The Whole World is Our Home, In A Lot of Ways
“Every time I try to create a home, it ends up being a prison. So I stopped trying. I got rid of all of my stuff. Now I live in coffee shops, in the streets, in bars… I come and go as I please. I stay when I want, I leave when I want. And it works, for now…?” -Anonymous.
“For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. The open road still softly calls, like a nearly forgotten song of childhood.” -Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot.
The future of a generation.
Over the last few months, as I’ve wandered the streets of San Francisco and parsed the depths of the Internet, I’ve started to see an interesting trend.
A year ago I seemed like a radical when I tossed out all of my stuff. A year ago, when I jumped on a plane and headed to the other side of the country, I seemed like a prophet — now everyone’s doing it. A growing legion of surprising individuals are living this way, and it seems absolutely natural to most.
Yes, you can point to the few that come back and settled back down in Kansas and say that location independence is only a temporary escapade. However, you can always find the few who change their minds and hit the road again. For every one who gives up, there are 10 free individuals who are out there exploring.
And the numbers keep growing.
Three years ago I saw my generation banging their head against a wall trying to be professionals like their parents told them to. Now I see my generation as something entirely new. A class of people that never existed before. We’re Jack Kerouacs tapped into the 3G network.
As Colin Wright recently said in his interview with Nina Yau: “The whole world is my home, in a lot of ways.”
There have always been wanderers, but we’re different.
There have always been the wandering few. Hippydippy gutter punks, begging for money on the street, and Vagabonders who saved up a few thousands dollars before taking off for a three month stint in east Asia, coming back when they ran out of cash to save up in their mom’s basement to rejoin society.
But this generation (yours and mine — and this generation is vast, I’m seeing people doing this who are 18, I’m seeing people doing this who are 60) is different. We have the ability to live anywhere perpetually.
The difference I think is this: The Internet is caring for our wellbeing.
Before the web, we were isolated and alone. We had to tether ourselves to a company that would take care of us (until they didn’t need us anymore.) Leaving was a big deal, because there was no way to live and work from anywhere. Now? I don’t have to leave my friends when I go places.
I can see my friend Rachel Sol playing with baby tigers and riding on elephants in Bangkok. I can keep track of my buddy Chris Dame as he adventures around the world. I can Skype with anyone, anywhere and see their faces.
And we can talk about the money-making potential of the Internet all day long, but I’ve already pretty much covered that in Minimalist Business.
The barriers between people are breaking down.
A few years ago, it was really weird to meet people off the Internet. Now I’d never meet people any other way (except at Yoga class.)
Now every week I go to yoga class with a person or two who I met off the Internet (next week Maren Kate! Yay!)
For this generation, the barriers are gone. In fact, we know for a fact that using Twitter, blogs, etc is a much better way to meet your people. The whole random night out thing seems antiquated in comparison to identifying friends who have incredibly similar interests to you in the soup of society.
I’m starting to be more comfortable meeting people from the online space than I am with random strangers. It’s just so much more useful.
Some of my best friends these days are entrepreneurs and bloggers who I met through the online social space — and anywhere I go there’s the potential of meeting a brand-new pool of people who are doing similar work to me instantly via these tools. This wasn’t possible, everything has changed.
The idea of what we were going to be become is dead, and we’re in this weird new space before the next level begins.
If that’s me lying there, than what am I?
The aspect of this whole equation that’s been puzzling me is this: who are we?
We’re this mobile generation that lives out of bags. We outsource most of our needs to the society we left. We don’t consume. We work from anywhere. We aren’t afraid of the world anymore. We have no boundaries.
I’m looking for a word to describe this, but I can’t find it. Location- independent doesn’t cut it. Minimalist doesn’t cut it. The New Rich doesn’t cut it. Sean Bonner tried to label us Technomads — maybe that works?
I suppose in the end a name is just a name is just a name. We are who we are. Deep down we know that we’re different than the rest of settled societies. We know we’re the future of everything.
There are very real issues that we need to discuss or discover though. How do we deal with relationships in a location independent world? How can we develop more support systems for perpetual travelers? Is living this way for everyone, or just a small group of brave individuals? What will our generation look like when we suddenly all have headsets that read our bra inwaves (we will all have these in 3 years, I will write blog posts with my brain)? These are all real questions, but I don’t have all the answers.
This much is true: I have a feeling living this way is a lot more natural to us than sitting alone in front of a TV in the suburbs.
We’re the hunters, the explorers of the new era — and every day more of you join us.