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Embracing Migration: A Digital Nomads Dream

Are you able to adapt and migrate freely to new environments, ideas and frameworks, personally or in your organisation? If not, what is stopping you? 

By Kevin Cottam, Global Nomad Keynote Speaker, Author, Executive Coach

In a world of political tension, wall construction, and economic rollercoasters, we experience diminishing freedom of expression, lack of jobs and possibly even terrorism. In these turbulent times, the word “migration” is feared in some circles. This fear, as we all know, is a fear of the unknown.  

Evolutionary, social, and industrial change—Industry 4.0—is here, and it requires a new mindset to adapt and succeed with it. An expansive mindset is needed to see possibilities and opportunities for all, not only for the 1%. I call this The Nomadic Mindset.  

Kevin Cottam is the author of the new groundbreaking leadership book, The Nomadic Mindset: Never Settle…for Too Long.

Migration is Beautiful

Migration is beautiful

Migration is a beautiful word. It means movement. Movement, whether physical, mental, emotional, or geographical, is our innate, instinctive way of being. Migration has its roots in The Nomadic Mindset.

Times are forever changing, and millennials and Digital Nomads are both the result and the future of that evolution of migrational change. Politicians, economies, and populations are living “old agreements”, according to Karoli Hindriks of Jobbatical. Change is normal and it is here, it is NOW. It is best you perk your ears up and listen and open your eyes and observe. The nomads are here!

Robin Lokerman, Group President of MCI Group in Geneva, Singapore, travels constantly and has developed his company around mobility and migration. He cautions corporations against obstructing mobility:

As soon as you start preventing mobility in an organisation, then you [create] a settler mentality, [and] that’s the beginning of the end. So, you need to value your immigration (migration), but you also want to make sure you get the right immigrants.

This statement elicits hope. There are organisations already embracing this new migration—and in organisational terms—mobility. In Singapore, Moovaz is one of such companies leading the way by helping Digital Nomads traverse the terrain of sometimes complex relocation migration. A Digital Nomad employment placement agency, Jobbatical, out of Estonia and under the helm of Karoli Hindricks, is another. Let’s explore this for a moment.

When we are looking at The Nomadic Mindset, we should first take a step back.

Our innate evolutionary wisdom

To understand migration, nomadic wisdom, and The Nomadic Mindset further, I embarked on a research journey for my leadership book, The Nomadic Mindset: Never Settle…for Too Long, that led me to experience nomadic cultures in Mongolia, Kenya, and Morocco.

It’s December 16, 2017, and I sit in the lounge of the Mara Simba Lodge, in Southern Kenya opposite my Maasai friend, Benson Muntere.

Benson’s demeanour mesmerises me: his upright back; his still posture; his focused eyes; his sincere, intent listening style; and his slow-speaking cadence combined with the deep clarity of his experience as a Maasai warrior.

He says something that intrigues me: “We are migrating. Where we were is not where are. We are evolving.”

I reflect for a moment on Benson’s words and think about how the baseline of leaders, organisations, and human existence itself is survival, which in part, entails giving birth to the new. Survival is embodied in positive evolution. As Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.” The most adaptable today are those with a nomadic mindset, such as Digital Nomads.

The term “Digital Nomads” implies a migration to something new, and as mentioned previously, migration is movement. Migration is a primary force of nature not only for nomads and animals, but also for products, corporations, political leaders, governments… essentially for everyone. Migration powers the mindset of Digital Nomads. By embracing migration, you are also embracing change. You are embracing flexibility, agility and adaptability. These are primary qualities encompassed by The Nomadic Mindset.  

Exploring migration

The first step in this nomadic mindset quest is knowing you are always migrating, whether from an unknown or known state, to somewhere different. Not everyone has a nomadic mindset, but this is a mindset that drives digital nomads, or those who wish to relocate, to work and create a new lifestyle. They are not bound by static organisational structures or locations. The Nomadic Mindset is expansive thinking and having curiosity for exploration.   

Whether you are exploring or pioneering in Mongolia, Kenya, or the Sahara Desert (physical migration), migrating from one creative idea to another (mental migration), joining a C-suite executive team (mental migration), or negotiating a merger (metaphorical migration), migration is happening everywhere: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

It is the talent today that chooses where they want to go and live and who they want to work for.

Challenges of migration: “old agreements”

Karoli Hindriks of Jobattical says,

Countries are so stuck with their nation status that the agreements that have always been here seem to be the only answer. Whereas if you look at the numbers of where the talent shortage is, many countries are suffering from talent shortage, so if you could have an openness, new kinds of agreements would solve their problems.   

When we are looking at The Nomadic Mindset, we should first take a step back. The simplicity of migration has been lost to the confusion and complexity of laws, individuals, and processes that are connected to ‘old agreements’ in the public and private sectors that are examples of narrow thinking. Nations are built on static agreements – people have residency and stay where they are.

Karoli hits the nail on the head: static-ness. Static-ness is our problem. Nothing is truly static in nature. Change is normal. Evolution has to happen, and the natural instinct of humans is to move. Karoli is a dynamic, energetic Estonian woman and owner and CEO of Jobattical. She works to attain, introduce, and make acceptable the concept of e-visas to governments for digital nomads in a variety of countries.  

Similar to Jobattical, Moovaz, a relocation company in Singapore, works to change those aforementioned “old agreements.” Both companies are working to help migrate the mindsets of those holding onto “old agreements.” So, there is hope for smoother passage forwards for Digital Nomads.  

The benefits of migration

Robin Lokerman also shared this with me:

People living in a different environment than where they were born, those people I think in the current world are the most sought after and most successful: those that can live in different environments and adapt and be in other environments. [It] means speaking languages, means speaking and being with different cultures, means building relationships across cultural language borders…that’s something very important.

Karoli also says, with an eerily similar thought:

It is the talent today that chooses where they want to go and live and who they want to work for. As a country, if you are able to adapt to this fact and build a user experience in your country that would basically service these people, you will be the winner.

This is why embracing Digital Nomads and millennials and encouraging expat living is important for our global communities. As Robin infers, mobility can break down borders, inspire engagement with other cultures, build flexibility and agile thinking—and most of all—allow expansive thinking.

It is time for leaders to migrate, remove borders, and not be restricted to rigid quarterly reports, key performance indicators and outdated processes.

Leadership for Industry 4.0

Today, more than ever, you, as a leader, have to be ready and willing to adapt to rapid changes in the workforce. As Karoli says, “it is with the old agreements you make borders, and borders are not only physical, but a large part mental.”

It is time for leaders to migrate, remove borders, and not be restricted to rigid quarterly reports, key performance indicators and outdated processes.

It is time for them to think Industry 4.0. It is time to adapt to the mindset of the future. Be bold and see migration as not only physical movement but also constant movement of the mind. Invite the nomad in your mind to truly experience the world. Break down borders so you can migrate freely.


I learned a lot during my conversation with my Maasai friend, Benson, about the value of migration as it relates to nature and realised how directly applicable it is to today’s leadership.

Just as Benson and I finish our conversation, I look into his wise eyes, and he smiles and says:

We know where we came from, but we don’t know where we are going. You can tell what happened in the morning, but you can’t tell what the evening will be. You can only tell what happened in the past months, but you cannot tell what the next year will bring. We are migrating. Where we were is not where we are. We are evolving.”

Embrace migration and The Nomadic Mindset today: it’s A Digital Nomad’s dream.


Embracing Migration and the Nomadic Mindset should be an area of interest for every leader to look into today. It is vital to keep your mind always active and always exploring, to be open to new changes and trends.

The future of relocation is evolving, and blockchain will soon revolutionize the logistics industry as well.

We’ve wrote two posts to them that you should totally read: The Future of Relocation | How Blockchain will Transform the Future Of Logistics

About Kevin Cottam, Author of The Nomadic Mindset: Never Settle…for Too Long.

About Kevin

Kevin Cottam is a global nomad keynote speaker and executive coach and the author of the new groundbreaking leadership book, The Nomadic Mindset: Never Settle…for Too Long.

If you want to know more about The Nomadic Mindset or Kevin Cottam, migrate to www.thenomadicmindset.com or connect@thenomadicmindset.com

Happy Nomading!  |  LinkedIn

For more content about future trends that will soon dawn upon us, read: The Future of Relocation | How Blockchain will Transform the Future Of Logistics

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