Japanese author Tsugio Makimoto first broached the idea of a work-anywhere lifestyle in his book Digital Nomad way back in 1997. Yet, it’s only now – thanks to the power of social media, the rise of the gig economy and the growing ease of air travel – that we’re seeing digital nomadism take concrete form.
The lifestyle has become a global movement with an entire ecosystem created to support it. There’s Nomad List that connects digital nomads and rates popular global nomad spots (Bali ranks number two), co-living arrangements like Roam and Asia-based Hmlet as well as new co-working spaces for every budget. In addition, there are services like Work Hard Anywhere, which reviews laptop-friendly spaces in over 100 countries, and summits like the Nomad Summit in Chiang Mai and the Coworking Unconference Asia in Penang.
Kar Villard, who is originally from The Philippines, offers online courses on brain hacking techniques, and currently operates out of Singapore. “Being nomadic allows me to reach people otherwise constrained by geography,” he explains. “It brought partnerships that I never thought possible.”
But despite the obvious appeal, the fact is that people are social animals. This lifestyle, while attractive (especially on Instagram), is no different to working from home with only the cat for company.
Tackling this is Unsettled, a co-working, co-travelling co-experience that hooks up digital nomads from around the world for a month (or two weeks) at a time in locations like Cape Town, Peru and Bali. While it may resemble a package-holiday for millennials, the inclusion of local experiences, intention-setting workshops and networking opportunities helps participants gain a more insightful experience out of their time away.
“More people are working for themselves, giving people freedom, but also isolation,” shares Unsettled co-founder Jonathan Kalan. “Hence the rise of the experience community and people looking to find their tribe from all over the world.”
And perhaps this is the future of work – where we all do what we love, in locations that excite us and with people we like – if not for life, then at least for a while.
3 leading co-working spaces
Mox, Singapore – Beyond the expected meeting and nap rooms, and flexible desk system, Mox offers a 3D printing facility, a photography studio and a sewing room.
Toong, Hanoi – Offering five spaces around Hanoi, Toong’s To Ngoc Van branch – with its pool table, swimming pool and games rooms – makes work feel like playtime.
Hub 53, Chiang Mai – Located close to trendy Nimmanhaemin Road, this venue includes a co-living space (with a weekly cleaning service) and 24-hour access.
This article was originally published in the March 2018 issue of Silkwinds magazine