Long term travel: how it applies to the digital nomad lifestyle
I’ll be honest, I’m not very fond of the whole long term travel concept and that’s because I get bored easily. When I stay in one place for a long time, I feel stuck there and my brain forces me to start browsing tickets to another destination.
What’s so good about long term traveling?
Well, I guess what most people think is that when you travel to a place for a long period, you get used to the location, the people, the standard of living it provides. It means that your connection with it is stronger and that you turn it into a “base”.
There are definitely some perks that come hand-in-hand with long term travel. These include the fact that you get an address to receive online orders mail, have enough time to explore the location and connect with the locals or get the chance to form habits, like going to the gym or taking up a hobby.
It gets comfortable
Too comfortable, if you ask me. I have met with countless digital nomads in the past few years and discussed the hot topic of long term travel. Many times have I asked myself and others:
How fast should a digital nomad move around?
The answers I received cover a super wide range, from days to years (!) and, believe it or not, even I have given different answers every time I asked myself that question.
Getting started as a digital nomad
I said this before and I’ll say it again: when you start your digital nomad lifestyle, you need to start small. Take one step at a time. Feel the water, don’t just dive into it right away.
The ideal duration of your first adventure should be up to 3 months. During this time, you’ll be able to discover a new location, without being overwhelmed or bored. In my honest opinion, even 3 months sound like a little stretch. It really depends on your character. Rule of thumb: the bolder you are, the longer duration you should pick.
Also, the closer that location is to your base, the longer you can plan the trip to last. That is merely because when you’re at a close distance, it’s easier to come back, in the unlikely event that things go sideways or you regret that trip.
That principle only applies to digital nomad-newbies, though. After you gain some experience with this awesome lifestyle, then you obviously do the exact opposite; the farther you go, the longer you stay. For practical reasons.
The long term travel threshold
At this point, I’d like to take a moment to determine what long term travel means to different people. Yes, I posed the question before, but I now want to approach it from a different angle:
Is there a standard threshold, beyond which you consider yourself a resident?
In usual, non-nomadic terms, you’d think that after a year or two of living in one place, you become a resident. Well, it’s true. For starters, you have rented a property that you found in the long term rentals section of that real estate portal. You have bills in your name and you’re able to receive mail.
That could apply to digital nomads, too. Staying in one place for 12 whole months is definitely considered long term, borderline permanent residency. Indeed, when you have the ability to rent long term, it means that you show some willingness to invest in your future at this location. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The difference for digital nomads is that periods even less than a year can still be considered long term. For example, staying in one place for 6 months is quite a long time. Some digital nomads like it, while others, including myself, don’t. However, it’s long enough to settle and adopt a a couple of habits. And more than enough to get bored, if you’re like me.
How long is too long then?
Like I said before, there’s not a right or wrong answer to that. You should pick a duration that makes you comfortable. Ideally, you should also pre-plan an exit strategy, just in case things don’t turn out as expected. Your instinct will tell you when it’s time to move on. Trust me it will. It’ll come to you as a feeling or a sign or an epiphany. Watch out for it and start packing your bags for your next adventure.