Digital Nomads: The New Comanches of the Tech Age

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." -Henry David Thoreau

2 min read

Mitchell Pousson II / December 22, 2019

Digital. Nomad. Two words that seem totally contradictory to one another at first glance.

I still remember hearing it used in a sentence for the first time and the way it hooked my attention like a fish opening for bait. Except this was no bait.

This was a new way of living (sort of) or better yet old values that had finally reached a new age.

Could I really work from anywhere in the world? Why doesn’t everybody do this?

Why do graduates usher themselves so quickly into cubicles and 9-5’s when this extraordinary lifestyle is quite literally at hand?

Questions that needed answering.

My fingertips navigating the keyboard while my wrists hoverd just above the mouse to its left and right, I typed the word Pioneers. Perfect, I thought.

Pioneer: “a person who is among the first to explore or settle a new country or area (1) or develop or be the first to use or apply a new method, area of knowledge, or activity (2).”

This definition worked in reconfirming my belief that digital nomads are indeed the present day pioneers of the tech age. Second thoughts however almost always call for revisions. So like anybody taking a stab at comparative truth, I discovered the word to be inadequate when defining what digital nomads truly are in today’s world.

The Comanches roamed the Great Plains of North America long before any person of European descent would step foot on their land. Their reputation as fierce warriors made them well respected and even feared among settlers and other Native American tribes. It is said the European explorers envied their ability to live nomadically throughout the country. One historical record shows that teenage Comanche males were considered by the European settlers to be the “freest of people” because of their inherent skills to survive anywhere in North America.

Although the explorers and pioneers of the new world were more technologically advanced than the Natives, their main mission was to settle somewhere in the countryside and eventually begin creating cities similar to the ones they came from. The early explorations of the Americas can be traced to a paper trail paved with the desire to attain wealth outside of their homelands. On the contrary, the Comanches and other Native American tribes moved nomadically throughout the terrain following the food that sustained them. They were after substance, not wealth.

So what does this have to do with digital nomads?

Two lesser-known definitions of the word Freedom: “the state of being physically unrestricted and able to move easily (1) and the power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity (2).”

Today’s digital nomads travel the world sustaining themselves on local wifi networks. It’s not always a glamorous lifestyle but it’s one of great freedom.

No office cubicle, no 9-5, and nobody telling you how to spend your day. They live life on their own terms through cultivating unique skills such as writing, coding, and designing (alongside many more) that allow them the freedom to work anywhere in the world.

This abundantly free lifestyle can be compared to the Comanches’ way of living. They roamed the great plains with only a spear in hand hunting down wild game before falling asleep beneath the stars. Similarly, many digital nomads explore the globe with only the clothes on their backs and a laptop that offers streams of revenue at their fingertips.

Are you a pioneer? Somebody looking to settle and accumulate wealth.

Or a Comanche? Somebody who is free in every sense of the word.

It’s not for everybody but if you are the type of person who craves adventure and a sense of autonomy, it may be for you.

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