Profitable Nomad Couple

56. Debunking Myths: The Realities of a Digital Nomad Lifestyle

August 30, 2023 Austin and Monica Mangelson
Profitable Nomad Couple
56. Debunking Myths: The Realities of a Digital Nomad Lifestyle
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What if the life you've been dreaming of is just a myth-busting conversation away?

Join us as we pull the digital nomad lifestyle out from behind the curtains. We're here to shatter some illusions - being a digital nomad isn't a job, it's a lifestyle choice. Age, relationship status, and tech knowledge - none of these are barriers to this way of life. We address your fears about making the leap and reassure you that the sunk cost fallacy isn't holding you back!

For those who think that all digital nomads are just travel bloggers or on a never-ending vacation, we're here to share the truth about living this lifestyle. Our journey encompasses the need for structured schedules, balancing work and play, and the freedom to choose when and how we travel. 

More importantly, we share tips on managing finances while globetrotting and discuss the nitty-gritty of tax obligations. It's not all sunsets and Instagram posts; it's about embracing a life of freedom and limitless possibilities. 

Come discover the true essence of the digital nomad lifestyle with us!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Sign up right now for the Digital Nomad Kickstarter beginning May 6th and learn what you need to get started as a digital nomad!
https://austinandmonica.com/digitalnomadkickstarter



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Connect with us on Instagram by following @austinandmonica

Visit our website: AustinandMonica.com

Enjoyed this podcast? Subscribe to our show and leave a rating and review on Apple Podcast. Your feedback means a lot to us, thank you!

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to the profitable Nomad Couple podcast. This is a show where we share all of our secrets about building a sustainable location independent lifestyle.

Speaker 2:

We're Austin and Monica. We're a digital nomad couple here to help you develop an entrepreneurial mindset, ignite your passions and develop a purpose-driven online business.

Speaker 1:

Get ready for weekly insights and inspiring stories to empower you to live life on your own terms.

Speaker 2:

So are you ready to unlock the Nomad mindset and embrace a life of limitless possibilities? Let's dive in. What's up, everybody? We are tackling a hot one today. We're gonna have fun with this one. We are jumping into some digital nomad myths and we're gonna bust them. And we're looking forward to this one, because this is a mixture of things that we have heard personally from family and friends and also things that we've come across as we've had conversations with people on Instagram, and we really want to bust these myths because we freaking love being digital nomads and there's so many good things about this lifestyle and obviously, like it's not all sunshine and rainbows and sugar canes and whatnot, like there's some challenging things about it. But I think there's a lot of, I guess, misinformed people, a lot of people who maybe don't know what it's actually like to be a digital nomad, and they have these assumptions that we want to help change, because we want to just bring as much of this lifestyle to people who want it as we can.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love it. Okay, without further ado, let's dive in. So number one the myth is that being a digital nomad is a job, and I love this one because Austin's mom is so sink and cute and whenever anyone asks her what we do and what we're up to, she goes, well, they're digital nomads. And then people are like, well, what does that mean? And she's like, well, they're digital nomads. And I don't think she quite. I mean, we've changed a couple times what we do online, so I totally get that. I mean, that's part of one of the fun challenges of being digital nomad it's finding a way to make money, but unfortunately there is no company looking for a digital nomad.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and, honestly, like there's endless possibilities. When it comes to finding ways to make money online, that's one of our favorite things to talk about with people is really, the only thing holding you back is your creativity. We're not going to go into that rabbit hole, because we could talk about that forever, but there's limitless ways to make money online and that's the job that you have. Whatever is funding your travel, that's your job, but then being a digital nomad, that's how you're living your life. So those are two different things.

Speaker 2:

Myth number two all digital nomads are young and single. This one is absolutely not true. You are never too old or too young. All you need to do, like we were just talking about, is to have a way to earn an income from anywhere. That's the only requirement, I guess you could say, of being a digital nomad. We've met digital nomads who are 18 and 19. We've met digital nomads who are 60 and everywhere in between, and so there really is no age limit, there's no age cap, there's no age requirement or anything like that, and not only that, but there's also no relationship status that you have to have.

Speaker 2:

Like you don't have to be single, like, obviously, monica and I are a couple who travel. There are dozens and hundreds of digital nomad couples. There's also hundreds of digital nomad families. Like you don't have to stop traveling when you have kids, which is also a whole other topic. We could go down. But, yeah, families, couples, individuals and every type of relationship status you can imagine. That does not change how or if you can become a digital nomad in any way.

Speaker 1:

It's never too late or too early to become digital nomad. Something that we've run into a lot is people have this sunk cost fallacy, so they're thinking, oh you know what? I spent 10 years climbing the ladder in this job, but now I don't want to work here anymore. But I've already put 10 years in here, so I should just keep working my head down, keep working, instead of taking the leap to become a digital nomad, like I actually want to. It's such a ridiculous notion because you've already wasted 10 years working in this job that you didn't like climbing this ladder. You can start becoming a digital nomad today. There's no need for you to continue wasting your time in this job that's not super fulfilling, living a life that you don't want to be living.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that doesn't really make any sense. So, if that's the position that you're in, don't feel like you've already put in too much, that you can't shift or pivot. You need to choose what kind of life you want to live now, and it's never, ever too late. Myth number three in order to be a digital nomad, you need to be tech savvy, because all digital nomads are tech experts.

Speaker 1:

Luckily for all of us here listening, probably this is not true. There are no coding skills or computer science degrees needed to become a digital nomad. Digital nomads come from so many different backgrounds. Some of us are really tech savvy. Some are professionals in fields like writing, marketing, design, education, consulting, health and wellness. There's so many different backgrounds that digital nomads have. You don't have to be tech savvy, you don't have to be the guru that everyone goes to be a digital nomad.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I will say there is. I feel like this comes without needing to say it. There is a small degree of tech knowledge you need to know, because I mean it is called a digital nomad. But by small I mean you need to know how to turn on your computer and how to log into whatever accounts you need to log into, and that's basically it. You don't need to be a coding master or anything like that. You can have so many skills and experiences and expertise and education in different areas not related to tech at all and that doesn't matter. You can definitely still be a digital nomad.

Speaker 1:

All right. Myth number four I like my things way too much to ever be a digital nomad, and the reason this is a myth is because some people have the assumption that all digital nomads are backpackers and they have four pairs of clothes total, and maybe two pairs of shoes and their computers and they stuff it on the backpack and that's it. And well, that is a great way to travel If that's something you're into. It's not the only way to travel. We know lots of digital nomads that travel with their pets, that travel with all of their shoes, all of their hair care products, who check bags instead of just having carry-ons.

Speaker 1:

You get to pick the kind of lifestyle you want to live. If you want to live a life of luxury as a digital nomad, you can absolutely do that. If you want to live the life of a backpacker as a digital nomad, by all means, you can absolutely do that. And that's one of my favorite things about being a digital nomad is that you get to pick and you get to change and you can say you know what, this year I want to live like a life of luxury, and maybe next year I want to be a backpacker, and you can change and turn it off, and turn it on as much as you want.

Speaker 2:

Yep, that's the awesome part of living this life. Number five digital nomads are travel bloggers. I will say this is true for some people there are a lot of travel bloggers, but I think there are very few digital nomads who make all of their money from travel blogging. And I think even those people whose primary income comes from travel blogging, most of them don't pay the bills with just that. For the most part, it's combined with multiple income streams and there's lots of different ways that they are making money, so not all digital nomads are just bloggers.

Speaker 1:

All right. Number six nomads are always on vacation and their life is always super exciting. They just live an easy, a carefree life and only work a few hours a week.

Speaker 2:

All right, not true.

Speaker 1:

In reality, most of us live really boring lives in really exciting places. Most of us have a structure and a routine and we're still working, but we just get to work in exotic places.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean being a digital nomad, you still have to work online and so there's still work that needs to be done, and I would say most digital nomads are actually working more than their sightseeing.

Speaker 2:

It's kind of the beauty is, you get to create your routine and create your schedule in a way that works for you, but that doesn't mean that routine or that schedule doesn't include any work at all, and I think the reason that people have this assumption about the digital nomad lifestyle is because there's a lot of digital nomads online who just post the highlights, and it kind of makes sense to me.

Speaker 2:

Like no one really wants to see pictures of digital nomads crowded in a really overcrowded train, going down the subway or wearing the same shirt the third day in a row because that's what they had packed, or, you know, running around trying to find Wi-Fi to finish the project before the deadline comes, things like that Like those are the less glamorous sides of the digital nomad life. The digital nomad lifestyle definitely has its perks, and that includes creating your schedule and living in these amazing places, but it definitely has its not so cool moments and I love it when people are upfront and honest about those things. But I think, because we want to share the highlights. That's what the assumption is, is the digital nomad lifestyle is just those highlight reels that you see and that's it, so that one's not true. Digital nomads are still professionals who value their work and have to put in lots of dedicated hours to you know, maintain their craft, to meet their commitments, and they have to work really hard to balance work time and play time.

Speaker 1:

Alright, number seven Nomads are always traveling, and this is a myth. Even within the digital nomad community there's kind of a silly, like arbitrary, like you have to be traveling so much to be a digital nomad, but that's actually not true. As a digital nomad, you get to choose when you travel, where you travel, for how long you travel, and it's really. It really comes down to the fact that being a digital nomad is a mindset. There are no conditions for how far you have to go or how often you have to travel to maintain your digital nomad status.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think part of what contributes to this one. I know that Monika and I have Fallen victim to this sometimes as well. I feel like there's this maybe it's a pride thing People want to share like their country count. You know, I've been to this many countries, and I feel like sometimes people think the more countries you go to, the more Qualified you are to be a digital nomad. Here's the truth, though you don't have to leave your home country, you don't even have to leave your home state to be a digital nomad. Like there's no requirements for you know a certain number of countries per year, or anything like that. So I think that one makes me a little bit sad sometimes that people feel like there's a travel requirement, but I think that's a lot more flexible than that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean again. It kind of goes back to the fact that you just Get to choose. Like you get to choose, I don't know. Sometimes Austin and I are moving around in place a place, like every month, and other times we're staying in a place for four months and maybe sometime we'll stay in a place for a year, like you just get to choose as you go how long you are staying in a place, how far you're traveling, when you're traveling, and it's glorious.

Speaker 2:

Okay, myth number eight traveling is too expensive. I'll just like jump right to it. Monica and I have saved more money as we traveled than we ever have not traveling. So this one I mean. Obviously it is going to depend on how you travel, but I think this one comes from the fact that you save up thousands and thousands of dollars for a vacation and you come back home and you know your savings are depleted. But I think Vacationing is different than traveling. Monica talks about this a lot and I think the difference is we like slow traveling, so we'll go and we'll live in a place, but it's not like we're doing super adventurous, expensive activities every single day for the whole three months or two months that we're there. Like we mentioned before, there's still a lot of work that we're doing and then we're going on occasional trips and excursions. So I mean, when we lived in Guatemala, when we lived in Southeast Asia, we saved a lot of money and actually we've built up our savings a lot as we've been traveling.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, there's typically a lower cost of living. Obviously depends a little bit on what country you're leaving from, but especially from the US. You'll be buying less stuff because you don't really take it with you, and there's the possibility of decreasing your tax burden, which we will be talking about next week in our interview with Nomad tax experts. So make sure you turn in for that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and also go back and check our past episodes. We have a couple on affordable travel. We'll link to those in the show notes so you can easily find them. We have lots of suggestions on how you can save money while you're traveling.

Speaker 1:

All right. Number nine. Digital nomads are disconnected from their families and friends and while there is a physical separation, a physical distance, it's really possible and easy to maintain strong relationships through technology by being able to stay in touch regularly as well as having the opportunity to go visit sometimes. Actually, I think for Austin and I, our friendships and our family ships, our family relationships, have been way stronger since we started traveling and since we started making a conscious effort to keep up those relationships.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we live in a digital age, you guys, and it's so easy to stay connected through phone calls and emails, if you want it, I guess, but I feel like phone calls and FaceTime calls and text messages and things.

Speaker 2:

And yeah, I do think kind of a hidden perk to being a digital nomad is because you have so much flexibility in traveling you can go visit your family and friends whenever you want to. We have our family and friends are scattered all across the mostly the western United States, but we've had an opportunity since being digital nomads to go visit them more than we ever would have had we been tied down to one place because of schooling or work or anything like that. So that's been a huge blessing for us and I think it's kind of a it's a myth that I think it's a hidden perk, that's it's sneaky in there and it's hiding right behind this myth and I think it's actually a huge pro to this lifestyle.

Speaker 1:

All right, and number 10,. This is really similar being a digital nomad. It's lonely and all of their friendships will be superficial.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, this one also kind of makes me a little bit sad. We've touched on this a few times before, but since traveling around more regularly, monica and I have built a network of friends from all across the globe. Our network has only expanded. Our friendships and our friend groups have only gotten bigger since we've traveled. You meet so many people on your travels and digital nomads, like generally, they're actively seeking out communities of people to hang out with, people, to spend time with, people, to bond with. This is both online and in person. We just released an episode two weeks ago all about building your community as a digital nomad, and I think we just barely scratched the surface. There's so many good ways to do that and, yeah, I just think like we've made some great friends since we're traveling and I just this one also makes me a little bit sad. That's what people think about it, but we've really enjoyed the relationships that have grown and the ones that we fostered since being digital nomads.

Speaker 1:

Well and honestly. We don't have any superficial friendships anymore because all of the people in our network are people that we take a lot of time and care into fostering that friendship. We don't have time for superficial relationships. So all of our relationships that we did have before we started becoming digital nomad, and all of the ones that we have fostered and created as we've been traveling, have been really deep, meaningful relationships.

Speaker 2:

Another thing that we've noticed and this sentiment was shared on the interview that we did with Alyssa a few episodes back but when you go back home to visit your family or your friends because you're a little bit more of a novelty, because you're traveling all over the world they tend to take more time to have one on one time with you. So when you go back home and you're visiting these people that you love and care for, that quality time is deeper. You have more of that quality time, more one on one time with these people, rather than being distracted by other things, and I think that's really cool, which, I mean. That's kind of what it's all about. It's not so much about how much time you spend with people, but it's about how you spend that time with those people.

Speaker 1:

Alright and last but not least, number 11, digital nomadism is not a sustainable long-term lifestyle. Being a digital nomad is not just a gap year, it's not just a phase, it's not just some kids running wild and being irresponsible and eventually someone's going to grow up and realize that you need to settle down. Being a digital nomad is something that you constantly choose. It's a lifestyle that you can create, and we have met so many digital nomads that have been traveling for decades and they have found ways to successfully maintain their lifestyle, build sustainable careers, manage their finances, build beautiful relationships, have families. It can be as sustainable as you want it to be. There is no expiration date on your ability to be a digital nomad.

Speaker 2:

So there you have it, you guys. These are 11 digital nomad myths that we have encountered and we have now debunked. If you think that there's a digital nomad myth that we have missed, one that you've heard or one that you've believed, definitely let us know. Send us a message on Instagram and we want to hear if we missed one. Thanks so much for joining us here on the Profitable Nomad Couple podcast. We appreciate you listening to us today.

Speaker 1:

If you enjoyed this episode, share it on Instagram and be sure to tag us. At Austin and Monica, together, we can inspire others to embrace a location independent lifestyle.

Speaker 2:

And while you're there, we'd love to connect with you, so make sure you follow us for more tips and inspiration on living your dream location independent lifestyle.

Speaker 1:

Until next week. Remember that you have the power to shape your own path. So stay curious, stay adventures and stay connected.

Busting Digital Nomad Myths
Myth 1: Being a digital nomad is a job title
Myth 2: All digital nomads are young and single
Myth 3: All digital nomads are tech savvy
Myth 4: I like my things too much to become a digital nomad
Myth 5: All digital nomads are travel bloggers
Myth 6: Digital nomads are always on vacation and their life is always super exciting
Myth 7: Digital nomads are always traveling
Myth 8: Traveling is too expensive
Myth 9: Digital nomads are disconnected from their families and friends
Myth 10: Digital nomadism is not a sustainable life-long lifestyle