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3 Pros and 3 Cons To Being A Baseless Digital Nomad

Michelle Dale - Monday, March 21, 2011

For a long time now, several years in fact, myself, my husband and our 2 kids have been “baseless” meaning that we don’t have a permanent base, and we are currently doing the digital nomad thing, travelling around. Whilst this may seem pretty cool, and in all honesty it is, like everything it has it’s pros and cons. So if you are considering becoming “baseless” you may want to consider these few things which I have discovered along the way before you make a final decision.

#1 Pro – No Rental Agreements or Utilities

If you rent properties such as holiday rentals on a long term let basis, you don’t have to worry about rental contracts and utility bills. Many owners of holiday accommodation will extend their rental periods for several months at a time, and the price you pay is often more, but you get everything included, like furniture, and furnishings, plus utilities, such as internet, electric, water, and gas, plus you don’t have to fiddle around with rental agreements and what not. You pay the deposit up front, and the rest is spread out over the period of time you are there, on a monthly basis.

#2 Pro – You Can Stay Minimalist

I really hate clutter, always have, but over time it naturally accumulates. We make purchases, for ourselves, our kids, our households and before you know it, you have more stuff than you can shake a stick at. Being on the road forces you to keep your clutter to a minimum. With each move, you have to go back down to basics, because it’s highly unlikely you are going to upgrade to a larger vehicle every so many months. It’s pretty ruthless, but it’s surprising how little we actually need as individuals, and I have become far less materialistic since giving up my stuff, in exchange for life experience and working in my virtual assistant services business.

#3 Pro – You Are FREE

The lovely thing about being able to fit your entire family and everything the family owns in a 7 seater car means that you are completely free. You can make a decision one day to go, do a bit of preparation online, and then plan the moving date, just like that… It can take a little longer when you have kids, we can now plan a move in around 3 months, but if you are single with no kids (foot loose and fancy free) you can literally get in the car, or turn up at the airport and be on your way. The freedom to roam around and go wherever you please is one of the most exciting parts of being a digital nomad, and when you work online, you can literally pick up and take your online business with you.

#1 Con – Healthcare

When you are not living permanently somewhere you can’t be expected to rely on any kind of system for healthcare, such as doctors and dentists etc… Touch wood, we are all a pretty healthy bunch, and when we need attention from healthcare professionals we have to bite the bullet and pay privately for it. Some medical centres we have been to did treat our kids on a couple of occasions for very minor problems, without us having to register, but I think this was more because we didn’t have a clue how to speak their language well, and they didn’t know English, so it kind of just all worked itself out. But I am certainly looking forward to one day having a base where we have a regular doctor and dentist again, healthcare in foreign countries can be very pot luck.

#2 Con – The Language Barrier

No matter where you go in the world, if you don’t speak the native language, it’s your responsibility to learn it, or accept that it’s not a given that people will speak English, and quite rightly so. Often times when travelling with our virtual assistance business we are in countries where we don’t speak the language, and aren’t intending to stay long enough to learn, yet, of course, we still need to communicate with people. Sometimes this can get a little frustrating, and you end up feeling like you want to beat yourself up over it, to get something simple done. Whilst in most countries you can find someone who is able to translate for you, it can sometimes leave you feeling a little drained, when at our countries of origin we all take this little communication thing for granted.

#3 Con – Saying Goodbye

Wherever you go you will likely meet a variety of people, and some you will grow very fond of. It’s wonderful to make news friends from different backgrounds or meet people who have arrived at your destination from different places, all for different reasons, some for love, for work, for a lifestyle change, for health reasons, and some just for the food! A lot of the people I have met on my travels I stay in touch with, and most likely some of them I always will. But when you meet lovely people who have in some way touched your life, it can be very difficult to say goodbye, and you have to do it often when you are moving around. One of the upsides is that the people you meet get to come visit you on holiday, as did my polish midwife, who was looking after me while I had my second baby in France, and then came to visit us for a holiday in Spain.

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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