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Chapter 5: A Lifestyle, Not a Job: Digital Nomad Everyday Lives and Productivity
After having identified who the digital nomads and what is the motivations behind their decision are, I will try to answer my second research question and take a closer look at their travel patterns, everyday lives and practices. Specifically, I will investigate the formation of connections, rituals, productivity and everyday work/life routine, in a mobile lifestyle that is – seemingly – independent of any localities and limits.
Additionally, in a deeper level, I will attempt to decipher the inevitable connections that digital nomads form with physical spaces all over the world. Namely, what constitutive factors generate a sense of “home” out of home and how the digital nomads’ social lives are affected by their mobility.
5.1 Travel Patterns
According to the theoretical model introduced by Mokhtarian and Salomon (1996), technological advancements have proved instrumental for travel. As the workforce renegotiates the relationship between time, space, and locality, new behaviors, rituals and communication patterns emerge (O’Brien, 2011). However, there is a significant gap between being able to work from anywhere and traveling the whole world while working. One would imagine that not having to go to work every morning would be perfectly adequate for many people. However, as we have seen up until now, travel itself is not a sufficient motivator (Franks, 2016). There are instead, other factors at play, which will be analyzed at a later stage. Mokhtarian’s and Salomon’s model of the internal decision-making process involved in travel (P L Mokhtarian & Salomon, 1994) determines the numerous factors at play when people decide to adopt this “alternative” way of life.
A search for an improved work/life balance and the fact that in this case mobility is a choice categorizes digital nomads under the general label of "lifestyle migration" (Benson & O’reilly, 2009).
Despite the links between the two, it is important not to reduce lifestyle migration to tourism as this undermines the diverse motivations and experiences of the migrants. Not all lifestyle migration began as tourism, and there has yet to be an adequate explanation
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