Why do we travel?
What drives us to be permanently or semi-permanently nomadic—rather than staying put and scheduling vacations? To name a few: the food, waking up to new possibilities everyday, the warmth of sunshine in a different hemisphere… the list goes on.
But there’s something we’ve noticed. As more and more people decide to become DNs, it creates some unique challenges; most land-bound communities have set laws and societal standards that dictate how people conduct themselves. Some have called out the DNs for being aloof to the communities they inhabit—for hijacking cultures rather than highlighting them.
Taking trains, planes and automobiles all over is intoxicating, but it can be, well, a little toxic. Many nomads already practice minimalism, but is it possible to show up in places in more ways than one? To show up for local communities, for sustainability—for the planet?
There are no simple answers. Our “Do More Than Roam” series seeks to investigate some of these tougher questions, as well as provide resources for DNs with similar interests.
Okay… we’re seriously not trying to guilt you here. We get it. Travel is FUN. If it weren’t for all the different cultures, flavors, smells, lovely people, challenges, language barriers and general spice of life, what would be the point of living out of a suitcase?
Digital nomads aren’t going anywhere, so the time is ripe to distinguish our presence in the world—in a positive way.
Some nomads are way ahead of the game.
Sometimes giving back is as simple as showing up. There’s Nomads Giving Back, started by Tarek Khaloussey in Medellín, Colombia, which places digital nomads directly into communities they inhabit or are passing through through volunteer events and programs.
Since the majority of us are already online, harnessing some of your skills as a marketer, social media guru, etc. could also create a real impact on the places you travel to. As pointed out in this Finding Beyond blog post, you can leverage some relative privilege by raising money online for specific community causes or for other issues around the world. Ask yourself—what are you good at? How you can contribute to the world?
Here are some other ways you can be a DN without being, for lack of better word, a dick:
Place communities and the environment at the center of your actions.
Learn the local language.
Invest in people: hire those who need a job or you can help directly with something.
Invest in community projects: create something for them, not yourself.
If you build a business, build it with the intention of helping the world at large.
Work towards a zero-waste/carbon-neutral lifestyle.
Use your skills online to raise money/awareness for locals
As our Do More Than Roam series continues, we’ll be diving headfirst into some topics like sustainable travel , eco-friendly staycations and voluntourism. What are some of your tips for being a responsible digital nomad?
By: Kelsey Shirriff