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Home / News / Business Of Life /  ‘Hard to stay put after 7 years as a digital nomad’

The lockdown has been hard on everyone, but tougher still for the footloose and fancy free. Digital nomad and travel blogger Shivya Nath has been living out of two bags, travelling around the world, since 2013.

“Even if I am not travelling abroad, I stay in one place for only about a month. This is the life I have chosen. But because of this lockdown, for the first time, I’ve found myself wishing I had a home to call my own," says Nath, 32, who’s currently at her family home in Dehradun.

Before returning home, Nath had several travel plans and ongoing projects that had to be shelved. “My clients and I started discussing the coronavirus outbreak in the second week of March, when the impact was being felt globally. It was a mutual decision to halt ongoing projects," she explains.

Much of Nath’s income comes from her blog, while the rest is from freelancing gigs for publications. Having taken 50% payment in advance for scheduled projects, Nath is well aware that she has to finish marketing work for her clients, usually eco-lodges, community-tourism operators, airlines and tourism boards. But she is hoping the other projects that have been shelved will be renewed sooner or later.

“Over the years, as a freelance worker, I am used to delayed payments. Therefore, as of now, I am fairly relaxed. But a lot of my friends worldwide depend on their blog traffic for income. Now that people are not looking at travel blogs so much, they are feeling the impact much more," she explains.

A lot of this worry comes from various governments announcing measures to safeguard the income of those who are employed by companies, but not so much for self-employed citizens. For example, Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak recently announced that the self-employed will gain access to the equivalent of statutory sick pay, and will be given tax deferrals but are not part of an 80% earnings pledge others are getting. “There are talks of countries like Germany announcing aid packages aimed at supporting families, employees and even freelancers," says Nath, the author behind the travel blog TheShootingStar understands that there might be people and communities who require a bailout from the government more in the present situation.

It can be difficult for digital nomads not just financially, but emotionally as well. “The first few days I was in a lot of anxiety, but have since decided to be positive, while taking precautions for my safety. Being made to stay in one place and not step out is challenging because we do not have a regimented schedule," she adds.

Nath’s positivity is helping her stay productive as well. Other than reading a lot and cooking, she has been working on her blog as well. “I have years of travel stories which I have kept on hold. I will work on those now, especially to help promote sustainable travel businesses that will suffer the brunt of this lockdown."

On The Brink is a series on how professionals are coping with the 21-day nationwide lockdown.

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