Nomadism is not a novel phenomenon. Humans have been nomadic since prehistoric times. Well before we settled into agrarian societies, we were hunter-gatherers who moved from place to place in search of better game or edible vegetation. Being nomadic is an intrinsic part of our DNA because it has played a predominant role in shaping our evolution into who we are today.
It appears that we have now come full circle. Technology, one of our greatest innovations, has advanced to a stage where it has made it possible for many of us to lead nomadic lifestyles once again. The modern nomad is defined as someone who is not tethered to any specific geographic location, but instead travels consistently to live an almost borderless existence. Freedom, movement, and exploration are the mantras of the modern nomad.
Let’s look into the how’s and why’s of modern nomadism
Unlike the prehistoric nomad who travelled for food and safety, the primary motivation of the modern nomad is likely to be self discovery and personal growth. By seeking out experiences, environments and cultures that are new and different from their own, modern nomads attempt to broaden their horizons, challenge their perspectives and deepen their understanding of the world. They also enjoy exploring new places, meeting different people, and creating new and meaningful connections wherever they go.
The second biggest motivation for the modern nomad is likely to be freedom and flexibility. Freedom from the day-to-day routine that most people grind under and freedom to create their own lifestyle that may be different from the norm. While most modern nomads are going to have to work to fund themselves, they are more likely to be able to dictate their own terms. For one thing, it is certainly more plausible for them to have a healthy work-life balance and be more fulfilled in both their professional commitments and personal aspirations.
There would be no nomads without curiosity or thirst for first-hand knowledge. The modern nomad is fuelled by the desire to find out for themselves what other places look like, how people differ from place to place, how cultures change and evolve, and how different pieces fit into this giant jigsaw puzzle that is our world. It is not enough to merely read books or watch remotely, they feel the need to experience these ever-changing delights themselves.
People have been nomadic in modern times even before technological advancements. They tended to support themselves by finding work locally wherever they travelled to. They worked in agriculture, created arts and crafts, did odd, temporary and seasonal jobs, etc. However, the digital nomads of today are different from them. They owe their existence to the burst in modern technologies, mainly these 3:
- The availability of the internet around the world makes it easy for people in some professions to work remotely.
- The explosion of a variety of personal devices like laptops and smartphones that serve multiple purposes has enabled people to access technology on the move.
- Technologies like cheap, or even free, calling over the internet including video calls has made it possible for people to be able to communicate with their clients, partners, vendors, or employees, irrespective of their location.
Now that we have introduced Modern Digital Nomadism, we will look into the benefits and challenges of the nomadic lifestyle, as well as the needs and requirements of the modern digital nomad in the next couple posts.