Duncs and I are just back from 4 fabulous days away (child free) visiting an old backpacking friend of mine in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. I have missed the unfettered feeling of my old traveling lifestyle more than I realised. I revelled in the echoes of that as we breezed through security without two screaming children, or the fifty metric tonnes of equipment you seem to need just to get them on an aeroplane without the other passengers forming a committee and voting you off mid-flight.
Its always at times like this the excitement of knowing how free my life as an affiliate marketer is sets in. I regard the spread of folk in an airport, the staff, the business people, folk off on their annual holidays, or weekends away. Then there’s me. Something about moving through the crowds makes me realise the joy of what I can do. Whilst I can no longer travel full time (and believe me I had a quiet cry about that one!) – I can still live and work wherever and whenever I like.
Then I Realised…
I realised that Digital Nomads are now fairly commonplace. A quick search of hashtags on Twitter and Instagram suggests a thriving and diverse community of cool digital types living the dream in an array of different ways.
Then it struck me I was one of the first of this dynamic mob. I travelled without knowing there was a name for what I was doing (presumably at that stage there wasn’t). I did hear of one or two other travellers – mystic types the other backpackers spoke of enviously when I let on why I never had to work during my adventures.
Back then you actually had to work hard at staying connected. I will never forget my two mile hike past surprised Fijian farmers minding their goats (maybe a bikini and sarong was a poor outfit choice upon reflection) to access the internet at a 5 star resort on the other side of an island. My personal favourite was on the same trip – having to beg for the diesel generator to be turned on so I could check everything was ok on an internet connection that ran at prehistoric speeds. As for finding out where you should go next? A well thumbed copy of backpackers bible Lonely Planet was essential. And if you got lost? Quick crash course in sign language, and that British favourite: TALK A BIT LOUDER AND SLOWER. Translation Apps? Google Maps? Give me a break. An Atlas. I navigated the world using paper maps, and made my way home using star navigation. It was REAL those days people. Real.
I’m An Old Codger Aren’t I?
As I marvelled at how easy it now is to travel, with the free wifi and permanent connectivity on trains, in hotels, hostels, and pretty much everywhere we seemed to go during our stay in Nijmegen… it happened. I opened the door, I went through, I thought “These young digital nomads, they’ve got it so fucking easy. When I did this it was HARD”.
Oh, kill me now. I’m an actual grumpy old digital bastard.
But I still got game. I’m still doing it. Part time. For now.
Proof of codgerage right here. Fiji, 2007. Mid-hike in an internetwards direction.