Did you have to address concerns from family when starting out as a digital nomad?
As for my family, at the beginning, yes…as I’m different and I made unusual choices. They always have been supportive, but they couldn’t really understand what I was doing or working on… Probably because I have been rather discrete, involved in so many projects and have always have been rather untraditional. They were also concerned for my security. But for already a long time, they’re happy for me and they’re not concerned anymore…
Other people have been fascinated…some others at times have been judgmental, some even thinking it was some kind of escape… But now that it is trendy to be ‘nomad’, people are mostly inspired and/or admirative…
They had some, but they kept it to themselves, mostly. I primarily made sure to stave off any potential worries by showing that I knew what I was doing, and keeping them abreast of where I was and how things were going.
They’re always concerned about my safety. The news tends to amplify negativity so they only ever hear bad things about the places I’m going, like that there was a big earthquake or an entire continent is overrun with terrorists. But I don’t see any of it. Everything is fine.
They were and are concerned about my safety, which I understand. They were concerned about this not being a business initially, but have seen my work take off and are on board with my choices—so long as I keep coming back in the summers to get in family time.
This was a huge challenge for at least a year. Almost 2.5 years later, my family now has a better understanding of what I do, what remote work means, and why I like to travel a lot. But it wasn’t easy. It took a lot of sticking to my guns and knowing what I want, and having the patience to explain and re-explain “why I’m doing this again.”
I come from a family of generations where everyone lived in the same place, and stays in the same place. I’m the first person to travel long-term and adopt a remote work lifestyle. I got a lot of questions like “why are you leaving a good, secure job?”, “why don’t you just travel for a few weeks and then come home?” or “now you’re so far away from us.” There are multiple layers of concerns, but the more my partner and I have shown what success and happiness can look like, the more our families support us.
My parents were worried when I first left to travel and work from the road. My trip lasted 11 months and they had their reservations, but they never asked me to change my plans. My dad’s only major request was that I keep my blog and social media two weeks behind my actual location. With the way that people update Snapchat and Instagram every moment now, it seems odd to consider he was so worried about that aspect of it. But back in 2008, blogging was new and I honored his wish. Every week I would email him a rough draft of my travel plans to keep him in the loop, and that made them feel secure in knowing that if anything went wrong, at least they had a starting point for figuring out the next steps.
Absolutely. My parents were hesitant about the consistency of income—which I completely understand. Freelancing can be hit or miss, depending on what your niche is. For me, I was lucky in the sense that business writing has a need for writers and it pays competitively. I also made sure to have a solid client list. Once my parents saw my business model, they were less skeptical and happy that I had found an industry that I loved.