My vision for Digital Nomad Empire breaks down into three simple, interconnected parts:

  • To give people the necessary skills to quit hated, mind-numbing jobs and strike out on their own in a sustainable, long term way
  • To create a global network of conscious entrepreneurs and freelancers who use their freedom of time and place not only to enrich their own lives, but to make a positive impact on the wider world
  • To make available for free the training materials online entrepreneurs in developing countries need to become successful in their enterprises, sell their products and services internationally, and grow their local economies

The lifestyle business/digital nomad movement could be so much more than what it currently is. There are glimmers every now and then – glimpses of what could be – but we’re a long way off.

Of course, the initial appeal will always be at a selfish level. Nothing wrong with that. You’re stuck in a 9-to-5 existence that makes no sense. At a gut level you understand that humans were never supposed to live this way. You need to find a way out. It’s hard to dedicate much time to solving climate change, saving the whales and fixing global poverty when the rent is due and you’re one screw-up away from the unemployment line.

That’s the first element of the vision: to give people the skills to get out. Get out of the 9-to-5 grind, to see it from the outside, to reclaim some dignity.

It’s not about sitting on a beach and working four hours a week. It’s about dignity. It’s about not having to eat shit doing something you hate, taking orders from morons all life long.

That’s part one. The personal level.

There’s a bigger picture here though. Put another way: debt and shitty jobs trap the potential of people who could otherwise be changing the world. I want to help people out of that rat race not only for the sake of personal freedom but so they’re free to have a bigger impact.

With great freedom comes great responsibility, and it concerns me that “lifestyle design” has become such an overwhelmingly narcissistic subculture. What early on seemed as if it had some potential to shake up the status quo seems to have fizzled. People are content to travel to every country in the world (even for a 5-minute visit, just to put it on Instagram), talk up life and sell the dream to others.

It seems like a waste because the global nomad community could become a real force for change if it’s taken in the right direction. A combination of conscious travel – a desire to make a real positive impact in each place you visit, not just be a bystander – and the democratization of access to entrepreneurship training throughout the developing world, to level the playing field and ensure aspiring nomads and solopreneurs in India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Serbia, Bulgaria and elsewhere aren’t relegated to the status of cheap skilled labourers. Your freedom should not be bought at the cost of someone else’s.

My vision is for a global network of freelancers, entrepreneurs and remote workers, interconnected, working together to not only enjoy the sights and sounds of this big crazy world but also to make it a better place in real, measurable ways. Conscious, awake, free, and fully engaged.