What we can all learn from the guy living in a van down by the river.
by Brad Beckstrom
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
A List of Digital Nomads, Vagabonds, Dreamers, Entrepreneurs, Minimalists, and Misfits with a passion for the frugal lifestyle on the road and around the globe.
The Pursuit of Everything (POE) project is a website I launched on August 16, 2012 (my 30th birthday) to publish my writing about living life deliberately, doing work that truly matters, and changing the world.
My name is Nomadic Matt and I’ve been traveling the world since 2006. Growing up in Boston, I was never a big traveler. I didn’t take my first trip overseas until I was 23. Outside a cruise and college trip to Montreal, I had no travel experience. After college, I got a job and the standard American two weeks a year vacation. I wanted to use that time to travel. After all, it was vacation time, right? So for my first trip overseas, I went on a tour to Costa Rica.
That trip changed my life.
I write, travel, and help people take over the world. This site hosts The Art of Non-Conformity blog and the diary of my travel adventures in every country in the world. If you're dissatisfied with conventional beliefs and want to do something remarkable with your life, I'd love to welcome you to the revolution.
Go to school. Get good grades. Get a good job. Buy a house. Work for 30+ years. Be a consumer. Retire on a golf course.
For many, this is the recipe for success. But life has more to offer those willing to change the ingredients.
Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 2 million readers.
Life is better when you enjoy your work. Our time here is precious, so why live it in fear and devoid of meaning? Join our quest to live and work awesomely.
Have you’ve always known you shouldn’t be working for someone else? You know, doing something that doesn’t really float your boat in the 9-5 world? Do you rebel against conforming, against authority and believe things can be different and you can set your own rules and create your own lifestyle choices?
After a brief, dissatisfying career as an IT Consultant, I opted-out of the corporate world in early 2004 and became a portrait photographer.......see much more
My truck slid off a road in Central Baja, and a Subaru Brat saved my ass.
A professional author who starts and runs businesses and travels full-time. Well known for his writing, travels, and his goal of only owning 50 things.
American anthropologist Ralph Linton wrote the following essay, which appeared in the American Mercury in 1937. Published half a decade before "globalization" became a buzz-word, it humorously illustrates how everyday routine in modern America is the sum of years of global human ingenuity.
Because Life is Short and the World is Large
You can also find a few of their books on my Amazon bookshelf.
Digital Nomad Photo credits