Even though the trendy term “digital nomad” makes me picture a robot herding sheep, I do identify myself in this way. Digital nomads are people who can work anywhere with an internet connection, and I fit into this category. But since not a lot of my friends do, I’ve been searching for a digital nomad community and reading a lot of the blogs in this space (every good digital nomad has a blog…though it’s not always a good blog).
I feel like there are 3 broad groups of digital nomads:
- Guys (they always seem to be guys) who have made millions through some combination of web design, programming, selling e-books, and snake oil. Their bible is Tim Ferris’ The Four Hour Workweek. They work on their laptops on the beach and somehow manage to never get sand in the keyboard or end up with a migraine from squinting into the sun. They are the magical kings of the digital nomad world.
- 20-somethings, usually gorgeous couples who manage to stay in beautiful physical shape while eating street food three times a day, sleeping on night buses, and drinking themselves silly but never being hungover. I absolutely cannot relate to 1) their physical god/goddess-ness and 2) their lack of need to work on the road (most of them seem to have saved up a ton and now travel on the cheap). While their bible is something like How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World, a lot of their blogs could use a visit from the Punctuation Police.
- Families with young kids. (Their bible is The Unschooled Child or some variation thereof.) Going nomadic is pretty ballsy at that stage of life, and I’m pretty impressed with anyone who manages to pull it off, but again, I really can’t relate.
And then there’s me. I don’t work 4 hours a week; it’s more like 4 hours, twice a day. If I stayed out till 5AM drinking whatever local beer these kids are swilling, I’d be recovering for a week. I like long walks (on the beach or wherever I happen to be…this morning I walked for 2 hours on Buenos Aires back streets), quiet dinners (actually quiet anything. Seriously. Just shut up.), and being able to do good, productive work and keep my clients happy.
I just happen to like doing all these things in different places, and that’s why I’m a nomad. It doesn’t sound that exciting (and honestly, sometimes it’s not), but it works for me. I really wish I could find other people who live normal-ish lives while still nomading.