The New Nomads
SPIRIT • The Journal • September 21
Sat at our desks at work or in our home-offices, dreaming of our next adventures, the word ‘nomad’ conjures ideas of freedom, travelling with your goods and chattels and blowing with the winds. In reality, though, most of us enjoy the financial security of our bricks and mortar home, so why do we still drift off into these yearning for wandering the globe, for seeing other places, for being elsewhere? It is all to do with our history. Back when the world had a population around a million, people lived in smaller communities. Tribes of 100 people or so would live and move cohesively, drifting on to new places as a tribe when the food ran out or the weather changed. Though this nomadic lifestyle sounds pretty relaxed, idyllic even, it brought with it a shorter life expectancy, minimal security and a lack of attachment to place.
Nowadays, place is more important than ever; we are connected to our local, national and global environment. We care for our home as well as our planet. Yet, a wholesale shift to remote working means that many of us will always be roaming from home to café, into a shared work-hub or even on a beach or at the end of the garden. Or we might spend most of our time at home, both at work and play. The benefit of being more connected than ever digitally is that, wherever we are, we can be nomads once again: digital nomads. We can maintain our connection to our locale, to our ‘home place’ yet travel all over the world, virtually.
Technology works to help us feel more in touch with our nomad selves, allowing us to cross borders without stepping outside our front door. It can feed our wanderlust, deliver wild frontiers though our screens and give us the sense of camaraderie that we need when we connect with like minds across the globe. But with millions of potential people to connect with, finding our tribe is more essential than ever, to conjure the feeling of belonging so vital to our happiness, explaining perhaps the surge in virtual communities over the past stretch. From fashion to gardening there is a community online that we can hook into to chat to others who share our passion. So, as digital nomads, we can now roam all around the world to find our tribe, our people.
Though of course, we need to switch off and disconnect too, there are incredible benefits to being able to travel all over our virtual world. Freedom, once again, is within reach. Whilst travel is still tricky for many, we can all travel digitally and be transformed by the connections we make with people in our tribe, whether or not we leave our desks to do so.