning to online resources and remote electronic work. Digital sector jobs, including copywriting, programming, and web design (to name but three) have been extremely popular. All of these digital sector jobs are fully remote and completely freelance.
Individuals who might have worked in the same job for years are suddenly moving on to fresh pastures and discovering that there is plenty of opportunity within the digital sector. With huge numbers of people moving away from traditional employment into the liberating world of freelance, there are certain to be more digital nomads in the future.
#6 Keeping in touch is easier
Loneliness and missing family/friends are often cited as the main reasons not to become a digital nomad. 2020 divided families and friends like never before, but it also taught the world a valuable lesson. People do not need to be physically together to be close. The pandemic showed us all kinds of new and creative ways to get together, with Zoom, in particular, reaping the rewards of more time spent online.
Parties, quizzes, and even full-scale weddings took place over the webcam. People went on dates. They connected with old friends who they had not spoken to for years. A new form of purely digital socializing became popular, and that is not likely to change even when the pandemic does finally come to an end. The ease and intimacy of digital communications are likely to encourage reluctant nomads into adopting the full lifestyle.
#7 People crave variety
After a year of anything but, everybody craves a little variety in their life. Restrictions varied from place to place, but the closure of many schools, shops and bars meant more time at home, stuck in a routine. That has made the life of a digital nomad seem uniquely appealing. Every day is different. Nomads visit new countries, experience different cultures, meet new people, and sample brand new cuisines - sometimes all in the space of a few days!
It is hard to deny the allure of that kind of rich tapestry after so long at home. As restrictions are lifted, more and more people will assess what they want from life. Variety and new experiences are likely to top the list, pushing ever greater numbers into the nomad lifestyle.
#8 Vaccines mean freedom
Travel is a core principle and primary motivating factor for adopting the digital nomad way of life. Unfortunately, travel has been heavily restricted throughout the pandemic. The movement was limited even within countries, making the life of a digital nomad seem like a distant dream. Although the pandemic is far from over, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic, especially where travel is concerned.
The vaccine rollout has been a tremendous success thus far, and there is no doubt that it will get people traveling again. A single vaccine passport will likely be enough to guarantee safe transit across multiple borders, giving individuals the freedom to explore the world all over again. This is crucial. Traveling on impulse is an important part of the lifestyle, and vaccination will help nomads do just that.
#9 More and more companies provide digital nomad insurance
It is only in the last few years that the term' digital nomad' has come into common parlance. Before that, the lifestyle was virtually unknown. Consequently, it was hard to get the right kind of insurance. As they travel between countries, digital nomads require a unique and often complicated form of insurance that they were once forced to piece together by themselves. That is not the case anymore.
Insurers are rapidly catching up with the nomadic lifestyle and offering insurance tailored to these traveler's needs. Where once a digital nomad might have required a patchwork of insurance cover, everything can now be covered under a single policy. The process is incredibly simple and a huge departure from the difficulties of old. Nomads can get a tailored quote in minutes, removing yet another barrier to the lifestyle.
#10 Financial freedom
This might seem counterintuitive since digital nomads travel extensively (paying for accommodation, train, and plane tickets), but they enjoy the financial freedom that many will be craving after the uncertain pandemic period. Digital nomads are completely freelance. They do not have to worry about their employer laying them off or going out of business. Since they control their workflow, they can take on more as required or less if they feel like scaling back.
True, digital nomads have to fund their travel but think about what they do not have to pay for. There is no rent or mortgage, no daily commute. They can choose where to stay on a monthly or even weekly basis. That means opting for areas with lower living costs or choosing to splash out if they are so inclined. Travel can easily be done on a shoestring, and digital nomads are free to tailor their lifestyle to their budget without having to worry.