Young workers cast off big-city shackles(3)

2023-04-14 08:44:32China Daily Editor : Mo Honge ECNS App Download

Chen Zhaoqing (right) is a digital nomad in Dali, Yunnan province. CHINA DAILY

Community vibe

Chen Zhaoqing, 29, who has lived in more than 30 countries over the past seven years, opted for Dali as her latest place of residence in 2020. She became a digital nomad in 2016 just after she graduated from Beijing Technology and Business University, where she studied art and design.

"I have stayed in Dali for some time due to its community vibe, which is mainly centered on the internet. It feels as if many small tribes are scattered throughout this small town," Chen said.

During her travels, she has encountered many foreigners living as digital nomads, a lifestyle she had never heard of before.

"Instead of opting for a traditional job, I became a digital nomad to pursue my curiosity about the world and earn money while traveling after graduation," said Chen, who left for Thailand, her first destination, with only 20,000 yuan ($2,910).

In 2017, she began offering travel planning services for destinations such as Thailand, India and Nepal. The following year, Chen traveled around Latin America and studied Spanish at a university in Guanajuato, Mexico.

In 2019, she traveled throughout East Africa, joined TODO, a Chinese brand that customizes and sells ukuleles, and also launched a music travel sharing program while journeying around China.

"The best thing for me is the ability to think and act independently. Unlike some digital nomads who researched the lifestyle and planned their career paths beforehand, I had to develop a business model tailored for myself in uncharted territory," Chen said.

After TODO was launched, Chen went eight months without any income until 2020, when the brand's monthly earnings rose tenfold within a month — exceeding 300,000 yuan at one point.

Chen now spends one to two hours a day on routine work, an hour on music creation, and an hour on sports exercise, with the rest of her time free. If she goes filming or takes part in exhibitions, she works throughout the day.

"Although a digital nomad's income is unstable, I accept the uncertainty of the world as a traveler, and I have learned to cope with such uncertainty over the years," Chen said.

She added that those best-suited to the digital nomad lifestyle have good technical skills, the ability to integrate resources, a strong sense of self-awareness, and a reluctance to live a monotonous existence.

China has implemented a rural revitalization strategy, and information technology now provides support for digital nomads. In the post-pandemic era, decentralized work models are gradually emerging to support growth of the digital nomad community.

Yu, the sociology professor, said: "There may well be a significant rise in the number of digital nomads in China in the short term. However, in the long term, the digital nomad community is likely to continue existing as a niche group."

The digital nomad lifestyle might not become mainstream in China, but would continue to be a viable option for individuals, Yu added.


Most popular in 24h

MoreTop news


Back to top About Us | Jobs | Contact Us | Privacy Policy
Copyright ©1999-2023 All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
[网上传播视听节目许可证(0106168)] [京ICP证040655号]
[京公网安备 11010202009201号] [京ICP备05004340号-1]