“Have laptop, will travel,” could be an alternative title for this blog, but I am getting a little tired of all this alternative wordsmithing. Aren’t you? What’s in a name after all. But when you put “digital” with “wanderlust” I do get a little concerned and confused. Carrying your laptop to a foreign destination does not quite have the same connotation or actual experience of “living” in a foreign land. These digital nomads typically travel to and work in another culture for a 30-day co-working experience. So it truly becomes a shared work experience for a small group of like-minded technological-savy individuals coming from a wide variety of countries, averaging in age from the mid- to late 20s and 30s.
The two main groups that seem attracted to this cross-cultural experience are millenials interested in taking time off from traditional work and aging baby-boomers who have financial resources and flexibility. Could be a life-changing experience, but I am not sure that having all the latest technology will make it so. In fact, it might get in the way. As one of the past participants noted: “The opportunity to go live in a foreign city for a month and interact with the local people and experience their culture – that’s priceless to me. But culturally, we need to understand each other for the world to work, and this is a way to achieve that.”
Understanding each others’ cultures may not always be a simple, painless process. But in the end, I think these digital nomads will easily benefit more in terms of what they learn and experience in these cultures than in what they may have contributed technologically.