Confession time: over the last couple of years we’ve probably been far too bullish/sanctimonious/closed-minded about insisting that you should start your own business if you want to travel the world.
We don’t have any agenda to push (“This is why you should start a business – now buy this product where we show you how!”), but we’ve been working so hard on trying to build our own business that we may have lost sight of the other options. Because it’s so damn hard, maybe at times we were also trying to convince ourselves that it’s all going to be worth it.
Don’t get me wrong: not being answerable to a boss is fantastic. Building something that can make money without your direct involvement and which solves a problem for people is even better. And if you can potentially sell it one day and make a pile of cash? Jackpot!
But it’s not for everyone. Heck, a lot of the time it feels like it’s not for us. And while being nomadic doesn’t make it all that much harder, it can be hard to enjoy the travel when you’re putting so much work into plans that mostly seem not to work out.
There are also a whole lot of plusses to having the dreaded J.O.B, once you strip away the practical constraints, the office politics and the pointless meetings-about-meetings. With a job you enjoy there’s the chance to do what you love on a bigger scale than you could on your own, and focus on your strengths without having to force yourself to become an all-rounder – and all with the security of a regular income.
On reflection, if we’re going to be preachy about anything, I think it should be the travel part of the digital nomad equation. Again, travel isn’t for everyone – but there are a lot of people who would love to do it yet are held back by nothing more than misconceptions, habit and fear. And even if someone has no desire to travel, I’d still argue that a “portable life” not weighed down by possessions and unexamined routines really is a superior option for pretty much everyone.
It’s not like there’s an abundance of location independent jobs out there for those who don’t want to be entrepreneurs (and finding those that do exist requires a totally different process from what most people are used to), but it’s still absolutely an option – and I think that over the next couple of years we’ll see more nomad-appropriate jobs appearing both within traditional companies and new businesses with a “distributed team” setup.
So I hope we’ll be joined on the road in the near future by a lot more people who aren’t programmers and also have no desire to become a “location independent entrepreneur”.