How Digital Nomads Handle Criticism for Rejecting the Status Quo

Your decision to live abroad and work from your laptop is in direct opposition to the choices and values most people hold –therefore not making it good dinner conversation.

Light creates dark, and so it goes; by praising the new lifestyle you seek for its benefits, you’re inadvertently dumping on the lifestyle most people have chosen. Few to none will be genuinely supportive of your lifestyle choice. People in your life may approach the topic awkwardly or try to debate the idea out of existence.

Whatever holds them back is irrelevant to your happiness so don’t think about it too much.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you. Then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Don’t try to convince them, they outnumber you. Make arrangements, not debates. There’s no value in creating additional obstacles, so you will have to brush off people who think you’re making a mistake, think you’re leaving because you hate them (it happens), or that you’re not very bright.

Their reactions are more telling about how they think than how logical or sound your plans are.

Related: How to Become a Digital Nomad, Step-by-Step

What’s in a Gap Year?

For younger people; the stigma of living beyond the almighty “gap year” is also a fear tactic of the unadventurous, and a lot can be accomplished when you’re open to new ideas and in the right environment.

And it doesn’t matter where you’re from, anyone some place will think it’s scary some other place. The world is what it is, everywhere.

The number of people who have successfully made for themselves a location independent lifestyle are innumerable. You do not need to defend your goals. You are not abandoning anyone or anything, you’re simply changing how you communicate.

That’s about as deep as I go into the mindset of becoming a digital nomad. There is no try, and it’s not as big of a deal as you may be making it out to be.

This an excerpt from Digital Nomad Escape Plan: From Cubicle to Chiang Mai, Thailand (it’s 100% free for download).

Nomad Blog - Michael Hulleman

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    1. Agreed. The closer the relationship, the more likely they are to get offended or upset when you decide to explore. People back home wonder if they did something wrong, and it often isn’t the case. Some people just got itchy feet.

  1. Hi Michael,

    I love the way you framed this post. Brilliant 🙂

    We faced resistance from family as aspiring digital nomads. So we refrained from talking about it, with them. We do talk about travels, with travelers. For all other folks it is a smidge here and there and the resistance has almost entirely disappeared.

    If you’re clear on traveling long term there’s no need to either convince anybody of your choices, nor is there a need to respond to criticism.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂


    1. Thanks for such a great comment, Ryan. Completely agree.

      For me it was a stark disconnect with the family and hurt feelings. They thought I left because I thought they were “bad people” or I was too good to live how they live. I’ve been on the road one way or the other since I was 18, and the relationship has degenerated so much we finally gave up. Last visit home I wasn’t even invited for Thanksgiving.

      No matter how much effort one makes to communicate, initiate weekly Skype calls, whatever –some families will never get over their own malcontent. When I was younger, I’d drink away the loneliness and start trouble.

      At 35, I suggest younger readers let families like mine have the silence they need. Perhaps healing will come of it. It’s just a hard pill for some people to swallow.

      Great blog by the way 🙂 I’ve been following your tweets lately, you’ve certainly got a way with storytelling!

  2. Pingback: Got a Fear of Travel? Let's Have a Little Chat | Hobo with a Laptop

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