May 18, 2021 5 min read

The ways that digital nomads lie to themselves

A church in a fjord

Digital nomads might be lying to themselves. We take a hard look at aspects of the digital nomad lifestyle that are underreported or under-advertised in the glossy photos on Facebook and the 'gram.

Digital nomads might be lying to themselves. We take a hard look at aspects of the digital nomad lifestyle that are underreported or under-advertised in the glossy photos on Facebook and the 'gram.

And this is not just a post-pandemic phenomenon:

Here are the top 5 things digital nomads are failing to think hard enough about when making the leap to the nomad lifestyle:

1. Health Care ⚕️

It's fair to say that most people thought a lot less about health care and unexpected health-related events. Young people especially can view themselves as invincible and neglect to have a proper health care strategy.

With the "great reset" of 2020 that brought a lot of travelers back home for the first time — and tied access to a must-have covid-19 vaccine to a residency — many people grappled with the fact that it can be important to have a home base for health care services.

As a digital nomad, are you willing to manage a health care strategy that involves country-hopping or slow-madding in countries with varying levels of quality in the local health care system?

Companies are emerging to tackle this problem and in future newsletters, we will dive deep into this topic.

2. Taxes 🧾

Before the pandemic, a significant volume of digital nomad-generated economic activity operated in a grey zone from a tax perspective. Tax can be tied to several things, including residency and citizenship (Americans are notoriously taxed on worldwide income regardless of residency).

Digital nomads who were "traveling" and spending 2-4 weeks in a jurisdiction before moving were not necessarily establishing a tax residency or declaring income in all the countries where they were hanging out at coffee shops, beaches, and coworking spaces to make their income.

As a digital nomad, are you ready to establish a tax strategy?

Specialty accountants, banks, and fintech companies are emerging to tackle this situation and in future letters, we will tackle this topic.

3. A sense of community that is ephemeral 🏠👨‍💻

So we have decided to use a four-dollar word here, but we think it's appropriate. Your sense of an established community as a digital nomad can be ephemeral — shifting with the cities you visit, the places you leave, and the people who are only around for a short time.

Your friends back home are playing on local sports teams, buying real estate, becoming embedded in neighborhoods and community organizations — and you are on a beach in Ho Chi Minh City or in a cool Airbnb in Estonia. Life is about trade-offs.

More and more services are emerging to help strengthen the sense of connection and community that digital nomads can access on the open road or even staying medium- to long-term in hub cities.

Post-pandemic, travel is not quite as easy to do as freely and there may be financial and public health measures that slightly slow down the breakneck pace of international travel. Are you thinking about slowing down your nomadic activities to stay put a little bit more in 2021 and 2022? Let us know.

4. Getting ADDICTED to the cheap cost of living 💉�💉

OK — we are kind of joking with this one, but not really?

People who come from countries like the UK, Canada, and the US can get pretty hooked on spending $1 on food and a few hundred bucks on rent per month in countries like Vietnam and Thailand.

Maybe you could chalk this one up to being a "good problem to have" but are you ready to get used to a certain way of budgeting, earning, and saving that might mean that you will have to adjust when you come back home to countries that cost more?

Most digital nomads would point to this as a feature, not a bug — what do you think?

5. The paradox of choice

Can having a sense of infinite possibilities sometimes feel overwhelming? One downside of pursuing ultimate freedom is — having ultimate freedom and the feeling that the grass is greener somewhere else.

Ultimately, at Wayviator we believe digital nomadism is not about trying to do everything, but perhaps the opposite — finding the things you do want to do and having the freedom to make choices based on preferences... not based on where your employer's headquarters happens to be.

How do you make decisions as a digital nomad and avoid the paralysis of overanalysis that can come with thinking that where you're supposed to be is always somewhere else?


🇷🇴🇷🇴🇷🇴 Romania launches a new digital nomad visa! 🇷🇴🇷🇴🇷🇴

Romania has entered the global competition for digital nomads — and YES, we do see this as a competition. As we have mentioned before, nations are rolling out the red carpet for digital nomads. This is going to be a HUGE TREND in the New Roaring '20s.

A church in a fjord
Does Eastern Europe beckon to you? Romania is reviewing legislation that brings it closer to being a viable option for digital nomads.

Let's look at some of the requirements (which are pretty standard):

  • Proof of employment or self-employment by a company outside of Romania
  • Proof of health insurance for the duration of the stay
  • A clean criminal record check

These requirements are part of some growing themes in the rules governing digital nomad applications: under these schemes, by and large, you can't just show up jobless and hope to figure it out once you get there.

These are not the "youth working holiday visas" some of us might have taken advantage or heard in the past. These are slightly more strict and require you to have a formal plan for the 'worker' part of 'remote worker'.


And one more thing...

Many aspects of being a digital nomad are universal — but some experiences can be specific to who you are. We are recommending the Women Who Travel podcast for female travelers who may be interested in tips that are specific and relevant to women today. Enjoy!

What It Actually Takes to Become a Van Lifer
On the latest episode of the Women Who Travel podcast, we tap the experts for tips on living on the road responsibly this summer.
‎Women Who Travel on Apple Podcasts
Condé Nast Traveler editors Lale Arikoglu and Meredith Carey dissect the realities of traveling as a woman today, high-fiving all those shaking things up in food, hospitality, adventure, and travel journalism, and celebrating all the reasons why we refuse to stay home.
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