It’s time to look beyond the headlines of trends, like bleisure, and understand that at the root, more and more people want a whole life. But most trends today are tied with how organizations can be profitable and what market can be captured. But as we look beyond the trends, what is at the root of the shifts we are seeing from an individual and collective perspective?
Over the past year, since I became location independent, I have made eight hops over three countries, and a few continents. It was still possible to travel despite the headlines. Things were different like one of the planes had a total of 50 passengers on an international route and was mostly used to transport cargo according to Hans, the flight attendant.
I learn a great deal by talking to people on the road who openly share their stories. Hans and I spent over an hour talking about his dreams and some challenges with his partner. I had a copy of one of my books that I gave him and he gave me a big hug when we arrived at our destination. It was a very special experience that I would never had if the flight was booked. I also learned a lot about what was happening inside the airline firsthand.
A few days ago I started a new adventure and am super excited about continuing to trek into the unknown. When people ask me where I am going back to, I tell them there’s no back, only forward motion right now. That’s what happens when we are location independent; the traditional questions that we identify each other by are no longer relevant.
Young people immediately ask me if they can join me as they dream of traveling. Then, there are others who think I am nuts and I am sure they’re right. And there are those who share that they wish they could adopt this lifestyle. And I ask, why can’t you?
The next question I get is what I do for a living and I say, there’s no separation, I live. I am a lifeaholic. And when there are more questions and dialogue, I share a bit about what my co-creators and I are working on now. And how much I love technology when we integrate it into our lives and have it support us across time zones and locations.
It’s interesting how many people have never heard of a digital nomad or location independent lifestyle. I had a ride sharing driver raising a five year old who was so curious about this way of living that by the time we reached my destination, she jumped out of her car, gave me a hug and said, see you in Estonia. I shared with her that there are now digital nomad visas and co-living options for foreigners.
Since the current world loves division and classification, we now not only have this superficial and mythical division between work and life, we have people talking again about bleisure; coined in 2009 by the Future Laboratory, a business consulting group.
Bleisure is the merging of travel with how we work, and live. The blending of personal and business travel is now being widely discussed, post-pandemic. Companies allow employees to merge their travel plans. Some employers have bleisure policies in place that provide discounts and packages for employees. In this scenario, for the travel business, we are talking about bigger spends by consumers.
But the digital nomad, location independent adventurer is seeing this as a way of life, which means choosing co-living options that are being produced by larger companies like Selina, Outsite and hotel chains who are starting to provide long-term furnished rentals. And there are also individuals setting up co-living spaces all over the world. Here are some in Spain, France, Thailand, for example, or Colombia.
All this goes back to the seven signposts for the 21st century I cover in my book, Our Journey to Corporate Sanity (2016). It’s funny looking back right now as when I authored the book, I was writing about how we can create thriving organizations in this century. But I have learned since then that it is all about each of us becoming conscious leaders of our lives.
Once we each become conscious leaders (1) with shared purpose (2) on the road of being whole (3) we learn integration (4) create new ways of being to support our whole selves (5) co-create what we need (6) and lifework (7). There is no separation or division required on this journey. And these seven are customized by each of us; there is no one-size-fits-all unless we are an extra-large t-shirt.
Life and Work or Personal and Business don’t require merging or blending when we realize there is only life. And focus on making a life, where work is just part of it. Like music and sound, there is an opening for harmony, rhythm and balance.
We are only starting to experiment as new ways of living (and working) are being created by us. We can give our trust to algorithms (likes, favorites and predictability) and people who have proven to be untrustworthy, or we can tap into our own intelligence and live like never before.
Nomads of all ages are adopting a different way of life where so much information and advice is shared in online groups and communities.
What is happening overall is that we are each starting to understand that we no longer need to be passive participants but it is up to us to hold companies, governments and ourselves accountable for the choices we make.
From the book: “Sometimes you need to put the map down. No one has the course charted for you, no matter how much they may try to convince you that they know what you need in your life right now.
Even in this book, I have introduced the seven signposts knowing full well that there are many more paths for us to take beyond what has been outlined here. Whatever your path, it is vividly and painfully clear that we have to stop the insanity of putting profits ahead of people, and evolve the world of work as a more purpose-driven experience.
My hope is that by experiencing your own journey with greater self-awareness and more focused intention, you can engage in more profound conversations, ask more questions, connect more deeply with others, and co-create new stories for our planet.”