The Potentiality to Move

Mobility and Future in Digital Nomads’ Practices

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Patrícia Matos PhD, Fluminense Federal University, Brazil

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Elisenda Ardévol Open University of Catalonia, Spain

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The digital nomad lifestyle, which combines remote work and travel, has grown in the last decade among tech and creative industry professionals. “Freedom,” “inspiration,” and “work–life balance” are frequently mentioned by respondents when describing what led them to be location-independent workers. This article draws on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Barcelona. From participant observation and in-depth interviews, we study participants’ socialities and narratives to analyze the imaginaries that connect work, mobility, and lifestyle. We argue that digital nomadism is not solely centered on constant travel, but on the potential to move. This points to understanding mobility in relation to the future, not only in the form of participants’ aspirations but also their anticipatory practices. Despite the massive impact of the coronavirus pandemic on many aspects of people's lives, mobility being just one of them, we believe that such imaginaries still persist.

Contributor Notes

Patrícia Matos obtained her PhD from the Fluminense Federal University, Niterói, Brazil. Email:

Prof. Dr. Elisenda Ardévol is a full professor at the Open University of Catalonia. She has a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Email:

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Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies


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