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Becoming a digital nomad – is it a passport to happiness?

Becoming a digital nomad – is it a passport to happiness?

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As the world changes so quickly due to the advancement of technology, some people’s jobs are being lost and others’ lives are being enhanced. Where things fall for you in this roll of the tech dice is largely a matter of luck. Clearly, if you’re a hospital porter, a chef, or hotel maid, it’s unlikely that a robot is going to be replacing your job in the immediate future.

But if you used to work on a car assembly line, you’re probably seeking employment or doing something else right now. And this scything sword of AI taking jobs isn’t restricted to just blue-collar occupations. In fact, if you’re an accountant, graphic designer, or, dare we say, copywriter, your days may be numbered as generative AI can do in seconds what might take you a week! And that AI is getting better by the day.

So, what’s the best response if your occupation is threatened by technology? You could try suing your employer or going on strike, refusing to return to the office until your demands are met, but that’s unlikely to end well. If it’s you versus the entire might of Google’s AI team, you’re going to be KO’d in the first minute of the first round.

First off, there’s no point in going ostrich and burying your head in the sand. Instead, you might want to heed this old saying:

“It’s better for a tree to bend with the wind than stay solid and break…”

Win some, lose some

And that’s never been truer than here. The real winners in this tech lottery will be those who embrace these changes to an extent, working with the tech rather than against it, seeking employers or clients who understand that a blend of efficient human experience plus a helping hand from AI can produce stellar results. 

As a copywriter you might have to take a pay cut and scrape along at a few cents per word – but at least you can do that in your dressing gown with a hangover and your cat on the desk to help your day along.

That’s got to be better than getting up at 7am, dressing smartly and going to an open plan office full of people eating smelly instant noodles and moaning about their commuting costs.

The third way

Think of this – if you can work from home, you can work from anywhere you have access to the internet so long as you take the sensible precaution to install a VPN extension on your device’s browser. VPNs are essential for online safety, so we’ll discuss this below in more detail.

Also remember that working remotely at your own pace and taking jobs of your own choosing is really only practical if you’re a freelancer and you locate yourself in an appropriate time zone for your target clients.

There are copywriters from Europe who spend their summers in the cool of the Scottish Highlands and temperate winters in Portugal or Andalusia in Spain. It can be done – but you have to become used to a life on the road and the uncertainty of not knowing where the next pay cheque is coming from.

Many digital nomads also have practical skills they can use locally, such as carpentry, gardening, painting and decorating, dog walking etc. All things that people need anywhere in the world; skills that can turn a few euros, dollars or English pounds if digital work is scarce.

Staying safe online with a VPN

Another crucially important part of being a digital nomad is protecting your devices and data from hackers. The more time you spend online, the more likely you are to attract the attention of malicious cyber criminals. It’s all too easy to click a link and have malware installed on your laptop. Such viruses can record keystrokes and passwords or delete your files until you pay a ransom of crypto currency. Remember, when you’re a digital nomad, always expect the unexpected!

In order to avoid such disasters, the easiest and most effective strategy is to  install a virtual private network (VPN) client onto your device’s browser. It takes only seconds and works very simply.

See Also

A VPN places an intermediary or ‘middleman’ server between your device and your requested online service. Whether you’re checking socials, browsing webmail or booking a hotel or flight, the connection is made through the VPN network. VPN servers almost always carry state of the art security, so your location is cloaked with an IP address somewhere else in the world from your actual location, and your anonymity is guaranteed.

Hackers only tend to target known victims or those with high online visibility. Imagine you’re a digital nomad TikTok influencer. You’re working from southern Spain in the summer. You’re an attractive woman who models bikinis and beachwear for a clothes manufacturer. The chances are that you’re going to attract a whole lot of online attention; after all, that’s the whole point of what you do.

A hacker who was jealous of your success, or who might have been paid by a shady competitor, would first look for a Spanish IP address to find your phone or laptop in order to hack the account and delete all your content. But if you’ve used a VPN, you could log onto the web as if you were located in Iceland – the last place a hacker is going to look for a beachwear model!

Shady Wi-Fi hotspots

If you’re travelling as a digital nomad, you’re going to be logging onto a lot of public Wi-Fi. These hotspots are often hijacked by hackers to trap the unwary – you type in the password to the bar or café network, but in reality, it’s a guy in a hoodie sitting in a corner who has ‘cloned’ the legitimate hotspot. He’ll send a pop up to your device offering a free coffee or whatever on your next visit. You click on the link and your device is infected with malware. Who knows what will happen then?

If you were using a VPN, the middleman server would detect the malicious activity and instantly disconnect your device from that hotspot before any harm could be done.

Your skills are your passport

In summary, if you can manage to travel the world while making enough cash to keep yourself, why not take advantage of all the tech available to do so? A nomad’s life isn’t for everyone – but if you do decide to travel the world using the world wide web as your information highway – be sure to stay safe, stay flexible and enjoy it while you can. Happy travels!

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