1. Keeps the rust away
Are you stuck in a boring little cubicle or dank, dark home office? Is your body slowly wasting away due to sitting in a chair 24/7? Are you suffering a stiff neck, sore back, loss of muscle mass . . . plus a brain haze that never seems to fully go away? Or worse, has a general malaise settled into your life?
All these are signs that you’re stagnating, both physically and mentally. Remember, sitting too much is the new smoking. It’s time to escape, and restore your physical, mental, and even spiritual health! Becoming a digital nomad, even on the “entry-level” scale, is akin to escaping from a nursing home for many folks. Especially if you’ve spent decades working in a corporate environment.
Sometimes, you just don’t realize how much you’ve “rusted” by sitting in the same old setting every day. And with the proliferation of wireless devices and free or affordable internet access, you no longer have an excuse. So grab the oil can and loosen up those joints – improve your health, both physically and mentally, in stimulating new environments. And open your mind to spiritual growth. All possible in a digital nomad life.
2. Spurs quirky new friendships
If you’re stuck at home or in a cubicle your interactions with other humans can be very limited, repetitive, and (admit it) very boring. This can have the negative impact of brain shrinkage, especially related to your social skills and natural inquisitiveness about the world around you. But just the opposite can happen in the digital nomad life!
I’m an introvert by nature. Yet I’ve secretly yearned to be a social butterfly, fluttering about from conversation to conversation making new friends. It comes quite naturally for my wife. That’s probably why we’re a pretty good match (opposites due indeed attract). Strangely enough, throughout my travels one thing has always happened when I least expected it (or desired it); I made a new friend. But not just any friend – a quirky one. Maybe I just attract the weirdos, but it honestly is more fun than talking to “normal” people. So I’m glad to say that the digital nomad life has helped me sprout wings and flutter around quite a bit. And I’m very glad it has.
As you wander you’ll notice that even a simple conversation can bring a smile to your face or make you ponder your preconceived notions about life. Sometimes even the lack of conversation, just silent observation, can be a gamechanger. This was the case once as I was walking the ghettos of Bangkok and stumbled upon an elderly homeless woman selling small trinkets at the steps of a train station. I learned more about life in those few moments of observation than I did an entire week wandering the city.
You just never know who you’ll meet so have an open mind and don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. Though I must admit, as an introvert this has been the biggest hurdle for me to overcome. But, in the end, I’ve honestly met so many new people from backgrounds much differrent than mine that breaking through has been worth it.
3. Delivers unexpected experiences
Did you experience anything exciting today as you sat in your cubicle or home office? I hope your response is an enthusiastic “yes.” But the truth is you probably didn’t. Been there, done that in both cases – and for far too long. The great thing about the wireless technology that is now everpresent in our lives is that it can break you out of that cage. And with the explosion in remote work spurred by Covid, it has gotten much easier and acceptable to do so.
If you pivot to a digital nomad life, even in short bursts, you’ll be opening the door to a world of unexpected experiences. By breaking free of that cubicle or office you will be placing yourself in a place that naturally offers the opportunity for random events and unexpected experiences. It also lets you plan for some randomness before or after work, or during a quick lunch. Whether its cultural events or places, a vibrant urban streetscape lined with local shops and crafts, or (my favorite) street foods galore, you can exponentially increase your exposure to new experiences.
By the way, you can even do so while maintaining your productivity at work. Actually, my productivity usually increases during these times because my brain is fired up and naturally more attentive and energetic. I’ve also found that the digital nomad life seems to improve my endurance, positive outlook, and overall health. Perhaps it’s the food or the people – or just the change of environment. But one thing is sure, during my journeys I feel more alive than I ever could stagnating at the same old desk every day.
Remember, you can be productive at work even if you don’t sit at the same old desk every day. In fact, I believe you can be more productive – and happier – if that workplace and the environment around it is constantly changing.
4. Renews you spiritually
As human beings, we’re all given a built-in awareness that is spiritual in nature. Many ignore it, some even attack it. But great things happen when you nurture it and let it thrive. That’s where a digital nomad life can really benefit you.
Even spiritual people hit a rut now and then. Being thrust into a new culture that may have different attitudes, expectations, and desires than the one you’re used to can really open your eyes to what really matters in life. It can help lift you out of that rut. It can also help you develop or renew your spirit, and even help others along the way.
As I wrote about in a recent Q&A blog titled “Can I Volunteer While Traveling?,” a great way to focus on your spiritual life is to volunteer during your stint as a digital nomad. I’ve done it myself many times and it has always been the highlight of my journeys. It has allowed me to share my faith sincerely with others, personally provide for the urgent physical needs of those in need, and reflect on my own place/purpose in life. In the end, volunteering locally, in my native country, and in foreign lands has confirmed and strengthened my core beliefs, plus shaped my mission for the second half of life.
Are you ready for change?
One final thought as you consider the value of becoming a digital nomad. Taking your work on the road gives you the chance to reconnect with Creation. It truly is a spiritual moment to touch the intricate layers of sediment that form the aged shores along the Andaman Sea . . . and stand alone at the edge of a darkened jungle as the sparkling tail of a meteor burns out among a million twinkling stars above. Or to breathe air so innocent of man’s corruption that it lingers in your throat as chilled icelets, whose touch accelerates your heartbeat – all as a swirling mist of pink and indigo melts across the highland mountains of Burma far in the distance. It’s these little encounters that have the greatest impact on your spirit.
That’s why I’m very thankful for the opportunity to experience the digital nomad life, albeit in short bursts. And why I encourage you to shake off the rust, throw your laptop in a backpack, and head out the door. Take enough clean underwear and socks to keep you comfortable. Then let the randomness of chance, the quirkiness of strangers, and the desires of your tastebuds renew your spirit. You’ll be glad you did.