A digital nomad is a person who works from a location of his choice and often sets his own schedule. Digital nomads work in many different industries including business, education, publishing, visual arts, and personal development. Writers, photographers, software developers, graphic designers, business consultants, executive coaches, transcriptionists, and Web marketers are the types of workers who commonly fit into this category. Digital nomads generally rely on a variety of tools and devices to do their work, such as computer laptops, cell phones, wireless Internet services, Web-conferencing tools, and e-book readers.
The flexibility of work location is what sets the life of a digital nomad apart from those employed in a more traditional environment. A travel writer may visit dozens of locations throughout the world and submit his work to publishers from remote places. Freelance Web developers can write code while sitting in a coffee shop. A work-at-home mother might do her work as an Internet researcher from home, a library or at an Internet café while her children are at school.
A digital nomad typically benefits from the ability to set his own work schedule. Working in the early morning, for example, may be a medical transcriptionist’s ideal choice because he is most alert at this time. Creative writers might begin a new project as soon as an idea appears, regardless of the time of day or night. Individuals who are employed by a large corporation but have the flexibility of telecommuting and setting their own schedules might choose to work a 40-hour week that is split across four days instead of five, for example.
Digital nomads use digital and electronic devices to complete their tasks. Cell phones, Internet access, computer laptops and Web conferencing products are generally the most essential tools. Personal digital assistants and e-book readers are other devices that allow a digital nomad the freedom to easily access information and communicate with others. Some digital nomads will also make use of portable printers, digital cameras, audio recorders, and other devices that may be necessary for completing specific tasks.
Persistent challenges for the digital nomad are typically related to income stability and employment benefits. A traditional work environment in the private or public sector usually offers more income stability than working on a contractual or project basis. Many digital nomads must pay for their own health insurance and continuously search for new projects, opportunities, and streams of income.