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Hey Mario,

I think overall that unfortunately digital nomads may erode the local culture, especially if there are large groups of them. On the plus side I would assume they bolster the economy to a degree. Are you able to share a portion or a summary of the thesis here? I would love to hear :)
Hey Robert this is a part of the thesis you've asked... It's been subjected to the Univercity of Macedonia, Thessaloniki - Greece by one of my partners, still the original conccept has been produced while I took part in the Nomadetc project in 2015. I would love to her your comments on it...

The way we live today, settled in homes, close to other people in towns and cities, protected by laws, eating food grown on farms, and with leisure time to learn, explore and invent is all a result of the Neolithic revolution, which occurred approximately 11,500-5,000 years ago.
Before the Neolithic revolution, it's likely you would have lived with your extended family as a nomad, never staying anywhere for more than a few months, always living in temporary shelters, always searching for food and never owning anything you couldn’t easily pack in a pocket or a sack. The change to the Neolithic way of life was huge and led to many of the commodities that we still enjoy today.

Introduction - Definition
In order to definite the word nomad there is a necessity to acknowledge the fact that it was in the 1550s that the word “nomad” entered the English language. It comes from the Middle French nomade, from Latin Nomas, used to refer to “wandering groups in Arabia,” and from the Greek nomas: “roaming, roving, wandering” (to find pastures for flocks or herds), related to nomos, “pasture”, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary.

According to the Oxford Dictionary the word describes a “…person that travels from place to place to find fresh pasture for its animals and has no permanent home…”, according to Wikipedia nomad is “…a member of a community of people who live in different locations, moving from one place to another. Among the various ways Nomads relate to their environment, one can distinguish the hunter-gatherer, the pastoral nomad owning livestock, or the "modern" peripatetic nomad. Sometimes also described as "nomadic" are the various itinerant populations who move about in densely populated areas living not on natural resources, but by offering services (craft or trade) to the resident population…”
History and Background

“…So great are the variations in ways of life, past and present, that comparisons among them are difficult. Any simple classification of human societies and cultures can only be viewed as arbitrary. From a modern urban point of view, nevertheless, there is the obvious distinction between the primitive and the civilized: between simple and complex societies; between tiny and huge social agglomerations; between scattered and dense populations; and, above all, between pre-state societies and societies that have developed states.

The varieties of nonurban, or primitive, societies may be further classified. One way is by the methods they use to get food. Those who hunt and gather behave quite differently, as societies, from herdsmen and mounted predator-warriors, the pastoralists, who in turn live quite differently from the various kinds of agriculturalists. These distinctions are not sharp, for of course there are societies that combine foraging with some agriculture, others, some agriculture and some herding; and, in a few cases, a class of herders may live in the same society with a class or caste of agriculturalists. A continuum of societies may be constructed, ranging from tiny, simple bands of hunter-gatherers in poor environments to large, dense populations of irrigation agriculturalists—that is, from the entirely nomadic to the fully sedentary…” is referred in the electronic edition of Britannica Encyclopedia.

Within the description of the primitive cultures, the encyclopedia outlines nomadism through the usage of the environment and disposable tools, but also as a societal model which has been settled over age – sex and kinship distance criteria, which were indicatives of perception regarding a nomadic life.

“…Throughout 99 percent of the time that Homo sapiens has been on Earth, or until about 8,000 years ago, all peoples were foragers of wild food. There were great differences among them; some specialized in hunting big game, fishing, and shellfish gathering, while others were almost completely dependent on the gathering of wild plants. Broadly speaking, however, they probably shared many features of social and political organization, as well as of religions and other ideologies (in form though not in specific content). …All of the nomads share important general characteristics. The first and most obvious is that their nomadism severely restricts the amount of their “baggage,” or material culture. The social organization looks as though it had been built up from within, so to speak. Family-like statuses and roles, alliances by marriage, and systems of “social distance” based on family relationships are the bones and connective tissues of the society. Almost all status positions rest upon the same criteria of age, sex, and kinship distance. But in all other respects hunting-gathering societies are profoundly egalitarian, especially in intergroup relations. Outside the family there is no system of coercive authority. Some persons may, by their wisdom, physical ability, and so on, rise to positions of leadership in some particular endeavor, such as a raiding party or a hunt. But these are temporary and variable positions, not posts or offices within a hierarchical structure…”

What is a digital nomad?
Having to deal with a constantly changing environment, mostly in association with the “modern tools” that we have at our disposal to reach an every-day living satisfaction (coverage of existential needs) and with the usage of scientific achievements in the area of “Communication of Information Technologies”, one can identify the phenomenon of digital nomadism as an “new form” of existence on the symbiotic environment of the phygital world (interaction among digital and physical attributes).

Either by choosing an environment in which one feels to be more productive, or based on a shift of the population to a higher quality of life that combines quality of the environment (natural and built), human scale values, reduce stress generating factors and access to services that act as liaisons among citizens, digital nomadism has been identified as a trend of the 00’ although it assimilates to a model of existence adopted in the late Neolithic Age and the early stages of the Agricultural Revolution.

Therefore and in order for us to understand what digital nomadism is we need to research into the reason and purposes, of this meta-industrial era, for which a person decides to become a «modern nomad”.

Before we even try to chart the reasons why, we should name what a “digital nomad” is although there hasn’t been any official identification of characteristics that apply to the title (naming modules of education for one to be named digital nomad).

According to Wikipedia “…Digital nomads are individuals who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Such workers can typically work remotely—from home, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces, house sitting arrangements, shared offices, and even recreational vehicles—to accomplish tasks and goals that traditionally took place in a single, stationary workplace…”

Furthermore and in a wider approach, “digital nomads” are individuals who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and conduct their life in a nomadic manner. By using wireless and cloud based technology, “digital nomads” are working remotely wherever they live or travel.

Most people usually think that a digital nomad is a remote worker but this doesn’t necessary describe the “big picture”, as nomads usually undertake a great amount of preparation in order to be able to perform their remote working duties. Only to name few of them we could refer to maintaining international health insurance with coverage globally, abiding by different local laws and sometimes obtaining work visas, and maintaining long-distance relationships with friends and family back home. Other challenges may also include time zone differences, the difficulty of finding a reliable connection to the internet, and the absence of delineation between work and leisure time.

On the other hand being a remote worker doesn’t necessary mean that the person is forced to go under such a pretentious preparation, for example a person being able to work from a place in Thessaloniki for a company that is also established in the same city or country doesn’t make one a “digital nomad”.

In any case if we try to make a comparison among the variation of remote working environments, digital nomadism stands at the highest level with location independency and a lifelong learning process regarding cultural behaviorism and technological literacy.

The Societal Impact of digital nomadism

In the book “Dictionary of Critical Theory” by Ian Buchanan, there is an argument among Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's in their utopian project outlined in Mille Plateaux (1980), translated as A Thousand Plateaus (1987). Within the argument it is described that “…the origin of the word “nomad” is not, as many have assumed, a romanticized image of actual nomadic peoples, such as the Bedouins, but rather Immanuel Kant's disparaging claim that the outside of philosophy is a wasteland fit only for nomads.

The immediate origin of the concept would seem to be Deleuze and Guattari's discussion of the despot in L'Anti-Oedipe (1972), translated as Anti-Oedipus (1977). The despot is an intermediate figure between the primitive society without a state on the one hand and the so-called civilized imperial state on the other. What is crucial about the concept of the despot, however, is the fact that in Deleuze and Guattari's description refers to a latent state of being, meaning it is virtual and presupposed, but never actual. Like the despot, then, the figure of the nomad stands for the power of the virtual, or what they call the war machine. The nomad is a tendency towards deterritorialization, Deleuze and Guattari argue that can be found to some degree in all phenomena. Their project consists in identifying this tendency wherever it can be located and finding ways of amplifying it. Deleuze and Guattari distinguish between a royal science and a nomadic science, and though they freely admit that nomadic science creates structures that collapse, they also celebrate its ability—when juxtaposed with royal science—to open a creative line of flight…”

According to Georgetown University in a thesis being presented in 2002 there is a great background regarding the “Interactions between Nomadic and Settled Societies in World History: Confrontation, Symbiosis and Change” thematic, as referred in an article by journalist Julia Allison. Part of the research is presented in the article entitled “Nomadic vs. Settled Societies in World History”:

“The cultural contacts and conflicts between pastoral-nomadic peoples and agro-urban peoples profoundly influenced their societies’ development, especially during the years 1000-1400 C.E. It was at this time that nomadic peoples “dominated affairs in most of Eurasia through their conquests and construction of vast trans-regional empires.” Through both diverse travels as well as occupations of lands throughout the eastern hemisphere, they fostered positive developments, inciting “continuous movement, encounters, mutual reactions and responses, adaptation and change.”

These cross-cultural interactions led to the dissemination of technologies, religions, goods, and beliefs over wide distances. However, in spite of “encouraging systematic peaceful interaction between [different] peoples,” the nomadic tribes also wrecked spectacular destruction on many settled societies, altering the course of countless civilizations with the force of their rule.

Symbiosis is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as “a close, prolonged association … of mutual benefit or dependence.” In this case, there is no question that nomads forged symbiotic bonds with settled communities, primarily through trade. Since moving in constant was forbidding for agricultural goods, nomads depended upon established communities for the necessary products. Furthermore, “because of their mobility and familiarity with large regions” nomadic peoples were the logical choice to guide the traveling trade caravans across areas that “linked settled societies from China to the Mediterranean basin.”

Whether through trade or migrations the nomadic communities traveled a great deal, picking up disparate ideas and viewpoints and taking them to new places. They functioned as the human equivalent of bees, fostering the “cross-pollination of cultures and ideas” among incongruent societies.

Later, the unified states ruled by nomadic tribes established a “political foundation for sharply increased trade and communication between peoples of different societies and cultural regions.” With well-established and safe trade routes, ideas and people could flow more easily from one area to another, which “forged closer links than ever before between Eurasian lands.” Of course, simply sharing ideas was not always the way that nomadic peoples chose to encourage the proliferation of their viewpoints. Though some settled people were no doubt converted due to actual religious teachings, many others responded to considerable pressure from their conquerors.

This side of nomadic-agricultural relations certainly does not seem to fit the dictionary’s definition of symbiosis—clearly the nomadic treatment of agro-urban societies was not always beneficial for the latter. In fact, using verbs like “demolished,” “slaughtered” and “ravaged” to describe nomadic treatment of settled communities, historians like Bentley and Ziegler leave little doubt that their relations were primarily confrontational. Especially after the first millennium, various nomadic tribes embarked on huge campaigns of expansionary conquest, “over [running] settled societies and establishing vast trans-regional empires from China to eastern Europe.” While trade was still an important aspect of their relationship with the settled societies “they made their influence felt, most dramatically through their military conquests.

Perhaps the final blow in the nomadic-agricultural relationship was the advent of 14th century bubonic plague. It was nomadic empires that “made it possible for diseases to spread rapidly over long distances,” killing large portions of the population, causing huge labor shortfalls, and generally leading to societal chaos.

Both through peaceful symbiotic trade relationships as well as destructive confrontation, the interactions between nomadic and agro-urban peoples powerfully shaped the development of each, as well as the course of history. With their considerable military prowess, the nomadic peoples were able to exert their willpower on settled communities, altering beliefs, customs, and societal structures. At the same time, the symbiotic trade relationship between the two was more equitable, engaging disparate peoples in communication and trade for their mutual benefit. In the end, the implications of the nomadic-agricultural interactions were momentous both economically and culturally, charting a course for the evolution of new social, political and religious identities throughout the world.”

The aforementioned thesis seems to come as a warning on how the future may shape when “digital nomadism” becomes something more than a new-age trend. It so happens already that most of the “digital nomads” seem to adopt a peaceful symbiotic relationship with the local communities, but this can dramatically change if the leaders of the settled societies neglect to identify the reasons why a person choose to leave a settled environment in order to ensure a nomadic way of living.

As mentioned before there is a lack of trust in the modern societies between the producers of policies and the beneficiaries who are forced to implement the decisions being made by national government; either if this regards to economic reasons (economic depression of the past decade) or cultural and societal opposition (policies against the prosperity of society as an ecosystem and for the prosperity of a small group of individuals).

It is a warning coming from historical observation that although the settled societies offer commodities mostly linked to a certain aspect of human existence, there are numbers showcasing that future generations already tend to express a conscious opposition in the systemic approach. An example can be given through the observation of the neets’ – non in education, employment or training youngsters – who according to the European Monitoring Centre on Change.

In its observation EMCC reported in 25 June 2015:
Topic: NEETs Young people
Observatory: EMCC

The aim of Eurofound's report on NEETs - Young people not in employment, education or training: Characteristics, costs and policy responses in Europe is to investigate the current situation of young people in Europe, focusing specifically on those who are not in employment, education or training, and to understand the economic and social consequences of their disengagement from the labor market and education. Member State initiatives to help reintegrate young people into the labor market are also investigated.

Definition: what is a NEET?

The term NEET is used to describe young people who are not engaged in any form of employment, education or training. The term has come into the policy debate in recent years due to disproportionate impact of the recession on young people (under 30 years old). The unemployment rate for those under thirty is nearly double the average rate.

Who is at risk?

Those with low levels of education are three times more likely to be NEET than those with third-level education. The risk is 70% higher for young people from an immigration background than nationals while having a disability or health issue is also a strong risk factor.

Rates of NEETs across Europe

In 2011, some 14 million young people under the age of 30 years were not in employment, education or training across the EU as a whole. However, rates vary widely from around 5.5% of 15-24 year olds in the Netherlands to 22.7% in Italy.
The cost of NEETs to society

The economic cost of not integrating NEETs is estimated at over €150 billion, or 1.2% of GDP, in 2011 figures. Some countries, such as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia and Poland are paying 2% or more of their GDP.

Disengagement from society

The economic cost is not the only one. Young people not in employment, education or training are at higher risk of being socially and politically alienated. They have a lower level of level of interest and engagement in politics and lower levels of trust. Even in those countries where NEETs are more politically engaged (such as Spain) they do not identify with the main actors.

Policy measures

EU Member States have tried a number of measures to prevent young people from becoming NEET and to reintegrate those who are NEETs. The involvement of a range of stakeholders in the design and delivery of youth employment measures is essential. In particular, a strong level of engagement with employers and their representatives is needed for measures that focus on fostering their beneficiaries’ employability. Successful policies are innovative. They introduce new ways of reaching out to their target groups, with outreach activities forming an important part of efforts to engage disfranchised young people, while incentives, ‘branding’ and marketing campaigns can be useful in the context of more universal youth employment services.

The above numbers speak more than the truth and are indicatives of a transformation that takes place within the settled societies. It is now recognized that neets’ are followed by a larger number of individuals even elder than the age of 35 who have an oppositional behavior to any political system and even the economic models which took over the societal models of community interaction and capacity building.

People who have lost their jobs – and consequently their personal property – tend to espouse the nomadic way of living and not the settled one. Indicative of that is the revival of social cooperative models in small independent communities. An example for Hellas can be given through the 4019/2011 legislation for the establishment of social cooperative enterprises that came as an answer to the great amount of unemployment during the years of the economic depression.

Digital Nomads today

As described “digital nomadism” might have been named a lifestyle trend that people are adopting, but it is also an indicator of the transformation that takes place in modern settled societies. It can also be described as a “social footprint” of what future holds not only in the “remodeling of working environments” but also in the “remodeling of societal environments”.

As it happened before “digital nomads” are playing their role as the “bees” of civilization and they are already at large in specific areas such as entrepreneurial activities, digital tools usage, the growing prevalence of freelance livelihoods, the global sharing economy.

It might seem overwhelming but it is also a fact that although most of the job offerings for “digital nomads” concern web development, mobile development (android) and design, there are new markets emerging such as info marketing, counseling service provision, scientific research and development, experimental collaborative growth, and the start-up companies of social media and digital nativism.

Digital nomadism can feel a bit isolating for a person being in this situation. That is why many communities have been created in order for a digital nomad to be part of a group who completely understands the necessities and acknowledgements, and where everyone is going through the same challenges.

The growth of digital nomad has increased, with the first international conference for digital nomads (DNX GLOBAL) being held in Berlin, Germany in 2015 and the second one taking place during March 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Where to go?

There are many websites that are exclusive for digital nomads and analyze the criteria that they seek in different cities of the world. According to nomadlist one of the first choices as a continent is Asia and more specific Thailand. A major city in Asia increasingly offers the same amenities as one in Europe, many people are reaching the realization they don’t need to stay in one place.

An interesting fact is that between 500 countries Thessaloniki ranks in the 19th place. Some other Greek cities make the list as well like Patra 91th, Athens 118th, Rethymno 176th, Chania 486th.

We must not be confused and compare this rank with a tourist guide as the criteria are entirely different and in the end, digital nomads differ a lot from a tourist as they seek totally different things in their place of destination, such as Cost, Weather, Air, Fun and Safety.

Criteria of choosing a place to travel
The most common criteria that digital nomads look for in a city so they can visit it are the following:

• Internet
• Fun
• Nightlife
• Free WiFi in city
• Weather
• Places to work from
• Cost of living
• Quality of life
• Safety
• Friendly to foreigners
• English Speaking
• Racial Tolerance
• Female friendly
• Gay friendly

What to do?

Popular websites posting job opportunities for digital nomads also exist. There are more and more job offerings that don’t demand a specific workplace. Most of the jobs concern the digital environment with a tendency to software engineering, web development, mobile game development, iOS mobile engineering, digital project managing, web designing. But there are also the non – technological such as: solution consultant, content marketing, virtual recruiters, customer support, teachers etc.

It was in October 2015 that Erasmus + program verified the execution of the first Erasmus + project specified on the issue of digital nomadism and there were more than 25 people who gathered in Saint Valerie Sur Somme to identify what makes one a digital nomad, the “handy” tools of digital nomadism and to outline the values and ethics of this symbiotic ecosystem.

Within their findings we could list the characteristics of a “digital nomad”, the tools to apply in “digital nomadism” life style and information on how to make the change from a settled life to a nomad way of living, moreover they created an application to identify if one can become a “digital nomad” and have already implemented a number of workshops around Europe in order to introduce the idea in a wider audience. There will be a workshop to be held in Hellas also, but an overview was given during the “Cultural Innovation Day” event, hosted in Athens on November 21st, by Cultural Innovators Network and its Hellenic Branch.

It is the purpose of this essay to identify how the “digital nomadism” trend will shape the future of economies and it was a main issue to realize that it is not a trend that we are talking about but a backfire on the modern lifestyle in a settled society. The comparison made through historical references can be used as a proof on evidence showcasing the transformation of the physical world because of the digital symbiotic. The new amalgam that is already in shape will become an environment to be explored and as before once again “…In this new era that dawn upon us there will be few who will evolve and conquer the future…”, as Mario Chatzidamianos, a Social Economy Knowledge Broker, quoted during the meeting of partners of the MESSE project in Bucharest in 2014.

A Dictionary of Critical Theory by Ian Buchanan, by Oxford Publications http://www.oupcanada.com/catalog/9780199532919.html
http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10. ... 3100236839
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/defin ... lish/nomad
Georgetown University thesis “Interactions between Nomadic and Settled Societies in World History: Confrontation, Symbiosis and Change”: http://designsource.download/design/nom ... ia-allison
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 999&type=3
Wow! It took a little while to read through that whole thing, but it was very detailed and interesting. Thank you so much for sharing :)

So you mention how digital nomadism is a backfire of settled society's in your conclusion, but I wonder, is it a backfire? or more so an evolutionary adaptation? You could argue we're reverting back to old human nomadism, but of course it's different this time around. Old nomads were forced by the environment to constantly move, where as the new digital nomads move by choice.

Another interesting thought it how apps like Uber are creating a sharing economy, and I think that digital nomads are doing the same now with accommodations almost. I'm definitely rambling a bit, but a great read!
I believe that either we refer to it as location independency or a choice for a better living, most of the reasons why one chooses to become a nomad either a digital one or not relates one way or another to environmental issues as well (the choice of a better environment to live in – economically / spiritually or business wise), as described in the thesis. What I am suggesting is that we should take into account how the settled society’s environments don’t seem to meet the needs of their inhabitants and thus it’s because of them that one might choose to move to another place. Regarding your point on share economy we must admit that this is a ticket to be resettled in a place and thus it comes as a mean (money in Hellenics translates into the word tool) of survival and not a choice.
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okay thank you for your advice guys. I think I am […]

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