Money at 30: Digital Nomadism Revisited
A few years back, I shared that listening to a podcast had sent me down a rabbit hole exploring the world of digital nomadism. At the time, I’d firmly concluded that the lifestyle wasn’t for me. Yet, more recently, the topic has once again come up in conversations between me and my wife. That’s partially due to our current frustrations with our apartment complex and wondering what surprises await us when our lease is up but has also been impacted by recent events that have us considering whether we may need to spend an extended period of time in Ohio.
Even though we have floated the idea of becoming digital nomads, making the decision isn’t as easy as packing up the car and heading out. Instead, there have been a few things on my mind and issues we’d need to solve before even considering going all in. With that, here are a few of those concerns.
Finding pet-friendly Airbnbs (or other accommodations)
One of the big changes that has occurred since the last time we flirted with the idea of becoming digital nomads is that we’ve added a dog to our family. So, naturally, we will want to take Rigby with us wherever we go. Unfortunately, that could complicate things as not all of the accommodations we’d rely on are welcoming to pets. In fact, taking a cursory glance on Airbnb, I’d estimate that more than half of the properties we looked at did not allow dogs.
On the bright side, as I’d heard before, many of the Airbnbs I looked up did offer discounts when you booked for a month. Furthermore, while there were plenty of places that were way out of our price range, several others were right in line with what we pay for rent — if not less. The bottom line is that, although it might take a bit more effort to find the right place where the three of us (me, my wife, and Rigby) can stay, I’m sure we’d be able to find something in each city we’d want to live.
Dealing with Airbnb hosts
Speaking of Airbnb, I have to admit that I don’t have a ton of experience with the platform. Actually, I don’t even have an account as, during the few times we have stayed at a property, the booking was under our sister-in-law’s name. Despite this lack of personal experience, I have definitely heard horror stories about dealing with hosts.
Granted, given the number of people that book Airbnbs every day, there are sure to be some hiccups. However, when you’re traveling and counting on staying somewhere for a month or more and things go wrong, it can have a much more disruptive impact than things not going perfectly during a weekend stay. Therefore, any plan that involves these types of short-term rentals comes with some hesitation on my part.
Finding decent WiFi isn’t really all that hard. After all, you really just need to point yourself in the direction of a coffee house and you’re probably set. Well, at least you’ll be good enough to view web pages and blogs. But, both my wife and I now live stream on a regular basis as part of our jobs. Because of this, we need WiFi that’s not only faster and more reliable but also not in a public place as I don’t want our stream to annoy every single person in Starbucks. What’s more, really gauging the viability of a WiFi situation ahead of time can’t be easy since you’ll probably just need to take the word of the host. For those reasons, I could see this being an issue if we were to pursue a life on the road.
Putting our stuff somewhere
Over the years, in addition to thinking about the idea of digital nomadism, we’ve also thought about minimalism. Thinking about it, I suppose we’ve really made a lot more progress toward becoming minimalists than we have toward becoming nomads as we have made some major strides in decluttering and getting rid of junk. Nevertheless, I’m not sure we’d be able to get to the point where we’d part with everything except for a couple of suitcases and whatever else can fit in a car.
This means that we’d need somewhere to leave the stuff we’d eventually want to come back to should our nomadic experiment end. The most obvious downside to this is that it would cost money to rent a storage unit. Plus, another consideration would be where to get said unit. Springfield (our current location) would probably make the most sense, but who’s to say in the long run? Basically, unless we manage to fully commit to minimalism, these would be questions we need to answer before embracing a nomadic lifestyle.
Finally, although we initially got our car in part because we thought it’d be good for road trips, I’m not too excited about piling on miles so soon. So, then, would taking it on multiple long trips per year — perhaps one per month — really be a great idea? I’m not sure.
Then again, I suppose there’s no rule that says we need to go long distances with each of our moves. What’s more, since there’s not a return trip involved, going a long distance won’t even add as many miles to our car as one does now. In other words, I may be making too much of this, but it’s still something I think about.
Once again, as of this writing, I’m not sure I’m cut out to be a digital nomad. After all, as I’ve said before, as much as I love traveling, I also love coming home. Plus, in addition to these concerns, I’m sure I could come up with many others if we walked through everything that such a move would entail. With that said, I’m still pretty open to the idea in general and would be interested if we could make it work.
In the meantime, perhaps we could take some extended trips and do some other trials that might help us learn whether or not a full-time nomad lifestyle would be viable for us. I’ll be sure to report back if those do happen… but, for now, I think we’ll be staying (mostly) put.