I have a confession to make.
I’m not really a digital nomad.
Sounds weird, doesn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel. I need to travel. Staying too long in one place gets me itchy. I can’t even work in the same corner of the room for too long. I switch between living room and kitchen. Between city and country.
I sometimes work at my company’s office – mainly so I have regular face time with my colleagues. Which I value. But it’s not entirely necessary.
I absolutely have the freedom to randomly go and live in Spain for a few months. Or spend time with my family in Ireland, whilst still working and enjoying “normal” life with them.
Which is what prompted me to address this topic. Simply put…
…most digital nomad blogs put an emphasis on not ‘not having a home’. But there is such a thing as a ‘part time’ digital nomad. And, for the majority who want to enjoy location independence, this suits them just fine.
The point of being a remote worker and/or a digital nomad is that you get to choose where you live and spend your time. Some are very happy spending most of their time in their lovely little village in the South of England, thank you very much.
The whole point is the freedom to choose. And that’s what I focus on.
The (accidental) digital nomad
I remember going to a digital nomad meetup in Cologne, Germany. I went with my partner, who is a software engineer and works full-time for a company in London (he lives in Bonn, Germany). We were curious to meet others who might be living in Cologne for a while. To hear their stories, to experience different perspectives.
The vast majority of people there were ‘newbies’ – they worked at ‘stationary’ jobs. They were intrigued by digital nomadism and remote working (or perhaps just looking for drinking buddies – a most admirable pursuit).
Up until this point, I didn’t consider myself a real digital nomad. I spend a lot of my time in either Cologne or Bonn (they’re neighboring cities). And Ireland. And the UK…
Every single person we spoke to was… new to the concept, and curious. But that was when it dawned on us…
…we were the only ‘actual’ digital nomads there.
I visit family and friends in different cities/countries frequently. If it’s a long stretch of time, they’re usually working their day jobs and living their normal lives. So, I simply adapt my schedule to suit them.
So, how much “digital nomading” do I actually do?
At the moment… Not much (by my standards). Generally speaking, quite a lot. Life is something that should be focused on family, friends and following our passions. Work, projects, and writing are my passions – when I’m not doing those, I’m either spending it with people I care about. Or throwing myself into new situations, meeting new people and discovering new ideas/perspectives.
I travel as much as necessary. In practical terms, I like to get out of Cologne at least once a week. I like to get out of Germany several times a year. Some of those are holiday where I do very little work: many of those times involve visiting friends and spending time with them.
So, can you be a digital nomad and still have a permanent home?
Absolutely. So far, I haven’t seen this idea touted on many of the great blogs I’ve read. Which is understandable. They’re gunning for the big picture, the ultimate freedom. But what I have to say is…
…location-independence can also mean retaining the freedom to stay in one place – the placing of your own, personal choosing.
You can have a permanent home (or two, three… depending on your budget), spend a lot of time in one place and still be a digital nomad. You have that freedom. You’re location independent – it’s up to you to define it. Since every situation is different, the best thing you can do is speak to others who’re following the same dream of location independence.