COVID-19, if anything, teaches many to take a few steps back. Declutter, live simply, work moderately, go local, and appreciate people and the planet. Everybody dreams to move from congested urban areas, back to nature, to walk freely and breathe fresh air. But with the hassle of fluctuating quarantine protocols, it only makes sense with fast internet and protocol-compliant coworking spaces. While digital nomads have existed since the rise of Zoom, GoToMeeting, and other conferencing platforms - they now represent professional freedom.
Members of Friends for Leadership #Friends of Tourism and the Major Group for Children and Youth Asia Pacific Youth Caucus, came together to listen to what digital nomads have to say in the region, and beyond. A Digital Nomad Festival sponsored by Nomadhood.co and SuyoMano.com, with coverage from @MetroChannel, @Sustainable First, and @AsiaTVOfficial featured nomad-friendly tourism partners and sites that are open during the pandemic, including:
●India: Indian Center for International Promotion of Initiatives (ICIP)
●Kazakhstan: Tourism and Smart Cities
●Japan: Japan Youth Platform for Sustainability (JYPS)
●Nepal: Youth for Environment Education and Development (YFEED)
●Morocco: Network of Local Youth Councils of Morocco
●Algeria: Algeria Youth Ambassadors
●Russia: Future Actually
●Philippines: SDG Builders Group
●Malaysia : Asian Youth Network
●Indonesia : ASEAN Youth Organization
The Digital Nomad Survey is an ongoing conversation that zeros into the emerging community of work-from-home travelers, specific challenges, and opportunities. Respondents’ experiences ranged from zero travel to monthly travel during the pandemic, all within the demographic of young professionals below 40. Granted quarantine protocols, the majority of “new normal travelers” traveled domestically by land, reflecting shared desires to move away from crowded urban spaces, to rural areas especially beachfront. While many travels leisurely, in the company of family and friends, remote work has become part and parcel of the new norm, whereas some have never experienced work-from-home before, and shifted to almost always doing so, at present. Hence, internet connectivity is the primary issue of concern when choosing a location for at least 1 month, to a year. The price of accommodation, availability of public transport, public health care, and other services are also deemed important. For foreigners, concerns over the English language are prime, as nomads look for opportunities to build a community for study, work, business, in the longer term. To quote one respondent: “My ideal Bedouin life consists of living in comfort and bliss away from air pollution and crowded streets, enjoying nature, eating healthy foods, taking natural traditional medicines that are beneficial to the human body, and living in the midst of a tribe full of love and spirit of cooperation.”
This year’s World Tourism Day theme: Tourism for Inclusive Growth inspires a deeper conversation about the creative responsibility, too, of rethinking plastic waste, growing organic food, protecting biodiversity, and promoting clean energy, among best practices. Everybody is called to chime in. Leaving nobody behind is at the fingertips of the tourism and hospitality sector, and with internet providers expanding access and governments easing public health concerns, we can begin to reimagine what was once unimaginable: The Future is Remote Work and Sustainable Travel.