Twenty years ago, a Hitachi executive named Tsugio Makimoto predicted a revolution. Makimoto’s vision appeared in his 1997 book Digital Nomad, written with coauthor David Manners. The book was virtually ignored by the public.
Ten years later, the digital nomad idea resurfaced in Tim Ferriss’s 2007 best-selling book The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. In that hodgepodge of life hacks and business schemes, Ferriss painted a seductive picture of automated income and unbridled globetrotting.
Neither Makimoto nor Ferriss predicted the rise and impact of social networking, smartphone apps, the sharing economy, and on-demand services. Popular apps and services like AirBnb, Whatsapp, Yelp, Lyft, Duolingo, Earth Class Mail, and Google services like Maps, Fi, and Translate, though targeted at the public in general, simplify the digital nomad lifestyle in particular.
Thanks to the new digital nomad economy, it’s easier than ever to work remotely for the rest of your life or for an hour; from a tent on the Masai Mara or from the Starbucks around the corner.
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