By Rae Hadley
How to live and work in a digital nomad community, reigniting creativity and making your inner artist ‘pop.’
Modern life is incredible! The virtual world at our fingertips and the capacity for ‘remote’ working can make the most exotic places seem imaginable as our temporary homes. Life today as a digital nomad provides amazing opportunities at the speed of your wireless connection and the flexibility of a self-determined work schedule. Unfortunately, the positive transience of this lifestyle can degrade into unhappy isolation and a distressing decrease in creativity and productivity. But it doesn’t have to.
Albert Einstein is famous for saying “creativity is contagious, pass it on!” Short term co-living and working can create a time and space of intense personal growth and learning which can alleviate these maladies and provide a much needed springboard for artistic endeavours. The maelstrom of The Muse (generated by a gathering of creators) cannot fail to enliven and ignite your own processes.
Here are some considerations which will aid in the forming of a positive co-living/working space, ensuring that all flourish within it.
While this seems obvious, respect is incredibly important to mention and more important to give, especially when faced with a ‘challenging’ critique of our work, the stress of deadlines, or a personality clash.
As artists, facing difficult experiences are an important part of our growth and can lift us beyond relentless self doubt and criticism.Taking personal responsibility for communicating in the spirit of respect for ourselves and others is key. We are the community, no exception. Having this as the bedrock of experience provides a positive level of emotional safety, within which we can all move towards the best versions of our artistic and personal selves.
Tip: Practising respect, empathy, and compassion is about taking a few moments, a few breaths, and seeing beyond the “I’m right, you are wrong” dualism into a healthy understanding and awareness of “self” and others.
This way of communicating has the potential to be a “win win” situation, with both initiator and recipient having their underlying needs validated and an honest, mutually beneficial goal being identified and achieved. Over time, this translates into greater trust of ourselves, others, and a stronger community vibe.
Being present and having an openness towards (a curiosity for) the breadth of ‘creativity’ that is on offer from the people with whom you share space can lead you to amazing places.
Who knows what ‘Eureka’ moments will spring from a chance invitation to yoga on the terrace, a hike in the jungle, or a poolside drink with a new friend talking about their current favourite photographer/musician, of whom you have never heard.
Doing things together is also a form of emotional glue which allows community to go beyond just a group of individuals inhabiting the same space to ‘the community’ becoming a living entity in its own right. Artistically and psychologically, that shift is immensely important, highly beneficial to all, and incredibly cool.
Tip: Whenever possible, say “Yes!” No thinking, no weighing of options, just say yes. As artists we know that being open-minded, openhearted, and intellectually and artistically curious can lead us to creative gold.
“You do you.” Being our authentic selves gives us the opportunity to have that Self validated and to develop our self confidence. Honesty is also about appropriately managing any personal issues as they occur rather than letting them fester–not necessarily easy but an essential part of the smooth running of any living and working environment. Addressing these issues promptly ensures that they don’t wreak havoc on the integrity of the whole community.
Tip: Find a trusted, willing third party to act as mediator or unbiased sounding board if it’s an internal issue, set up a time-limited discussion and work towards a mutually positive solution. Do this early on before the air becomes thick with unspoken resentment, thereby preventing others from suffering with emotional blocks and stress as well as keeping your own mental space and creative flow clear.
“Creativity takes Courage”
The courage to be honest, to be vulnerable, to take risks and to evolve as an artist and individual–this is what Henri Mastisse meant when he said “creativity takes courage.” Being part of a group gives myriad opportunities for the emotional stretch, growth, and support we so often need and it’s all there for the taking–if we are prepared to give it the necessary effort.
Weather your artistic and social storms, utilise your amazing group. You will reach creative shores you never dreamed of and find vistas stretched out before you which, without your group (in whatever way they manifest), you might never have been able to reach alone!