Question

What do you think about the digital nomad movement versus emigrating to a foreign city and living there?

Do you feel like you have a significantly differentiated worldview from your time in Japan that let's you see ideas in a new way? Could you recreate this if you were just visiting, or does it require actually settling in a new place for a period of time?

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patio11's avatar
2 years ago

I broadly don't think about "movements" that frequently. Digital nomads have many things in common with my lifestyle and many things very not-in-common. I describe myself as a "digital homebody" in conversations with them but don't e.g. think that there is some sort of great cosmic tradeoff happening.

Do I feel like living my entire adult life in Japan has colored my way of thinking about the world? Certainly so. Do I feel like having counterfactually chosen to live in e.g. San Francisco or Tulsa for my entire life would have colored my way of thinking about the world? Certainly so. I think people far underestimate the impact of their community, their style of engagement vis the community, their environment, their peer set, etc, even among people who think they are correctly calibrated on this issue, likely including me.

(It is extremely material to my thinking on this that I live in Japan but a lot of the communities which matter to me live on the Internet, FWIW. Like, I aspire to be a pillar of the community and responsible citizen locally, too, but it does not escape my notice that this sentence is in English.)

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This question is part of an AMA with Patrick McKenzie.

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