On Digital Nomads


I once travelled in Southeast Asia. And I kept a journal to remember the people and places. I met so many different characters. But one character emerged time and again. A young millennial or gen z character working from their laptop. Anywhere they could, they'd flip open their laptop and start working away. I befriended some of them. They were bright, disciplined, and contrarian people.

One of them was a German who had been just about everywhere. Bali. Nepal. China. He wrote click-bait articles and did content marketing. He also picked up jobs throughout his travels. Teaching English, the most frequent occupation.

Another was a yoga instructor who had built up a sizeable online audience, mostly on YouTube. She travelled all over Thailand. I met her in Cambodia, at Angkor Wat of all places. She was no enlightened being, but she had a very positive outlook and energy. It was easy to see why people gravitated to her. She was attractive too. But there are plenty of attractive people nowadays, not all of them have a digital presence.

Then there were a pair of Brits who made adventure videos. They'd seemingly done it all. And they were not even 21. A list of some of their travels: the Amazon rainforest, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe by car. They drank a lot. And they were horny as hell. Open minded and friendly. Being nomadic seemed to make them very at ease. A far cry from the zombified and anxious office workers I'd been around and seen much of my life.

Finally, there was the American consultant from South Carolina. A frat bro with some depth. He'd traveled around the world. And I'm not speaking figuratively. He'd been to 6 continents, excluding Antarctica. He saved up money for some time. And then took a year off to travel. It makes me feel good, even now, to know there is someone out there doing something for the experience and not just to tick off goals or get somewhere.

We live in a destination obsessed culture. And a digital nomad is not bound by destination. But by journey. After all, the endpoints of our life are fixed, everyone knows where it starts and ends. The points in between, that's our choice, that's our life. A famous guru once said, "To be nomadic is simple, it just means you're a no-mad," in other words you're not crazy like everyone else trying to accumulate themselves to heaven. Frequent travel seems to put everything in its right place. Something about seeing the same thing again and again seems like death. And something about seeing new things again and again seems like life.