Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Why becoming a digital ‘slomad’ could be the right move for you

“Time isn’t the main thing; it’s the only thing,” Miles Davis once said. This is my favorite type of quote: no fat to trim, no nonsense. There’s a stoic quality to it. I’ve been thinking about time lately, especially when it comes to deciding the right tempo for travel. I know the term digital nomad can be cringy but it certainly captures the spirit of the new world we find ourselves in, and there’s a newer term that caught my attention: Digital slowmad

Slowmading is a deliberate and conscious approach to the digital nomad lifestyle. It offers a wealth of advantages that can significantly enhance both professional success and personal fulfillment. In a world often characterized by speed and constant motion, embracing the principles of slowmading can lead to a more meaningful and enriching existence during your travels, focusing on what my favorite jazz musician says is, at the end of the day, the only thing.

A tourist celebrates the equinox at the temple of Kulkulcan
While many think of being a digital nomind in Mexico as spending days at sites like Chichén Itzá, there can be much more to it than that. (Martín Zetina/Cuartoscuro)

Why choose the slomad lifestyle?

Forge connections

One of the most significant benefits of slowmading is the opportunity to forge deeper connections with the places digital nomads visit. Instead of rushing from one location to the next in a whirlwind of activity, slowmads take the time to truly immerse themselves in the local culture, customs and way of life. This deeper engagement allows for a more authentic and profound travel experience, fostering a sense of belonging and connection that transcends mere tourism. By building relationships with locals, participating in community events and exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, slowmads gain a richer understanding of the world around them.

Enjoy a work-life balance

Moreover, embracing a slower pace enables digital nomads to establish a more sustainable work-life balance. In a culture that often glorifies hustle and productivity, slowmading prioritizes well-being and fulfillment over constant busyness. By allowing themselves the luxury of time, slowmads can pursue activities that nourish their souls, whether it’s practicing yoga, hiking in nature or trying out a new recipe shared with friends. This intentional focus on self-care and relaxation not only reduces stress and burnout but also enhances overall happiness and satisfaction with the nomadic lifestyle.

“Life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present and fear the future,” claimed Roman philosopher Seneca. This is another no-nonsense quote that reminds me of the travelers who schedule their journey down to the half hour time blocks. I’d like to make the argument to schedule with day blocks instead. Slowing down encourages digital nomads to cultivate a deeper sense of presence and mindfulness in their daily lives. Instead of constantly living in the future, chasing the next destination or project, slowmads learn to appreciate the beauty and richness of the present moment. This mindfulness not only enhances their enjoyment of life but also fosters greater resilience and emotional well-being in the face of challenges.

Which cities are best for slomads?

Mexico offers a myriad of towns that are ideal for embracing the slowmad lifestyle, each with its own unique charm and character. One such gem is San Miguel de Allende, known for its cobblestone streets, colonial architecture and vibrant art scene. Here, digital nomads can immerse themselves in the local culture and connect with fellow travelers and expats.

Since the pandemic started, more workers than ever have been able, or been required, to work remotely.
Relaxation and appreciation are key to life as a slowmad and immersion in local life and culture is a must. (Tulum Circle)

Mazatlán beckons slowmads with its tranquil beaches and rich cultural heritage. Nestled on Mexico’s Pacific coast, this vibrant city offers a perfect blend of relaxation and exploration. Here, slowmads can be immersed in local life, savor fresh seafood and unwind amidst breathtaking sunsets.

Another enchanting destination is Tulum, famous for its pristine beaches and ancient ruins. Surrounded by lush jungle and crystal-clear waters, Tulum offers the perfect backdrop for relaxation and introspection. Digital nomads can indulge in healthy cuisine, go for a dip in a cenote and make some new friends on a beach-side coworking spot.

For those seeking a quieter retreat, Valle de Bravo provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Nestled amidst pine forests and overlooking a picturesque lake, Valle de Bravo offers opportunities for hiking, sailing and birdwatching. Here, digital nomads can recharge their batteries and reconnect with nature in a serene and peaceful setting.

Remember to take your time and have fun!

No matter where you choose, Mexico offers endless possibilities for embracing the slowmading lifestyle and experiencing the beauty of life at a leisurely pace. Instead of trying to pack your itinerary to the brim, ask yourself: why am I traveling? What do I want to achieve? Travel like a stoic, with a deliberate tempo. “Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig,” said the Greek philosopher Epictetus. “If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.”

Stephen Randall has lived in Mexico since 2018 by way of Kentucky, and before that, Germany. He’s an enthusiastic amateur chef who takes inspiration from many different cuisines, with favorites including Mexican and Mediterranean.


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