Digital nomads and the new fountain of youth
Posted 11 hours ago
Proposed by T Mobile
By John Regan
The term “digital nomad” may initially conjure up an image of young people in their twenties traveling the world and posting Instagrammable meals in places conducive to FOMO. But the truth is, today’s digital nomads span all age groups – and one rapidly growing industry is the 50+.
Due to the abundance of remote work and delayed retirements, both accelerated by the pandemic, people are choosing to live and work remotely full time, swapping a hefty mortgage or rent for a larger RV. economy or a flexible Airbnb arrangement that allows them to travel around the country, and the world, while maintaining a day (or night) job. This is because a seismic change has occurred in the way and where work is done.
The T-Mobile and intergenerational workforce mentoring platform CIRKEL recently co-hosted a virtual event titled Un-Careers: The Wild West of Remote Work with a panel of professional wanderers who shared their experiences, offering attendees tips and tricks for making a permanent living on the open road, well, work.
Imagine no possession
T-Mobile employee Adam Maddock transformed his Jeep into a tiny house on wheels during a six-month stint as a digital nomad. The youngest panelist at 35, he traveled nearly 14,000 miles to places like Padre Island and Moab during the pandemic, learning how to make the trip after hours and making sure he had the opportunity to ” be connected with colleagues when it was time to clock in.
Eight years in the Marines have prepared Maddock to handle just about anything on the road, provided he has that reliable connectivity.
“I live in downtown Seattle, and when the pandemic hit it wasn’t a great time to be in just any downtown area and I figured that since I’m working from home, it doesn’t shouldn’t matter if I’m here or at the Grand Canyon. ” Maddock said. “If I have a connection, I should be able to work from anywhere.”
Although he tested nomadic waters for a limited time, the other two panelists, Palle Bo and Siobhan Farr, made life on the road a permanent gig.
Bo found himself selling most of his belongings to Frances McDormand in the 2020 breakout film Nomadic country, and exchange them for experiences: “I sold everything before I became a digital nomad, and when I emptied my loft, I realized that I had collected so much that I had never used.
Award-winning radio producer and digital nomad since 2016, Bo documents his journey in his podcast The Radio Vagabond; he now collects new memories instead of things, and says the pandemic fueled his nomadic life at the age of 56.
“Before the pandemic, if I said to my customers, which are mostly Danish companies, ‘Can we go on Zoom or Skype?’ they were like “I don’t know what it is,” he explained. “So actually during the pandemic it got easier for me because it’s more natural and customers don’t see it as an issue that you aren’t right around. Coming out of that I think we’re going to see more nomads because it’s the new standard that you can do meetings on a computer screen and you don’t have to be in the same room.
While Maddock and Bo have deliberately taken to being the digital nomad, Siobhan Farr is an example of how life and recent events can decide your fate and push you into uncharted territory. Farr had been traveling for six months when COVID-19 struck and “locked himself in Ecuador”. There she was isolated from the world she knew in Dallas with only her stuffed animal Kicksie to keep her company. A castaway with his own Wilson, so to speak. She realized in her sixties that her life had changed forever, including how and where she would pursue her career as a health insurance agent specializing in Medicare.
“All of the carriers I represented were already moving to allow us to take electronic requests, then the pandemic dramatically sped things up, because even though the customers are older they were getting used to having Zoom meetings,” a- she declared. “A lot of these digital skills improve as you progress out of necessity. “
Farr said it was “by god, not by design” that she became a digital nomad for life. Call it an epiphany, a kismet, or a happy accident – it was meant to be.
Trying to find a community in the digital nomad space by interviewing an existing Facebook group, however, she found that she was opening up new digital avenues. When selecting the 45+ age group, she received a pop-up message stating that the group did not support her demographics. Temporarily bloodied but barely undefeated, Siobhan tapped into the universe – and with necessity being the mother of invention that he is – created Digital Nomads Beyond 50.
Technology makes it possible
It is clear from the panelists’ experiences of keeping busy careers on the road that digital nomads rely more on technology than their counterparts living at home.
“The technology really allows people to not be tied to a cord on the wall and I think over time we’ll see more people being able to do that just by using their cell phones,” Maddock said. “I had a phone, a hotspot and an iPad. These three data sources fed me for six months.
Farr has traveled to over 35 countries and relies on his Android smartphone and Google Fi network as his lifeline to the outside world. She loves landing in a new country, turning on that smartphone and getting that instant connection.
All reiterated that having the right device, like a 5G smartphone like T-Mobile’s new OnePlus Nord N200 or REVVL V + 5G, is essential to this way of life. It’s no surprise that affordable technologies like these are popular with the more experienced digital nomad crowd, especially when paired with T-Mobile’s 55+ discount price plans, which are available everywhere. country and include 5G.
Speaking of 5G: Maddock hailed the Inseego 5G hotspot, available on T-Mobile, as an essential connection to the outside world, as there isn’t always a Wi-Fi network within range. A senior executive with T-Mobile’s digital strategy and planning team, Maddock said that because T-Mobile’s 5G network covers 92% of freeway miles across America, he was able to travel farther than he thought during his six-month stay without ever worrying about staying connected to colleagues for work.
“I was incredibly fortunate to work for T-Mobile during this time as a leader in 5G,” Maddock explained. “5G is essentially the best short-range city signal you get and the best long-range distance across the country all in one. It packs a ton of data and has very low latency or delay. So you’re talking about technology that will allow people to communicate more, communicate faster, stay in touch, and work from more distant locations.
Digital nomadism has been so transformative that many have incorporated the term into their personal brand as a descriptor and bona fide skill as a storyteller or agent of change. And for some in their so-called career twilight, it has also redefined how they view retirement – eradicating it.
“I wasn’t necessarily planning to retire because I love my job, but now being able to integrate it into my travels and be able to do it from anywhere has brought even more joy to this possibility. to retire from work, ”Farr said. .
And more and more people are joining its online community of older digital nomads, as some – financially decimated by the pandemic – are looking for ways to keep working longer, without living less.
“There are those who might think they will work for the rest of their lives, and if they cannot wait until that retirement to travel,” she said, “this presents a possibility of finding something that ‘they can do on their trip. “
In short, to live.
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