Becoming a digital nomad is more and more common these days. And with the new rise of remote propelled by the pandemic, I’m predicting that many more people will join the ranks of those who work and travel abroad in the next year or two.
I’ve been a digital nomad for more than two years now, and one big thing I’ve noticed about this life – there are many more men than women out here! Being a solo female digital nomad is a little different than doing it as a man or as part of a couple. And since there aren’t too many of us out here, I wanted to write about my experience to encourage more women to come and join us.
Some things are universal to the digital nomad experience – the ways we figure out how to make money, our desire to make friends and connections in new places, the challenges we face along the way. But being a female nomad does have a few key differences.
There Aren’t Many Female Digital Nomads
Women make up only 30% of all digital nomads out there! And since 61% of all digital nomads are married, plenty of those women are also traveling with their partners. That means I’ve met very few other solo female digital nomads, while I’ve met plenty of solo male ones. It’s an interesting twist because I’ve actually met many more solo female travelers than male ones, but when it comes to building a whole life out on the road abroad for some reason we’re under-represented.
Of course, I’ve met plenty of lovely female nomads who travel with their partners, but there’s something extra wonderful about meeting a fellow solo nomad who is also a woman, if only because it happens much less often.
And in an unsurprising turn of events, female digital nomads also earn less than our male counterparts on average (ladies, let’s all agree to start charging more!).
Our Dating Pool is Wider
The upside of having fewer solo female digital nomads out here? Our dating pool is a lot wider! Since there are plenty of unattached men traveling alone out there and not that many women doing the same, finding a fellow digital nomad to go out with is definitely easier for us. (One of the perks of dating as a digital nomad!)
You can always date locals as well, but if you’re like me and don’t want to live in just one place all the time – that’s why I started living this life – dating someone who stays put is really difficult. But also, if you’re looking for a long-term committed relationship, someone who moves around all the time can be a challenging partner. It’s fun for the short-term to meet other people who live the same way and love to explore the world, though.
Our Packing Needs Can Be Different
Ok, maybe this isn’t too different if you’re a very low-maintenance woman – but that has never been me. Even though I have been living out of a 35L backpack for over three years now, I still can’t adjust completely to a life of practical clothes and free of makeup.
I just have to be very selective about my outfits, skin care, and makeup so I can fit it all in while still looking somewhat like myself. And I’m always jealous that men don’t need to figure out how to squash three different kinds of bras into their bags!
And we have to think about getting products like tampons and birth control while abroad, which can range from being easier than at home to very challenging, as well. If you’re just traveling for a month or two, you can bring what you need from your home country, but living abroad for long periods requires a different approach.
If you need a specific kind of birth control, it’s always best to check to see if it’s available before you arrive to see if it’s available where you’re heading and what the process is to get it. Costs and the difficulty of obtaining it can vary really widely. I’ve found that other female nomads and local women are great sources of info if you run into any issues here.
We Inspire Strong Reactions
If I had a euro for every person who asked me where my husband/boyfriend is, and then gasped with shock when I told them I don’t have one and I travel alone, I’d be able to buy the boat of my dreams by now. Pretty sure none of the male nomads I’ve met ever get anything close to this reaction.
And I also get plenty of people wondering when I will grow up and settle down – a reaction I’m sure at least a few of the men around me get as well.
Truthfully, I run my own business (as a freelance writer), have plans to buy an apartment, and am financially independent and responsible – I consider that pretty grown up! Just because I don’t live in one place all the time and have the requisite American dream of husband/2.5 kids/too-big suburban house doesn’t mean I am irresponsible.
But there will always be people who have a strong reaction to women living interesting and independent lives outside of the norm. Plus, those reactions are also balanced out by the number of people I’ve met who tell me how much they admire my courage to live an unconventional life!
So to all my fellow female digital nomads and those who want to be one someday – can’t wait to meet you!