What if you’ve been traveling for so long that the thing you’re longing for most, is not to see the piramids, or Machu Picchu, or the next palmtree? What if the thing you’re really looking forward to, is to settle down?
Digital nomads are people who are location independent and use technology to perform their job.
But does the fact that you are location independent mean that you have to move continuously? I now know that in fact it doesn’t.
Some questions I often get, are: “Aren’t you tired of traveling? When are you going to settle down?” Well… These are good questions. I am tired of traveling – sometimes – and I do want to settle down – sometimes. But then other times, I do not!
…or not to travel?
For 1.5 years we were literally all over the place. Physically, emotionally, mentally. We moved every few days and lived out of our suitcases. We spent time on public transport, we spent time sightseeing and getting to know our new environment, and often we spent time stressing about not having wifi when important deadlines or calls came up.
Because, amidst of all this beautiful chaos, work goes on.
Getting to new places can be tiring. Finding out how to get to your temporary ‘home’, where the closest supermarket is, how to communicate with the people that don’t speak your language… It takes energy to do that once. And it takes even more energy to do that every few days or weeks. And let’s not forget about work. To do that AND work at the same time…
What were we thinking?!
To settle down
I’ve settled down before. I rented an apartment long-term, lived with my ex-partner and had a full-time job. And yet, I felt unsettled in a way that could only be solved by leaving it all and set off on a life-changing adventure.
So there I was.
— Either traveling, and longing for a routine – any routine basically. To go to the same supermarket, the same office, the same house, to practice my hobbiess. To follow my running routine, watch my Dutch tv programs, read my magazines, puzzle, paint and garden away. Yes, that would make me truly happy. Until it doesn’t.
“I needed some mental, physical and emotional peace, and not having to think about where to sleep, what to eat, the currency or how to get to the next place.”– A fellow digital nomad
— Or settled down, longing for a new adventure, not being able to fully enjoy the perks of having everything stable, wanting to leave. Being constantly tickled by the travel bugs. Getting inspired by the next destination or story. What am I even doing here in the Netherlands?!
Such ‘luxury problems’ this so-called digital nomading brings with…
The best of both worlds
Luckily, there is good news. You can have it all. Let me say that again: You-can-have-it-all. But how, you are asking?
That depends. But I do believe there is a way for everyone.
I went out and gathered some advice from fellow digital nomads. Turns out that we all face a similar search for balance. And that the majority seems to feel happiest staying in the same place for about 1 to 3 months.
Enough time to settle down to enjoy some daily routines (yes, you can finish a 2000-pieces puzzle in one month) and to réally get to know a place (if you’d ask me, there’s nothing like that second Friday afternoon stroll home from your co-workring and feeling like you rule the streets, knowing exactly where to go already) & enough time to enjoy the explorative side of it.
“I always try to spend at least a month in a place so I can have those lazy/boring/do-nothing days.”– Another fellow digital nomad
Our main theme for 2019 was: slowing down. We spent a few months in Plovdiv and the rest of Bulgaria (2019 European Capital of Culture), a whole month in Italy, and then one in Greece.
We loved it.
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