How to be a DIG­I­TAL SET­TLER

Build a GLOBAL pro­file WITHOUT even PACK­ING a SUIT­CASE. Col­lec­tive Hub’s ed­i­tor shares her SE­CRETS to set­tled suc­cess.

Collective Hub - - FASHION - WORDS AMY MOL­LOY For more, visit @amy_­mol­loy

You don’t need to go far to find free­dom. This is the mes­sage of a new move­ment of ‘dig­i­tal set­tlers’. The term, used by Ger­man blog­ger Nik­las Göke, refers to some­one who uses tech­nol­ogy that en­ables them to work from any­where – and chooses to stay close to home in­stead.

“My friends com­mend me for the high-de­gree-of-free­dom life I’ve built,” writes Nik­las. “I agree, it’s sat­is­fy­ing. Be­cause just like I can re­lo­cate to­mor­row, I’m free to go to the same café, sit at the same place, and do my work. Most of the hap­pi­ness you gain from work­ing for your­self comes from hav­ing a choice.”

Years ago, I wrote a book named Di­ary of a Dig­i­tal No­mad: How to Run Away with Your Re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. I doc­u­mented my ‘work­ca­tion’ around South Amer­ica, and how I used tech­nol­ogy to make it pos­si­ble. These days, as a new mum of two, I use the same tricks and tech I used as a work­ing back­packer to build a global pro­file, while rarely leav­ing my post­code.

Want to be an am­bi­tious home­body? Here’s how:


Even though there’s no lug­gage re­stric­tion on your life, don’t over­load your­self. I still do 90 per cent of my work on my iPad with a blue­tooth key­board, rather than car­ry­ing a lap­top. Avoid­ing a heavy back­pack has a men­tal ef­fect – in­stantly I feel freer and lib­er­ated. The down­side of an iPad ex­is­tence? Eye strain! I wear blue-blocker glasses from Bax­ter Blue to re­duce the side-ef­fects.


In a sur­vey of work-from-homers by McCrindle, the most com­mon down­side is so­cial iso­la­tion. The an­swer? Find a sec­ond home – a lo­cal café, co-work­ing space or li­brary where you feel cre­atively alive and so­cially sup­ported. Choose some­where with nat­u­ral sun­light, vis­i­ble green­ery and just the right amount of am­bi­ent noise – a key in­gre­di­ent for a pro­duc­tive en­vi­ron­ment, ac­cord­ing to re­search.


The most ef­fec­tive dig­i­tal set­tlers are dis­cern­ing about in­vites they ac­cept. I’ll drive three hours for a six-minute tele­vi­sion seg­ment about my lat­est book, The World is a Nice Place, be­cause of its shar­ing power. I won’t do the same for a net­work­ing meet­ing I can host on Zoom in­stead. Don’t feel guilty for sug­gest­ing a vir­tual al­ter­na­tive. Your as­so­ciate might be grate­ful to stay at home, too.


Some of the best ideas come when you’re in a plane or on a train, forced to slow down and lis­ten. Now that a com­mute isn’t nec­es­sary, man­u­fac­ture that think­ing space any­way. Take a scenic drive or go on an inessen­tial walk while lis­ten­ing to a pod­cast or au­dio book. When the founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely, lived right near her of­fice, she’d ‘fake a com­mute’ every day and drive aim­lessly around At­lanta be­cause it al­lowed her to get in some brain­storm­ing time.


I edited this en­tire mag­a­zine re­motely. Did you guess? Of course not! When I be­came ed­i­tor of Col­lec­tive Hub, my per­sonal sit­u­a­tion (liv­ing in Kiama with a new­born) meant com­mut­ing to the city was a no-no. I had faith my geo­graphic lo­ca­tion wouldn’t af­fect my com­mit­ment to the mag­a­zine, and it hasn’t. We send a lot of Slack mes­sages! It also helps to have a boss who be­lieves in you, too (thanks LM!).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.