The 3 big issues of being a digital nomad
Posted in: Blog
Being a digital nomad is a life changing experience and I whole-heartedly recommend you take the leap and go location independent. But getting to that point does present some challenges we all have to face. For some these may be easier than others but no matter what your location independent plans are, you need to be prepared for at least these 3 big issues. Getting as much advice and real-world experience from others is definitely a great way to make sure your life changing digital nomad experience is a smooth one.
What do I do with my possessions?
This really depends on what kind of location independent life you’re going to lead but in most cases you’re actively seeking to free yourself from your possessions and live a more simple and mobile life. If you’re like me then while its possible to scale back a little, you’ll probably own a lot of things you’d really like to keep, after all you don’t know when you might be back or how long form. In the early days of my location independence I was able to call on family to help store things for me but this is asking a lot especially when you’re away for a year or more. The easiest thing to do is put your possessions in to a self storage facility like this one. You’ll need to work this in to your budget but the piece of mind of keeping all your valuables locked up in a safe and secure place makes life a lot easier. It also makes packing up a little easier too.
I’ve always used travel as an excuse to de-clutter my life. Evaluate whether I really need these things and throwing out or finding new homes for items that all add up to stifling your chances of being location independent. Plus if you can sell things you no longer need it all helps with the budget once you’re on the road.
Do I need a work visa?
This question often comes up when chatting to other digital nomads. There’s no simple answer to exactly what taxes you should be paying and where. It really depends where you’re going, what you’ll be doing there and whether you have (or need) a visa. Legally speaking most countries require you to have a work visa in order to do business in their country. But I, like most digital nomads do business online, often with companies within my home country, rarely with companies within the country I’m travelling through.
The work I do is entirely remote and un-connected the country I’m temporarily living in. Advice on this differs, some saying you still need a working visa while others saying a tourist visa is fine. It gets tricky as your blog might be making you money from advertising or book sales while you need to do very little to earn this. It gets paid in to your bank account in your country of origin and if anything you’re bringing that money to the country you’re travelling in and spending it. My advice is always to be cautious, do your homework. Find out what the countries you travel in demand as they always differ.
Do I pay taxes?
We get asked this a lot and I always say its best to continue your business as if you were in your country of origin. Pay your taxes as though you never left. There is an argument that says you’re not making use of the things that your taxes pay for and I can understand this position, but from a business continuity point of view its much easier to continue as normal instead of going through the hassle of claiming you don’t need to and restarting when you arrive home. Most western countries have options for halting tax payments for extended periods overseas so this may be an option if you really want to.
If you have a working visa then you’ll no doubt be required to have a local bank account and pay your taxes that way. If you’re travelling for an extended time (12 months or more) some countries take issue with this gap in tax payments and requires a host of paperwork (and possible audits) to explain why you were away. At the end of the day its best to make your life easy and your budget a simple a smooth one. Again do your homework, ask the official authorities for advice. Its always best to play it safe when it comes to paying taxes!