A Brief History of Digital Nomading

I am very lucky to consider myself a digital nomad and I believe that it is a lifestyle which is only going to get bigger and more popular in the future. The term digital nomad refers to anyone who is traveling the world and working from their laptop in the process, or indeed anyone who is working remotely as they travel.

The benefits of this lifestyle are abundantly clear and that is location independence, the holy grail for so many of us who just want to see the world, and want to make some money as we go. I was chatting to a friend recently about the roots of digital nomadism, and this is a brief history for you.


Make no mistake, people have be roaming the world in this way for many years, the difference being that in the past this lifestyle would involve stopping for a while to work in a bar or on a farm before moving on, a simpler time perhaps. In 1997 however there was a book released by the publishing company Wiley by Tsugio Makimoto and David Manners, who used this term to describe those working remotely and traveling, adding that:

“Digital nomads may also sell a number of possessions in order to make travel easier, and may also sell or rent their house”

Location Independence

This was a phrase which was brought about by Lea Woodward in 2006 when she was discussing the digital nomad lifestyle, suggesting that there had been many who were location independent long before the digital side of things came into play.

Steve Roberts

One of the first digital nomads is considered to be a guy called Steve Roberts who in 1983 rode on a computerized bicycle and made money as he traveled.

Rolling On

The internet of course is what turned this unpopular way of life into something which students and young adventurous types the world over would give their right arm to join in with, and as communications became faster, closer and more global, digital nomads started to appear form all over the world.


Hubs have opened up all over the world where many digital nomads can be found, places like Chiang Mai in Thailand and Mexico City are two examples of this, so too is Berlin. These hubs are created because of the low cost of living and whilst there have been additional benefits such as the ability to network, the truth is that digital nomads generally start off finding things difficult, and that is why they gravitate to lower cost areas.


Business has changed over the years but generally we see the likes of content writers, freelance graphic designers, web designers and also some who buy and sell web real estate. There are many ways to make money online and those with a desire to live on the road will find them.

It this a lifestyle which you could see yourself getting involved with?