Nomading – A Cultural Revolution!
Posted in: Blog
I was talking with my friend Marcia Pirmez (who, by the way, we are going with to Brazil) and I was reminded of several issues about nomad-ing that are close to my heart. Although I’ve touched on these in the past it seems time to take a new look at the larger social significance of nomad-ing.
While many people may look upon NuNomad-ing (technomad-ing, digital nomad-ing, location independent living, whatever you’d like to name it) as a trendy alternative lifestyle I firmly believe it is much more than that. In fact, I believe NuNomad-ing has the potential to change the future shape of our country and the world.
In the larger scheme of things, the world as we know it today ie. rushed, dual working families who commute 30 minutes each way to work, carbon emmissions heavy, time short, is a very recent phenomenon. Until the industrial revolution most families spent their days at home, growing their own foods, creating the daily necessities, raising and possibly homeschooling children. Not until the last couple of centuries has the majority of the population been spending their days away from home and away from each other. Of course, life was not all rosy and our ancestors suffered many hardships we do not now. I’m not suggesting we return to the former way. However, I do think we’ve allowed some very essential life qualities disappear in the process that need to return.
In addition, we’ve created some real headaches of stress, pollution, resource shortages and isolation that did not exist previously.
How Does NuNomad-ing Fit In and Why NuNomad-ing Needs to Become a Cultural Force
The emergence of the NuNomad-ing movement offers an alternative answer to many of the above cultural woes while maintaining many of the gains we enjoy today. A typical NuNomad works independently of their location, stays in one location longer than a typical tourist, is an owner of very few material goods, and is in charge of their own schedule.
Let’s look at what this can mean to our society:
for employers –
- lessened need to physically house employees resulting in less overhead for office space
- higher employee retention. As employees enjoy the freedoms of moving independently, being near family, etc. they will be more likely to remain with their company over a company that is not nomad friendly
- freedom to choose from a broader geographic pool when finding employees. Want that great programmer from Seattle but your company is in Dallas and the guy doesn’t want to leave? No problem.
for individuals –
- the freedom to work from where you want, when you want as long as you are producing
- the freedom to spend more time with family or friends
- elimination of commute time
- elimination of the need for a professional wardrobe
- the freedom to attend to emerging life situations. For instance, your elderly parent becomes ill out of state. With a NuNomadic lifestyle it is simple to relocate to the parent’s home while needed
- less stress
- higher ability to make one’s own meals while working from home and lessening of temptation to “just stop for fast food” due to stress and time shortages.
- more time to attend to exercise, hobbies, other interests by eliminating commute time and being flexible in your work schedule
- the choice to live in areas of the world with lower living costs
- the choice to experience other cultures
for families –
- the ability to work from home and attend to family with more freedom
- the ability to expose children to new cultures and world experiences
- more family time by eliminating commutes
- power living costs by reducing the need for “2 car families” and bringing the option to live in lower cost of living countries
for society as a whole –
- the lessening of carbon emissions, thereby reducing pollution and doing our part to fight climate change
- improvement of overall health of citizens who are less stressed, able to exercise more and tend to health issues with more freedom
- improvement of societal cross cultural understanding. As more people experience and learn from cultures foreign to their own, greater understanding will be produced worldwide and a decrease in conflicts will result
- less stress on resources as people learn to measure their happiness in terms of experiences and not material goods
- a rise in services geared towards nomadic living ie, shared temporary office space, rotating living spaces, internet cafes, worldwide social networking
So, what will it take to effect this change? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As I see it, the gains are already clear to many individuals and families who dream of this lifestyle and certainly clear to those already living it. The challenge lies in educating our workplaces and governments as to the benefits for society as a whole. Employers are slowly understanding the benefits of allowing workers to “telecommute” however, there are still many digging in their heels on the issue and even more that begin the heel dig when they hear their telecommuter is considering changing continents. The governmental issue lies in a couple of different arenas. First, relaxing their stance about nomadic travelers upon entry and exit. Governments need to gain understanding that a NuNomadic worker is continuing to pay taxes in their home country, and destination country if laws dictate, is not taking from the local economy but rather contributing to it through their spending. Secondly, in the U.S. as our federal government is the largest employer it is often a workplace trendsetter. Government employers in particular must be encouraged to promote nomadic workers as much as possible.
Power to the Nomad!