Vacation vs Full Time Travel Digital Nomad Lifestyle

September 13, 2022

Vacation vs Full Time Travel Digital Nomad Lifestyle location independent remote work abroad
As I book faster travel now in Croatia, Montenegro, London, van life & house hunting in Spain, while enjoying my comfy, cheap laptop lifestyle in Bansko,  I am reminded again that a digital nomad life is very different than a vacation. Whether we do van life style or rental apartments, one of the keys for happiness in this "work from anywhere" life, is slow travel. If you do not want to have travel burn out, you can not do digital nomad life as if you are on a short vacation. There are many secrets to traveling and location independent living cheaply, like mostly travel in great weather, pack light, and embrace minimalism

Vacation vs Full Time Travel Digital Nomad Lifestyle soultravelers3 travel blog

When one is on vacation, it is usually for a short time and one usually tries to see and experience as much as you can of an area. As a digital nomad, mostly one does a long stay of a month or more in one place which gives you more of a sense of the place like a local, but one would burn out if you did your exploring daily like one does on vacation. 

Vacation vs Full Time Travel Digital Nomad Lifestyle  soultravelers3
So the daily life of a digital nomad slow traveler is more like one's life if you are living in one place. Doing ordinary things in extraordinary places. People living in one place, do not go out every day trying to take it all in and experience it all. On a vacation, one might go out to dinner every night, or eat most meals out, or go explore the area every day, but normal life in one place tends to mean work or school regular routines and daily schedule and maybe one or two days a week of outings or meals out. 

Vacation vs Full Time Travel Digital Nomad Lifestyle work from anywhere bansko coworkng hub
Although done in extraordinary places, digital nomad slow travel life in some ways, has more in common with regular life routines, rather than vacation routines. We spend time daily working online, going for morning walks and/or pool workouts, getting groceries, cooking meals at home, shopping at farmers markets, and having a pretty normal routine with vacation style outings usually just one or two days a week, unless we are doing a fast travel period. 

Farmers markets abroad and Vacation vs Full Time Travel Digital Nomad Lifestyl
Despite our long stays, we tend to travel lighter than most people do on a week's vacation or holiday. The longer we travel the less we need. Minimalism makes traveling and life so much easier. We zip through airports, on trains, buses, cargo ships etc almost effortlessly because we travel so light and can carry it all easily on the move. ( Even when we traveled with a young child and even now in our 70's).  

Vacation vs Full Time Travel Digital Nomad Lifestyl packing light tips
We have one small roller bag and one very, very small backpack ( 20cmx25x40cm ) each for this trip, which is pretty typical and good for cheap budget airline rules. The roller bags are luggage we have had a very long time and used for our flight from LAX to Paris, then we picked up the small backpacks in Barcelona area just to make it easier on the European budget flights ( when they are full and strict) and they make great day packs for touring or grocery shopping. 

Vacation vs Full Time Travel Digital Nomad Lifestyle soultravelers3 beautiful destinations
Location independent, purposely homeless, digital nomads can not live exactly as a local, but by having local friends, returning to favorite places, learning the language and slow travel, it is easier and cheaper to do things more like a local than a tourist. For instance, we have friends in our Barcelona base that we have loved since we met in 2006 and our connection with them enriches us in many ways, plus, for instance, they know what are the best restaurants the locals love, not usually known to tourists. The cultural exchange between both cultures gives us a deeper understanding and appreciation than one can get as a tourist with a fast visit. 

Vacation vs Full Time Travel Digital Nomad Lifestyle soultravelers3 living like a local
Routines like grocery shopping, doing errands like finding a place to print something up, riding buses like locals and navigating mass transit etc, helps ground us in every day life and keeps away travel fatigue. It takes a little while of living somewhere to get the basic routines down because simple things like taking a bus, or train, or taxi or shopping, is much more complicated than in one's home country and in a different language and culture. 
Vacation vs Full Time Travel Digital Nomad Lifestyle soultravelers3 connecting with locals catalon food

Vacations are often taken in summer and it's great weather. As digital nomads, we find beautiful weather is MUCH more enjoyable way to see a place, so we do our best to travel/live in eternal spring or summer weather and every day a Saturday. We consider the fall weather that we visit as more of the eternal spring since the weather is similar in temperature. So our life does have always a vacation "endless summer" feel to it in places and the weather we love. 

Vacation vs Full Time Travel Digital Nomad Lifestyle soultravelers3 endless summer travel style

Weather is never perfect but trust me, a string of gorgeous days are a lot more uplifting  than a dismal, rainy, dark, depressing or hot, miserable, sweltering, or cold, freezing-your-butt-off season. If the weather is miserable, it's time to move on or travel burn out will catch you, because day in and day out of hard and ugly, wears on the soul. When you are living in a foreign place, it really helps to have great weather. 

Vacation vs Full Time Travel Digital Nomad Lifestyle soultravelers3 travel blog beach endless summer travel
There are pros and cons to every life, but for us, the digital nomad life gives us more freedom and costs a lot less than living in Los Angeles. It is not a vacation, but often it feels to us like the very best of a vacation with a mostly relaxing, endless summer feel to it. We're looking forward to some fast travel adventures soon, exploring new places we didn't see last time in Croatia, Montenegro, London  and returning to places we loved, but also looking forward to slow travel and house hunting in Spain as well this fall and winter. 

Are you planning any fall or winter travel? 

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