How to Make a Difference as a Digital Nomad?
4 December 2018
Travelling as a digital nomad is a privilege that exposes you to a variety of different experiences and cultures across the world. In return, as nomads, we tend to have a more conscious approach to our travelling, and naturally, want to do good by giving back to the local communities we visit. Not only does it help the people that need it, but you feel good about doing it too.
Here are some ways to make a difference while nomading:
One easy way to start making a difference is by volunteering. You can easily reach out to a local charity or non-profit organization and volunteer your time and effort with them. This can be done on a regular or ad-hoc basis so that you can contribute even when you may not be a long-term resident.
Several remote opportunities like Habitat for Humanity or Doctors Without Borders base their programmes on overseas volunteer work. Alternatively, there are several travel retreats that are organised with an objective based solely on volunteering abroad. Not only are you able to travel to different countries, but you would be connecting with other travellers and local communities on meaningful projects. As a nomad, you may find you have the flexibility and time to join such a programme and contribute to a cause to which you are passionate.
Another great way to contribute is to teach abroad. Most of the programmes focus on teaching English language skills to students in less developed countries, but you can find other programmes where you can teach specific professional skills. For example, you could teach skills in early childhood development, healthcare, computer literacy, and business to local adult communities.
This is a great chance to share your expertise with people who really need them. By paying it forward with your knowledge, you are teaching others valuable skills. While we may take this for granted, some of these skills are essential for survival and development in their everyday lives. And many communities you encounter while travelling the world may not have access to these services.
While travelling, making international friends and experiencing different diverse cultures, you may also start to notice specific social causes that draw your attention. If you are passionate about these causes, you can use your social media platform to raise awareness and educate others.
For example, instead of posting just about the sights in the new country that you’ve just visited, mention the local charity that you volunteer with or the challenges that you’ve heard the locals are facing. Educate rather than just entertain your followers, friends, and family, and they will get to see your “resident” countries from a different perspective. It is possible to make a difference even with a simple action.
Travel Slowly for a Smaller Impact
As nomads, we’re aware of how travelling increases one’s carbon footprint on the environment. One way to solve that issue is to slow travel. Slow travel simply means staying in the same spot for longer periods of time, often 3 to 6 months or more. Not only does this lower the amount of pollution you are creating from transportation, but it also allows you to slow down and more fully enjoy your destinations.
These days, it’s no longer about ticking off every single destination on your checklist but taking the time to fully immerse yourself in the local culture and way of life. With longer stays, you can get connected with local communities and find meaningful ways to contribute. As a ‘local expat,’ for example, you will be contributing to the local economy and ecosystem by spending your dollars at shops serving local food, thus reducing your carbon footprint. And by staying in each place longer, you can reduce the number of flights that you take and travel overland via bus or train, thus saving on fuel.
With all these tips focused on giving back to the people around you, it’s no wonder that nomads love to volunteer and make a difference. It not only makes you feel good, promotes positive feelings like optimism and empathy, it also helps you to connect with others and build stronger local communities, giving you a more holistic experience while nomading.