Image via Pixabay
These days, just about anyone and everyone will have heard of the term “Digital Nomad,” and be aware of the fact that one of the most popular and sought-after contemporary lifestyles, is to be always-on-the-go.
Wanderlust is something baked into the human spirit, on a deep level. Since the earliest days of mankind, intrepid explorers have set forth to discover new lands, to take on new challenges, and to throw themselves headfirst into the unknown.
As of writing this, transport has never been cheaper, easier, more effective, or more accessible before in history. Only a few short decades ago, travelling abroad was a serious undertaking, that the vast majority of people – even in the developed world – simply wouldn’t do.
Now, on the other hand, those people who have a globetrotting inclination can easily book flights for a week-long trip to Thailand, a weekend getaway to Venice, or a month long road trip around the US.
And if there was any doubt that many people were indeed taking advantage of these possibilities, and living the traveller's lifestyle to the fullest, just check out some of the travel-related hashtags that find their way onto Instagram. Travel is the order of the day, and many of us are absolutely thrilled about the fact.
There’s just one little thing. As mentioned above, many people are keen on living the “Digital Nomad” lifestyle. But what if you want to travel without being a nomad indefinitely? How about seeing the world, but still investing in property, and putting some roots down?
While it may be tempting to stay on the road indefinitely, and go for a low-expense, low-attachment lifestyle, there are some good reasons why you should consider buying property all the same. Here are some of those reasons.
Owning property makes you much more autonomous and offers security
Adventure is a major part of what adds meaning, excitement, and dynamism to many people’s lives. But for most people – a life of pure adventure, without any counterbalance, isn’t necessarily ideal.
Living the life of a nomad – digital or otherwise – naturally puts you in a pretty precarious, and vulnerable situation, in various ways.
For example, what happens to your nomadic lifestyle when you run out of savings? Or, if that remote working gig of yours decides to stop doing business with you? Not only that, but what if you find that due to legal issues in different countries, you’re left without a clear base of operations, or a place where you can retreat and gain a bit of perspective and comfort?
Owning property simply makes you much more autonomous, and offers a much greater degree of security, than being a pure nomad. When you are on your own property, you can set it up as a homestead of sorts – installing your own water tanks to save rainwater, growing some of your own vegetables, and having a caretaker look after it when you’re not there – or you could simply set it up as a cosy apartment, in the city of your choice.
In either case, owning property helps to protect you against the general uncertainty that you are bound to experience when out on the road. Sudden financial trouble will not immediately render you vulnerable of ending up on the streets, and if other factors of your lifestyle become too complex and tenuous, you always have somewhere to go back to and plan your next step from.
If you are always on the go, a degree of stability is more especially important
It’s true that humans – at least many – seem to crave a degree of adventure, excitement, and more or less “chaos.” But that doesn’t mean at all that those are the only things people crave.
Although people crave adventure, the vast majority also crave a degree of stability, balance, and the ability to put down roots and take a deep breath from time to time.
If you are always on the go, you might think that means you need stability less than the average person. In fact, it’s quite likely that the opposite is true.
There is an ancient concept known as the “Golden Mean,” that Aristotle was a big fan of, and that basically argues that balance is essential for living the best and happiest life possible. Specifically, Aristotle looked at this as striking the balance between two extremes on opposite ends of the spectrum. So, for example, the balance between recklessness on the one hand, and cowardice on the other hand, is courage.
The idea is that living a life on one extreme or the other causes trouble, misery, and is ultimately unproductive and unsustainable. You could argue that something similar happens if your life is too imbalanced, in the sense that you spend all of your time on the road, and give no thought to the part of you that longs for a bit of “stability.”
To maintain balance, and to keep your adventures up without burning out, or finding that things go wrong in one sense or another, buying property may be one of the best things you can do.
When you buy property, you're investing in a settled lifestyle -- even if you’re not going to be spending a lot of time in that location, at least in the near future.
Rather than just hopping from place to place, you’re simultaneously working on developing a particular location where you can go and “be at home,” put your feet up, and enjoy the sensation of being surrounded by familiar things, people, and objects.
On a psychological level, this can be a pretty great thing, and can be just the change of pace you need to fuel your next trip into the unknown.
Property is an investment that you develop – the longer you have yours for, the more you can upgrade it into your dream home
When people have money to invest, property is one of the top avenues of investment that they tend to jump to. And for good reason, too.
No matter what’s happening in the world at large, property is always valuable. So, buying property can help to increase the stability and security of your life in the sense of you having money tied up in assets, as well as everything else. But buying property is also an “investment” in other ways, too.
When you buy property, you're investing in a particular lifestyle, in a particular location. The thing is – the longer you have your property for, the more you’ll be able to upgrade it, over time, until it becomes your dream home (or dream holiday home.)
Many people really enjoy travelling when they’re young, to the point that they might want to do just about nothing else but travel, and may see taking out a mortgage on a home as a waste of money and energy that could be better spent planning the next trip.
There are a few problems with looking at things this way. Not least of all the fact that by buying property early, you have a lot more time to spend developing it, over the years. Assuming you’re able to move around the finances, there’s no reason why you can’t buy some property now, keep up with your travels, and slowly work on and improve the property over the years, until it really is your dream home.
Then, when you’re ready to step back and take a slightly more mellow pace to life (at least some of the time) you will have a great property just waiting to be occupied by you full-time.
Property allows for you to slow the pace of life, and really experience a place deeply
Tim Ferriss’s book “The 4-Hour Work Week”, was a major motivational tour de force for “digital nomads” of all stripes, and may have done more than any other book to motivate hordes of young, tech-savvy people to hit the open road, and try to live on the go.
One of the major points Ferriss makes in his book, however, is that it’s important to spend a long period of time in a place if you really want to get the most out of your travels, and enjoy the benefits of “semi-retirement”, as opposed to just “being a tourist.”
He argues, for example, that you should try and structure your life so that you're able to spend periods of time in the region of six months in a given location, while studying the language, experiencing the local culture, and so on.
When you buy property – certainly including holiday homes – you are creating a great setup that can allow you to really slow the pace of life, and experience a place on a deep level. If you’re going to buy a holiday home anyway, why would you only visit and occupy it for a week or two a year?
How about spending several months there while really involving yourself in the local community and culture?