There are some people that you just love to low-key stalk because of their drool-worthy/envy-inducing lifestyle and my friend Sumbal is one of them. It is intriguing to see her frequently trot between the serene beaches of Phuket, the cosmopolitan city life of Berlin and the wild safari life of Cape-town.
I asked her how she did it and she told me that she was a “Digital Nomad”. The term instantly clicked with me and I wanted to know all about it. In a nutshell, Digital Nomads are people who travel while they work and work while they travel, thanks to the internet and a shrunken global economy, which makes it all possible.
In the West, there is a whole culture of professionals adopting the digital nomad lifestyle and their community keeps growing, with businesses and entire cities catering to this lifestyle. Many Pakistani millennials are also ditching the life of confinement in the corporate sector to work on their own terms while they satisfy their wanderlust. This lifestyle makes sense for millennials as (a) Technology has shrunken the world and made remote work possible for many professions. (b) You can do graphic designing for an Italian brand sitting in Lahore and develop the website for a British company from Istanbul. (c) Millennials possess a high drive for travel as compared to their parents’ generation whose focus was on building a life of security.
Other professions adopting this lifestyle include, social media managers, bloggers, photographers and even accountants and lawyers. Here are some of the reasons why this novel career path is so luring to millennials.
1) Travel and exploration is in our roots
Historically, our forefathers have been nomads, as it is intrinsic to the human experience to explore, learn and expand their horizons. It also connects one with diverse cultures, customs and people. Studies have proven that people are happier, more tranquil and productive when they travel regularly.
2) Industries Dedicated To Digital Nomadism
There are many apps, such as Unsettled and Trello as well as FB groups dedicated to digital nomads. The former helps in connecting DN’s from around the globe while the latter helps in organising and delegating work. The top cities for digital nomadism, such as Chiang Mai in Thailand and Berlin in Germany offer a plethora of avante-garde co-working spaces, co-living retreats and networking opportunities for digital nomads.
3) Community building
Digital nomadism has created a sort of planet without borders. It enables foreigners to form lifelong friendships, diminishes cultural stereotypes and creates job opportunities in regions with unemployment. Digital nomadism has also aided in creating inter-regional harmony and understanding between diverse cultures and can ultimately contribute to a more peaceful planet.
4) Minimalism – less focus on material more focus on purpose
As digital nomads focus on travel and exploration, they automatically spend less on material. This makes them benefit from the life-changing effects of minimalism such as clarity of mind, improved health, more freedom and self-confidence. Just imagine how relaxed you feel after organising your wardrobe and donating a load of clothes for goodwill.
5) Encourages Creative and Original thinking
Many who work in traditional office environments, feel that their creativity and originality is stifled. Travel enables one to generate original ideas and think outside of the box, thanks to being in a new culture. Your imagination doesn’t get “stuck” like it would in the same four walls for far too long.
6) Environmental Friendliness
Traditional industries that focus on selling products always take more and more from the Earth causing ecosystem imbalances and environmental damage. Almost all digital nomadism jobs are based on an exchange of services or virtual products, which means less burden on natural resources and an improvement in the overall environment.
The digital nomadism life allows one to live on their own terms and offers, freedom, adventure, creativity and authenticity but there are certainly downsides to this lifestyle. As the Pakistani market suffers from over-saturation, digital nomadism and self-employment seems like the exciting new way to go.
There are a handful of Pakistani Digital Nomads who are killing it as Digital Nomads at the moment and would probably inspire you to become one as well. The question is, would you dare to embark upon this less-trodden path?