This is a very interesting question indeed and I think this kind of lifestyle will become increasingly interesting especially for educators. So, here is my take on it.
I consider myself already as somekind of a Digital Nomad, a lazy one though. I have a certain kind of lifestyle that is in many points quite the opposite of being a nomad. For example, I like to collect things like antique furniture etc. Although being a minimalist in decoration there are certain objects I collected over the years I would not want to give away. Digital Nomads only possess what they can carry and that stuff is naturally streamlined to serve their needs in being connected to the cloud in order to be able to work. Hence if they decide to break the tents and move on they can do it from one minute to the other, I would need more logistics beforehand.
Nevertheless, this is a very interesting lifestyle and I am very happy that Andrew is putting a spot on it in his Mixergy interviews. He already had fairly interesting talks with Tim Ferriss the author of the The 4-Hour Workweek
Kareem Mayan amongst other Co-Founder of eduFire (twice here and here), Colin Plamondon an iPhone App developer and, as mentioned above, Colin Wright a designer and branding package provider. And if you take the fact that Andrew is now living in Buenos Aires and doing his interviews from there you can consider himself as being a Digital Nomad, too.
Tomorrow I will interview August Flanagan and Natalie Gordon, the Founders of Lenguajero who built up this language learning community while traveling and living in Mexico for my EDUKWEST series. They are also writing about their adventure of founding a business on their blog. As far as I know they will move to Canada this year.
I think most people don’t fully realize the big social shift implied yet. But think about it. Only a couple of years ago a scenario like this was only suitable for those adventure guys that look like Indiana Jones. Selling everything and moving to the Caribean to become a long bearded fisherman, driving tourists to the coral reefs and talking about their “old lifes”.
A couple of years ago most of us where bound by their jobs. The jobs were static as they were pretty much attached to a physical location. A school building, an office building, a factory. Our radius of life was limited by the distance we had to commute to work every day. It was like a millstone and we were attached to it by rigid stainless steel chains.
The same was true for business owners. You had your brick and mortar shop that would not move. It had always been in the same street, in the same house and you had to go there to make business e.g. make money. (I know, this is a very boiled down approach but let’s stay with it for now.)
But what if your business, your source of income is in the cloud? Simple: it changes everything. One word: freedom. So what happened here, what made it possible and happen?
As so often there are a couple of changes that build up the power for a real social shift. First of all the internet, of course. The internet drove globalization which then drove decrease of travel costs and also implemented a more global mindset. Side effects are WiFi, high speed internet, mobile internet etc. I think you can say we are now at a space in time where all those streams finally meet, like a perfect constellation where all the planets align.
Taking this to the education world. What is possible and what can you do to dip your toe in the water?
Well, first of all you don’t have to sell everything and move to an other country to experience the thrill of being a Digital Nomad. Everyone of us working online knows the ups and downs of sitting at home and working on the internet. What about a simple change in your routine? Take your laptop / netbook and go to a café. You will be amazed how this little change can boost your creativity. Most cafés offer WiFi today, even for free. Or you go to McDonalds or McCafé like I do here in the province.
And even better, this does not only change your routine, this changes your lifestyle. You can now schedule your work around your freetime, no need to hurry back home to give a lesson. Just go to your favourite café and give your lesson from there. Take your netbook with you while you are traveling, your work / income will travel with you and believe me, the relaxation is the same, even better. You stop worrying about “I need to make more money when I am back home, I need to find new clients” and start relaxing.
The same is of course true for the big break. Theoratically, you are able to break down the tents, move across the globe and teach your students just as before. Even if you then started building up a local student base in let’s say Brazil and then moved further to Canada, you could still teach them over the internet from your blockhouse.
Teachers are indeed the perfect match for the Digital Nomad lifestyle. Your online students will pay for your expenses and you can be relaxed about building up a local business if you not even decide to stay completely online with your clients.
There is of course a lot more to say about this topic, and I will do for sure. But let me hear your thoughts on this. Is this a lifestyle you can imagine?