11.30am. August 15th. It’s a Monday morning in London. The workforce of the city have long since rolled out of bed, stumbled to their chosen form of transport and elbowed their way towards a seat for their 50 minute (if you're lucky) commute to central London. Cursing the crowds as they go, grabbing a quick Starbucks before settling down at their desk for the day. Five thirty hits (5.30 is the new 5) and they join the throngs of commuters back towards the underground to do it all over again, tomorrow and the next day, and the next day and the next day. The weekend being their only source of hope and we all know that's over before we know it, with only the dull headache of a hangover remaining as Monday rolls around, again.
Appealing? Well, there must be something pretty great about it. Otherwise, why would hundreds of our graduates and skilled workers flock to this extortionately expensive city, to live in a glorified cupboard, for £1400 a month excluding bills.
As a soon to be graduate the idea of getting a job in London is something drilled into you as the pinnacle of ones career. A job in London can be easily perceived as successful by friends and family members back home, it doesn't really matter if your life isn't all that successful. Save the living for retirement.
My Monday morning has been a little different. After a summer of internships with different design firms, I find myself in London with a week to spare. I woke up at 9.45am, (my alarm had gone off at 8am but I turned that shit straight off.) I then showered, flung on some jeans, t-shirt and flip flops leaving the pencil skirt and blouse hanging in my wardrobe. Grabbing my laptop I set off for a 10 minutes walk in the sunshine from my studio flat towards a trendy independent, cycle themed, coffee shop in south east London. I sat down, ordered my coffee, and pulled my laptop from my backpack, instantly joining the Mac club of about 20 other punters there to do exactly the same thing as me. Work.
Digital Nomads. Remote workers. Freelancers. Unemployed. Millennials. Bums. There are a number of names floating around to describe this sub-culture of workers. But the professions are even more diverse, designers, coders, accountants, lawyers, professors, entrepreneurs, the list goes on. These are people who have made the conscious decision to not work in an office, to make their own hours, to strive towards work-life balance and avoid the daily slog of a commute, an office cubicle and all the other dire consequences that come with a secure successful job in the city.
Over the course of the next few months, I’ll be delving into the life of these digital nomads. Who they are, what they do and why they do it. Trying to answer the questions everyone else is thinking:
Do you make any money?
Is this the future of modern day work?
Is it sustainable?
Is it something I want to do?
I want to know if this way of working and living is actually all it's cracked up to be or just a romanticised notion thought up by artisan coffee loving hipsters that are soon going to run out of money and be forced to go and find a ‘proper job’. But all in good time, for now, I’m just going to order another Americano.