Though writing is my first love, it is not my only love: I’m hopelessly addicted to geography. I picked the subject basically at random during university and it’s been a whirlwind romance ever since.
This is why the subject of digital nomads piques my unconventionally oriented set of interests. Digital nomads are business professionals that work exclusively online — that is, they are location-independent, generally self-employed and often avid travelers. Successful nomads range from business consultants to indie travelers to silly dancers, but they all rely on one thing: mobile technology and lots of it.
The thing is that this statement is probably true for the vast majority of us. With over 1 billion mobile phones sold in 2009 alone, addiction-esque withdrawal symptoms cropping up in technology studies, and digital natives reaching adulthood, it’s difficult to paint a picture of modern life without mentioning at least 4 or 5 essential mobile technologies.
So my question is: just how close are we all to becoming digital nomads? There’s an official guide to becoming a nomad, but symptoms of a greater — perhaps accidental — global movement towards digital nomadism emerge every day. Journalists profess to putting all their data in the cloud and working professionals in need of wi-fi are keeping coffee shops in business. Consider this quote from a special report in The Economist:
The new architecture will make spaces intentionally multifunctional… For instance, people working on laptops find it comforting to have their backs to a wall, so hybrid spaces may become curvier, with more nooks, in order to maximize the surface area of their inner walls, rather as intestines do.
As intestines do. Lovely.
The point being that the general public is slowly moving towards a digital nomad reality, whether they like it or not.
The moral of the story: our endless quest for fast wi-fi is changing the way we live.