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.

How so?

The career revolutionIn 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 –

for individuals –

for families –

for society as a whole –

How to be a digital nomadSo, 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!


8 responses to “Nomading – A Cultural Revolution!”

  1. Sean says:

    I think that it will take a great deal to really effect this change. It is true that humans were location independent hunter gatherer nomads for most of our existence. I’m with you on this, we don’t need to go backwards in our societal evolution. The key is to find where we are the most effective, both as individuals and as part of a community.
    My dream is to live not so much as a permanent nomad, rather it would be to have a base in a community and be able to be away for significant stretches at a time. We are naturally social creatures that need familiar interaction to maintain our well being. Luckily we now have the internet which can provide much of that for the NuNomads among us.
    Well that is the direction that my mind has been flowing with this subject as of late. I hope that can help.

  2. Papa Spence says:

    There is another benefit not noted here.
    If you are like my self connected to systems hardware but you choose to live a highly mobile life style.
    You can very easily move from one location as the employment opportunities go away to another area where opportunities are on the rise.
    For instance if you lived in CA doing systems work but lost that job working for a failed dot com company you can easily move to Georgia where a large number of online gaming companies have set up data centers to manage the massive growth of on line gaming.
    In effect making some highly mobile high teck workers in to long term technology based migrant workers.

  3. Denise Michaels says:

    I’ve been working from home for about a decade now and it takes certain characteristics to do it successfully. You have to be self-directed and a self-starter and some people simply don’t have the ability to be focused and do that. I feel that for people who want to be independent of a particular location the best bet is to be a business owner with an online business. But hey – that’s just my feelings about it.

  4. Carmen says:

    I certainly agree that one has to be self-directed and have focus in order to run any business – especially a sole proprietorship from home. And while an online business can be an easy one to make mobile, there are many ways to support yourself while you travel the world. Online businesses are only one way. I, for instance, am a business ad executive coach. My paid work is done by telephone. You might also enjoy looking at the category “Meet the Nomads” where I have interviewed many nomadic people from a diversity of business backgrounds.

  5. Carmen says:

    Surely people in this economy are having to follow the work where ever it is. What you are describing is another phenomenon that could probably generate a whole blog in itself!

  6. Carmen says:

    Yes, Sean, I can relate to your thoughts. Certainly as a mother of 3 it has been important for our family to have a home base and do our nomading from there. I’m not a permanent nomad because I want my kids to have a sense of home and of a core group of friends and school. Richard, my NuNomad partner, on the other hand has been a permanent nomad for almost 20 years now. The beauty of it is that each person can choose when and where based on their own needs once they have made the leap of transforming their income source into a mobile one.

  7. Carmen says:

    Lieven, that’s a really good question. There is always stress associated with travel. By “travel” I mean the transition from one location to another. In my experience, once I have settled in our lives are actually less stressed than at home. This is due to some carefully thought out factors from the outset – mostly being sure that we have chosen a destination and accomodations that are not only within our budget but allow us to save money, and that we have chosen a destination where each family member can find activities that keep them happy. (especially important when traveling with kids and/or spouse). For me, it is a great stress reliever to be in a location where I do not need a car and where we are not super-scheduled as we tend to get in the U.S.

  8. Lieven Herie says:

    we’re considering to become nunomads, but are checking some stuff. in retrospect, do you think your life got less stressy? because i can imagine many nunomads working as much as before…

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