Digital Nomads Daily Podcast episode cover The 5 misconceptions of the digital nomad lifestyle with Charlie

39: The 5 misconceptions of the digital nomad lifestyle with Charlie

Digital nomad Charlie only dipped her toes into the digital nomad lifestyle a couple of months ago. She started her journey with a remote job and enjoyed the perks of steady income while living in one of the most popular digital nomad hubs, Bali. While working online and traveling looks so glamorous on Instagram. Charlie experienced the first typical misconceptions like finding the right balance between having fun and staying productive and working across different time zones. After she quit her remote job, new challenges crossed her path. In this episode, we chat about these and more challenges and what she does to tackle them. Get ready for a reality check and behind-the-scenes episodes with Charlie!

‘‘It’s very up and down and I want to highlight this to people because you get into it thinking, “oh my get I get to travel, I get to work from my laptop and I can work from an island, and I can work anywhere…” You do have times like that but it’s not like that all the time. So to be honest, it’s just a snippet of the day.”

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The journey of a newbie digital nomad

There are different ways to make money online, and some digital nomads prefer to become a freelancer while others enjoy having a remote job. Each of them comes with its own challenges and newbie digital nomad Charlie experienced these in her first 3 months of nomadding. She started her digital nomad journey with a job and went to Bali. Shortly after she arrived, Charlie quit her job to become a freelancer and while it was a freeing experience, she definitely had to overcome typical challenges.

Misconception #01: Freelancing gives you more freedom than a remote job

One of the reasons Charlie decided to go freelancing was because she struggled a lot with the time zones. Her working hours were not during the day so she had to work at night and early mornings. This not only affected her well-being but she didn’t get to enjoy Bali as much because her hours were really tough. So it seems like she had more freedom and just looking on WHEN she can work, she definitely has more flexibility, but it’s not total freedom.

Many people don’t realize that as a freelancer, you are a business owner, which entails more responsibilities. Think about admin tasks, finding clients, promoting your business, getting work done and figuring everything out yourself.

If you want to learn more about this listen to the episodes with digital nomad freelancers below:


Chelsea: The Life Of A Traveling Website Designer

John: How Digital Nomads Can Become Successful Entrepreneurs


picture of startup founder Jürgen Pretsch for Digital Nomads Daily Podcast Episode How Leaders Can Strengthen Remote Company Culture (1)

Misconception #02: You will make more money as a freelancer than with a remote job and money will just flow

Freelancers are business owners who exchange their time for services. Some freelancers are very successful and have built a career with high-paying clients. That sounds dream and it’s definitely within reach, but it requires hard work, discipline and time. So when Charlie quit her job, she got more flexibility but she also had to get used to not having a steady income anymore.

Also her freelance career that she had just started didn’t find clients on day one so bear in mind that whenever you decide to quit your job or start a freelance business, you have a financial buffer to avoid financial stress.

Misconception #03: You can travel, be productive and have plenty of adventures whenever you like as a freelancer.

When we describe some of the important skills to become a successful digital nomad discipline is on top of the list. With so many distractions around us and fun to do, you cannot forget that you still need to work. So finding the balance between productive days and taking time for adventures is not easy at all.

It’s not all about working hard though. Many freelancers and entrepreneurs actually work way more than remote workers so it’s also important to have the discipline to take time off and not think about work. Charlie is still mastering this and it will take time before you get the hang of things.

In our book Digital Nomads With Confidence, we give helpful tips shared by experienced digital nomads about productivity and creating me-time. The book answers 101 questions so if you want to learn more, make sure to get a copy. Click here to buy Digital Nomads With Confidence.


Misconception #04: Digital nomads have all the time in the world and there is an abundance of time

One of the biggest challenges of the digital nomad lifestyle is the time spent traveling and preparing for your travels. So Charlie noticed that everything took more time than expected after she left Bali and continued her travels. Her desire to explore while she also had to be responsible at work showed her that everything takes time and it’s something to consider when you want to travel a lot.

For this reason, many digital nomads prefer to slowmad and stay longer in places. Digital nomad entrepreneur Kristina shares her tips in the episode exactly about this. Click here to check out the episode.


Misconception #05: Digital nomads only need Wi-Fi to work from anywhere

“You can work from anywhere as long as you have a decent internet connection”

That sounds easy right?! Charlie went to the Gili islands which are 3 closely-knit islands north of Lombok in Indonesia. You can find accommodation with Wi-Fi on the island but the bandwidth is very low so hopping on meetings with colleagues was hard due to the bad connection. On top of that, she dealt with cultural differences, and the prayers were pretty loud and often during her meetings.

So the statement that you can work isn’t the reality as long as you have an internet connection. It sounds sexy, and we get it, but if you wanna get work done, you need to have more than a little bit of Wi-Fi.

The digital nomad lifestyle knows more misconceptions, and it’s good to be aware of this before you start your journey so you feel more prepared when stuff happens. The key to a successful digital nomad life is to be open-minded, have a lot of patience and take things step by step.


Keep enjoying the digital nomad lifestyle

Charlie isn’t thrown off at all by these misconceptions but recognizes that it’s part of the lifestyle. She sees it as a learning curve and with the right mindset, taking small risks and taking good care of herself she will get there.

We absolutely love the realness of this episode and wish Charlie an amazing digital nomad journey! And suppose you’re reading this and struggle with making money online or finding a remote job. In that case, our team at DND is creating an exclusive group program. It’s only for 15 people and together, we will create your action plan and work on building your dream career with podcast host and founder Nienke Nina. Learn more about it via this link and go remote with confidence.


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