/ Digital Nomad

The digital nomad lifestyle is more about freedom and less about travel.

Part of being results-oriented means taking a step back to reevaluate your lifestyle choices so you can pursue them with intentionality, or shift directions.

A couple weeks ago, someone asked me what it meant to be a digital nomad. I rattled off a quick definition: Digital nomads are people who leverage technology to work from anywhere. They followed up with: “Why did you become a digital nomad?”

I started my usual response: that I loved to travel, that I didn’t want to be tied down, that stuff isn’t important to me. But even as I answered, I felt that didn’t cut it for my current circumstances — I haven’t traveled at all since last year, I have an apartment in Atlanta, and like most apartment tenants I own furniture and a few dishes.

So why am I a digital nomad? What does it mean to be a digital nomad?

When I look at my apartment, I own very little. The only furniture I own is a desk, mattress and IKEA bookshelf. My entire wardrobe fits in a couple IKEA baskets (super great hack by the way, dressers are overrated). It didn’t happen overnight: I’ve been consolidating, selling and giving away for years.

Is owning very little the recipe for being a digital nomad? It certainly seems like a crucial ingredient, but somehow it doesn’t feel like the hallmark.

I was feeling a bit nostalgic, so I hopped into my journal to do some trip planning. I started outlining how I want to spend a month in Norway, then (finally) see Iceland and do car camping. Perhaps I could see southern New Zealand’s Alps too.

That’s when it made sense: the reason I can make outlandish plans and expect to turn them into reality is because I’m a digital nomad. Owning as little as possible empowers me to drop everything with zero ties or regrets to taint the joys.

Being a digital nomad is about safeguarding your freedom to pursue the lifestyle of your choice with as few impediments as possible, and then pursuing that lifestyle with deliberation and intentionality.

I’m reading an inspiring article about the experience living out of a car. I had considered a travel trailer before, but hadn’t sold myself on the idea of towing my life everywhere I go. Retrofitting an SUV seems like a more reasonable option to start, but the limited space borders on extreme even for me. But my favorite takeaway from the post is this gem:

“When you don’t own many things, you don’t worry about many things.”
—Andy Cochrane

☝️ That one sentence sums up one of the greatest freedoms of being a digital nomad. You won’t be on the road 100% of the time (I’m nowhere near). But no matter where you are, you won’t have anything stopping you from pursuing your priorities.

So hallo Norway, halló Iceland, and hello New Zealand. There’s no-thing stopping me.

Jonathan Lee Martin

Jonathan Lee Martin

Globetrotting digital nomad and fine art landscape photographer in Atlanta. Working remotely as a developer + international trainer, scaling mountains at twilight to discover non-touristy landscapes.

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