Out of Frustration
More often than not, the desire to advance in life and a sense of restlessness often drive our decisions to become digital nomads. We also came to realize that we’re not living up to our full potential. More than just breaking out of the traditional 9-5 work model, we start craving the freedom and the flexibility to pursue our passions and dreams.
Take me for example. At times, the more I try to avoid all things that I perceive risky, the more I feel like life is out of my control and regardless of my best efforts of perceived control over circumstances, I’m fighting a losing battle. I have been wanted to travel and experience life for a long time, but I always chicken out at the end. I am worried to lose my control and constantly feel the uncertainty of life.
The ironic story is that my attempts to control every aspect of my lives that are actually holding me back, and make us feel even more powerless and uncertain. I soon realized that the solution is that we need to instead of eliminate it we should learn to embrace the uncertainty, and enjoy the journey, both good and bad.
Thinking Outside the box
Digital nomadism immediately seemed like the perfect solution for us, simply cause it allows us to work remotely and make a living, while traveling to new and exciting places. It also opens up the opportunity to meet and connect with like-minded individuals; to learn from their experiences and perspectives.
Digital nomadism, or the practice of working remotely while traveling to different locations, can offer a number of benefits and opportunities for personal and professional growth. It’s understandable that some people prefer this way of life to experience new cultures, travel and explore the world, or to have more flexibility and control over their work and lifestyle.
Learning in Chaos
For many, digital nomad can seem like a chaotic lifestyle. And particularly for me as an individual who is always motivated to learn, this poses an interesting challenge.
Through Steve Kaufman , a language teacher in Youtube, I was introduced to the concept of Repetition and Novelty when learning a new language.
According to Kaufman, Novelty and repetition are both important concepts in the process of learning. I found them to be exceptionally true and not only for learning language but also learning in a distress environment- especially when there is no step-by-step or best practice as a guide. Let’s take a closer look :
Novelty, or the introduction of new and unfamiliar information or experiences, can be a key factor in learning. It helps stimulate curiosity and engagement, and allows us to make connections between the new information and existing knowledge. his can facilitate deeper understanding and retention of the material being learned.
Repetition, on the other hand, is the practice of reviewing and repeating existing knowledge to consolidate and reinforce information. When repetition is spaced over time, it helps to strengthen memory and identify any gaps in understanding that may need to be addressed.
Together, novelty and repetition are important in language learning because they create a balance between introducing new material and reinforcing existing knowledge. The method of incorporating both novelty and repetition into can prove to be beneficial and effective for anyone in acquiring and retaining new language skills.
And I dare say that novelty and repetition can also be applied to life as a digital nomad.
Repetition : Practice Small Discomfort Daily
The world can often seem scary and unpredictable, with changes occurring on a daily basis due to to technological or political issue. These changes also not only limited to geographical aspects, where one local event can have a far-reaching impacts to other places.
We may feel powerless to control these situations, which can lead to stress and anxiety. One way to cope is by practicing mindfulness and finding ways to stay grounded and present in the moment. This can help us manage our emotions and reactions to events, allowing us to feel more in control of our lives.
Another approach that’s worth trying in controlling chaos is by repeating previous mistakes at daily basis. I called this “embracing the disorder”, where I practice managing stress and emotions in a controlled setting, for example role-playing or other simulated scenarios. This can help build up skills and confidence in handling challenging situations, and to feel more prepared and in control when faced with real-life challenges.
To embrace the digital nomad means to practice discomfort and step out of their comfort zone. One will have to face new challenges and adapt to unfamiliar environments. All of which is essentials in growing as an individual with resilience, independence, and problem-solving skills.
Bear in mind that not all discomfort is bad. It often expands your horizon and lead you to a more satisfying place you never though existed before.
Novelty : Introduce A Controlled Chaos Gradually
It is true that some of us living in the United States are plagued with perfectionism or micro-management syndrome. We tend to plan and schedule everything carefully, down to the minutes and small details. Last-minute changes or impulsive decisions are viewed as bad, expensive and mistake-prone. But in long term, one is in the danger of losing their quick planning or decision-making skills
When you think about it, making last-minute decisions can turn out to be fun and exciting, especially if you want to hone your risk-managing and learning skills. Decisions like impromptu traveling allow flexibility and unexpected adventures. Rarely the consequence is fatal, and on the contrary, it may lead us into new understanding and open the path way to new experience we didn’t know was missing.
Traveling Is Mixing Repetition & Novelty
Traveling is all about being exposed to new experiences and challenges that allow the opportunity to learn and grow. It’s one of the best chances to develop our adaptability skills, aligning our values to the new environments and cultures.
But bottom line is this : Nothing is that serious and you should expect making a few small mistakes along the way. You might as well be playful while keeping your humility and wits with you.
Tim Ferris once shared about a clever decision making technique in this TED defining your fear. Definitely worth checking out!
Is Digital Nomad For You?
While fun and liberating, digital nomadism can be a dramatic lifestyle change. Even for those who are living the life as a digital nomad, reevaluating the situation and asking questions repeatedly is necessary.
It’s important to note that being a digital nomad is not for everyone, and it can come with its own set of challenges and difficulties. It can be a demanding lifestyle that requires discipline, organization, and adaptability.
However, for those who are able to embrace the challenges and opportunities of digital nomadism, it can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
In addition to Novelty and Repetition methods, I think a set list of questions is helpful as a way to assess the progress as a digital nomad:
Do you want to experience new cultures and ways of living ?
Do you want to be able to work remotely and have the freedom to travel and live wherever you choose?
Do you want to be able to work on your own terms and schedule?
Do you want to be able to take advantage of lower cost of living in different locations?
Do you want to be able to have more time and flexibility to pursue your passions and hobbies?
Do you want to be able to build and grow your own business or career without being limited by location?
Just like the muscles in our body, discomfort takes practice and you will be rewarded handsomely. Repetition is not only key to learning, but helps avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed - something that WILL happen when you make a drastic switch to digital nomadism.
Meanwhile, practice taking in novelty one small step of a time. The art of digital nomad itself is already a big act of novelty, so do try to take in little changes at a slower pace.
Overall, we are doing this digital nomad journey to push ourselves out of our comfort zone, to experience new cultures and ways of living, and to have the freedom and flexibility to pursue our passions and dreams.
By embracing the novelty and discomfort of digital nomadism, we can continue to learn and grow as individuals and reach our full potential. It is a journey of self-discovery and personal growth that we are excited to embark on.
I will end this article with a few key notes that hopefully help everyone to be more open to change:
Practice making Last-Minute decisions on a regular basis
Adaptability is the goal
Increase randomness in your life
Life is short, stay playful
Learning new things make you anti-fragile.