Saturday, 1 December 2018

Digital Nomads



Technology has changed the way we travel and see the world. For some people, the intersection of travel and technology has actually created lifestyle choices in which permanent residence almost anywhere is no longer a factor in life.

Over recent years I have noticed a lot more activity promoting a nomadic life travelling. People working and travelling at the same time.  The existence of ultra-portable laptops (ultrabooks), mobile devices and service based applications.

With a "carry on" backpack, you can store a camera, laptop and pretty much all you need to work anywhere.  AirBnB seems to be the "hotel" of choice for the digital nomad. Sorelle Amore is an Australian YouTuber who promotes the nomadic lifestyle. There are videos of how to live out of a suitcase, how to find cheap flights, how to find cheap places to stay. In a world where us ordinary people are stuck on commuter trains, traffic jams and are paying mortgages or rent the global travel lifestyle seems a big contrast.

Other travel and lifestyle vloggers are all across Youtube too. Sorelle is not unique.

However, although anyone can become a mobile worker, the idealised opportunities for making money out of photography in Bali are not a mass industry. I am a little cynical about the real-life possibility of nomadic working being a mass movement or available to all. Questions like how you earn money are left hanging. You sometimes wonder if you are watching a pyramid marketing scheme where viewing the nomadic lifestyle on YouTube generates the advertising revenue which generates more clickbait videos to generate money. What is clear is that technology is constantly re-inventing work and how we define it.

So as we see Uber, Deliveroo, Amazon and the like generating uncertain work for people who want certainty, regular wages and a set career path we also see digital nomads seeking alternative insecure lifestyles. Technology creating new Victorian conditions where vast warehouses have workers monitored by artificially intelligent apps. Drivers controlled by requests on their mobile phone. However, for a self-selecting few, an international free-wheeling aspirational lifestyle of constant holiday and choice. The contrast is stark and is two worlds created by technology.


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