It’s the traveller’s dream to live as the locals do, and journey without ties or limitations. As Kerouac wrote, “I was surprised, as always, be how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.” // “Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
Not so much on a ‘wing and a prayer’ as wifi and password, it is easy for people travelling to now live their lives on the move. As much as people bemoan technology absorbing the attention of the masses like a sponge, the digital age can actually facilitate getting stuck in to real life beautifully. This is illustrated by Prerna Gupta, who lived in Airbnb rentals for a year.
Just as George Clooney’s character in Up in the Air takes great pleasure in stringently restricting his attachment to belongings, Gupta claims to have felt an emotional release from the physical release of possessions. She could rent or borrow anything necessary with ease, allowing her to be baggage free.
Whilst a run on Airbnb accommodation might work out as quite costly long term, other digital innovations make travel accessible for people on a shoestring budgets. Those using BlaBlaCar, a transport sharing scheme, are not allowed to profit for example, so only the backbone of the cost is shared. A modern form of hitchhiking where personal profiles replace tattered cardboard signs, BlaBlaCar has been hailed by a Guardian holidaymaker as providing “experiences so cheerful and unusual that, looking back, I remember them better than Paris itself”.
Gone too are the days of huge geographically grounded storage centres, so that even possessions might be backed up by a more transient cloud equivalent. LoveSpace can collect, store then deliver items using the addresses of your choice, untying jetsetters, students and businesses alike from things they don’t immediately need.
Even your income can be croudsourced. Companies like Quirky allow you to collaborate ideas and refinements for innovative inventions, whilst Coconala pools resources of skills ranging from nutritionists to fortune tellers.
CEO Akiyuki Minami claims to have been inspired by young workers who would find it more fulfilling to “be helpful for someone”. A study from the University of Illinois also discovered that those who telecommute make a more recognisable effort to assist their colleagues and may also become more productive.
As this collaborative internet attitude that once lay dormant in forum comments evolves to take a more tangible form, the future looks set to feature a great deal more freedom.