In short; Digital nomads are people who use telecommunication technologies to earn a living, and more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner.
From my recent (and frankly, fragmental) experience, I would identify and summarise this lifestyle as one which is bespoke, crafted with care and moulded by the influence of self discovery; highlighted through travel, and driven by passion for adventure and work.
I was first introduced to the ‘nomad lifestyle from a few friends who abandoned their office cubicle, in order to explore various cultures whilst they worked wherever their budget airline took them (thanks, Steve).
There was something terrifyingly alluring about the thought of disregarding the predictability of the office job. The idea of embracing the sheer essence of volatility in the most exotic environments; meeting new people, discovering new ideas and operating your work amongst alternative settings and cultures.
It took me four years of working inside the four walls of various offices across Europe, before realising these enclosures were shielding me from the ecological, transforming me into a machine to work on preexisting (employer-compatible), maps of reality. In hindsight, I sometimes feel like my employers prior to pursuing contract work, unknowingly suppressed my need to grow as an individual. As I understand, most companies with management subscribing to a particular set of business and social ethics, seem not to fully identify the benefits of remote working. And frankly, neither had I before taking this numinous adventure.
You only need Wi-Fi
You can fund this nomadic lifestyle by using wi-fi and a laptop to build apps, websites and endeavour into various creative freelance projects all over the world. This enables you to build your own financial infrastructure and live the life that you want to live.
This lifestyle sounded far more rational than the office one I used to endure. Previously, I could of drawn this uncanny similarity between myself and a well groomed lion in Bristol zoo: My monthly salary resembling the steak, My bonuses felt like the hoops to jump through. I mean, was I really spending my time on this earth to seek *Stability by sitting in an office, avoiding any kind of day-to-day volatility and not knowing how to survive in the wild?
As a 22 year-old with zero liabilities, no debt, no obligations and who started to wake-up to the irrationalities of the office cubical; I took Nikes advice — I just did it. On November 30th 2016 I handed in my keys to my apartment, and I quit my job.
*Stability (it isn’t the point).
When humans want stability, they shoot for this universal illusion (especially in the western world) of ‘perfect stability’: a comfy house, monthly salary, car, daily routine etc. However, everything organic, requires some amount of volatility. Which is the exact opposite to the structured and ineffective life of an empty suit CEO with a preset schedule and an alarm clock.
There’s a mathematical property called Jensen’s Inequality which demonstrates things often gain from variability. In other words, you’ll do a lot better, yourself, if you stop pursuing stability and instead pursue volatility.
Jensen’s inequality proves, mathematically, that anything organic (this includes humans), strive on variation. Perhaps not immediately, not many people new to this notion could cope with such immediate changes. However, over time, in bite-sized pieces, it will make you less susceptible to extreme variations within your environment.
90% of people working in offices, don’t understand this. They’ve become institutionalised and are not exposed to unsubscribed stressors. They only know what it’s like to drink water from a water cooler in an air conditioned office — they’ve removed all volatility from their life.
I know now, there is no liquid on earth which tastes better than water from a natural spring, after you’ve spent an entire day wondering around in the heat of the Sahara desert.
Extreme Weather Optimisation Management System (EWOMS)
If you gave the CEO control of the worlds weather patterns; I can almost guarantee 98% of them would set the temperature 22.3°C all year round (average temperature for most western corporate offices). It would be their idea of ‘maximising productivity’ and would probably give it some ridiculous unpronounceable acronym to make them seem somewhat intelligible (hence; EWOMS). Of course, if they had managed to stabilise the worlds temperature, they would of blown up the planet…
The point I’m attempting to make is: we do a lot of harm by depriving organic matter of a certain amount of variability. Anything organic, communicates with its environment via stressors. By seeking stability to remove and kind of volatility, you’re more likely to be harmed by any kind of change. And whilst we’re living in a world of millennials disrupting entire industries encompassed in old business rituals, on the precipice of the fourth industrial revolution (or, “4IR” for you CEO’s reading this)– investing in being insusceptible to extreme change, is probably a wise move.
Or, if you don’t buy that argument, try this more compelling one…