Being a digital nomad is amazing. However, there’s a reason why more and more digital nomads are looking for a home base. In fact, there are several reasons. In this post, I’ll be looking at some of the most common ones.
Why More & More Digital Nomads Are Looking For A Home Base
I’ve been traveling and working remotely as a digital nomad full-time for 2 years now. While I love the lifestyle, and all the freedom it allows, I – like many other digital nomads – have started thinking seriously about trying to find a home base.
It’s not that I’ve fallen out of love with traveling. And I’m certainly not looking to go back to a full-time, in-person job with a commute. But there are a few advantages of having a home base that you travel from, rather than traveling non-stop.
1. Stability and Routine
For me, and many other digital nomads, one of the hardest things about the location-independent lifestyle is the lack of stability and routine.
The idea of waking up in a new city (or even country) every other week sounds exciting. However, after doing it for a while, it’s common to start craving a bit of stability and “normality”. Don’t get me wrong, moving around and discovering new places is great, but not all of the time.
While creating a routine when traveling is possible, whether that’s by regularly visiting your favorite coworking space or having a regular exercise program, in my experience, it’s harder to get into a solid, stable routine while also having to find your bearings in a new place.
Constantly adapting to new environments can also take a toll on your productivity and mental well-being, as I’ll go into more detail about below. That’s why, for many people (including me), the idea of having a fixed base somewhere (anywhere!) is looking more and more attractive.
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2. Community and Connections
I miss my friends from home more than anything else. While traveling you’ll likely meet some amazing people, and I’ve made some great new friends on the road. However, these interactions are often fleeting and you have to say a lot of goodbyes.
Having a home base, on the other hand, allows you to cultivate lasting relationships, both personal and professional. These are the people you can visit regularly, without needing to introduce yourself and start from scratch each time.
Places like Bali, Chiang Mai, and Medellin are some of the most popular destinations for digital nomads. Here, you’ll probably find other people doing similar things to you, or people with similar interests.
Even if you’d rather base yourself somewhere that’s less of a well-known digital nomad hotspot, having a home base allows you to put down roots, make local friends, and have deeper, longer-term relationships. It won’t replace your old best friends, but it helps!
3. Health and Wellbeing
The nomadic lifestyle can be exhilarating, but it’s also often exhausting and stressful. I also usually find myself eating and drinking too much when I’m traveling, especially in places where food is tasty and booze is cheap!
Even though being a digital nomad allows you to live in places that people visit on vacation, living like you’re constantly on holiday usually isn’t the best way to stay healthy.
Having a home base can help you establish healthy habits, find a local gym, and cook more healthy meals for yourself. Of course, it’s important to balance health and wellbeing with going out and having fun – but balance is the key.
Having a home base can also be more cost-effective in the long run. Moving around all the time often means spending money on flights and transport, temporary accommodation, and eating out regularly, which can all add up quickly.
Basing yourself in one place means you can save money on long-term rentals, which tend to be cheaper than renting short-term. You’ll also be able to cook more meals at home and won’t need to spend as much of your monthly budget on traveling from place to place.
Additionally, having a fixed location can lead to savings in other areas too, like mobile phone plans, which are often better value if you commit to a longer fixed-term deal.
5. Enhanced Productivity
Finding the right balance between traveling and working is something that I still find challenging. Having a home base can give you a significant boost in productivity when it comes to work.
In my experience, the nomadic lifestyle, with its inherent unpredictability, can often disrupt work routines. Having a stable home environment, on the other hand, allows you to set yourself up with a dedicated workspace, which can do wonders for your productivity.
I find this stability crucial for deep, focused work. Working in a cafe is fine for short bursts. But I much prefer having my own space, laid out exactly how I like it, where I can close the door on the outside world and get stuff done.
6. Cultural Immersion
Staying in one place for an extended period also allows you to immerse yourself more fully in the local culture. Constantly moving around gives you a feel for lots of places, but the longer you live in one place, the more you get to understand it on a more personal level.
You’ll be able to get a better sense of the nuances of the culture, make local friends, find your favorite food places, and maybe even pick up a new language.
This is why I now travel slower than I used to. It’s also why I’m seriously looking for a place to base myself for the medium-to-long term.
7. Visa Issues and Legalities
Finally, many digital nomads find themselves in a legal grey area when it comes to immigration status and visas. Many countries’ tourist visas don’t allow you to legally work, which can be tricky to navigate if you need to work while traveling.
In the last couple of years, an ever-increasing number of countries have started to offer digital nomad visas.
These are aimed specifically at remote workers and help provide legal clarity and the ability to stay longer in one place without needing to do regular visa runs.
Some of these visas also come with additional benefits, such as favorable tax treatment and access to local services and facilities.
Having a home base can help to achieve a more stable, balanced, productive, and sustainable lifestyle. I still want to be able to travel regularly, but having a familiar place to return to is something that I’m looking forward to.
Everybody’s different, of course, and your needs may differ from mine. But I’m increasingly becoming of the view that the flexibility of being a digital nomad doesn’t need to come at the expense of having a place to call home, even if it’s only for a while.