Not Sure You Wanna be a Digital Nomad? Be a Digital "Slomad" Instead!
What’s a digital slomad anyway?
A “digital nomad” is someone who has no permanent home, but instead continuously travels the world, usually while working remotely.
But the longer Michael and I travel as digital nomads, the more we discover all the different ways of doing it.
Some people live in co-housing — lodging designed specifically for digital nomads, to create a sense of community. Other people prefer to rent temporary apartments on their own. Some people travel as couples, while others still prefer traveling alone, occasionally rendezvousing in different cities with friends and lovers.
But one of the most interesting questions all digital nomads must answer is: How often do you move on to a new location?
We’ve met a number of digital nomads who switch locations a lot. One friend literally moves once a month. On the 15th of each month, he decides where he’ll go at the end of that month.
Another friend rarely stays in one place for more than a couple of weeks! A month is a really long stay for her. And she’s been doing this for six years.
Michael and I? We’ve discovered we like to take a more leisurely pace. Sure, we’ll stop in different cities en route to somewhere else, playing “tourist” for a week or so. But once we get where we’re going, we like to stay a while (assuming we like it, of course). If we’ve set up shop somewhere, and plan to get any work done, our minimum stay is a month. Ideally, we’ll stay two or three months!
Not surprisingly, there’s a term for travelers like us: digital slomads.
What’s the advantage of digital slomading? Quite a few actually.
You get to know a place better. Studies show that you only need to encounter a person or place three different times for it to feel familiar. Staying somewhere a month or longer, it really does start to feel like “home.” You relax a bit, and the people around you become more familiar with you too: the woman at the produce market and the man at the cheese shop start to see you as a “regular.” Later, when you say, “I lived in Bulgaria!” it feels more genuine.
Better still, you start to meet the locals, and you start to hear things — places that are off the beaten track. The restaurant where locals eat, the secret hot spring in the mountains that the tourists don’t know about. And you have time to explore these places.
Not only do extended stays get you a better deal on your rent, but if you’re staying in an expensive location for a longer period of time — Bansko, Bulgaria, or Hoi An, Vietnam — then your dollars or euros stretch even farther. Far enough that you can afford a month at an expensive place like Grimentz, Switzerland!
The first time we heard the term “slomad,” we both laughed. It’s the perfect description of what we do.
It’s fun to be part of a phenomenon that’s literally inventing and defining itself as we watch.
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