Nomads No More: Digital Slomads Are All About Taking Their Time
Digital slomads are taking their remote work all over the world. They're also keeping their environmental impact in mind.
The lifestyle of a digital nomad has become a new sort of standard in recent years. The surge in remote work that followed the pandemic found people all over the world enjoying their newfound freedom by setting up their office anywhere—from their couch to the back of a van to a far-flung country—resulting in a digital nomad norm. Now, though, the trend is taking sustainability into account: Digital slomads (shorthand for slow-traveling digital nomads) are on the rise.
In terms of a more eco-friendly way to travel the world, digital slomads have cracked the code, opting to prioritize exploration sans a substantial environmental footprint. So, what’s their secret?
Digital slomads are in no rush, opting instead to stay awhile before jetting off to their next destination.
Digital Slomads and Sustainability
For many, sustainability is not taken into account when planning frequent excursions. For digital slomads, it’s at the heart of their plans. They fly less, stay put for longer periods of time, and give back to the communities that welcome them. Sound appealing? It’s also attainable—and eco-friendly.
According to a 2022 survey from Fiverr and Lonely Planet, about 25% of "anywhere workers" consider themselves to be slomads, sticking to single locations for extended periods of time.
The decision comes with personal and environmental benefits. In booking sustainable housing for longer durations of time, slomads are not only occupying a more eco-friendly residence, they're also flying less—and considering that one flight burns 8,255 gallons of fuel, that choice is a sound one.
Slomads and Cultural Respect
By staying put for a few months or even a few years (visas permitting, of course), slomads are immersing themselves in (and thus better respecting) area culture whilst limiting their fossil fuels by decreasing their travel. The distinction between tourist and traveler is often down to the amount of attention one pays to the people, customs, and daily workings of a place—living somewhere rather than passing quickly through allows the time for this learning.
Visiting lesser-known destinations offers an opportunity to contribute to a community's economy, and some slow travelers even find ways to participate in green projects or nonprofits while visiting their destination. Participating in beach cleanups, for example, is a simple, low-cost way to give back while traveling. Some programs—like WWOOF—exist on a larger scale, encouraging nomadic spirits to engage in sustainable farming practices when they're not working remotely.
As the WFH trend continues to grow, paying attention will be paramount. Some countries, like Portugal, are offering visas for digital nomads, encouraging those who work remotely to set up shop in their historic cities. Others may not be so keen on the idea of a shifting citizenry—even a temporary one.
The world is opening up in a revolutionary way. If you decide to take your work on the go, get real about your why and travel as consciously as possible. The planet will thank you for it.
Is Remote Work Better for the Planet? 6 Ways to Work from Home Sustainably
Here's exactly how to work from home sustainably, from energy use to waste.
10 Ways to Travel Ethically and Sustainably
Odds are, you're traveling in the next few months. Here are a few tips on how to make a big difference for the world while jetsetting.
How Your Travel Habits Affect Climate Change
Indré Rockefeller, the co-founder of sustainable travel goods company Paravel, chatted with us about her top sustainable travel tips, a meaningful trip to Antartica, and more.