“Digital nomad” has become a bit of a buzz term lately…anyone travelling with a laptop and a data-plan can claim to be one (just throw out words like “Digital Marketing” “Dropshipping” and “client focuses” while frantically slurping down cute coffee’s in adorable coffee shops).
If you haven’t heard the term, essentially Diginomads are people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. “Such workers typically work remotely—generally from foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries and co-working spaces —to accomplish tasks and goals that traditionally took place in a single, stationary workplace.”
With the rise of technology, apps and the internet, settling temporarily into a new place is no longer the great feat it once was. You can get a car to pick you up (Uber), find a cheap place to stay (Airbnb), communicate with anyone local (Google Translate) and find food (foodpanda/yelp/urbanspoon).
So with food and shelter (and of course wifi) sorted, what’s next for a Diginomad? Human contact of course! Finding common ground with other travellers can be pretty easy, especially if you’re staying at a Hostel or if you stick out by the very nature of the colour of your skin or the lilt of your accent and you’re sharing co-working spaces or visiting tourist-y destinations. MEETING people is not the problem…but what about MEATING people?
Apps like Tinder thrive in the travel community, Tinder is after all the king of brief encounters. But what if you’re actually looking for more?
Just because you are living a transient lifestyle, doesn’t mean you want all your relationships to be transient too.
But how do you build something long lasting when you’re itinerary is ever changing? Especially in a generation of people who are putting off getting married and committing.
“The key is communicating what you’re looking for, just as you would at home” says Jessica, a Diginomad from Washington who met her boyfriend in Cambodia six months ago. Jessica has been travelling Asia since April and met her boyfriend through new friends at a guesthouse. The two were able to date in a relatively normal way as their travel plans had some crossover. “It was definitely weird to realize that our third date was going to be in a different country” she jokes.
But Digi-dating can be a struggle, especially if the relationship is new and your plans are changing.
“You don’t want it to seem like you made a travel decision based on a romantic possibility…even if you did” Elizabeth from Toronto tells me as she swipes through Tinder matches.
And she raises a valid point, in a dating culture where texting twice in a row is deemed “clingy” its hard to imagine what trying to orchestrate an international date looks like.
But it can be done! In Vietnam last year, I met Taylor and Richie, who fell in love in New Zealand, and spent the next 3 years travelling the world together. After a year at “home” (Taylor in New Jersey and Richie in Glasgow) Taylor has recently relocated to Scotland, and the love adventure continues.
As the way we work changes, and more and more people subscribe to the possibility that Mon-Fri, 9-5 office based roles aren’t the only way to live, we are going to see a rise in international relationships, and Digi-dating.