What is a Nomadic Lifestyle and Is it Right for You?

Last Updated on 22 April 2024 by Brittany

In a world where you see people working from beaches and mountains on their laptops, you may be wondering what is a nomadic lifestyle and why are so many people choosing it?

Until a decade ago, the possibility of engaging in remote work and traveling around the world with your laptop while earning a liveable income was just a dream. Now, it has become a well-known reality for millions of people. 

In 2020, there was a sharp increase in remote work, and many companies decided to allow employees to stay remote if they chose. This drove remote workers to consider living in more economical situations, and more beautiful destinations and take advantage of this newfound freedom. 

So, what exactly is this modern nomadic lifestyle that so many people are deciding to embark on, and could it be right for you? 

A Brief History of the Nomadic Lifestyle

Humankind started off as nomads tens of thousands of years ago. We hunted and gathered our food and moved on to the next destination when resources ran low. To be nomadic is not a new concept. 

However, once we discovered agriculture and learned how to farm, we began staying in one place and building communities. Flash forward a few centuries, and you have our modern-day society with large cities and establishments. 

You probably know someone who was born and raised in the town where they now live and have their own family. Some people decide to stay in one place their entire lives. 

However, if we go back to our roots and take advantage of just how accessible the rest of the world has become thanks to technology and transportation, we can embrace a nomadic lifestyle once more. 

The Modern Nomadic Lifestyle

Those who choose a nomadic lifestyle are referred to as digital nomads. 

This new term was first used in 1999 and describes people who move from place to place working remotely from their computers. The only thing they need is a decent wifi connection to support themselves. 

Youโ€™ve probably seen people on social media sitting with their laptops in front of gorgeous scenery such as a tropical beach, rolling Italian hills, or secluded in the mountains somewhere. 

There are many different ways of living a nomadic lifestyle. Digital nomads have a unique advantage to create the kind of life they want and break free from the strong mold that society has formed and shaped for us. 

Of course, there are pros and cons to a nomadic lifestyle, but the payoff is usually worth the struggles and obstacles digital nomads must overcome. 

In this article, weโ€™ll discuss the different types of nomadic lifestyles and the signs it might be right for you. 

Is a Nomadic Lifestyle Right for You?

There is no right way to live your life, which is why you see so many people living in such unique and different ways. 

For some people, a digital nomad lifestyle is perfect, while others find they are better off staying in one place and settling down in a routine. There is no right answer! 

There are a few signs you can search for to see if youโ€™re cut out for a lifestyle of living on the road, though. 

You Work Remotely (Or Want To)

In order to live a life of freedom where you can go wherever you want, whenever you want, you must have a remote job or a passive stream of income. With this income, you can pay for your lifestyle. 

There are thousands of different digital nomad jobs out there. You can be employed by a company, own a business, or be a freelancer with clients worldwide. From working in IT to embracing your creativity as a photographer to building your own brand, if you can do it from a laptop, then you can be nomadic!

If youโ€™re searching for a remote job, make sure to check out our complete list of popular digital nomad job ideas to help. 

You Love Exploring New Destinations

If you love to travel and experience new things, whether it be cultures, sights, foods, or activities, then becoming a digital nomad could be just what youโ€™ve been searching for. 

Since a nomadic lifestyle means traveling to different places, it requires an interest in exploration. If you find yourself amazed at new cities and want to see new sights and meet different people, this lifestyle allows you to do it as often as you want! 

In fact, there are specific destinations that are ideal for remote workers living a nomadic lifestyle. If you arenโ€™t sure where to go, our 12-month digital nomad itinerary may lead you in the right direction. 

You Donโ€™t Mind Minimalism

Most nomads live out of their backpacks or suitcase. However, some do travel with their homes, but weโ€™ll dive into this type of lifestyle later. 

No matter how you travel as a digital nomad, you must come to terms with being a minimalist. You can only fit so many pairs of shoes, t-shirts, device chargers, and books in one suitcase. Therefore, you should adopt a mindset of minimalism and try not to put too much importance on material things. 

If you find that you have a personality that makes it difficult to part with items and like to collect things, a nomadic lifestyle could be challenging for you. 

Not sure what to bring with you as a digital nomad? Weโ€™ve created the ultimate packing list with everything you could need while embarking on this adventurous way of life. 

Youโ€™re Open-Minded

There is a difference between people who stay in their hometowns the majority of their lives and those who venture off into the world. That difference is the level of open-mindedness they have. 

To be a digital nomad and travel the world, you must be open to experiencing new things, learning new ways of life, and respecting other beliefs. Otherwise, you will find yourself feeling very uncomfortable in many destinations and situations. 

We like to call this concept the digital nomad mindset. To be successful in this remote way of life, youโ€™ll have to adopt this mentality to fully reach your potential and find joy through the hardships.

Youโ€™re Motivated to Live the Life You Want

If youโ€™re reading this, you are most likely someone who doesnโ€™t want to conform to societyโ€™s standards of getting an office job and rolling through the major life events. Instead, youโ€™re looking for something with more freedom where you can live on your terms. 

Going against the grain is not easy, to say the least. However, you must be truly motivated enough to create the life you want, especially when it comes to a nomadic one.

This motivation will keep you pushing through the hurdles and bouts of loneliness many nomads face. However, the advantages of a nomadic lifestyle are worth it all if you find itโ€™s the right way of life for you. 

Types of Nomadic Living

Now that we have answered what is a nomadic lifestyle, itโ€™s time to explore the different ways to live this lifestyle. 

As I keep saying, the nomadic lifestyle is different for everyone and can be tailored to your desires and needs. 

Van Life

For those who are remote employees and need to work specific hours of the day and canโ€™t leave your time zone, van life may be the best option. This is a remote lifestyle where you either buy a camper or RV or you renovate a van into a mobile home and drive around.

This is a very popular nomadic lifestyle in America and is catching on in Europe too. Youโ€™ll drive from place to place with your mobile home and explore new destinations this way. 

One of the major benefits of this lifestyle is that you can travel with more of your belongings and you will always have a familiar and comfortable place to sleep. You also wonโ€™t have to keep paying rent for an apartment you never use because you just bring your home with you!

World Traveler

The traditional digital nomad lifestyle is going traveling around the world. Oftentimes, this means going to a country with a lower cost of living so you can stretch your salary further. 

Digital nomads who travel to foreign countries typically use tourist visas and do not have a set home. They are strategic about their travels so they do not overstay visas and can plan accordingly. 

This lifestyle can feel draining very quickly as you try to navigate through language barriers, new cultures, and how to perform simple everyday tasks like going to the grocery store. However, this is an incredible way to live and to open your mind. 

But, how do people live while nomadically traveling the world?

The Hostel Hopper

A great affordable way to travel the world is to stay in hostels. Youโ€™ll find them in most major cities and theyโ€™re often much cheaper than hotels and Airbnbs. Itโ€™s also a great place to meet like-minded people. 

A hostel-hopping digital nomad is someone who doesnโ€™t mind sharing a room with other travelers and usually just has a backpack with them. Theyโ€™re searching for the best experiences for the lowest price. 

They also move around fairly often, whether itโ€™s from city to city or country to country. 

Staying in a hostel can come with great advantages, but it definitely isnโ€™t for everyone. 

The Slow Traveler

Some digital nomads prefer to slowly travel through the world and give themselves time to get to know a city and create routines while abroad.

One way to do this is by renting long-term Airbnbs for a month or two at a time. Some nomads find short-term rentals in local Facebook groups to avoid paying commissions and cleaning fees.ย 

Since the digital nomad lifestyle balances productivity and comfort, many remote workersย search for accommodations onย TripOffice, which guarantees a dedicated workspace, including an ergonomic chair and reliable wifi access. Knowing that you’ll have a space to work comfortably in your new destination is a luxury only slow-traveling digital nomads can appreciate!

This slow traveling lifestyle has a much calmer pace than moving around every week or so. It allows you to have some normalcy to your days while filling them with occasional tourist excursions. 

This is my personal way to live a nomadic lifestyle as I really get to know a place and create amazing memories that I can cherish forever. 


One hack that can help you save money while living nomadically is housesitting. Homeowners worldwide search for people to watch a pet or simply look after their house while they go away on business trips or vacations. 

Typically, you donโ€™t get paid for this gig, but you do get to live somewhere for free. Some digital nomads factor these housesitting gigs into their travels and will spend a week or two in an Airbnb and another week housesitting. So, they only have to pay for accommodation a fraction of the time.

The Visa Enthusiast

Lastly, we have the digital nomad visa enthusiast. This lifestyle is for someone who wants to become an expat without fully immigrating to a foreign country. 

With over 25 countries offering digital nomad visas and welcoming remote workers to temporarily live in their country, there are plenty of possibilities of where to go. 

After a year or two of living in a country with a digital nomad visa, this nomad will search for another visa to apply for and move to yet another country. 

This is perfect for those people who want to integrate themselves into a community and truly experience what itโ€™s like to live in a foreign country.

Can You Live a Semi-Nomadic Lifestyle?

I repeat, a nomadic lifestyle is how you make it. So, does that mean you can be semi-nomadic? Absolutely! 

Many people choose to be nomadic during the winter months to escape the cold and spend the summer at home. Or maybe they travel for a few months at a time and come back home when itโ€™s convenient. 

The downfall to this is if you rent or own your home, you will be paying your rent or mortgage while youโ€™re traveling even if you arenโ€™t living there. But, if your finances allow it or you figured out a solution to make it worthwhile, better for you! 

A semi-nomadic lifestyle is entirely possible and could be more ideal for some people than becoming a full-time nomad.

Everything You Need to Live a Nomadic Lifestyle

So, after reading this article does it seem like the nomad life is for you? 

If you answered yes, then you must keep reading because we have a way to make your journey even easier! 

For many digital nomads, they had to figure out how to make their nomadic lifestyle possible on their own. Just like we did.

Now, you donโ€™t have to do it alone. We created Nomads Embassy to help educate people on how they can achieve a nomadic lifestyle. Learn from our mistakes and get a headstart on living the life of your dreams. 

Join the Newsletter

For the most valuable and up-to-date digital nomad news and lifestyle tips, join our newsletter for weekly emails. 

Youโ€™ll receive informative guides to help you get started on your traveling lifestyle, destination recommendations, and discounts on our favorite travel products. 

Join the newsletter today! 

Content created by
When Iโ€™m not writing and teaching people how to achieve a location-independent lifestyle, you can find me globetrotting, experiencing new cultures, and working on my amateur photography skills.
At Nomads Embassy, we independently test and review digital nomad services and provide detailed insights on digital nomad visa applications and requirements using a detailed, multi-step methodology. When you use our affiliate links to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our editorial process and read our full disclosure.
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