Well first, let’s define what it means to be a digital nomad?
Like most things, you have to think about what it means to you. And I have and I’ll share it with you. So, the digital part means being electronically connected. It’s difficult to disconnect completely these days and many wouldn’t want to even if they could. So for me, the digital part means connected but also being untethered from traditional office environments and work. For some, it means being part of the gig economy and for others, it means working from or at wherever they happen to be.
Nomad = Wanderer
To me the nomad means wanderer. Sorry, Jeff Foxworthy, but if:
- You are someone always seeking and yearning to explore new places, new peoples, and new cultures, you might be a nomad too.
- Your bucket list of must-see places is the longest list you have, you might be a nomad too.
- You purposely avoid the ‘touristy’ spots, eschew cruises, and anything else that has a cruise director, you might be a nomad too.
- You always wish you could stay in a place longer to really get a feel for it and the people, you might be a nomad too.
If you avoid anything involving a ‘cruise director’ you might be a nomad too!
The millennials call it seeking experiences over things, and they do it a lot and good for them for starting earlier. And it does not mean traveling on a shoestring budget, of course, there are many that do it that way. Does anyone remember in college when you would go skiing and there were all the people that worked at the resort, ski instructors, bartenders… and they followed the snow around the world? I always wanted to be them, see it was always there!
Being a nomad definitely does not mean being homeless, you definitely need a home base, or at least this nomad does. I have deep roots and a big family that I love but this itch to wander needs to be scratched and like anything else, you’ll have to find that balance. If you were a very early adopter of VRBO or Airbnb, you likely have some nomad in you too, I’m talking back when people would tell you that you were crazy and someone would probably kill you in the night being in strangers homes. And it definitely does not mean being unemployed although many retirees are out exploring and living the nomadic life.
So, what does being a digital nomad means to me in a nutshell? It means leaving my home base to explore this big old world at my own pace and in my own way, which is staying and working, digitally, in one place for as long or as short a time as I want to. That exploring could be any combination of by plane, train, automobile or RV, bike, canoe, or maybe even camel.
It means having a home base and roots that I return to and sometimes my nomadic adventures may be a few hours away for a day or two at a time and other adventures may last months, there are no hard and fast rules. And being part of the digital economy enables me to continue working but not in a 9 to 5, traditional office environment.
So, based on my definition, yes, I definitely want to be a digital nomad when I grow up!
Learn more, yes, I did not make up the term ‘digital nomad,’ it’s a thing: