Many a Monday morning has been spent envisioning a secluded beach somewhere in Thailand, daydreaming about a lone table in a cafe in the cobbled streets of Paris or sipping a hot cup of tea on a crisp English morning. Inevitably, however, you’re greeted back to reality by a mounding pile of emails and the drab walls of your cubicle and Paris is soon forgotten.
That is the sad truth of working life for most, yet there is an obscure number of the working population who are at the liberty to live our Monday-morning fantasies everyday. These people are the digital nomads; the rare few who have a skill in an area that allows them to leave the confines of a office desk and go anywhere they want that has a good WiFi connection. Anywhere.
Computer programmers, writers and even some entrepreneurs have this kind of mobility, since their job description entails only the use of a laptop and high-speed internet. A lot of digital nomads are freelancers, while many have a full-time job and freelance on the side, because this is a lifestyle that demands a solid source of income.
In this mashable.com article, many such nomads share their unique experiences, some choosing an entirely nomadic one sans possessions travelling from Thailand to Macau to Prague, while some work at office for a few months and travel for the rest, and then there are those who do not choose the digital nomad lifestyle to travel extensively, but simply to add better balance to their existing lifestyle. A Wednesday morning lie-in or attending their child’s school recital is worth a trip to Machu Picchu for those with busy family lives.
These mix-and-match lifestyles have evolved simply because of the downsides of living a completely nomadic lifestyle. Most interviewees have agreed that sustaining this lifestyle can get a bit lonely sometimes, and there is always the added pressure of maintaining deadlines while you would rather be out scuba diving in the exotic city where you’re currently staying. The discipline of a working environment is often missed, as well as the days of uninterrupted sleep with meetings being unceremoniously conducted at ungodly hours to accommodate time differences.
Despite the hassles of this lifestyle and the occasional boredom, most digital nomads say they are not interested in giving it up anytime soon. Its not simply about the travel for most, but also about the sense of freedom the 2.6% of telecommuters get from their remote jobs. With reforms in healthcare, the idea of a secure full-time job is almost redundant and more and more people are shifting towards this adventurous lifestyle.
There are days when the quaint little cafe in Paris doesn’t have good WiFi, the sandy beach in Thailand is too noisy or that picturesque cottage in Nepal has frequent power failures, and then there are days when they work three hours and then skydive somewhere in New Zealand, and you have to wonder why they ever claim to be bored.