Digital nomads. Travel while earning money, just with the laptop. Unbound, wherever you want. No obligations, no material baggage. Free!
This is what sounds to me increasingly on all possible channels, on travel blogs, social media or Spiegel Online. Ten steps to happiness: so you become a nomad, so you will be happy!
Why does that annoy me, I'm doing here.
1. Great: travel
It's hard to miss that I think traveling is great. Nonetheless, I would like to say it clearly at the beginning: Travel has become my biggest hobby and sometimes my job, and I love it. But that's not all.
2. Too bad: to be gone
Because sometimes it is a pity to be away. Especially on long trips missed important events: happy - and sad. One misses to cook together with his friends for no particular reason and to drink a few bottles of red wine. You miss the birth of your best friend's first child. You miss a party of the century (or so).
3. Always: compromise
Most things in life have to be a compromise. There is always one either / or. Either I am here, or I am there. Either I'm on vacation or I make money. It does not work, and anyone who can not stand it has a real problem - I can not dance at two weddings at the same time. So I have to set priorities.
The digital nomadism promises the solution of one of these compromises: at the same time traveling AND earning money. This is wonderful, of course, and works with some skill too. I have nothing against that.
Which dilemma does not solve it? The loss of what could be summarized under the beautiful word home.
4th Missing: home
But does a nomad need a homeland? Is not that even a contradiction?
This raises two questions. First, what is a nomad? And second, what is home?
Nomads in the traditional sense do not just talk to their sheep. Usually they move around with their families, so they always have the most important people with them. They do not move around because they have so much fun traveling. But because it is necessary for them to survive.
To call oneself a nomadic traveler is against this background a similarly distorted romanticization of the term, as it happens in our environment with the word gypsy. Almost none of the new "nomads" actually roam the world, living what the term implies. Mostly one has his well-regulated residence in Germany and goes above average often abroad. And then you come back.
It may be petty, but I find that "nomad" is a word that exaggerates the actual.
I do not like it.
And then the home. Everyone defines them differently. For some it is important to be welcomed by the baker by name. For others, above all, it means being able to cultivate long-term social bonds. The latter applies to me.
Homeland means to bind. Whether to a place or to other people, that is individually different. A consistently traveling Digital Nomad can only maintain such bindings home via a fiber optic cable. This is possible, limited, but you can not hug, you can not drink a beer together. It is definitely not comparable to direct contact .
But you do not meet so many people, almost everywhere? Naturally. But as a rule these are often refreshing, and certainly also personal encounters - but mostly of limited duration.
5. Strange: religion
But these things are rarely mentioned. I have the more impression that Digital Nomadism is being elevated to a quasi-religious status - with the strange flowers that bring about the exaggeration of a very earthly thing.
6. Ugly: Mission
Much of what I write is good and important. The point that makes me uncomfortable is a certain missionary zeal that often resonates. As if there were no acceptable alternative to leading a minimalist, "nomadic" lifestyle. As if only this was the way to paradise (and his virgins).
Of course, this is not formulated. But I feel it out, from the ten-point plans, from the counselors and especially when new believers without special experience in this field enthusiastically spread the promise of salvation: Yes, I'm new Digital nomad and I'm really really doll happy ! Will you too?
7. Beautiful: Differentiation
But it will not be like that: Because everything great (and that is the travel in many points) has its downside. To convey a round picture of the way of life that is currently called Digital Nomad - that's what I would wish for. More content depth than just the best tips to save money. More critical self-reflection, that I find really exciting.
Is digital nomadism really an alternative to a more conventional lifestyle? Or is it just a variant of the traveler who comes home after a year or two in the world and starts a family? Who wants and can fill what is being promulgated?
That would be interesting. (And not the 312nd bucket list and the 25 newest ways to make money on the go, text search engine optimized).
Addition from 11.October - new contributions to the topic:
Oli vom Weltreiseforum: Comment: What the digital nomads do not tell you
On Travel Memories: Blogging is not everything
Florian vom Flocblog: Why life as a digital nomad is not for you
Conni from Planet Nomad: Hey critics, I love you
Tim of Earthcity: Digital Nomads - The Road to Ultimate Luck?
A new, very worth reading post comes from Tim of Earthcity: Do you even need location independence?