The Blockchain Nomad—A New Type of Traveler
To say the world is quickly shifting would be a bit of an understatement. Today, between technological, political, and economic changes the global landscape seems less consistent than it ever has.
Where once in the western world it was common to own your first home in your twenties or thirties, it’s now less and less likely. Where jobs were clustered around specific locations, now many are having their water cooler conversations over Zoom. And where once the ubiquitous power of the US dollar was a global financial pillar without challenge, now its rapid inflation and poor regulation show those who are savvy that it’s not a safe investment. Some of these changes have taken place over the last 50 years, others over the last 15 months—but regardless the reality is that the next century isn’t going to look much like the last one.
And yet, while many of these changes might seem scary or full of negativity, like all times these new times will offer both good and bad experiences for those who live in them. Those who look at these changes and understand this new time stand to benefit the most from it, while those who choose the path of resistance will suffer from paddling against the current of what’s to come.
New technologies, many linked to web3, cryptocurrency, and blockchain, will allow more financial freedom than we’ve had before with a currency—offering rewards to you for doing the things you love. And, while it’s harder than ever to settle down, in many ways it’s become easier than ever to get around. Outside of the current global pandemic (which obviously has ruffled more than a few travel plans), the globe is becoming an easier and easier place to trot.
I wanted to share a new lifestyle that I’m seeing emerge, a potential way to live that before now was only really available to those lucky souls whose jobs constantly migrated from one beautiful location to the next (rockstars, basically). This new lifestyle relies on changes that have taken place even during the last two years. It aligns with the direction the world is heading in and uses it as momentum to travel from location to location, doing work remotely from one beautiful destination to the next. This new lifestyle can only be lived by those with their finger on the technological pulse and a certain braveness of heart, but for anyone who decides to take the leap and educate themselves along the way, like all earnest feats of bravery they will be rewarded for their efforts. The people who live this lifestyle will free themselves to see the world long before retirement comes knocking.
They will be a new breed of digital nomad—but first, let’s look at who has set the foundation.
The Digital Nomad
You may have heard the term “Digital Nomad” thrown around in the last decade or so. First coined in 1997 from a book of the same name, it’s an umbrella term for all the individuals who work remotely through their computers and phones and thus choose to live their personal lives traveling from place to place.
Not all digital Nomads are made the same though. Some explore the entire globe while others hop around their home country and its neighbors. While some are constantly traveling with no set home, others prefer to do their adventuring from a home base—spending a few months out on excursions and then returning home. And still, some others choose an entirely different route by refurbishing and living in vans as they travel with their work (known as “Vandwelling” by many).
The reality is, the digital nomad lifestyle can be lived in a variety of ways. The important part is that a certain freedom is gained from remote work and digital connection that allows people to choose where and how they want to live. Another interesting thing to note is that there do seem to be certain hotspots around the globe for this nomadic lifestyle. Melbourne, Montreal, Prague, Singapore, and Dublin are just a few of the cities with the largest populations of self-identifying digital nomads.
Up until very recently, this term has been a buzzword for a very niche, specific group of people. Most of us haven’t met many people (if any) who are nomadic, haven’t worked many jobs that were remote (before now), and haven’t seriously considered the potential that exists to explore the world. But, that is changing. In 2020, study [a]found that nearly 11 million Americans described themselves as digital nomads, a 49% increase from 2019.
With each passing year, as our technology advances, the infrastructure required to live a nomadic lifestyle becomes increasingly attainable. Yes, sure that means Zoom meetings, but it also means a slew of new global networks, international job types, and even digital currencies.
The Blockchain Revolution
At this point, you’ve definitely heard the term Bitcoin. You’ve also probably heard about cryptocurrency in general—good and bad things, stories of people who’ve become millionaires, tweets from Elon Musk, and warnings from the staid class of financial leaders like Warren Buffet that it’s all a big bubble. Maybe you even know someone in your family who is highly invested, the eccentric but wealthy uncle or your snot-nosed nephew—maybe you are them! But, for the sake of this article, I’m going to assume you haven’t heard much about cryptocurrency and its underlying blockchain technology. Here’s a brief summary.
Why is this important?
And how on earth does it relate to you traveling and drinking pina coladas on work hours? Think of Blockchain as a strong foundation.
Because of the unparalleled security that blockchain provides, technologies and currencies that utilize it stand to revolutionize the face of global finance. In the past we’ve relied on a centralized point of power to manage all our money, usually national banks tied to a nation-state. Now, thanks to the decentralized security that blockchain provides, we see that in the same way our jobs have gone digital, our money can go there next! Imagine a currency that you could use globally without borders, and most importantly, a currency that rewards you for doing things you love. This also means it’s very likely that you’ll see different forms of currencies that work synergistically with different industries.
While I can speculate plenty about all the potential of what this could look like, it’s probably much more interesting and accessible than anything my mind is conjuring. And on a practical level, cryptocurrency stands today as burgeoning technology capable of multiplying an investment at speeds previously unheard of.
Now, it would be totally irresponsible of me to not warn you that where things can rise they also can crash. Be careful as you invest, research projects, and make sure that you feel fully aligned with the vision and team before you put in a sizable chunk of change.
So, how does this all come together? What are the core essentials for living as a Blockchain Nomad, and what boxes need to be checked before you can spread your wings and migrate from spot to spot like some beautiful tropical bird?
Finding Remote Work
This one is essential. While you certainly could travel from place to place finding odd jobs here and there, I think you’d Beatnik than Blockchain Nomad at that point.
The good news is, this is more possible than ever before! In 2021 alone, the number of remote positions in the US workforce doubled from 9% to 18%, and according to analysts that could increase to as much as 25% by the end of 2022.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some of the industries with the highest percentage of remote jobs.
Understanding and Investing in Blockchain Technology
Do some research and get involved with a few of the countless exciting opportunities in the cryptocurrency space. This research will give you an understanding of blockchain as both an investment tool and an up-and-coming technology. This is the key differentiating factor between a classic Digital Nomad and a Blockchain Nomad.
In the not-so-distant future, blockchain technology will become ingrained in our lives to the point that having a strong grasp on it will lead to huge advantages for all those looking to live a different lifestyle.
Legal Considerations / Staying Safe
There is always some inherent risk with the unfamiliar. Do your homework so you can mitigate that as much as possible.
For one, make sure you completely understand the visa requirements of the countries you are traveling to. Working on a tourist visa is illegal (though I hear that it’s commonly practiced); however, many countries are now introducing digital nomad visas—see Spain, Greece, Brazil, Thailand, Estonia, and many more.
Secondly, and maybe most importantly, be sure the area you are traveling to is safe for foreigners! Here is an index of the safest countries for foreigners.
A Spirit of Adventure
Yes, this may be cliché, but it’s a reality—the most important thing you can have when pursuing a nomadic lifestyle is the right perspective. Do your due diligence and be aware of the risks, but remain courageous. For most of us, living life nomadically will be a huge shift from the day-to-day monotony of our rooted routines. While this will come with great rewards, it will also be full of challenges.
I recommend you take a quick look at the classic Hero’s Journey as outlined by Joseph Campbell (see more on the Hero’s Journey here). If you’re feeling the call to adventure, know that now may be an easier time than ever before to answer.
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
–Joseph Campbell, Mythologist, Scholar, & Author of “The Hero With a Thousand Faces”