Digital Nomads and the Future of Community

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Do you want to work remotely from exotic locations? NomadList is a fun place to start thinking about possible locations 🙂 Back in 2005 I was travelling & working as a web designer for western clients while hopping throughout asia. I called myself a technomad and lived out of cheap furnished apartments, hotels and internet cafes. It’s exciting to see 10 years later that many thousands of people are doing the same, referring to themselves “digital nomads”. Not as catchy as technomad, but it’s the same idea and more importantly it’s catching on: Digital Nomads just had their first conference and there are estimates that there might be as many at 1bn working remotely by 2035. See this link for the full presentation.

What does this means to the future of community? How will a lighter, less encumbered existence shape the way we live the way we work and the way we play? What does the future of community look like as we continue to shrug off our parent’s paradigms? Many of the most intriguing questions are only just beginning to be asked. How does a nomadic life impact our relationships? How does it affect the way we love? How we raise children? How we grow old and (hopefully) support each other?

Community is witnessing a renaissance supported by technology, birthed in the first hacker spaces of the 90s, graduated into the coworking spaces of the 00s and continuing in the inevitable direction of coliving in the late 10s. Our deep yearning for feeling connected is finally exploding out of the isolated bubbles that emerged from the post war era economic boom when the American Dream meant having your own space and not needing to deal with anyone else’s issues. That autonomy proved to be a double edge sword. On one hand you became the master of your domain, keeping others at a comfortable distance on the other side of your fence. But in time the happy promise of ownership and accumulation of objects did little to fill the hole in our hearts that comes from being part of a supportive community.

Now as more and more people leave their 9-5s to bootstrap their own companies, and many more employees begin to work remotely, this demographic is only set to get larger. And that means there’s going to be business opportunities in this space. Big opportunities. So it might be a good time to get together with others who share these values, talk about the possibilities and help build a more liberated, meaningful and fulfilling future for ourselves and our families. Whether it’s in our home country… or somewhere else!

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