Digital Nomads Are Not the Future
Paris Marx

Good solid sober critical response to one of the more egregious pieces of “life advice” bullshit going around out there — and props too for calling it out for what it is using just that very saucy term! Couldn’t believe how many nails you were hitting and how smooth this piece went down without a headpop, esp. as someone who is from a less-privileged-by-American-standard-but-not-as-less-privileged-as-a-poor-country-person background.

Travel IS expensive — no two ways about it. Sure, it may not be EXPENSIVE expensive, e.g. one million bucks or more, but you have to remember that “expensive” is relative and contextual. Using my own math I figured that the travel often talked about can be had for $10,000, which some say is not “so expensive”. Yet, how many people actually have $10,000 in savings? (I don’t.) How many can actually get that? Let’s ratchet it up even further — how many have $10,000 in discretionary savings, i.e. not that which is set aside for an emergency? When you’re dealing with debts, even worse, a family, and you have an average type of job, it’s very hard to cobble and save that. That’s expensive.

Moreover, it’s expensive in a way that is not appreciated and not put in the price tag but which is indeed real “expense” in the sense you can actually, at least in theory, put upon it a quantifiable dollar amount that you will be giving up. And that’s the fact of that even if you had that savings, you would have to quit your job. And that means you “spend” far more in terms of lost money from not working (year around the world adds at least 1 year’s worth of missed salary), and moreover, if you can’t be assured you’ll get that or an identical (and :cough: moving costs :cough:) job in the future, you are subjecting yourself to a lot of risk.

Your other concerns are important, too, e.g. the effect it has on the economy of the nations traveled to and lived in. This is the “others’ interests” stuff beyond the self-interest concerns. You have to make sure you’re actually benefitting their economy and not harming it. If you do this, I’d suggest one thing would be to pay what a local pays, at least. Yes that may mean a “lower” standard of living, but if you’re moving to a foreign country and you’re not willing to live the way they do, that to me smacks of entitlement. You want that, you stay home and live the “high” living standard there.

The ideal world, though, on the other hand, I don’t think would necessarily be one where people could/would not travel like that. You mention about the inequality of wealth / bad economies, yet I’d also say that most not being able to have financial freedom, even in a “rich” nation like the US, is symptomatic of a problematic system in its own right. Moreover, were things economically equal, there would be considerably less necessity for immigration restrictions between nations. Meaning that while in ideal world the average cost of living in, say, a nation in Africa (won’t name one because if we’re going to imagine no colonialism then that’d mean Africa’s nations would be entirely different in contour than they are now) were the same as that of one in Europe, say, that would not allow “cheap” travel yet also, due to the lax immigration restrictions, you would be able to also have a better shot at getting a job there and thus being able to live that way in the new nation.

Finally, I’d also say you don’t have to “travel” to learn things about other nations. Books, scholarly material on the Internet, and more can provide a wealth of information in their own right, esp. if you read things that aren’t just popularizations but real academic material and more. And I would support this from firsthand experience. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to China for a bit as part of a University-sponsored program at the University I’m at, yet given how it worked out, I actually feel that I learned more about China from studying it from outside through those kinds of materials, than I did by actually going to it! (Surprised? Well it isn’t once you realize how that the same experience can be very different for different people and there’s no one-size-fits-all thing for everyone, esp. if you aren’t quite from mainstream (privileged!!! 😁) society and so much of a good little SOCIETY PERSON (SP). That also underscores my chief problematic with all this “life advice” stuff — it assumes there IS such a thing as a one size fits all best advice for everyone and that simply isn’t true. Worse yet, it imagines that “one size fits all best” from a presumption of a privileged status. Even worse yet, that in turn comes from a presumption the reader is like the author. I.e. egocentrism.)

Want your views challenged? Don’t need to travel for that. The very same Internet you use to read these postings and we use to argue this stuff has literally every viewpoint represented on it you could want. Too politically liberal? Go read National Review for your news for a time. Too conservative? Go read HuffPost. Even better, get on a debate forum and air your views at people who are opposed to you. It’s that easy! The trick is, of course, that you have to try and listen to and understand the countermanding material thoroughly and push past any initial, naive emotional reactions. Whether you have your views “challenged” or not is entirely up to your own willingness to challenge them and these days it’s never been easier to do so. There is no need for bourgeois methods to accomplish this goal.