What it's really like to be a digital nomad

You know those digital nomads who are on never-ending vacations? Yeah, they don't exist.

By , Computerworld |  Networking, Mobile, storage

Last night, we had the most fantastic meal at a nearby taverna, a traditional family-owned neighborhood restaurant. To the locals, the restaurant is no big deal. But to us, it was fantastic.

And that's the secret sauce of digital nomad living: What's ordinary for locals can be the experience of a lifetime for visitors. And when you're a digital nomad, you're always a visitor.

What's not so great about being a digital nomad

The worst thing about being a digital nomad is that nobody understands what you're doing. Friends and colleagues treat you like you're on Mars, even when you're available (as I am) via the same phone number, same email address and same social network. Location doesn't matter anymore, but you've got to work really hard to remind people of that.

Plus, there are situations when paying bills, getting things shipped, interacting with various companies and government agencies grind to a halt because you don't fit into their pre-existing categories. They need a home address. They require you to pick something up in person. They need you to send a fax.

Another chronic problem is with the dreaded ( Schengen Area, a collection of 26 mostly European countries that act as a single entity for visitor limits.

You can stay for three months for each six-month period in the whole Shengen Area before you become an illegal visitor.

So, for example, if you want to stay in France, Spain and then Germany for two months in each country, you'll be lucky to escape from Spain without a big fine. And they won't let you into Germany at all, because you violated your three-month Shengen time period.

In fact, you may be banned from Germany and the rest of Europe for up to five years. Your passport can even be stamped "illegal immigrant." That's not what you want on your passport when your plan is to enter a new country several times a year.

So Europe-loving digital nomads have to leave Europe after three months and live somewhere else for at least three more months before coming back to Europe.

Violating Shengen stay requirements is just one of many ways to screw yourself as a digital nomad.

Short-term accommodation sites like AirBnB have a dirty little secret that nobody talks about: Honesty can get you blacklisted.

You'll notice that nearly all the reviews of places to stay on AirBnB are positive. Why? Because if you post a negative review, the host is likely to post a negative review about you in retaliation. And once you have a negative review as a guest, nobody will rent to you. So if you use AirBnB, you must never be honest about a bad experience or you risk being blacklisted forever.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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