What is a digital nomad? Breaking the terms down individually gives you a place to start: Digital: Meaning online, technological
Nomad: Meaning a member of a community of people without fixed habitation who regularly move to and from the same areas.
Now that we are familiar with the meanings, what do the words together mean? Someone that travels and works, but their profession is not dependent on their location. Different from a backpacker, they have a profession online that supports them while they travel. No cubicle necessary. Digital nomads have likely been around for over a decade. (They might be as old as the internet itself)
I didn’t coin the word, but I’m a fan. It’s a new word for a new generation. Much like Meme, the term is more than just a noun. It’s changing the way life is lived.
Now they are taking the over the world. You can’t read an airline magazine without someone being referenced as a digital nomad. Want to find a nice restaurant or scenery on your vacation? Chances are there was once a digital nomad that posted that place on Google, Yelp, Foursquare, or Facebook.
To be a digital nomad is flexible- we don’t have fixed hours, and we don’t have fixed definitions either. Most of the nomads that I have met and become close with work on the back of the gig economy. Or perhaps they have found a way to monetize their community on Facebook. Or even, they manage the ads and marketing for online media. Or maybe they’re like me and got sick of working from their house and decided to work from somewhere else and take their 30+ hour a week job with them. I can’t tell you the amount of day traders I know.
How do Digital Nomads affect the world? Well, I guarantee you, first world countries won’t be wanting to pay for desks and office space forever. As we decide to live a more green lifestyle, commuting will become frowned upon, and telecommuting will be eco-friendly. Once the employees are working from home and still being just as productive, companies will learn to trust their employees, and with trust comes employee happiness and contribution. Once your boss doesn’t have to come around to ask about your TPS reports, suddenly living somewhere that makes you happy, and where you can afford becomes a priority.
Digital nomads are pioneering the way to be outside of the office and putting themselves in the less-than 5-star accommodations in places where maybe you wouldn’t want to stray off the hotel properties. They are giving the Mom and pop shops a chance to thrive!
Sounds too good to be true? It’s not. Thailand already created a specific VISA for nomads and Vermont is offering tax credits to Americans that are planning to work from home and live abroad. (Because Americans always have to pay tax)
What I love about Digital Nomads the most? Their love for life. They want to go out there and live. Day to day and hour to hour. Most have plans and goals and aspirations. They are business savvy. They know how to network and genuinely care about each other and anyone around them. They are conscious of their impact on the world- green initiatives and housing issues. I’ve seen nomads start and work in charities and foundations globally.
Miss the office life? Find a coworking space or go live in a coliving coworking community. Meet some amazing people that have world-class work experience, and learn about a field that is completely different from yours. I learned the basics of SEO in Antigua Guatemala from a guy from New York that was raised in an Indian ashram.
Ready to be a digital nomad?
PS Just know, most laptops aren’t rated to sit in the sun. So no matter where you are, I wouldn’t plan to sit at the poolside or on the sand unless you have an umbrella. But don’t worry, I’m sure a digital nomad is working on solving that problem.