Digital Nomads & Travellers – Finding The Perfect Balance

Dariece Swift author's bio Goats On The Road

Along with many of our online colleagues, we classify ourselves as digital nomads. But what does that mean exactly?

“Digital Nomads are individuals that leverage technology in order to work remotely and live an independent and nomadic lifestyle.”

– Reddit

To add to what Reddit says, the digital nomads that we know tend to live financially conscious lives, have less possessions than most people, are totally free to live how they want, and are incredibly happy!

But, how do we find a balance between working remotely online, and having time to explore the destinations we’re visiting or living in?

If we don’t travel, then we have nothing to write about.

If we don’t write, we have no funds for travelling.

It’s a catch 22.

being a digital nomad
Writing with a furry friend in Mexico

Oftentimes we feel like we should be out there mingling with people, trekking up a mountain, or visiting the popular markets and sights. We see other travellers looking down at us because we’re being antisocial on our laptops, rather than discussing where we should travel to next.

Our website and our freelance columns are our job, it’s our passion, it’s what we love. We feel like it’s a small sacrifice to miss out on a couple of Happy Hours in order to earn a few hundred dollars, which will ultimately get us from one exotic destination to the next.

Here’s what a very young Australian girl on her gap year said to us recently when she saw us working on our computers:

“Ugghh, I’m so sick of hearing the “W” word! You’re travelling, you shouldn’t even be thinking about Work!”

backpacking in indonesia
Things were much different during our travels in 2009!

There are times when we feel left-out and like we don’t fit in with other travellers, but we brushed off what the Aussie said because we’ve come to the realization that it’s OK to not be full-time travellers anymore. We’re not just tourists – we’re now expats, bloggers and tourists. Unlike before, our journeys around the world don’t have an expiration date. We’re in no rush to see the top tourist sites of the city we’re in, because most likely we’ll be there for a month and will have plenty of time to get to them.

We now enjoy living in places, whether it’s in our own apartment or house sitting. This allows us to fully immerse ourselves in the culture and community. We get to have local neighbours, we’re able to know about the best restaurants, secret hikes and off-track beaches. We can unpack for a while and make long-lasting friendships.

We still have the desire for adventure, to learn and explore. But we also have the desire to sit still and put some effort into our career and into learning about a place, its people and its culture.

Over the past four months, our website has been seriously neglected. Our plan to live and work in San Pancho fell through, as it ended up being more of a place to have family come and visit us. After that, we were really interested in travelling around Mexico and loved exploring all of the colonial cities and gorgeous beaches. It’s one of the best countries in the world for backpackers and we absolutely loved our 7 weeks of moving around.

digital nomad mexico
Rather than working in San Pancho, we spent a lot of time at the beach with family

However, we were just doing the bare minimum on the site, and rather than timely responses to emails and prospective partners, people weren’t hearing from us for a week, sometimes two… or three. In order to keep our heads above water, make significant progress on projects and reach out to new advertisers and partners, we need to slow down and take some time for us.

The new plan is to travel around a country for a month, then sit still for two or three, while getting caught up on everything, writing about the experiences we’ve just had, and really enjoying the community that we’re a part of. We’ll write about how to find an apartment or good hotel / hostel, the cost of living, and all of the incredible things to see and do in the city we’ve put down temporary roots in.

We’re currently living on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, which has given us a chance to unpack, unwind and focus on getting together some great articles.

Being digital nomads allows us to meet interesting business owners, work with wonderful companies, be offered some amazing products, but most importantly, it allows us to continue to travel the world. We love everything that this title encompasses.

We’re still trying to find the perfect balance between being travellers and having an online job, but we think we’re doing OK and are pretty happy with where we’re at 🙂

What are your thoughts on finding the perfect balance between work & play?

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Digital Nomads & Travellers – Finding The Perfect Balance

Dariece Swift author's bio Goats On The Road

Written by

Dariece Swift

Dariece is a co-founder of Goats On The Road, and an expert in saving money, finance management, building an online business and of course... travel. She loves meeting new people, trying new cuisines, and learning about the unique cultures of our world. She has over 12 years of experience helping others to realize their travel dreams and has worked in numerous jobs all over the world to help pay for travel.

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11 thoughts on “Digital Nomads & Travellers – Finding The Perfect Balance”

  1. I completely get this article – we’re still struggling with the perfect balance. We seem to spend one or two weeks attached to our laptops banging out articles, then another two doing very little but touristy stuff and the odd scheduled facebook post. We’re getting better, but it’s taking a while!

  2. Great post.! The Aussie girl just doesn’t get it. Yes, you have to work while you travel, but that is the ideal situation, most people have to work constantly and only have very short periods of travel, so to be able to work while you travel is so much better!
    I find it really hard to keep up with blogging while travelling, I prefer to experience it all and then take the time to write about it afterwards. I think it’s a great idea for you guys to travel for one month and then stay in one place to work afterwards. Looking forward to reading all about it! 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing Emily, glad we’re not the only ones! Right now, we’re doing as you said – plugging away, banging out articles and doing lots of networking, but then there are days when we do absolutely nothing! lol. Gotta get the balance right 🙂


  4. Thanks Christine!

    We figure it’s better to work on the road, than to have an expiration date on our travels. Still, it stings a little when fellow travellers don’t get it. We’ve felt left out/different a couple of times, but we just remind ourselves that we have the best of both worlds!


  5. Do you fund your travels with this site alone, and if so, have you detailed the process from start to beginning so someone could do the same? I’d love to read something like that. I need help monetizing blogs.

  6. It’s too bad that we can’t be young and carefree forever, isn’t it? When you feel like you’re missing out on things when you’re working instead of enjoying the destination, just remember those of us who are working every day from home and just dreaming about being somewhere fantastic like Guatemala. It’s all worth it and we love you for it!

  7. Yes! I was just thinking about this today, actually! Balance has always been something I’ve had to strive for in my life. It definitely does not come naturally to me. My husband and I are what we like to call “weekend warriors.” We work and try to keep our schedules flexible enough to have weekend adventures and sometimes long weekend adventures. We also plan about 2-3 longer “vacations” per year and take advantage of transitional times (such as graduations, relocations, or between jobs) to take long breaks and travel. We recently returned from a 9 month travel adventure around the world and a cross country trip to move back to Seattle from New York. We love to fly, but quick trips are way less varied on the west coast and my current job is sucking way too much of my energy to even think of plans before the weekend comes. We have now become more life weekend recoverers!! Oops! And our friend and family don’t really get it, because as far as they’re concerned all we do is travel! Luckily a few weeks ago we managed a trip to Hawaii, but we are ready to re-strategize and strike a balance based on our new situation. While we kind of have the opposite problems, we’re both reaching for that middle ground! Your article definitely hit home for me! Thank you!

  8. Thanks for your comment Melanie 🙂 It can be hard to find a balance between work and life and travel for sure. Sounds like you guys are doing well though!

    Happy travels!

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