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Nomadic digital, the new freelancer worker

By 2025, one billion people will be able to do all of their work from a connected computer

If you have to compare it with some other sensation in your life, María Sagardoy, a 22-year-old creative designer, says that the decision to become a digital nomad resembles when her parents removed the wheels from her bicycle: “It’s a vertigo that lasts a while, you no longer have a routine, an office and a fixed salary to support you comfortably, but it is at that moment where you are forced to pedal harder than ever to not fall, and learn to dodge obstacles “.

Sagardoy left the agency where he worked a year and a half ago and with a minimum of luggage, his laptop and a small client portfolio (which was growing); and he set out to work remotely from places he always wanted to visit. In the photo that illustrates this article is on the coast of the Humantay Lagoon (Peru), on the way to Machu Picchu, while designing a presentation at the request of a medium-sized company. With her evolution as a freelance employee in Buenos Aires and then a digital nomad, she joined an army of millions of people who choose to “travel light” and do their flexible work from different parts of the world. With the advances in connection and digitalization, it is estimated that in 2025 there will be a billion people in the world who can do their work 100% from a connected computer, if they wanted.

The crisis is compounded by the crisis of the traditional work model, which includes fixed hours and face-to-face tasks in the office; incentives of some governments and cities that seek to attract part of this army to its fiscal base, and a growing market of services for the sector (which includes several specialized apps).

The three key variables in the decision-making process of a digital nomad: good connectivity, natural beauty and cultural energy of the place to visit and favorable exchange rate. Last month, when the dollar hit the $ 25 jump, Buenos Aires once again shone as a coveted destination on Nomad List and other sites and applications that are modelling the movement flows of this new global class in real time.

“The trend was identified as that of ‘digital nomads’, minimalist or existentialist,” explains the Swedish Per Hakkanson, who travels the world working – teaching classes for the Hyper Island digital innovation school, among other affiliations – with his country. cellular, a small purse and very little physical money: pay everything you can with cryptocurrencies. With 52 years, Hakkanson is a pioneer of this tribe. Ten years ago he began to experience what it would be like to live a 100% digital routine: he sold his car, his department (he gets them from collaborative platforms), he works in community with Slack and he saves on crypto actives.


Sofia Giusiano, a digital globetrotter with several projects underway, states: “The digital nomads take advantage of many benefits of the time, we have the possibility of achieving continuity in a job, project or profession, while we vary the routine based on making new bets, of enjoyment, health, exploring new places and constantly renewing our networks “, says the co-founder of Boostribe, a platform that promotes travel to meet different startup ecosystems.

There are hundreds of tools that fit those needs. If Giusiano had to choose four for a “light kit”, they would be:

  • #Trello: to list, organize, assign and detail tasks, follow up the sales process, etc.
  • #Tick: to keep track of how much time each task or project needs, both in group collaboration and individual work.
  • #Zoom: for video calls, especially when the Internet connection is not the best.
  • #Calendar: well used, there is no way to forget deadlines, meetings or pending.

“There are challenges in the middle, such as alleviating disorganization, having a good management not only of time but also of energy, not neglecting rest, exercise, health in general and falling into a sedentary lifestyle, etc.”, Giusiano brand from Tallinn, Estonia, the most digitized country in the world, where he is currently working.


By January 2019, Estonia plans to launch a new special visa for “digital nomads” that will allow them to work in the country 365 days a year. There are already 40,000 digital citizens in a country whose philosophy is to transform everything digital that can be digital (from online voting from abroad to annotate a baby in the civil registry, through registering a new company in minutes from a cafe with good connection to Internet).

Tallin, its capital, is the cradle of Skype and also of Jobbatical, a successful startup that became a symbol of the movement of digital nomads and promotes the hiring of employees beyond the geographical borders of a country. From the year 850, it was invaded by armies of Germany, Sweden and Russia, among others. This history of subjection provoked a natural drive to open borders, in this case digital.

It is not the only case. Last week, Vermont, in the US, announced that it will pay $ 10,000 to people who will settle there to work remotely. They want to capture between 300 and a thousand new residents to strengthen a tax base that is eroding.

In a recent human resources convention, different managers and consultants shared the most extreme cases of young employees’ non-attachment to formal labour structures. Carolina Borracchia, of Combo Employer Branding, told the story of a person taken by a first-line company after a long selection process that said he went to the kiosk to buy candy and did not appear anymore. Like the “ghosting”, but applied to the previously immaculate labour link. The expert in Human Resources Alejandro Melamed usually simplifies it in a proportion that was inverted: 70-30. Until ten years ago, 70% of the final year students aspired to work in large companies, while today they are only 30%.

In this context of cataclysmic changes in the world of labour relations, the phenomenon of “digital nomads” is inserted, which is not a panacea and also has its negative side. This year, media such as The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Atlantic and El País of Spain published notes to account for the enormous costs of the expansion of the so-called “gig economy”, or economy of digital platforms. Among others: overworked workers, without holidays or weekends, without health insurance, with fewer savings and very high uncertainty.

Estonia itself begins to see cracks in its story: visas for e-residents are not growing at the promised rate, banks had to close accounts massively (because of the number of money laundering cases that were leaked) and voters begin to Ask yourself if this policy really helps the country, beyond making its officials look good in the press and international forums. “You are your boss, with all the good and the bad that it has,” says Sagardoy from Peru.

The future of digital nomadism

Despite these cons, the interviewees assure that once speed is taken on the highway of digital nomadism there is no return to office 9-18. In the timeline of evolution, humans made the transition from nomadic to sedentary tribes. Thousands of years later, in terms of work and for a growing population, the pendulum goes to the other extreme.

Photo by Rob Potter on Unsplash

Also published on Medium.

Published inDigital nomad

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