Three years ago, I went fully remote and started the lifestyle of a ‘digital nomad.’ I kicked it off by spending six weeks based in La Paz and traveling through Bolivia.
I worked, explored, joined local salsa classes, and got my first dose of severe food poisoning. In that first month of struggles, I gained so many learnings that have helped in this adventurous, remote lifestyle that fills my soul.
Over three years later and I’m continuously learning in this lifestyle.
The ‘Digital Nomad’ label
The term’ digital nomad’ has been popularized over the past two years, with the world’s reality shifting to remote and more taking on the lifestyle. The stereotype has grown to nomads’ city/country hopping, checking places off of a list, and sharing Instagram photos working from beaches and rooftops with great views. Yes, this can be true, but as this image has grown, I’ve found myself resisting the ‘digital nomad’ label more and more. It could be that I’m resisting labels more, knowing that we are such complex, multifaceted, and constantly evolving humans. Yet, it just has never felt true to how or why I live this lifestyle.
From expat to slow traveler
The journey to this lifestyle evolved from living as an expat for two years in Buenos Aires. I wanted the freedom and flexibility to explore more of South America while continuing to progress my career. I also wanted to maintain the pieces that I love about living abroad, like:
- Connecting with the local community
- Learning the local language
- Deeper cultural immersion
- Truly feeling a part of each place
Slow travel allowed me to keep these beauties while enjoying new destinations
And slowing down has been powerful to:
- Maintain a balance between work and travel
- Ground myself in each destination
- Have a stable routine
- Manage daily life, work, responsibilities and also adventures and exploration while in foreign destinations
A friend once shared the term “slomad,” and it really stuck. This term felt much more on brand and likely for others who enjoy living this lifestyle at a slower pace.
So what is a ‘Digital Slomad’?
- Travels slowly from destination to destination
- Aims to deeply connect, immerse and get to know a place
- Likes to learn the local language, idioms, and slang
- Looks to uncover the hidden gems, beautiful places, and experiences outside of popular tourist destinations
- Immerses to understand a place, local culture, and traditions
- Seeks to connect with locals and find community to truly feel a part of the place
- Explores the local cuisine and maybe even learns how to cook some local dishes
- Celebrates and seeks diversity on the travels and practices cultural awareness
- Gives back to show gratitude and appreciation for locals inviting them in to treat the destination as their home
- Follows the travel flow letting their intuition and inner compass be the guide
- Leaves each place changed by new wisdom, experiences, memories, and connections
The slomad follows the flow of where the travels take them, with no detailed itineraries, set timelines, or deadlines.
They create loose plans and let the discoveries, connections, and experiences be a guide. They trust that they’ll get that inner nudge when it is time to journey on to the next destination.
And they leave each place changed, taking a piece of it with them. 🦋
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