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  • Matthew Young

A Nomad's Guide to Self Actualization

Listen here, I am by no means someone with the capacity to solve the everyone's problems. I don’t believe there is any one person that is. And yet it seems that we are dispositioned to look for others to do our hard work for us. Or at least tell us what to do and how to do it. If it works, we call them a hero, if not, we can blame them accordingly. But I don’t see the purpose of this hierarchical system anymore. Why can’t we find solutions without scapegoating or idealizing individuals? Do we need a super human to save us, or can we do it on our own? Perhaps this Nomad's guide can help.

Now hear me out, the digital nomad cult that we are subscribed to is a special group of people that have broken the bonds of society to make their own choices in regards to their time. Liberated and emancipated, as long as a paycheck comes in, we are free to spend our time wherever and however we want. But other than flying to distant lands purely for the pleasures of worldly travel, why are we living life like this? It is my theory that if we refer to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, those of us living the nomadic life have achieved most of the required levels, and are now in the final phase of life; self actualization.

What is self actualization?

This is the point where you are ready to blossom into that beautiful butterfly, achieve your final form beyond the super saiyan, be the person you know you can be. The super human, enlightened, without fear and in perfect balance, you can take on all of life with grace and leave the world better than you found it. For the sake of good reading, I’ll elaborate more on Maslow’s needs, but if you’d rather skip ahead to the point of this article, head down to the title “Why are we nomadic.” Otherwise, a little refresher on Maslow’s pyramid scheme. I mean, diagram... not a scam. We’ll start from the bottom and work our way up, and for a little extra fun, I’ll add the nomad twist to it.

Physiological needs

This is the basic stuff; food, shelter, sleep, what we need to survive. It’s safe to say we learned most of this stuff while we were pretty young, and have to be in a real dire situation to jeopardize anything in this phase. I’m looking at you begbackers. If you’re on the street corner hopping the charity of others will fund your trip, you’re kind of at the bottom of the totem pole of nomading. Not only are you endangering your own life, you’re certainly not helping the rest of us.

Safety needs

Next step is about security. Not everyone has the luxury of safety in their daily lives. Political or racial oppression, family struggles or steady income. This is neither guaranteed nor a permanent state for us. Rather it fluctuates with our surrounding environment, and may be the motivation for nomading in the first place. Immigrants often choose to leave their homes with nothing simply because it is no longer safe. Dreams of a better life tell us to seek out saftey elsewhere for our own prosperity.

Social belonging

Here we find a lot of what us nomads seem to get hung up on. The biggest complaint of nomads is loneliness, and it’s a result of not being connected with friends and family in a way that we may have been accustomed to before we started our journey. While on the road some people find little packs to roam with, or a significant other to share the experiences. Eventually matured nomads find a particular city they really like, and make an effort to return their yearly to maintain friendships and set roots. This is imperative if one is to continue this lifestyle.


Esteem needs are ego or status needs. People develop a concern with getting recognition, status, importance, and respect from others. Most humans have a need to feel respected; this includes the need to have self-esteem and self-respect. This is where I believe mental health comes into play, as the vision of ourselves often shapes the way we interact and perceive the world. Now, I don’t see this being the biggest issue in our community, as it seems that most of us feel a sense of pride for living this lifestyle. We are doing something quite amazing, we should embrace it. However we all have our demons, and perhaps another motivation for traveling is to find and face them. Growth is something we all seek, and there never really is an end to self development.

What you can be, you must be.

This level of need refers to the realization of one's full potential. Maslow believed that to understand this level of need, the person must not only succeed in the previous needs but master them. At which point, we can go on to pursue our goals. Whether it is to be a great parent, in perfect health, or invent something to combat climate change, we must all reach this point in our lives if we are to make the most of it. Seeing as that I believe most of us are on the cusp of this stage in our lives, the question is, what are we going to focus our energy on?

Why are we nomadic?

I’m not a psychic, but I am able to answer this question for myself. Seeing as humans are more similar than they are different, I’d say this may apply to you too. We left our jobs and lives past because of something referenced in a fantastic book called The True Believer by Eric Hoffer. He states that “every movement throughout history follows a similar pattern of discontent with the present moment.” Leaders throughout time (both good and bad) play on this discontent by either idealizing the past, or inspiring hope in the future. “Hope for Change”, “Make America Great Again.” Sound familiar? It’s a play that is as old as time itself. Nonetheless, we decided that our current life wasn’t cutting it and moved on.

Another key factor in making such a decision is something called surrogate living. By looking around and seeing the path we were on, and looking to those that have made similar choices to our own earlier in their lives, we can safely say that we may end up in the same position. Whether those people were our parents, or perfect strangers, math adds up.

Choices made have consequences both short term and long term. So we decided to take a chance and do something odd. Luckily (or unluckily) for us, the digital nomad is a relatively new movement, so we are pioneers in this new life. The saying goes that pioneers get slaughtered, but I think it is safe to say that writing this from the foothills of Nice, France sure beats sitting in the traffic of Miami. How could we ever go back?

Now that we’re liberated, the question remains, what do we do with our freedom? Do we only wish to find financial success and live out the rest of our days on a beach? Or do we want to leave a legacy, and help solve some of the bigger issues that caused us to choose this life in the first place?

Nomad's guide to communities unified

It is here I must make my motives known. I’m writing for Nomadic6, because it is at these cospace locations that I believe we can meet others that feel the same motivation to do more. N6 represents a type of modern Platonic Academy where the very best and brightest can come to exchange their ideas.

By combining coliving, coworking, and community, all the basics of Maslow’s needs can be met, situating you perfectly to reach the aforementioned self actualization. At which point, it is my hope that your best version, will unite with others in the same state, with the goal of tackling global or local issues. If there are personal issues you may be struggling with, you’ll find help here too. After all, we want everyone to be the best they can be, and there’s nothing like living in paradise to bring up one’s self esteem.

I’ll write more about the happenings here at N6 as they come about. The characters that pass through, the projects they are working on, and the programs we host to better serve our community. It is with true humility that I share this with you, as I am on my own path to better the world. Spare me your criticisms, as I’ve heard them before. However idealistic and optimistic I may be, I’d rather give the whole “change the world” thing a try then lay down.

What will you do?

Peace and love ya’ll


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