Digital Nomads: The Future
The Big Picture 7/8: What we can see today, and why it’s just the beginning.
The past six articles have covered plenty of information about Digital Nomads and everything related. Now we have a solid foundation for thinking about how that lifestyle trend can evolve over time.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).
— Mark Twain
Mixing life, work and travel is getting popular
Read more in Part 1: Definition & Popularity
Our work becomes increasingly digital, and remote work becomes more common.
More and more people realize that this opens a host of opportunities for shaping everyday life in entirely new ways. They’ve started living in and working from different places around the world. They don’t think about it as a vacation but as an intrinsic part of their lives. They’re exploring different approaches and learning about possibilities, benefits, and challenges.
Many trends fuel these changes in behavior
Read more in Part 2: Trends
The transition towards remote work is a significant step towards location independence. Moreover, a lot is happening that makes it progressively easier to make good use of that independence, and that spreads the idea to more people, for example:
- Increasing global internet connectivity allows for working from truly remote locations.
- The digitalization of information and services makes them easily accessible from around the world.
- The ability to stay connected with other people over any distance has become very easy.
- Hospitality platforms and coliving spaces give easy access to accommodation in many places.
- Coworking eliminates the need for a fixed office or resorting to unproductive working environments.
- Coliving, coworking, and other new “co”-concepts allow us to integrate into new communities easily.
The entire planet is becoming more accessible to us.
It attracts very different people
Read more in Part 3: Demography
People who combine all these new possibilities to make good use of their location independence can be called Digital Nomads. They only have two things in common:
- They earn a significant part of their income through digital means.
- They move the center of their lives around the country or even the world.
Beyond that, it’s a quite diverse crowd:
- They’re from many countries all over the world.
- Many are Millennials, but they cover all ages.
- Some are single, some have a partner, and some are married.
- Income doesn’t matter that much either.
Living across cities and countries will be possible for almost everyone who can do remote work. However, that doesn’t mean that people are interested in doing so.
It will become more attractive
Read more in Part 4: The Bright Side
Just the ability to travel the world and live and work from anywhere won’t motivate anyone to actually move.
The attraction comes from the new opportunities that people get, for example:
- Making unique experiences on perpetual exploration.
- Having a sense of belonging to places and people they resonate with.
- Making it possible or easier to pursue interests.
- Helping them grow personally and professionally.
There are many other factors that make cities and countries unique, and that will be considered. The world keeps evolving at a rapid pace, and their favorite destinations today can be very different from their favorite destinations in a few years.
Today’s challenges will become tomorrow’s products
Read more in Part 5: The Dark Side
We’re still early in development, and there are many challenges and downsides for these early adopters. Fortunately, most hurdles can be overcome from two sides.
Once Digital Nomads have experienced the negative aspects of such a lifestyle, they’ll get better at navigating and mitigating them. Many can be alleviated simply by good preparation.
New businesses can then use that experience and provide solutions that solve many of today’s problems, for example:
- There will be more short and medium-term accommodation available, and they will become more affordable.
- New productive work environments with a strong community focus will copy successful models. They will find even more ways to cater to the needs of such people.
- Because traveling for life is different from traveling for vacation, more specialized offerings and networks like Nomad List will emerge.
- Countries can seize the opportunity and draw an experienced digital workforce and their money by making visas and immigration more attractive. Estonia is in the process of doing so.
- Neobanks like Revolut and TransferWise have already started, and more businesses will follow to simplify finance, tax, and insurance for international lifestyles.
- Services will simplify or even automate the planning and preparation of accommodation, transport, tax, finance, and visas.
- Things like storage, receiving packages, and replacing a laptop in remote locations are organizational problems that can and for sure will be solved.
- It could go all the way to all-inclusive providers in the form of local living as a service and global living as a service. Coliving spaces are in a great position to build something like that. Keep an eye on The Collective and Selina.
- Loneliness will become an increasingly pressing issue and demand for better ways of forming and maintaining meaningful friendships. Communities that make it easy to form such relationships will increase in popularity.
An international life will become much easier over time, and Digital Nomads are currently paving the way for that. The rise of new products and services in the space will further increase the awareness of location independence and its benefits.
Living across the world will become normal
Read more in Part 6: Misconceptions
There’s a lack of knowledge around living location independent, and even those who pursue such lives still have to figure out a lot. There are misunderstandings and there’s also some resistance.
This is often the case with change, especially one which raises questions about the way we live and work. As people will become more familiar with the concept, confusion will make room for understanding and acceptance.
Digital Nomads will become well-integrated with the local environment and local communities. It will make the lifestyle beneficial to everyone rather than keeping it in a bubble.
Some people will move, and some won’t. Some will move fast, and some slowly. People will learn what has become possible and will accept it as merely an additional option they have in shaping their lives.
Digital Nomadism will become a perfectly normal life choice and the term obsolete.
⏳ Should you need a refresher, later on, check out the six-minute summary.
🙏 Special thanks to everyone who has given feedback, participated in a survey, or diligently reviewed these articles.
❤️ I’d love to hear what you think.