Source – huddle.today
- “…Freelancing in general is not easy. Digital nomad guys are not millionaires, their income is uncertain and fluctuating. So they appreciate cheap, safe and friendly places,” Loborer says. “New Brunswick actually has the most friendly community I ever encountered….Loborer believes Saint John and New Brunswick could benefit greatly from the digital nomad movement. With immigration being touted as one of the big solutions to improve the province, he says attracting digital nomads can be part of this solution”
Cherise Letson, November 14, 2016
With the freelance economy on the rise and more and more jobs becoming less location-dependent, more workers are taking advantage of their freedom by travelling while they work.
These “digital nomads” are known to gravitate towards destinations like Bali, Thailand, Spain, Portugal, Berlin and Mexico. But one newly arrived digital nomad wants to add Saint John to the list.
Arpad Lorberer arrived in Saint John this past summer with his wife and two sons. Before Saint John, they lived in Calgary and before that, Budapest. He and his wife have their own architectural consulting company, called Lorworks LTD., which has allowed them to work pretty much wherever they want in the world. Realizing he was a part of a much bigger movement, Lorberer has done extensive personal research on digital nomad culture.
“At first, even the expression itself sounded really interesting. The image that comes to mind when thinking about a nomad pasture, or a digital geek are not so convincing,” Lorberer says. “But binding them together and you’ve got something cool. This definitely fascinates me.”
There is no “official criteria” for what constitutes a digital nomad, but they are typically folks who work in IT, as designers, writers and consultants, just to name a few. They can work in any profession that doesn’t tie them to an office. They are attracted to the personal and financial freedom the nomadic lifestyle offers as well as the idea of exploring other countries and cultures.
Want to learn more about digital nomads culture? This documentary may be a good place to start:
Places like Thailand, Spain and Portugal are indeed packed with culture and history, but so is Saint John. And Lorberer says the city also has a lot of other things digital nomads search for.
“It’s a historic town and it has a style. There are also beautiful parks around. The cost of living is affordable. It’s Canada, so it represents a liberal lifestyle, a safe place and quality stuff is produced and sent out from here,” he says.
“Local facilities are relatively good. Airport, seaport, trains and roads are all available to reach the place and travel around. The time zone fits well to work both for American and European clients.”
Not to mention, New Brunswick is generally super friendly.
“Freelancing in general is not easy. Digital nomad guys are not millionaires, their income is uncertain and fluctuating. So they appreciate cheap, safe and friendly places,” Loborer says. “New Brunswick actually has the most friendly community I ever encountered.”
Loborer believes Saint John and New Brunswick could benefit greatly from the digital nomad movement. With immigration being touted as one of the big solutions to improve the province, he says attracting digital nomads can be part of this solution.
Though digital nomads typically don’t stay in a community for more than a few years (therefore, don’t pay much taxes), they still contribute to the local economy and communities. They often have big global networks, to which they could broadcast Saint John to the world. Typically young, they’re often known to help modernize the image of the city they gather in. As a demographically aging province, New Brunswick it could use the help.
Loborer has been reaching out to different agencies such as Enterprise Saint John and ConnexionWorks about starting a specific project focused on attracting digital nomads to the city.
“New Brunswick needs to be placed into the map of digital nomads, first by advertising the place, then through the intense continuous online network of the [digital nomads] arriving and settling down here. Reach them personally and online and ask for their suggestions [about what they’re looking for],” Loborer says.
“I would really like to see local leaders and businessmen learn the value of digital nomads and officially declare they are warmly welcomed, then form a network including some non-profits, the municipal, local businesses, travel services and utilities to find specific ways to attract them to Saint John and to the whole Maritimes.”
Having a nomadic working community may seem like a cool novelty right now, but Loborer says it’s a lifestyle that’s becoming more of a necessity to many who are adapting to population and workforce trends. He sees nomadic workers soon making up a good chunk of the global workforce.
“Not just the young generation but my middle-aged generation also needs to change work, projects and homes more frequently,” he says.
“We need to be really flexible and be ready to move and work for someone from the other end of the word, without any union protection, often without any contract – even though at the same time we envy our grandfathers who could work for the same company for 40 years.”