London, UK–The digital nomad – an emblem of the remote-work era, paints a romantic picture of working and traveling simultaneously. These individuals encompass various professional spheres – freelancers, entrepreneurs, or remote full-timers for global companies. They’re typically well-educated, white-collar workers, their numbers reportedly growing massively since the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a BBC report, beneath the allure of Instagram feeds and enticing travel blogs, many adventurers reveal that the nomadic lifestyle isn’t quite the dream it’s often portrayed as. Consequently, several digital nomads have bid farewell to their wandering ways.
In a report, Lauren Juliff, who left her UK supermarket job in 2011 to embark on her global odyssey, found that her digital nomad lifestyle started to take a toll on her well-being after five years. Frequent panic attacks, deteriorating physical health, a lack of long-term friendships leading to loneliness, and unstable work conditions pushed Juliff to seek stability. After moving to Portugal, her income tripled within a year, her health improved, and she built a solid social circle.
Similarly, as per the report, Darius Foroux’s digital nomad journey in Spain stopped due to inflated housing costs and complicated legal procedures. He returned to the Netherlands, seeking stability and a focused work environment.
In the report, Beverly Thompson, a sociologist researching digital nomadism, acknowledges that the lifestyle isn’t suitable for everyone. Several individuals underestimate the challenges due to the idealized portrayal of digital nomadism on social media. Passport restrictions, loneliness, mental health issues, and financial struggles are some hurdles.
As per the report, while the trend is likely to continue, Thompson suggests that the growing awareness of these challenges and employers’ desire to have their teams back in the office may lead to a slowdown in the rise of digital nomads. Although the number of digital nomads is increasing, they still represent only a small percentage of global workers. They are typically from countries with strong passports.
Learn more in the full BBC report.