Working whilst travelling the world
The wind blows intensely in the little bay of Playa Honda, where low tide has carried the fury of the ocean beyond the wharf, and the deserted alleyways announce the end of the day for the little restaurant owners and shop keepers. The evening is pleasant, mild, immersed in the silence typical of a simple town in any province, while another airplane full of passengers prepares to land at the little seaside airport nearby.
Lanzarote, the pearl of the Canary Islands, hosts hundreds of European tourists every day. In recent years, it has also become the preferred destination for “digital nomads,” travelling workers who have flexible and smart-working jobs, thanks to the immense digital transformation of the past few years.
According to Intuit, an American software development company, in 2020, there are around 7.5 million digital nomads in the United States. Expanding the radar to a global level, some estimate that by 2035 there will be almost a billion individuals in this digital working world.
The trend is experiencing intense growth in younger generations, who are tired of finding employment within preset and hierarchical frameworks and who have decided to escape from the frenetic pace of cities and their high costs, favoring a better quality of life in places with optimum weather and access to high-speed, glitch-free internet.
Given the peacefulness and also the multitude of services the island offers, Lanzarote has become the place to be for digital nomads.
Fabrizio, 31, has been in Lanzarote for three years. He works remotely in web marketing design for a Spanish company in the tourism industry. With a degree in communications, he decided to follow this road after finding few work opportunities in Italy.
From his office at home, Fabrizio works autonomously, responding to various requests from the Spanish team: “You have no other distractions but are focused on work and completing all the tasks that are given to you within the allotted time. It’s like being at the office but from your home. Compared to the city and traditional jobs, you can cut out a lot more time for your passions. For example, I play guitar and do shows with a group of friends at various bars in the area.”
Katia, 35, spends some of her time in Playa Honda. Unlike Fabrizio, she doesn’t live year-round in Lanzarote but travels often during the year, taking full advantage of the network’s potential to work remotely wherever she is. She works in customer service for various clients around the world. She graduated with a degree in Languages in Rome and then got an MBA in the United States. A digital nomad life was a necessity for her.
“I worked in Procurement for a big American multinational company in Dubai. After a few years abroad, between New York and Dubai, I decided to return to Italy. I did a few interviews in Milan but the contractual conditions were truly ridiculous. I took advantage of my experience abroad to reinvent myself in this new world. Lanzarote is my happy island, peaceful and far from chaos. I like to get lost in the many little markets that fill the little downtowns and cut out free time for my passions.”
Work as a digital nomad allows you to redesign your daily routine, changing location, project, working partners, etc. And that’s the story that Valentina, 31, a copywriter, also tells. Hailing from the province of Milan with a degree in psychology, she followed this path to escape the everyday routine and dedicate herself to unique experiences around the world.
I met her at a cafe in Arrecife, the place where she usually works: “Remote work, although free of any type of obstacle, can nonetheless limit your sphere of interpersonal relationships. So working in a cafe or coworking space gives you the chance to meet and get to know new people, to exchange opinions and perspectives. You have to be proactive on all fronts, get to work building your network, the virtual one but more importantly one made of real-life contacts. For this reason, it’s important to find free time to dedicate to your hobbies, to share your passions and interests, to find a meeting point with the real world.”
And the Magma Innovation Hub in the very center of Arrecife, a few steps from the splendid El Charco de San Ginés, is definitely a good place for networking and coworking on the island.
Long planned by the Martinez group, a historical Spanish group, Magma is a pioneering center on the Canary Islands for innovation, education, entrepreneurship and business. The space came from the idea of building a center from which the group could draw resources for projects acquired internationally. It is a way to fuel the local economy by offering specialized services, especially in the fields of IT, design and tourism.
Digital nomadism could definitely be a chance to attract new professionals to the little towns in many countries. Remote work could in fact limit the depopulation of some areas and allow a freelancer to live in a calmer and happier way, with a less hectic pace, immersed in nature and the beautiful, welcoming climate.