Work and Pleasure; Investigating The Rise of Digital Nomads In Mexico
It has been assumed that work is the central determinant in a person’s life. Work mandates where people live, how they structure their time, and who they interact with. The COVID-19 pandemic changed this, forcing half of the American workforce into remote work. This change, and the mass advancement of information and communication technologies (ICTs), has facilitated the rise of digital nomads - remote workers who work while they travel.
This paper distinguishes digital nomads as a subset of remote workers with different practices, motivations, and identities from home-bound workers. While past studies on digital nomads have focused on their discipline, supporting technologies, and personal practices, much less is known about the function of work in their lives and its divergence from traditional labor assumptions. Through 50 in-depth interviews with nomads living in coworking hostels in Mexico, this paper explores the role of work in their identity formation and value systems. The findings of this paper suggest that digital nomads consciously detach themselves to prioritize travel, and monetarily value remote status over promotional or financial advancements. This presents a clear divergence from traditional economic labor models, presenting the possibility that digital nomads have a lower threshold for labor-leisure tradeoff.