Digital Nomads are on the Rise
Digital Nomads are people who use modern technologies to earn a living while moving from location to location. Yesterday we talked about working from home. Digital Nomads are in that respect people who kind of work from home but with their home changing every few months or weeks. It satisfies the urge of wanting to travel continuously.
There are even already specialized conferences on sharing experiences on being a digital nomad and running virtual companies. The Running Remote Conference 2018 in Bali, for example, brings together digital nomads and virtual companies like Atlassian, Buffer or Gitlab. Some of those companies are managing 70 and more staff completely virtual.
So is working from home or working from anywhere the future?
There is a presentation from Pieter Levels, the founder of nomadlist, which he gave around two years ago about the future of digital nomads. He predicts 1 billion digital nomads in 2035. I think it is interesting looking at some of his key arguments in his presentation.
50% of the US workforce will be freelancers in 10 years
There are four key areas which are changing drastically. We are already living the change in how we work. While your parents were used to work in the same place for 20 years, we are used to changing our jobs every 2 to 4 years. 1 out of 2 people from our kids generation will be working purely as a freelancer. The Freelancers Union together with the platform Upwork predict that by 2027 (in 10 years) more than 50% of the US population will be working as freelancers. The growth of the freelance force is apparently 3 times faster than the traditional workforce.
This development is even faster than what Pieter used in his presentation 2 years ago. There, the data suggests that we will reach the 50% mark by 2035. This figure just came down by 7 years in 2 years.
Download the whole Netflix video library in minutes
Obviously there is no need to download the whole Netflix video library (and most probably it is not even possible) but by 2035 the internet speed will hit 100 gigabits per second. This milestone may even be reached earlier because in 2017 internet speed got 30% faster alone. We talked already about the impact of technology on our work setup is changing.
Last chance to get married is now
An interesting angle Pieter brings into his argumentation on how the world is changing in favor of digital nomads is the trend of marriages. A recent study suggests today only 50% of the US population are married. This percentage dropped by 9 points over the past quarter century. There are two key aspects to this results. Apparently, nowadays Americans marry later – roughly 7 years later than in the 1960 but as well the number of Americans who have never married is rising steadily in recent decades.
You don’t marry? You don’t buy a house!
Pieter argues that the less people marry, the less people will buy a house and start settling. This is the key argument on why the number of digital nomads are rising. The decline of home ownership is a fact. In the US alone, it dropped from 69 percent during its peak in 2004 to currently approximately 63%. However, there are differing opinions on the sole impact of change in marriage. The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University which identifies the most important factors in decline of homeownership rates in the performance of the housing market and economy.
Madrid – New York for 200 EUR
The last trend in supporting growth of digital nomads is the decline in travel cost and time. While a flight from Madrid to New York for 200 EUR seemed to be unrealistic some years ago, it is already a reality. The aspect distance has already been removed from travel costs. This is by the way, what TroopTravel takes into account for its inspirational search.
1 billion digital nomads in 2035?
The question remains whether the scenario drawn buy Pieter that in 2035 there will be 1 billion digital nomads. Fact is that being a freelancer will become the normal setup already earlier than 2035. People will travel more, will be more flexible and more independent. The lifestyle of the future will allow us to do more of what we really like to do rather than working mainly to earn money to spend it on material belongings. The concept of the “Why” by Simon Sinek will maybe more guide us in the way we live in the future: focusing on things we really want. Some people may want to travel their whole life, others may just want to do that for parts of their life and and apply what they have learned in the local community they belong to.