The world is rapidly changing. Technology and globalization have spurred massive development in countries all around the globe. In destinations such across South America and Asia, this development has come at a cost – the cheapening of entire cultures. These destinations have slowly transformed from cultural epicenters brimming with local food options, cultural experiences, and guesthouse bungalows to watered-down versions of what they once were – all in the name of catering to the needs of digital nomads.
What are Digital Nomads?
Digital nomads are people who can work totally remotely, and only need a laptop and a phone to do their job. Typically young, they move between countries or cities to satisfy their wanderlust. But while they were traditionally self-employed, this changed with the pandemic. Increasingly, companies are embracing remote working, and even the permanently employed can now become digital nomads.
Reasons Why Digital Nomads are Bad for Destinations
Global Homogenization – What attracts many people to new and exciting destinations, is the diversity in culture, cuisine and community. In recent times, destinations are changing to suit the needs of the digital nomad. This may include changing food menus to suit the unique foreign taste-buds, encouraging locals to learn the foreigners language (instead of the other way round) or hiking up prices which inevitably makes it unattainable for locals.
Expecting the Comforts of Home – Too often digital nomads default to creating a bubble of comfort around themselves. Befriending other digital nomads, bouncing from their hostel to their co-working place and bypassing the unfamiliar along the way. Authentic local dishes become harder to come by. Unique guesthouses close their doors to trendy, social media worthy properties that are foreign invested.
What to Do Instead?
Digital nomads have a unique responsibility to be conscious of their impact on the places they visit. Digital nomads have to be the kind of travellers they want to see in the world. Adventurous, enthusiastic, curious, and open-minded. Digital nomads need to remember that the places they visit, are not like the home they left behind. Protecting cultural diversity, traditions and portraying the right image of a destination is important.
Live immersed as a digital nomad. Support local businesses, cultural practices, and traditions just as you would back home. Consider the lifestyle of locals and the cuisine of a destination before you relocate there. It’s the very things that make travel so alluring in the first place.