One Way Ticket: The Digital Nomad Documentary
My friend Youjin has created, produced, and directed a One Way Ticket, a documentary focused on digital nomads. With the rise of the digital nomad is this the future or just a passing fad? This digital nomad documentary focuses on the hurdles and issues surrounding the supposed “dream life.”
The Digital Nomad Documentary was a three-year project and I’m SO proud of Youjin and her team for this accomplishment. It’s been a long journey with the whole team searching for sponsors, traveling, filming, interviewing, and post-production work.
If you’ve donated or sponsored the project, she gave pre-access to the documentary, which is why I was able to watch it over the holidays. I (and my dad!) was also interviewed by Youjin and the film features the both of us!
Multiple topics are brought up in One Way Ticket: A digital nomad documentary
A number of remote companies are interviewed for the digital nomad documentary. Every founder was questioned why and how they came up with the decision to be fully remote. There are pros and cons to every way of running a company and they gave reasons about why working remote works for them.
Why do people choose this new digital nomad lifestyle?
Youjin connected with people far and wide to answer this question and there are many reasons why people choose to be digital nomads. The main answer (everywhere and not just in this film) has been the flexibility to do and live however you want. My main reason is to travel, see the world, and escape from my own personal problem of loneliness. The answer if traveling resolved that problem is left for another day.
Can families travel as digital nomads or is it only for young single people?
I really enjoyed how Youjin found families as well as people from different age groups to interview. There’s always the question of, “Can a family be nomadic?” and I think in every possible sense – yes. It’s just the HOW is the hard part and some families give their answers to this difficult question.
How do people sustain this digital nomad lifestyle?
This is probably the question that every digital nomad gets asked about their life. “How do you do it?” There are so many answers to this question and depending on what you do for a living, there can be some judgment on it.
On one side, you have remote workers toiling away at their remote company living a fine & normal life – just outside the office. Then you have the freelancers doing the same thing but for themselves. Then you have the type of nomad that’s very entrepreneurial. Some veer to the side of being creators – building products of value and unleashing them out to the public. They tend to have successful companies or products (example: Pieter Levels, Jay from Moo.do, Joel from Buffer, etc.). The other side of the same coin is…drop shippers, and what I call, “selling bullshit.”
These types of nomads sell you a bullshit sandwich by wrapping it in glitter. They tell you that you’ll be a millionaire living on an island sipping on a margarita in a month. They do this by creating products that give “value” but it’s really a bullshit sandwich. One example is of an E-book on “How to live the dream life.” Another is being a life coach (when they’re 24 and have no real life experience themselves). Their way of making money is by bullshitting many people to buy their useless products. This method of making a living works well (sometimes). However, most nomads are angry because the first stereotype of a nomad is now a douche bag selling you the dream life in FB ads.
What are the cons and drawbacks?
There are definitely some drawbacks to the nomadic lifestyle. The interviewees have made it a point that being homesick and lonely is one of the biggest cons of this life. Some of them explained how they overcame it while some still struggle with close connections. Dating while nomadic is also quite different since we’re constantly on the road. With technology, there are many different ways (dating sites, apps like Tinder & Grindr) to meet people now and you’ll see the wide range of opinions on them. I spoke about my experiences feeling lonely (while on and off the road) and about my love life. Other people explained how they met their significant other while nomadic.
Another point Youjin brings up is the demographics of digital nomads. Let’s not beat around the bush here. Right now, digital nomads are (mostly) white privileged males (some females) leaving their developed & modern society to go live in most developing countries to start a company or travel and see the world. There were good points about how to travel & being nomadic is a real privilege and gives food for thought on more.
This digital nomad documentary or One Way Ticket offers solid information on who and what digital nomads are, the rise, and possibly downfall and offers some more insight into the future of the nomadic lifestyle.
Follow Youjin on her next documentary (focusing on South Korea!).