Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Digital Nomad and Expat

Ever fantasized about not to tethered to the normal constraints of the working life and instead setting off on the road, with your laptop as your working partner and the world as your working place? How about preparing presentations from a beach, or writing reports on-the-go or from anywhere you want? If so, you are already on the path to becoming a digital nomad. Well, leaving the comforts of your home to start a new life in a new place seems like a big deal, but hundreds of hundreds of people have been through the same situation, and they already have made their decision to work and travel at the same time.  In many ways, the digital nomad lifestyle diverges from the classic expat lifestyle. But the question is, which lifestyle would you choose – a digital nomad or an expat lifestyle?

Digital Nomad meaning 

Digital nomad is an experience like no other, a lifestyle that enables you to work on-the-go meaning you can work from anywhere you want – be it a beach shack, a rainforest retreat, or a hilltop villa. All you need is your laptop and a stable internet connection, and you are good to go. Digital nomads are a remote working community of people who use technology to earn a living, and they telecommute rather than working out of a cubicle at an office. These are location-independent people who are constantly on the move and they oversee their own destiny and life. Travelling and working on-the-go is one of the many perks of being a digital nomad, but it has its challenges too. Working on the move means long hours and financial uncertainty.

Expat meaning 

An expatriate, or expat for what it commonly goes by, is quite similar to a digital nomad in terms of lifestyle because both of them have the strong desire to combine work and travel. An expat is an individual temporarily or permanently residing in a place which is not their native place or home country. Like digital nomads, expats value travel over anything else but they equally care about roots. The difference lies in the priorities and values. For expats, the search is always for a new land, a new country, and a new experience. Expats of the modern era do not generally belong to one community, nor do they follow any particular ideology. They are modern voyagers in search of a lifestyle they can be accustomed to. Expat simply means a person who resides outside their native country.

Difference between Digital Nomad and Expat

Work Status

 – The work culture of expats is very different from that of digital nomads. Expats, like their digital nomad counterparts, like to travel but they also value having roots. Expats have a strong desire to combine work and travel but their move to a new place or country is not always temporary, and because they like to stay put for a while, they take steps accordingly. Unlike digital nomads, expats like to work at places they have settled or something they can call home.

Travel Opportunities 

– Digital nomads are location-independent people who are constantly on the move and who love to travel to new places every now and then. They rely on technologies to earn their living and working on the go, with no home base. Travel opportunities are endless for digital nomads because they can work from anywhere, they want, and all they need is a laptop and a stable internet connection and they are set. Expats travel less frequently because they focus more on stability than mobility, and they are in search of a lifestyle they can be accustomed to.

Social Life

 – Another aspect of their lives which seems create a line between expats and digital nomads’ lifestyle is their social life. Digital nomads are constantly moving people and because they have no place to call home, they struggle to make friends or form meaningful and long-term relationships very often. Even if they stay in a place for a couple of months, they have to work from home, which makes it very difficult for them to spare some time for the community. Expats, on the other hand, have colleagues and friends to hang out with, and many ways to create some beautiful memories.

Cost of Living 

– Digital nomads are adventurous people who like to be in charge of their own life and destiny which means nothing can stop them. And working on-the-go means new place and a new experience every day, but it has its downsides too. Working remotely means long hours and new places mean extra burden on the wallet, which include travel expenses, food, rent, and taxes. The expenses may vary from place to place, so does the cost of living. Digital nomads usually opt for an affordable lifestyle to minimize the expenses from constant moving and roaming around.

Digital Nomad vs. Expat: Comparison Chart

Summary of Digital Nomad vs. Expat

Well, in a nutshell, if you want stability in your life and a long-term career, friends, community and a place you can call home, then moving away as an expat is the best choice you have. Often driven by a random social or economic event, expats usually go abroad with the best intentions of returning to their homeland. Digital nomads are the complete opposite of expats; they are constantly on the move and they do not stay in a place for very long time. So, if you love to travel and if you seek some adventure in your life and want to live life on your own terms, then you’re already on the path to become a digital nomad.


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References :


[0]Lonely Planet. The Digital Nomad Handbook. Melbourne, Australia: Lonely Planet, 2020. Print

[1]Polson, Erika et al. The Routledge Companion to Media and Class. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge, 2019. Print

[2]Wennersten, John R. Leaving America: The New Expatriate Generation. Connecticut, United States: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008. Print

[3]Minardi, Di. “Expat vs. Digital Nomad: Which Lifestyle Is Right for You?.” Internationalliving.com, International Living, 23 May 2019, https://internationalliving.com/expat-vs-digital-nomad-which-lifestyle-is-right-for-you/. Accessed 3 Nov 2020.

[4]Image credit: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2020/04/06/15/14/snowboard-5010041_1280.jpg

[5]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Expart_Life_Cycle.jpg

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