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Is Digital Nomadism the Pinnacle of Work?


What if it wasn’t all that great in reality?

Most people working in any capacity online have heard of the term digital nomad, as this is the informal pinnacle of work in our modern world it seems.

Essentially, a digital nomad is someone who can do anything they want, anywhere, anytime, and without any restrictions. It doesn’t matter what they do to make money online, as long as it gives them this freedom.

Get a Real Job Kid

I get it, wouldn’t it be nice to have your cake and eat it too? Wouldn’t it be nice to act like a teenager in the summertime when school is out, except having all the money and freedom you want too? Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to work a real job and just have fun all the time?

The younger generations are especially enthralled with this idea of not having to work, yet having all the money they need to spend on themselves. Traveling, shopping, buying toys, doing drugs, drinking alcohol, partaking in dating games, etc.

Sounds like the makings of a large spoiled child to me.

I realize the photos on social media and the articles in the trending publications all show these happy people traveling in exotic and exciting foreign paradises while packing around their laptops where they do this “important” work. The pinnacle of work so they say.

Rich Folk

Digital nomadism isn’t really a new thing, except for the laptop has replaced the typewriter, camera, or whatever else rich people carried around with them while they were “working.”

That’s just it, being rich and doing anything you want at any time has always been a thing. Spending all your money on selfish lusts and sinful desires has always been a thing. It’s just now, it has become the thing everyone thinks they deserve.

It’s Thoreau’s Fault

You’ll have to forgive my social criticisms. This is what happens when Thoreau is one of your favorite authors. Life Without Principle is a good read for aspiring digital nomads.

Keep in mind, Thoreau lived a profoundly interesting life and never left the New England area, only leaving his Concord, Mass. home a handful of times to travel to Cape Cod, Maine, Quebec, and Minnesota (to find a cure for his bronchitis right before his death).

Didn’t he know you can’t live a fulfilling life unless you travel around the world and take pictures for Instagram? Let’s say the local newspaper is the equivalent of social media back then and drawings replace pictures, as this was early to mid-1800s.

Deconstructing the Illusions

Traveling is overrated. You spend a ton of money, feel like crap with jet lag or road wear, sleep in uncomfortable places with 5G radiation, eat strange food that makes you queasy, and end up mostly being herded around with all the other travelers. Hey, as long as you take smiling pictures in paradise, that makes it all worthwhile — $20k later with a head and stomach ache.

That is one of the problems with digital nomadism, it breeds false perceptions; even to the point of creating sociopathic liars. People have to believe they are living the ultimate life because otherwise, they would have to face the disappointing reality.

In a sense, it has to be the ultimate, otherwise what else is there? It is the pinnacle of work, as everyone knows. Doing anything, anywhere, anytime, and all for the self. The precious and wonderful self.

Hey, you deserve it.

Character Development

The second problem I have with digital nomadism is it breeds bad character. I realize building character has gone out of style with the younger generations and Americans in general, yet we are the worst for it nonetheless.

Character is built by doing things you don’t want to do and by doing things for other people; you know, being unselfish, that type of thing.

Living unselfishly doesn’t fit in very well with the whole do as thou wilt digital nomad. The entire idea is built upon selfish desires and lusts.

It is sort of like wanting to have sex, yet not wanting to be married. The hook-up culture is full of promiscuity and illusions of grandeur — it is a disappointing lie.

Being married takes unselfishness. Having a family takes unselfishness.

Hey, I’m an American too! I suffer from selfishness too, don’t think I’m only pointing the finger at those trite and superficial digital nomad aspirants and self-seeking adherents.

We are in this perceptual illusion together, trying to fight off the temptations to live a life of complete vanity and selfishness for the sake of pleasure and hedonistic desires.

The digital nomad has a capricious character and a self-seeking obsession with creating the perfect life for themselves.

When they finally get there by playing the vanity game and following the snobbish template, they find themselves grumpy and impatient towards “losers” who continually pander to them for favor — they see themselves in the masses of aspirants and are sickened by their vain, self-seeking obsession for being a digital nomad (oh, the desperation).

Maybe the worst thing that could happen is you get your wish. Boom, bam, you are a digital nomad, making tons of money doing nothing and living your best life now in paradises around the world. Now, you find, it ain’t easy being cheesy.

Defining the Digital Nomad

Let’s look at the definition a recent article on HubSpot gives this illustrious pinnacle of work most modern young people are aspiring to achieve:

Digital nomads are remote workers who usually travel to different locations. They often work in coffee shops, co-working spaces, or public libraries, relying on devices with wireless internet capabilities like smart phones and mobile hotspots to do their work wherever they want.

Travel, coffee, smartphones, wifi, money, and timelessness — what else could a person want?

Doesn’t it sound so wonderful?

Unless you don’t drink coffee, are wifi sensitive (EMF radiation), don’t like to travel, like day job routine, don’t like to visit public libraries or coffee shops, and hate your smartphone. Also, if applicable, don’t like staying in hostels or hotels.

I realize some people love their traveling jobs and being a digital nomad to them is a wonderful and amazing experience. I realize they are so full of excitement they can barely breathe and function, and their days are full of endless pleasures they can only hint at through their endless selfies and wistful quips on their endlessly growing social media channels.

I also realize this excitement will fade and reality will eventually take hold. And this is what I’m talking about.

The Fading Dreams of Yore

If someone hasn’t built their character by the time they are middle age, they will find their youthful excitement and superficial values are simply vain illusions and shifting sands. They will begin to long for meaning beyond the perception they’ve worked so hard to present and build.

Will it be too late for most digital nomads when they get to be middle-aged charlatans? No, but they will have to do the things they vehemently despised and ran from with their fantastical illusions of grandeur in their younger years.

They will have to live a selfless life and admit they failed to remain an authentic person who lives for values beyond money and vain, selfish pleasures. Uhg.

Truly, it is a curse to be rich and famous.

Truly, it is a curse to do anything you want, anytime you want, and anywhere you want.

Alternative Definition

Digital nomad is another name for a spoiled and entitled adult who is self-obsessed and lives a life of self-seeking pleasure doing meaningless “work.”

It is no surprise why being a digital nomad is the pinnacle of work for the younger generations, as it represents the type of characters being produced by our degenerate society. A society that promotes sin and selfishness rather than truth and selflessness.

The Exceptions

I realize there are exceptions to every scenario; there are people who have solid characters who are living as digital nomads and even doing meaningful work.

The criticism is directed to the vain pursuit of being a digital nomad as the goal in itself for themselves, rather than the desire to do something useful in the world for others.

The What Ifs

Call me a stick in the mud and you may be right. I don’t like to travel very far and my idea of work constricts me to a daily schedule and a usual routine at the workplace.

Although I love to write and lived my younger years dreaming of being a writer and making a living from it, I now see through the idea and would rather be employed doing physical work and/or working with people outside of the online world.

Obviously, I’m still writing to the dismay of some, yet it is a practice that offers more than dreams of riches, earthly freedoms, and vain accolades — it offers me a way to express my heart to others in hopes of building their character into something far better than our mainstream culture and society are attempting to do.

Even if I were able to live as a digital nomad with my writing, I would rather stay home, build the homestead, and work my regular day job. The allure of travel and the illusions of freedom that digital nomadism promises seem to me a fruitless path of selfish pursuit.

Conclusion

Maybe it is I’m just fooling myself so I won’t feel the pangs of envy at all the fantastic photos and stories of promised freedom. Or, maybe I’m on to something here and this seeming pinnacle of modern work is a farce meant to gut our character and breed selfishness in the malleable youth.

Regardless, looking at both sides is always a healthy aspect of thinking critically. Hopefully, these ideas have served a purpose in this respect.

Originally published at Medium on Dec. 28, 2022

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