The rise of the digital nomad

Some of you may have seen the short video I shared earlier this week around the ‘evolution of the desk’ and how the arrival of various programs, and ultimately apps, have enabled us to have so much at hand and work from anywhere. If you have not seen it yet, click here. It is short and definitely worth watching.

It made me reflect on the way I have been working over the last eight months. I have previously written about my experiences of working out the Work Club, a coworking space in Sydney. However, more recently I have found myself working from various environments throughout the week. In a single day, I can be working from home, the bus, a coworking space, a café and my clients’ offices. I have no fixed office or desk, and I love it. With me, all I have is my MacBook Air, my iPhone, headphones, notepad and various chargers. That’s all I ever need, tucked away in my leather ‘manbag’.

I am what is often referred to as a road warrior (which sounds a little too Mad Max for me) or a digital momad. The latter I prefer. I am thriving off this way of working, I love the flexibility and the freedom is brings. The only downsides are the lack of readily available WiFi (this is a Sydney issue, although thankfully I can hotspot when need be) and my poor wrist struggles with the manbag (I hurt it playing football a while back, although a shoulder strap would quickly fix this).

The term ‘digital nomad’ is certainly not a new one. It came from the similarly named book, written in 1997, by Tsugio Makimoto and David Manners. They outlined how future technological possibilities, combined with our natural urge to travel, would once again allow us to live, work, and exist on the move. Not a bad concept for nearly 20 years ago. However, with the advent of laptops then, perhaps not overly surprising.

If you Google ‘digital nomad’, the majority of images that come up show people sitting on beaches working away. Personally, I would rather be on an idyllic beach relaxing, sipping a cocktail and not thinking about work. Not all nomads are constantly on the road, and not all nomads are working on purely digital products and services. I would argue that the digital nomad group is so diverse nowadays that there is no specific catered sector or personality type.

Being nomadic is no longer just an ancient tribal way of life. These days, more and more workers are choosing to be digitally mobile and office (or place of work) nomadic, revealing an emerging radical shift in our perception of work and its role in our lives  (for better or worse).

Are you a digital nomad? How do you find it? Share your stories, good practices, funny stories.

Thanks for reading,

Kai

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