I've found a movement that immediately appeals to me: technomadism and neo-minimalism, the move from many things you don't need to a few things that do everything at once, in order to be comfortable and productive anywhere, anytime. A quest that for me began with my bicycle began shaping my choices of luggage, computers, camera equipment and clothing. Cameras must be smaller and more portable, justifying their presence in cross-continental journeys but still delivering high-definition footage. Pants should never wear out, and be versatile enough that one can get away with carrying one pair. Everything should fit easily in a bicycle saddlebag or small backpack.
Boing-boing's released an excellent special feature by Sean Bonner, an account of his own adventures and a bit of a manifesto on throwing away the excess crap that slows you down: Neo-Minimalism and the Rise of Technomads. Sean also has a cute little tumblr site with zen tidbits and general decluttering advice to go with the movement.
This is great and all, this striving to travel light as a feather while still maintaining your link to the glowing webs. But as a featherweight chronic traveler I also know where there's danger in going too far. Bouncing from place to place is glamorous, sleek-designed objects give the appearance of solving all problems. But there is tons of hard, concrete work that supported the creation of those i-whatsits and allowed for easy travel to all points on the globe. Not all of that work was done in ethical or environmentally sustainable circumstances. Further, Sometimes all the digital extensions of an online individual seem just as cluttered as a house full of junk, but with a variety of accounts, interests, spin-off avatars, instead of spare tools, knicknacks, lotions and extra clothing. Sometimes bouncing between digital interests and forums and blogs makes my head swim, and I wonder how productive we're actually being.
Take for example Sean's 12-Hour trip to Dublin. Highlights include patronizing an art museum, a veggie Kabob shop, and drinking 10 cups of coffee. I wonder if this frantic nomadism is justified when the end-result is just some intercontinental dilettantism. Having the tools to get things done quickly is great, and being able to spread the results over a variety of outlets equally validating, but it's important to focus on... staying focused. Don't let the digital pace overwhelm your ability to spend time on deeper contributions in your area of fascination.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Technomadism and Sense
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