Gennady Podolsky, renowned travel agent and concierge, highlights how his passion for travel has allowed for a sustainable nomadic way of life, a lifestyle that is gaining popularity globally.
Even before the pandemic, however, another group was embracing remote work as part of a flexible lifestyle. Today, these “digital nomads” are making their presence known in coworking spaces, coffee shops, beachfront cafes, and other venues conducive to remote work.
Gennady Podolsky is a recognized global travel expert with decades of experience within the international travel realm. He is also an avowed digital nomad who regularly visits yet-undiscovered destinations across the globe. Once he arrives, he immerses himself in local customs and culture. These experiences provide him with insider knowledge for use in designing clients’ travel experiences.
Snapshot of the Digital Nomad LifestyleThe term “digital nomad” describes an adventurous traveler who visits varied destinations while engaged in remote work. For the past decade or so, digital nomads have merged an online business or career with ongoing global travel. Their laptop, smartphone, and/or mobile hotspots are their tools of the trade, and they can work from almost anywhere.
Professions Suited to Digital NomadsDigital nomads may work in a number of remote-only roles. Information technology workers comprise almost one-fifth of the digital nomad population. Creative services professionals, such as writers/editors and graphic designers, are also well represented. Accounting, customer service, and virtual assistant professionals can also make the jump to digital nomad life.
Not surprisingly, consultants are ideally suited to a digital nomad lifestyle. To illustrate, Gennady Podolsky is a global travel consultant who works with clients throughout the world. He’s always on the move, exploring yet-undiscovered destinations to recommend to his growing client base. Every few weeks, he moves to a different intriguing locale.
Digital Nomads’ DestinationsDigital nomads’ workplaces include coffee shops, coworking spaces, public libraries, beachfront cafes, and other accessible spots. Others work from rented apartments or houses. More than half of digital nomads stay in the United States, mostly setting up shop in a hospitable western state. Recreational vehicle travelers and boat cruisers often follow the seasons. They pursue winter warmth while seeking cooler summer weather.
On the other hand, almost half of digital nomads plan to spend at least some time in a foreign country. In fact, some countries have created special incentive packages to attract remote workers who meet certain parameters. Taking it a step further, digital nomads have established tight-knit communities in some European and Asian countries.
A digital nomad lifestyle requires a certain amount of flexibility and adaptability. Individuals who can consistently handle these demands often maintain this lifestyle for years. In other cases, conflicting factors such as career priorities or the desire for a more settled lifestyle lead some digital nomads to make the change after weeks or months.
5 Key Components of a Digital Nomad LifestyleEmbarking on a digital nomad lifestyle shouldn’t be done on a whim. Handling these five issues ahead of time will help ease the transition.
A Realistic Budget
Many people may envision a digital nomad lifestyle as a freeform, unstructured way of life. However, each digital nomad needs a place to live along with food and essentials. Ideally, they’ll have a financial cushion for unexpected circumstances. To avoid unwelcome surprises, each digital nomad should adopt a monthly budget that details the funds needed to meet their obligations.
A Safe Living Situation
An aspiring digital nomad should find an affordable house or apartment in a safe community. Ideally, the lodging will be near a clinic, emergency room, or hospital. This close proximity enables fast access should an illness or injury occur.
Good Cell Reception
Regardless of their occupation, a digital nomad must have reliable cell service. Good cell phone reception enables them to connect to the Internet and talk with family and friends. If service is lacking, a cell phone booster can magnify even a tiny bit of cell phone reception. Alternatively, a MiFi device enhances the digital nomad’s mobile hotspot service. Therefore, they won’t have to depend on a risky public WiFi connection.
Good Communication with Locals
In any foreign country, locals appreciate visitors’ efforts to learn the predominant language. If that’s not feasible, the digital nomad can learn to communicate via Google Translate or a similar translation app.
Multiple Contingency Plans
The old adage is often true: Sometimes, things don’t turn out as planned. When that happens, the digital nomad should have multiple backup plans in place. Planning for a worst-case scenario can offer peace of mind and a sense of readiness for any outcome. Finally, a local digital nomad community is a key part of the equation. First, members can address new group members’ questions about the digital nomad lifestyle. Seasoned digital nomads can also help new members network with other nomads. In turn, this can lead to friendships and business opportunities.
Gennady Podolsky’s Life as a Digital NomadAs a global travel consultant, Gennady Podolsky offers his clients unique travel experiences in yet-undiscovered destinations. He searches the world for these intriguing locales, each with its own ungentrified appeal.
On occasion, he compares a new tourist destination with its previously unknown persona. “I usually move from place to place like every month. So last week I was in Croatia. This week I'm in Romania. Later I will be somewhere.
The Duality of Too Much Tourism
“What I'm noticing is the over-tourism. It's insane. Right now in Western Europe, it’s just the experience. I was just in Croatia last week. The first time I was in Croatia was 20 years ago. It [is a] dramatically different experience right now because Croatia has become such a big destination. “It is an amazing destination, but because there are so many tourists, the experience that you had 20 years ago is just not even the same. I feel we need to start traveling differently,” he remarked.
Focus on Authenticity and Simplicity
Gennady Podolsky explained why he enjoys undiscovered destinations that retain their original flavor. “ I love to go to Romania right now, where there are no other tourists because people don't come here yet. “I'm in Western Romania, on the Serbian border. Beautiful place, still authentic. This chase for authenticity and for things that are still different because I feel like sometimes the world is becoming so similar.
A Desire to Experience Something Different
“But I want something different. I want to experience something different. I want to experience something that has not changed so much yet. I travel with a carry-on only, so if it doesn't fit in my tiny little carry-on, it's just not coming. You can live simply. You can just do things this way. I guess it's a simple life. “You have to travel light. You have to stay curious. You have to be super open-minded. You cannot be set in your ways. I guess it's part of being open-minded, but in a way, you have to be super flexible on everything,” Gennady Podolsky emphasized.
Going Outside the Comfort Zone
During Gennady Podolsky’s travels, he bypasses hotels and stays in apartments often frequented by locals. “Sometimes, you would get an apartment that is outside your comfort zone, but those were some of my best experiences. I was like, ’Will I like it in three days? And I loved it in four days.’ Because if you change your circumstances, you feel a lot more local.
More Workers Explore a Location-Independent LifestyleGennady Podolsky recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly forced thousands (perhaps millions) of employees into a remote work situation. He says many companies have since returned to a conventional staffing structure while others have adopted a hybrid model. Here, workers split their time between remote and office-based work.
Not surprisingly, many workers reevaluated their priorities during long months of pandemic-era lockdowns. With some employees unwilling to return to the office, they are now exploring a lifestyle that permits work from any location. Gennady Podolsky remarked on the growing ranks of remote workers who often become digital nomads.
“I think it's been happening with COVID and with all of this remote work. You can work from anywhere. There's a huge movement around the world of people doing this because I see sort of all these people now doing what I'm doing much more,” Gennady Podolsky observed.
Gennady Podolsky’s Team Can Work from AnywhereAlthough remote work has only recently gained real traction, Gennady Podolsky’s team members have been working remotely for decades. He emphasizes this as a desirable perk for everyone involved with the company.
“Everybody who worked for me, even in the ‘90s, worked from home. We always were virtual, and that was one of the biggest draws. If you work for me, you can live anywhere. I don't care if you're sitting on the beach in Bali or you're in Buenos Aires this week. Or, I don't know, you're sitting in the Amazon on the boat.
“As long as you have internet that can work, that's good for me. That’s people who've been working with me, they've been working with me for like 20 years. They get married, they have [a] baby, they move to a different country, they move to a couple of different countries. Doesn't matter. If you love your job, you can do your work.
“This is how I live. This is how all of my staff lives. This is kind of what we do. Everybody’s on the same page about this. And I feel it might be something that a lot of people do it ─ maybe at [a] certain time in their life, in the future,” Gennady Podolsky remarks.
What’s Ahead for Digital NomadsThe digital nomad ranks are expected to continue their rapid global growth. After the pandemic travel restrictions eased, and multiple countries began working to attract these adventurous travelers. Georgia, Estonia, Barbados, and other nations have created “digital nomad visas” that allow remote workers to remain in that country for 12 months. By actively contributing to the local economy, workers will help to revitalize cities and towns that fell on hard times during the pandemic.
To support this increased remote workforce, many hotels will transition from nightly stays to “subscription programs.” European hotels are in the vanguard of these initiatives. The concept may be especially advantageous for hotel brands with lodgings in multiple cities.
With that said, travel consultant Gennady Podolsky intends to keep searching for undiscovered destinations. He delights in finding “authentic” cities and towns that retain their cultural appeal and local flavor.