6 challenges of being an Urban Nomad (and how to master them)

March 18th, 2019

Being an urban nomad sounds like a life full of freedom and flexibility. Well, it definitely is!
Combining autonomy and entrepreneurship is the fulfilment of a dream for many of us. But insta-stories often conceal the daily worries of being an urban nomad. We know the struggle, so we want to share our master plans to face all challenges with success!

# 1


Having concerns now and then is pretty normal, especially when starting your own company or working as a freelancer. Actually this fear helps you to make thought out decisions and prevents head-over-heels-actions, so not too bad.

But: Don't let the fear of failure guide your whole actions!

Instead calculate your risk. Literally! Switch your emotions off and let the brain do the math: Reconsider your plans and prepare for the (small) chance of an absolute worst-case. How much are you willing to lose financially? Where would you go? Who would you ask for help? Facing this scenario on a rational level will make you stronger, promised! Feeling prepared for disaster is better than having an undefined fear of your future.
Share your concerns with other urban nomads and self-employed entrepreneurs. You will realize that others have the same doubts and that this is perfectly normal. And even if plans are not working out like you dreamed of: This is okay. After analyzing your mistakes you'll have better tools for doing it better next time.

‣‣‣ During a successful period you should record your big and little successes in a list. Are you Captain Super-Creative or the Spiderwoman of networking? We tend to forget our strengths when feeling anxious. Now you'll have a good reminder of what you are capable when the next crisis comes up!

# 2


As a remote worker you work most likely a lot with your digital helpers like your smartphone and your laptop. Being online is important to be available for clients and colleagues. But in many cases your little helpers can lead to losing your focus and simply drive you crazy. Responding emails permanently and the constant temptation of checking on social media - you know this very well? This so called „fear of missing out“ (FOMO) may cause severe exhaustion, so you better change your mindset now. Signs for FOMO are for example permanent restlessness, compulsive urge to do something and not being able to turn your smartphone off.

Give yourself the permission to slow down

Working remotely and thus much self-responsibly can also lead very easy to overwork. It is awesome that you love your job and that you are really into your projects, but don’t forget your life besides all this. Accept that you don’t have to be available 24/7. Schedule offline-time is even good for your productivity! Taking days off is crucial for staying happy and creative.

4 exercises for more JOMO (The Joy of Missing out)!

⦿ Turn your smartphone off for the day and wander through the city without any plan. This is the best way to discover awesome places and to allow yourself to let go!

⦿ The Alien Nomad: Practice your mindfulness. Look at your surroundings intensively like you were an alien that just landed on earth: What materials is it made of? How does the ground feel you sit on? Do you smell something? How warm is it? What are people around you doing? This exercise helps you to leave the auto-pilot-mode and is a good way to relax.

⦿ Learn to focus: Multi tasking is very exhausting for your brain! Schedule offline-work phases. Withstand the urge to check on your phone. You'll see it will feel great to focus on one thing.

⦿ Wandering mind: Do nothing for 10 minutes. Really nothing! No reading, no music, no distractions. Enjoy the time to check on yourself, how you are feeling, which thoughts come in your mind.

# 3


This might be the reason you picked the life of an urban nomad: You enjoy more flexibility, but this comes with an extra portion of responsibility. You have to handle a lot (and this is really something you can be proud of). You are an entrepreneur, CEO, explorer, networker, designer, you name it.

Self-management is the key!

To organize your business effectively it helps a lot to be honest to yourself. What are the things you can do like a pro and which skills are you lacking? You are a crazy-good illustrator but a little bit chaotic when it comes to appointments? Think about concrete ways to improve your self-management. How could this support look like? A mentor, a friend, an app, a workshop? Be aware that besides everyday-work you should take your time for professional development. Read articles and books about management and organization, use suitable tools that simplify your work and rethink your workflow from time to time. Set up your perfect work-environment to unfold all talents and encourage your strengths.

We already collected some useful tools for you here!

# 4


Sure, you are a natural born wanderer. But your mind shouldn't be wandering when you are trying to focus. A suitable work environment can help you to concentrate! But first you have to be clear about your personal requirements: Are you insensitive to noise or do you need a silence room completely for yourself? Do you enjoy co-working spaces for the inspiration and chats? Do you want one place to work and one separate place to sleep? Or is it okay to work next to (or in) the bed? What is essential on your desk to have in reach?

Write down your personal rules for a good working atmosphere and try to stick with it.

Different situations - different workspaces! Maybe your creativity needs an other environment than the calculation tasks. Mind this when choosing your next workspace. Just imagine you have an urgent deadline waiting and you are in a chaotic and loud co-working space!
Also your body has some requirements for ergonomic working. Using laptop-stands or a well-shaped mouse prevents fatigue or stiffening of the neck. Maybe this might seem banal right now, but today's thoughtfulness will pay off when you are older!

Check out our further tips for working productively here!

# 5


Being a nomad implies a rather unstable living. If you are freelancer you sometimes don't know where your next paycheck will come from nor where you will work the next days. Certainly you enjoy this lifestyle, eventually you dedicated yourself to be a nomad. But there will be days where you long for routines to feel the ground under your feet again. Maybe you might be even a little bit jealous when your friends beef about their annoying everyday-life in the office. But even in your nomadism you can implement little routines. Some nomads for example check on their new neighborhood first before starting to work. Where is the next supermarket? Where could you get your good morning coffee? Where is the next park for a walk? You can also think about rituals you can do everywhere. Like a morning stretch, a good night tea and such. Simple things, that give you a cozy feeling.
Scheduling different work to fixed days also can help to get a weekly routine. Adapt your schedule to your personal circadian rhythm as far as possible. We all have phases of up and downs during the day. Some need several hours (and coffees) to be approachable, others can solve complex problems right after getting up. Successful nomads like Andrew Henderson are encouraging to stick to personal timetables:

"Daily routines don’t have to be complex to be important. For example, every day, no matter where I am, I wake up at a certain hour, make myself a healthy smoothie, take an one-hour walk without my phone, and go to bed by the same time every night. I have also found it essential to keep a calendar and delegate certain things to certain parts of the day. I set a specific time for when I’ll wake up, when I’ll handle business, and when I’ll take time for my personal life. Once I handle the day’s business, I turn off the notifications on my phone so I don’t get messages at 10 o’clock at night making me feel anxious to respond."

Check out more tips about routines here by Andrew!

# 6


Being a remote worker implies not being in a permanent team in an office everyday. This restless life is exciting at the beginning, but it might get tiring sometimes. Do you have a place where you made great acquaintances and simply just feel comfortable? Why not make this your base every time you long for well-known places? Returning to the same place from time to time is a good way to calm down. For choosing your base you can set up your very own priorities. Would you like a quiet café with an espresso from a barista? Do you feel most easy when you see the park behind your laptop? It's up to you!
If you are in need for an exchange with real people: use your network, both in digital and real life! Join groups on facebook, the Nomad List or MeetUp. One message later you can hang out with other remote workers in your city. Sticking to routines (see above) also helps a lot against inner emptiness. And the last fact might brighten up your mood: After enduring this negative feelings of loneliness a creative and productive phase often pops up!


Challenges force us to pause for a moment and reconsider. So don't be too angry, when things don't work out as you planned. Take it as a chance to change things for the better! And certainly we don't have to tell you that being a nomad has even more pros that you can enjoy. The pure feeling of freedom and being your own boss, all the experiences and every inspiring encounter. And eventually overcoming obstacles make you the nomad you are: tough, ambitious and successful!