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Liberated Life

Nomads Past and Present – The Major Differences

If you google for nomads in the past and today, you often only get to school or university projects that are based on book knowledge and traditionally define nomadism. It seems that nomads cannot come without camel and desert. But that is nonsense.

Laptop mit Strand und Surfer Nomade

Are There Still Nomads?

Yes, but traditional nomadism has declined due to globalization. A greater, more modern nomadism - digital nomadism - has developed in the 21st century. As of 2019, there probably are already be about 5 million digital nomads worldwide. However, the figures remain uncertain due to the lack of good sources.

Nomads Today - A Comparison

Digital Nomads Past and Present Infographic Comparison

No Camels, but even more Mobile

Sure. The desert peoples adapt and do camel tours and other tourist attractions. They are the classic nomads of the past, who have adapted as much as possible to modern times. Therefore they also use cars and smartphones.

While mechanization is advancing rapidly, digital nomadism has developed in recent years. Digital nomads are more likely to be found in airplanes than on camels. Their desert is the world and mega metropolises. Their business models are diverse and always closely intertwined with the digital world.

So today nomads are mainly digital. They don't have a residence or if they do, it's only on paper. Because they also need an address for many things. Examples: Banks and apps for payment transactions, driving services and SIM cards in the different countries visited.

No Desert, but also no Taxes

A characteristic of many digital nomads today is their freedom from any income tax. What is the reason for this? They set up companies in countries that tax territorially. This means that someone with a Canada LLP only has to pay taxes when he sells to Canadians. 

With this gained freedom, they have to earn less, because gross = net. If necessary, they get themselves a VAT tax ID in Estonia, in order to be able to act also in Europe without tax liability.

Minimalism in Abundance

Even today nomads are very minimalistic. They usually have only a backpack and their technical equipment they need to work. This is usually done on a laptop or smartphone. To be able to do this, they back up their data in a cloud infrastructure. Here you can see what digital nomads are working from any place in the world.

The minimalism, however, shows itself differently, since today almost all data and many pleasures can be digitized. So a person can carry his whole life in a backpack and still have quite a few possibilities. He rents affordably what he needs and uses geoarbitrage. Being single, some nomads can even fly for free.

No Self-Sufficiency, but Geoarbitrage

Nomads used to be self-sufficient. Digital nomads, in turn, are dependent in a very special way. In the past it was the weather, for nomads of today it is the internet, which has to play along for good success.

Using geoarbitrage, in turn, means that digital nomads often work in countries where they have much more purchasing power with the money from expensive countries. We therefore like to be in South-East Asia and enjoy the best weather.

The Oases have Changed

Whereas the oasis used to be a camel watering hole and a place of happy rest, digital nomads use their mobility and geoarbitrage to bathe in their own pools and indulge in the affordable nightlife of the big cities. Of course there are other types of nomads as well. Everyone defines their own personal oasis.

Learn More about the Life of the Digital Nomads Today

Nomads in the past and today are therefore different in many ways. We have created a comprehensive blog that will help you become a digital nomad as well. This blog will give you a lot of help on the topic of nomadism.

Read now on about the lifestyle of digital nomads.

What do you think about nomads in the past and today? Do you think our comparison is plausible or have we forgotten something? Share your thoughts with us.