I’ve met a wide range of digital nomads – a lot of them amazing people, and some of them…less so. Don’t be that girl (or guy, or person). I wrote up some ‘digital nomad commandments’ to help you have an incredible experience while…not being a jerk.
- Recognize your privilege. Having the freedom to travel is a privilege. Depending on what country you’re from, you might have passport privilege – you can travel the world more freely simply because of the type of passport you possess and the luck of where you were born. Travel might be easier for you (in addition to all the socioeconomic factors) because it’s easier for you to go to a country without a visa or get a visa on arrival.
- Do your homework. Read about where you’re going before you get there! And make sure you know the deal with laws, taxes, dress code, visas, and vaccinations.
- Make an effort to learn the local language. Start with a greeting and “thank you” – it makes a big difference to be able to at least start and end any local interaction respectfully. As for really trying to learn the language, that’s up to you – it depends how long you’ll be there, and how hard the language is. I’ve made a rule for myself that when I’m traveling, I’m going to at least do Duo Lingo for that place, and ideally try and do some in person language lessons. Culture and language are so tied together. Learning the language not only helps you communicate – it helps you understand the place on a deeper level.
- Be respectful. Don’t be an asshole. Don’t call things in another culture “weird” or “strange” just because you’re not familiar with it. Respect the locals, their culture, traditions, and food. Remember – you are a guest. Ask people for permission before you take their photos – or publish them. Don’t be this girl. People are not props.
Thou shalt not…
- Go somewhere solely because it is “cheap,” less expensive for you, or you are trying to do “geographic arbitrage” (earning money in a ‘strong economy’ and living somewhere where the cost of living is much lower). Let’s just say if you’re doing this, you’re in it for the ‘wrong reasons’ (any other guilty-pleasure Bachelor franchise watchers? Ugh I hate it but I can’t look away). If you are going somewhere, make a genuine effort to get to know the place and culture – and fall in love with it.
- Flaut the local laws. If you wouldn’t flagrantly violate the law in your own country, don’t do it somewhere else.
- Do it just for the ‘gram. I get it, you’ve seen that gorgeous shot online, and you want it. You can go get it. But – don’t go somewhere just for an iconic instagram shot. And often, the most ‘gramed places are the least fun to go to: crowded and over-touristed. Instagram versus reality is, well, real.
- Show up somewhere knowing nothing about it. Read up on the government, history, and laws before you show up!
Disclaimer: You'll find some affiliate links throughout the site - along with real talk about what I do/don't like about the product/service. I don't recommend things I don't like. If you decided to act on my (free!) advice (you're welcome 💁🏽♀️), this means I'll get back some coffee money on my efforts - so it's a great way to show your support for this multicultural creator 🙂