How to Overcome Criticism as a Digital Nomad — Andy Sto
Following your own path is not always easy. There can be many obstacles to face along the way, most often in the form of people you are surrounded by. But just like any obstacle, whether it be saving up enough money to follow your dream or completing a difficult qualification, you can overcome each and every one of them. However, the ‘people obstacles’ can be extremely persistent and like to keep knocking you down as soon as you get back up. Constantly having to overcome criticism can therefore start to feel difficult.
During the pandemic, many people have returned home and moved back in with family. Unfortunately, not all families are supportive of the digital nomad lifestyle. And over time being surrounded by negativity can make it difficult to maintain belief in your ability to keep following your dream lifestyle. Hence, this article will advise you on the best ways to overcome criticism and stay motivated when surrounded by people who don’t understand your lifestyle as a digital nomad.
Create a vision board
First, remember you are living your dream lifestyle which others only dream of doing. This is something to be proud of, not something to feel bad about. The dream is yours and yours only so if someone does not understand that then it shouldn’t matter. After all it doesn’t matter if you understand and accept their lifestyle, does it? Just because your way of life doesn’t fit in with their expectations of what a ‘normal’ way of life is doe does not make it any less achievable. But for moments when others succeed in making you feel like being a digital nomad is a completely unrealistic long-term plan, a vision board is handy.
A vision board will remind you of why it is you’re choosing to live this way of life. It will help motivate you to keep dreaming and achieving. Simply gather photos and quotes from magazines or websites and compile these together in a sort of collage. You want this board to be a vision of your future plans to inspire you to keep following your dream. This inspiration will hugely help you to overcome criticism that others dish out. You will feel more able to stand firmly in the belief that you are more than capable of maintaining a digital nomad lifestyle. You can either make the vision board your desktop photo or if you make a physical one then place it somewhere you can easily access it. A daily reminder of what future places you plan to visit is a great motivational tool. If you can do both then even better! So when someone makes you feel like the digital nomad life is unrealistic then take a look at your vision board and it will help you to stay motivated.
Suggestions to add:
- The place you plan to visit
- Local cuisine
- National animals
- Language basics
- Local culture
- Travel quotes
Make plans and a budget
If possible then an excellent tip is to book future plans. Therefore, when friends or family members start trying to knock you down, you can tell them you have already got plans in place for your future adventures. This can work by shocking them into realising you are taking the digital nomad lifestyle so seriously that they start to accept it. This of course doesn’t always work though. However, making plans is still worthwhile as it will give you something positive to focus on. Knowing you have invested in future nomadic plans will keep you motivated to continue following your dream of travelling full time. This is particularly important in times such as these when travel is currently not possible for most people. A plan will help to your passion for travel alive.Although, if you can’t afford to book plans just yet then still plan out your future adventure anyway as much as you possibly can.
Also, if you are not already working then organise a plan for how you will earn money while travelling. Another useful thing to do to help get you on the road as soon as possible is to make a budget. It will be surprising what you can save when you really put your mind to it. If you don’t have regular paid work at first, then maintain this budget while travelling to keep your lifestyle going. Figuring out a plan for work as well as sticking to a budget will show yourself and others that you have thought everything through. Even if this does not reduce the criticism, you will at least feel more confident within yourself about your dream lifestyle being achievable.
Basic budget tips:
- Look at how much money you have coming in versus how much you have going out.
- Look at where you could make cutbacks. For example, maybe you could cut down on takeaways and start cooking at home more often.
- Make enough cutbacks so that your out goings are eventually less than your incomings.
- Stick to this budget and you will soon see a little nest egg developing!
Believe in yourself
The most important but easiest thing to forget is to believe in yourself! This step Is particularly for those who are yet to start their digital nomad journey as well as those who have had to return home because of the pandemic and are finding that trying to overcome criticism is difficult. But the more you believe in your ability to travel full time while working the easier this will be. If you truly believe in your ability to achieve this lifestyle then you should eventually not be as bothered by others negative comments. You will find that with your new found self-belief you are able to overcome criticism quite easily.
But of course, belief in yourself is not always easy especially with constant criticism about your lifestyle choice. Imagine this though, if someone told you their plan was to travel full time while working, you would accept that. So ignore the criticism, it is coming from people who don’t understand this way of life. The only person whose opinion truly matters is you. If you want to do something then go out there and try it! It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t work out or if you change your mind. Whereas many people act as if once you decide this way of life that it’s a dangerous life altering decision for ever affecting the rest of your life. This isn’t the case though, you can travel while working for as little or as long as you wish. So believe in yourself!
Practise saying positive affirmations to yourself. Tell yourself things such as how you are brave to be following your dream. You are strong and can do anything you wish. We believe negative thoughts about ourselves often enough so what’s to say that positive thoughts won’t be believed too? Give it a go! Flling your outlook on life with positivity will be a powerful tool in helping you to overcome criticism.
Statements to try:
- I am capable of becoming whatever I want to be.
- I feel positive about the future.
- Other people’s negativity towards my dream is only their opinion, it is not fact.
- I am proud of myself for following my dream.
- I am able to overcome any criticism and remain positive about my dream.
Surround yourself with positivity
You can fight against all the negativity coming your way by surrounding yourself with positivity about all things travel. Each step mentioned so far is a step towards this. However, what you are missing in your life is people who are in support of your dream. Start a social media account about your plans and you will soon discover many other people who are following the digital nomad dream or are already living it! Having this support available at the touch of a fingertip anytime day or night will be a huge morale booster.
On Facebook in particular, there are a lot of supportive groups for travellers looking to connect with each other. You will find that many of the members struggle with self-belief due to criticism from others. So not only will you gain support, but you can also supports others as well. By telling other people that they are more than capable of living as a digital nomad, you will quickly start to believe more in your own ability. Also, if possible, cut loose any negative influences from your life. Nobody needs extra unnecessary weight dragging them down!
Watch and read things about your dream
Some of the steps so far are easier said than done but this one is easily achieved! The next time you’re choosing a film or book to read why not choose one that’s related to travel. Or try out a travel documentary. There are even travel podcasts and travel radio shows available too! Quite often the things you read and watch inspire your travels without you even realising. They can be as factual as Michael Palin’s travels or as fictional as Doctor Who. There are endless choices out there so get watching, listening and reading all things travel!
- An idiot abroad
- Joanna Lumley’s silk road adventure
- Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime
- Down to Earth
Each time you accomplish something related to your digital nomad dream, you should celebrate it! Whether this be landing a remote job or simply booking some accommodation in your dream country. Each little milestone is a victory as it is leading you towards either starting or continuing your dream lifestyle. This is certainly something to be celebrated. If your friend or family member had an achievement in relation to their work this would be celebrated. And just because your way of life is less ‘typical’ this does not mean achievements should be celebrated any less.
However, we understand that many people won’t view things such as booking flights or starting a website as accomplishments. Therefore, you need to make sure you take time on your own to realise how far you have come. Realise though that just deciding to follow your dream is a celebration within itself. You can have a full-on celebration or simply take time to relax. Even better if others in your life realise your accomplishments for what they are but if not, then still remember to celebrate yourself! Maybe make a note of these accomplishments and when feeling in need of a motivational boost, take a look at them to remind yourself of how far you’ve come.
Even if reading this article is the first step in your journey to becoming a digital nomad, then that is more than worth feeling proud of. Because like we’ve mentioned following your dream is brave so acknowledge that. Then as you progress through your journey allow yourself to feel a sense of accomplishment with each passing milestone.
Go follow your dream!
Whether you have had to return home, are working towards full time travel or are already on the road then bear each of these points in mind throughout your digital nomad journey. After all, even while on the road, we understand the family phone call which often carries with it a ‘so when are you coming back and getting a real job’ tone of voice. So, follow these steps and you full soon be surrounded with as much positivity as is possible for whatever situation you are currently in. Try your best to overcome criticism and to not let the negativity get to you.
Originally published at https://andysto.com on May 14, 2021.