Digital Nomads: Travel, Remote Work and Alternative Lifestyles

University essay from Lunds universitet/Avdelningen för etnologi

Abstract: This thesis takes an ethnographic approach in the examination of the phenomenon of digital nomadism. Generally, the term describes people who have rejected the idea of working in a conventional office, but instead, they work and travel without a clear destination. Through the daily life experiences of 15 individuals from different parts of the world living now as digital nomads, the thesis investigates how digital nomadism works for those who do it. The aim of the study is to focus on the advantages and disadvantages of remote work, as an alternative to “traditional,” locally-bound forms of employment. Specifically, I explore how they adapt to this new situation by forming new ways to communicate, work and socialize. This research will focus on two major research areas: The first one concerns the factors that make individuals choose to travel and work remotely. What drives people to leave the office and what are they leaving it for? What are the consequences? What are the elements that constitute “working in the office” undesirable? The second major part of my analysis concerns the travel patterns, productivity, work/leisure practices, and sociability forming behind a lifestyle that is not bound to a certain locality. Digital nomads are constantly on the move and have no designated work hours. How do they deal with the lack of a clear division between leisure time and work time? Although they are traveling from place to place nomads seem to want to be perceived as something “more” than a tourist. This part analyzes if and how this is possible.

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