Digital Nomads, what is that?!? Don’t take me wrong, please! I do appreciate many things about Germany and being German. I think we have a great standard of living and many awesome values that help us succeed on an international level. But no one is perfect, not even the Germans! And sorry, no offence, I couldn’t help but feel a bit angry and ashamed of being German the other day…
The reason for my anger was an article that I found in the online version of the German magazine ‘Der Spiegel’. In fact, it was the comments below that article that made me stop and wonder. The young journalist described an event for Digital Nomads on a cruise ship and explained in general what a DN looks like. The article wasn’t any better or worse than most average lifestyle magazines would publish. But readers from ‘Der Spiegel’ are not average and not amused by out of the box thinking or new-wave trends. After reading 51 comments out of which 47 were all against this ‘new’, ‘hollow’ and ‘bohemian’ concept, I asked myself:
Why does alternative Thinking mostly cause Fear and Anger?
It can be uncomfortable to see someone else doing things differently. Some people can literally feel irritated when something isn’t the way they are used to. And perhaps before thinking about it with an open mind, most people tend to criticise that other person (at first). At least, that came clearly through in most of ‘Der Spiegel’-readers’ comments.
All readers expressed their discomforts about Digital Nomads and their way of living: ‘The new form of street beggars; lazy; arrogant; no sense for community, selfish’, was one chain of argument. Others commented that Digital Nomads were dreamers and would all come crawling back to Germany eventually once they’d be old, broke or affected by cancer. Others said that the Digital Nomads’ lifestyle would create the next ‘bubble’ because their type of work was only supported by other hollow online businesses.
I have read a lot about alternative ways of living, especially after I decided to not go back to my ‘old life’ and try to make life as a full-term traveller happen. And I am not the only one! In fact, there are so many people who work their way around the world and live a completely different lifestyle than most people would consider ‘normal’. It seems to be a new style of travelling and for some it turns into a lifestyle. Slow-travel and working while you are travelling has revolutionised the tourism industry and it looks like there is more to it than just a ‘phase’.
The moment I left Germany to travel the world four years ago I noticed some sort of transformation happening in my way of thinking too. I met other people, heard their stories and saw examples that inspired me. I would go as far to say that travelling de-brainwashed my brain. So, when I read the comments of my fellow German citizens the other day, it almost shocked me how conservative and intolerant the main way of thinking was. And I realised how much I’ve changed. What I am criticising here is perhaps not unique to Germany or Germans. It is probably true for many other nations too that whenever there is something unconventional it causes fear and anger in people.
Dear reader of ‘Der Spiegel’,
Please keep eating your dinner at 7pm, then watch ‘Tatort’ on TV before going to bed. Routine is great! It will lead you well-organised to the only thing that you cannot control: the end. Fair enough, everyone makes their choices in life. How about you try and live your life for once though? Or at least, let other people live their lives and let them decide for themselves how they want to do so.
You know, I get it! You probably think that you will have to ‘clean up’ after those who don’t ‘fit in’ because everyone out of the norm brings nothing else but trouble. Isn’t that right? They seem to not get what you already figured out back in high-school. But let me ask you one question: Do you sometimes wonder, if you’re only goal in life should be to fit in and follow the way that everyone goes?
Please forgive me, but I have to say that for an intellectual person your comment appears a bit narrow-minded. If you ever try to change your way, I recommend you to travel for a while: Putting yourself into new scenarios and amongst other people can sometimes help to widen your horizon – at least that’s what they….
All the best!
A Digital Nomad
Let there be travel!
Perhaps the readers of ‘Der Spiegel’ will be right in the end and all (Digital) Nomads eventually settle down somewhere and watch TV before they go to bed – who knows! But for now, let there be travel! It is already clear that there are more and more people around the globe researching about how to travel long-term. Teaching jobs or working in hostels are no longer the only options that makes it possible to go abroad.
For me it’s clear: The way of travelling has changed. And there are many people who are actually creating their lifestyles around their passion for exploring the globe. Why not be at least open towards this new way of living and welcome the positive aspects of being able to get to know all those places that this planet has to offer? Even if it means that one would have to turn into a Digital Nomad!
What is your opinion about digital nomads? Do you agree with the critics who think that this is a hollow lifestyle? Please leave a comment below, I would like to hear your thoughts!