"Where are you based?" is a question I've come to dread. I understand where people who ask it are coming from — it's a good conversation starter — but I don't have a "base" as much as an entire field. I'm a digital nomad, which means I travel non-stop while working. A lot of people don't understand what this is, which can lead to some misunderstandings.
Basically, we take advantage of working remotely by changing up our location frequently. We generally don't rent apartments, though we may sublease them for short periods of time, and we might stay in each place anywhere from a few days to a few months. Some of us are freelancers and some of us are full-time employees at a company that lets us work remotely. Some participate in programs that help remote workers travel.
Since people tend to ask where you live very soon after meeting you, I often get confused looks from new acquaintances. Sometimes, I even get pity, since people assume everyone wants a permanent home. Here are some things that I and other digital nomads are tired of hearing — and the reasons why they're misguided.
1"Where Are You Based?"
This is a valid question, and I don't blame people for asking it. But I am nevertheless tired of hearing it — and all the reactions people give me when I say that I'm actually not based anywhere (see below).
2"So, You're Still Trying To Figure Things Out?"
Being a nomad isn't something you do because you just don't know where to live. It's something you do because you do know you want to be a nomad.
3"Where Do You Hope To End Up?"
I hope to "end up" doing this, for the foreseeable future at least. I don't buy into the mentality that everyone has to "settle down" eventually. And if I did, I wouldn't have to already know where.
4"It's Good To Get That Out Of Your System While You're Young"
Or at any age. Some people might have obligations keeping them in certain places as they get older, but there's no limit on who can be a digital nomad or deadline when you have to stop.
5"What Do Your Parents Think Of That? Are They Worried?"
Many people seem to imagine that I have these overprotective parents who constantly feel responsible for my whereabouts. They also seem to have this idea that I'm traveling through war zones. In reality, moving once a month is no more dangerous than moving once a year if you're moving to relatively safe places. But more importantly, I'm a grown-ass woman. Why would my parents even be entitled to an opinion?
6"Don't Worry, Money Will Come"
People don't generally become digital nomads because they can't afford rent. They do it because that's the lifestyle that appeals to them the most, and they definitely don't need anyone's sympathy.
7"No, But Really, Where Are You Based?"
No, really, nowhere. It is totally possible nowadays to not have a base. Mail comes to whatever address I'm at. I've gotten rid of my stuff. (I put my parents' address on tax forms, in case you're wondering.) It can get complicated, but it's doable.
No worries if you've said any of these things. The concept of a digital nomad can be hard to wrap your head around at first. But if you ever come across one in the future, you now know better than to say these things to them. Instead, you can ask them where their next adventure is.