A Salute to Digital Nomads.

What we can all learn from the guy living in a van down by the river.

by Brad Beckstrom

the frug digital nomads

It was around 2008 when I first started reading about digital nomads. The economy had tanked and a lot of people were out of jobs. The world had changed, and many were seriously questioning their commuter / cubicle / consumer lifestyles. They still are. Enter the digital nomad.

For the uninitiated, digital nomads are folks who leverage digital and wireless technology to work and create outside of the traditional work, school, office environment.  A digital nomad can come in many flavors: The travel writer who travels globally on $50 a day, a suitcase entrepreneur running a cloud business from a laptop, a couple crisscrossing the globe in a sailboat.

I once considered the sailboat option, but quickly realized that someone who loves spending time on the water doesn’t necessarily translate to someone who wants to live on the water full time. Often, digital nomads are just locals working in a library or coffee shop or at home, while doing what they love: writing, surfing, cycling, creating, hanging out with their kids.  You might even find them in a (kick ass camper) van down by the river, publishing books on kickstarter, creating photography about a movement.

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What I’ve found is that actively pursuing dreams often leads you down unknown paths. Researching life on a boat, writing this blog, led me to discover many of the digital nomads I’ll share here. The journey often begins by looking in, before you look out. I’ve also discovered the many distinguishing traits these nomads share. Traits that anyone regardless of age or station in life can aspire to.

These are real examples and I’ve included links to their stories at the end of this blog post with hopes you’ll read that far.

  1. They are frugal.  Make no doubt about it, if you’re going to travel around the world on $50 a day or semi-retire to do your own thing at 30, you’re probably pretty frugal and have been working at it for a while.

  2. They are minimalists.  If you’re going to run a business out of a suitcase or travel around the world owning less than 50 things, there’s a pretty good chance you learned how to live with a lot less stuff quite some time ago.

  3. Wanderlust.  They’ve got it. This doesn’t necessarily mean full-time world travel, it can be something as simple as someone who works from home so they can bike, surf, hike or  disappear in the mountains for a few days.

  4. They have plans. They may not know exactly where they’re going next, but they know how to take the crucial first steps and START.

  5. They think differently. They don’t wait till retirement to do amazing things like quitting a job on Wall Street to build windmills in Africa and inspire others to do the same.

  6. They have what I call “creative ambition.” The powerful desire to create something everyday and put it out into the world without the concern of always getting paid.

  7. They are misfits, living anything but average lives in exhilarating and unconventional ways.

So here is my list of a few Digital Nomads I’ve discovered. They’re Vagabonds, Dreamers, Entrepreneurs, Minimalists, and Misfits with a passion for the frugal lifestyle on the road and around the globe. This list is just getting started. You can find it and add to it on list.ly

 

You can also find a few of their books on my Amazon bookshelf.

Digital Nomad Photo credits

Andrew Waits

Foster Huntington

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