You are currently viewing Travelling whilst Working: Location Independent vs. Digital Nomad

The remote work revolution continues to empower individuals across Europe and Ireland is the country leading in how quickly employers adapt. A study by Eurostat shows our country as the fastest-growing remote work opportunist in the EU, with a quarter (25%) of all employees being able to work remotely; a positive indicator that we’re embracing the still-growing trend towards location flexibility.

Within this wave of change, two distinct paths have emerged more and more: the location-independent worker and the digital nomad. While both enjoy the freedom of remote work, their motivations and approaches differ. If you want to develop into either of the two, knowing their different categories will help you discover which path best aligns with your aspirations and travel goals.

Being location-independent: flexibility first

If you are location-independent, you can truly leverage remote work opportunities to escape the confines of a traditional office. You could be someone who thrives in a quiet countryside cottage, a freelancer who wants to be closer to family in another European city – or even someone seeking a lower cost of living in another country. If it’s within the EU, it’ll be entirely without hassle.

Typically, you’d fall into roles like being a remote employee, freelancer, or online business owner. As long as you have a decent internet connection and your laptop, you can be perfectly productive. However, in this way of living, travel isn’t necessarily the primary focus. You’re flexible enough to explore the world, but you might still choose to establish a temporary “home base” for stability – especially when it comes to things like mailing addresses or navigating healthcare systems across borders.

The digital nomad: embracing constant change

In contrast, as a digital nomad, travel is your lifeblood. You’d structure your work around the ability to work remotely from constantly changing locations. This lifestyle thrives on new experiences, cultural immersion, and the thrill of exploration.

Similar to the location-independent worker, digital nomads often find themselves in freelance roles, virtual assistant gigs, or running location-independent online businesses – and it’s important that you are financially savvy. Having a remote or passive income stream helps tremendously, be that trading assets on platforms like Tradu, royalties for books, courses, games, and the like, affiliate marketing, rent from properties – you get the idea.

The difference is that their income streams are often geared towards constant travel, requiring careful budgeting and a focus on maintaining consistent work even while on the move. Instead of a home, you might not have a settled space – which will allow you to adapt to new surroundings quickly and minimise the burden of physical possessions.

Which one is best for you?

Ultimately, that’s something only you’ll be able to answer for yourself. Though both ways allow you to travel and be on the road whilst working, they approach it in different ways and arguably, becoming a full digital nomad will require more investment and commitment, but will reward you with more freedom at the same time.

Our best tip is to start small – and have a solid plan in place.

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