4 Harsh Realities of Being a Digital Nomad

  December 28, 2019 travel posts 🕑 4 minutes read

The Biddulph family.


One year ago today, I was still fighting a horrible case of jet lag in Oman.


8 hour time changes fuck me up. For about 6 weeks, I would fall to sleep at 4 PM and wake between 9 PM and 2 AM, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Some days I fell back to sleep at 7 AM for a few hours before waking for the day. Other days I just fell back to bed at 4 PM or 5 PM. My schedule changed daily, though. I often fought to stay awake until 10 PM, only to be foiled on waking at 2 AM until falling back to sleep at 5 AM. Horrible jet lag sucks. Imagine trying to grow a thriving blogging business on such a shitty schedule?


My blogging business has suffered because I am a digital nomad. I’ve had success, but it’s been muted. One annoying thing about doing Kriya yoga; this practice forces you to see yourself and your life in the light of truth. I plan to stay in New Jersey indefinitely for a few non-business reasons but, for many business reasons. Traveling has been fun, freeing and enjoyable, but circling the globe also terribly stunted my blogging business growth from where it could be. Lesson learned. Being home since May, things move along nicely these days. Routines. Continuity. Internet up 100% of the time and lightning fast. Convenience. Creature comforts, too. Order. Flow. Success.


Being a Digital Nomad Can Stifle Business Growth


When we arrived to the house sit in Oman during December of 2018, our Chromebooks did not pick up the internet signal. Fast forward through 5 hours of research. We needed to buy new laptops. First, we bought crappy little tablets. We trashed ’em 3 days later and purchased new laptops. Imagine trying to grow a thriving, serious blogging business fighting horrible jet lag and dicking around for days because your Chromebook antennae cannot grab the internet? This is like closing shop on your corner store for 5 days, then, being open for 4-6 hours a day, at the oddest hours, for 6 weeks. Will business be booming? Hell naw. Again; I’ve been successful, but I am honestly seeing how circling the globe held back even greater success.


Does this stuff happen in New Jersey? Nope. New Jersey is a stable, consistent environment for growing a thriving blogging business because my Chromebook grabs a lighting fast, 100% uptime ready, internet connection. No jet lag here, either. I fall asleep between 11 PM and 1 AM and wake at 7, 9 or 10 AM. Sleep like a baby here. Plus I follow my business routine seamlessly – in addition to my energy management routine – and everything keeps growing for me. Not so when I circle the globe. Being a digital nomad feels fun but can dramatically stifle business growth.


Immigration Politics


I love the USA. I am a citizen. No immigration issues. But Thailand seems to change immigration laws with the wind. Bali requires 3 separate trips to Immigrassi just to extend your visa, each trip spaced out by days. I waste hours of time and energy doing the immigration bit in most foreign lands; time and energy better spent growing my business and enjoying travels. I know immigration stuff is part of the digital nomad game but want to show you the downside of how politics, silly developing nation laws and other factors eat into your time spent on building your business and enjoying your travels.


Cultural Considerations


Face-saving culture drives me mad sometimes because lying to people just to make them feel nice is the Un-American and especially, the Un-New Jersey way. We tell the truth – even if it stings – because being genuine keeps your integrity intact and lets other people know where you’re coming from. Honesty IS the best policy. Burying the truth dissolves your integrity and eats into your credibility. Thailand, I love you, but I do not love face-saving culture. Digital nomads must accept cultures even if the customs make zero sense to you. I respect face-saving culture and live according to its ideals in Thailand but enjoy being back in New Jersey now; I can honestly and tactfully tell people how I feel, like real human beings do, without the fear of offending people who cannot handle the truth.


Home Is Where the Heart Is


My heart is my family and friends back home in New Jersey. I made oodles of friends on the road, too. But see that picture above? My mom, dad, sisters, mother-in-law, nieces on both family sides, sister-in-law and brother-in-law, along with all my buddies, are my heart. Home is here.  My mom is suffering through a terminal illness and I know it helps to have everybody together here, on the same page, for now. I felt lonely last year sitting in the desert during Christmas; this year was fun, enjoyable and heart-warming, spending Christmas with my dad, sisters and niece.


Will I Keep Traveling Abroad?


For now, no. But down the road, of course. I love being a digital nomad. I love Thailand and New Zealand and Bali. But life is cycles. Life is seasons. I intend to be home for a minute to enjoy the comfort, convenience and routines of New Jersey and the USA to help you effectively, to build my business and…to….lock down some NYC house sits. I still do a little traveling, ya know? 😉