what is a digital nomad lifestyle nomadic

What is a digital nomad?

You probably heard this term, digital nomad, and although it may seem pretty straightforward you will soon find out it isn’t.

We are currently digital nomads, because we have a nomadic lifestyle, we are not settled, and most of our income comes from online work. 

We may stay on a place for some years, but we know we will sooner or later move somewhere else, we are slow travel nomads. But that’s another conversation. 

Nomads (digital or not) in the modern view of the concept are people that don’t have a permanent address, or the one they may currently have they know it is temporary.

Now let’s focus on the digital side of nomads, what types there are and how does it compare to location independent. 

Digital nomads are individuals that leverage wireless digital technologies to perform their work duties, and more generally conduct their lifestyle in a nomadic manner. Such workers typically work remotely—from home, coffee shops, public libraries and even from recreational vehicles to accomplish tasks and goals that used to traditionally take place in a single stationary workplace. 


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The new nomadism

You may be surprised with the video below, 1 billion digital nomads in 2035? Sounds crazy!

It does, but even if it is far from reality it shows a new trend that it is happening to our society and we call it the new nomadism. 

We went from nomadic society to sedentary, and now we are becoming nomad again thanks to many factors described on the video, the main one probably globalisation and internet. 

If you go to nomad digital hubs like Chiang Mai, Bali and now also in our home country Portugal, you can already find thousands of digital nomads completely changing the cities’s landscape. 

But it’s not just young digital nomads that found ways of making money online and started to travel. 

Remote work is on the rise too as more and more companies use that flexibility to increase workers happiness or to reduce office costs. It’s estimated that there are roughly 700 million remote workers in the world, that can at any moment start to travel and move somewhere else becoming in a way, digital nomads.  

Digital Nomad vs Location Independent

Digital nomads are not necessarily location independent, let’s get this straight right away. And you can also be location independent and not be a digital nomad. Great, so what’s the difference. 

Location independent is someone that is able to live anywhere in the world with the current savings or income he has. It can be either through online work or just passive income that allows the person to be anywhere without jeopardising the income.

You can see how a digital nomad can be also location independent: if he makes enough money to live anywhere, not just in SEAsia like us. 

We are digital nomads, not location independent because we cannot live in Copenhagen for example. (we love the city) When we earn enough to really live anywhere, then we become truelly location independent people. 

This is the natural trajectory for many digital nomads that start to need some kind of settled life and stay longer in places. We kinda do that already, but in low cost living locations.

Types of digital nomads

Digital nomads can be divided in two major categories and one of them splits in two right away. It’s not very different from the offline world:

1 – Digital Job – you work for others

2 – Digital Entrepreneur – you work or your own company

Digital jobs then splits in two major categories, the remote work and the freelancer. 

Remote worker has a standard contract, with all benefits, but allows the work to be done partially or fully remotely. It does not have to, but it can be done remotely. 

Freelancers work based on projects or timed contracts, have no special benefits and can also be partially or fully remote. Some kind of projects/jobs require some in person meetings so the reason why it can be just partial. 

In both of these categories full time remote or online is very frequent, so it’s here than the majority of the digital nomads start off. 

We started with English Classes online (remote work) and then decided to start this project. (Digital Entrepreneur) 


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