When you hear about “digital nomads,” you probably picture young people with plenty of experience in technology or world-wise millennials that conquer the world as if they have no fear and know all.
There are not many older nomads, but we are a growing group. Not all of them are digital nomads, but certainly, the group of people that are retiring around now is redefining retirement and creating a new lifestyle that is far beyond boring and traditional.
On the internet I read stories about people living on cruise ships continuously because for them it is more affordable than a home, cruise ships offer all the care they need, have good facilities and visit exciting places.
I read stories about people over 50 that by camper vans and detach from a fixed house to a rolling life on American highways, meeting likeminded people in campsites.
I read stories of people downsizing their house to a tiny house, so they pay less living costs an thus have more money to travel.
And there are those that get themselves a new set of skills, like writing, photography or investments and mining bitcoins and create a whole new income source that allows them to follow the summer around the globe.
And I believe it is a good thing.
We ‘oldies’, make excellent (digital)nomads
It is about time that we move even further away from traditional roles like experienced employees and caretakers, painting classes, djembe lessons, and investment group members.
At our age we are flexible, we have fewer social bondings and obligations and we can easily create a full time or part-time new lifestyle. We are flexible and we have life experience that makes us pretty good in, organizing and planning. And what is more important: we know ourselves.
What mainly is holding us back is the lack of imagination to make that dream come true, the prejudice of others around us, especially our children and we might miss the financial resources to do it full time or make it very exotic.
People over 50 are free to follow their own destiny and make their own dreams come true, or even dream new dreams and make them a reality in the near future
With our life experience, we have so much advantage over the young new digital nomads. They all seem brave and in control, but that is the surface. Many of them struggle and feel lonely and insecure. Wherever I put down my laptop to work someone will come to me to greet me, and that would be me ending up giving ‘motherly’ advice, both men and women because they feel a little lost in matters.
It gives me a whole new role in the digital nomad world. To be of comfort to some young person that is a bit lost in some sort of problem and needs some advice. After that, we always have a nice chat and a good laugh. It is nice to get to know other people.
Our live experience makes us so much stronger and determined when things are getting a little tougher.
The questions they consulted me on varied from travel destinations, where to go next, budget matters and business decisions, but also personal problems, like stay in touch with folks back home, their love life or health issues.
Many people will think that money is the biggest problem to overcome when you become a digital nomad
I always tell people that the new lifestyle might be a lot cheaper than they think. Just pick a country that fits your budget, that is why I started in the Philippines. Besides the beautiful nature, the country had a very affordable cost of living and the visa rules are amazingly easy and affordable as well.
Figure out how much your new lifestyle might cost, add a little extra and see how much money you have to spend and make things match.
The lane ticket can kill any budget, especially with the crazy outbound ticket and onward ticket policies nowadays. But still, once you have arrived and you know how much money your visa will cost when you extend, life can be pretty affordable.
I managed on a budget of 600 euros a month. And there are places that are even more affordable. I rented a rather expensive house in the Philippines and when I’d cut back on housing costs I easily could have lived on 500 euros.
It will be hard to imagine and you will live a life that is total upside down from what you are used to working and living in the system.
But can you imagine waking up every morning with an emerald sea view right in front of your house, a white sandy beach and that holiday feel for always? Isn’t that an amazing idea?
It is a scary thing to do, to leave your own country behind and all that is familiar, but you get so much more in return
Detaching yourself from the life you live now does not mean you have to travel for the rest of your life fulltime and work remote. You could also be a tourist in your own country. Live the vagabond life from your own house. Or maybe you find a creative solution to save money just for traveling. And you take short trips to exotic places that you always wanted to visit.
I became a nomad in my own country before I headed for the airport with all my belongings in a suitcase. It takes time to settle in the new idea of a life full of freedom, just living for yourself and to enjoy every step of the way.
It is my belief that we ‘oldies’ can do a better job than any millennial can do. Since we travel not to own the world but to participate, to live the world, to wonder and wander.
We can do that because we have lived because we know what it feels like to hold on and let go because we know how it feels to set goals, reach them and move on. We, as no other group of travelers, know how to be truly free. Because of our life experience and our past lives. We have walked paths of self-discovery and adjustment, and it feels amazing to walk a path of total freedom!
Walking the new path of total freedom makes us even better people than we already are.
I never regretted my decision, I do miss things, and some nights I get bloody lonely, like everybody else. But I know I wake in a place where I want to be. A place that gives me joy. And if I do not feel that anymore, that joy, I can pack my back and move on……to better places, new places, the yet undiscovered area’s on the globe.
I love my life, I love my travel plans, I love the choice I once made to go on this crazy adventure. I wish I’d done it much earlier in my life.
Do you have any questions about nomad life? Let’s chat about it!
Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.