Let’s start with a simple truth: The world is never going back to “normal.”
From routines to relationships to rituals, the past year has challenged our assumptions about life in the 21st century. Of course, the most noticeable shift is from the traditional office to remote work.
According to a recent Gartner survey, as many as 80% of company leaders plan to permit remote work after the pandemic. Major companies like Twitter, Facebook, Siemens, and the State Bank of India have already announced a permanent move to this way of working.
It began with work from home, but this decade, the prevailing trend will soon become Work From Anywhere.
Remote work means people will navigate decisions about career, life, and place differently. Studies show that 39% of city residents are interested in relocating to less-crowded places due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Smaller towns and cities offer a higher quality of life, easier access to nature, and better value for money. In the US, these new hubs have been dubbed “Zoom towns.”
Digital nomads were a fringe subculture in the 2010s, but early signals—like new remote work visas and tax breaks specifically for nomads—suggest more people will join their ranks in the years ahead. For people whose work is no longer tied to a physical location, priorities are shifting fast. This is radically reshaping the global innovation landscape, and unearthing all kinds of new challenges and opportunities for businesses and governments.
So, how can we make sense of this brave new world? What do we know so far, and what can we do to prepare for a world of new priorities and increased global mobility? What are the risks and rewards? These questions need answers, and, luckily, I was already working on them before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
The Story Behind the Book
It’s been three years since I was first asked to write a book about the Work From Anywhere movement. After an initial email from a stranger, I took meetings with agents and publishers everywhere from London to New York to Calcutta to Melbourne, but every conversation left me cold.
Nobody could conceive of much beyond a self-help book that taught people how to become digital nomads. That just wasn’t a book I wanted to write. Even if a lifestyle title like this could be the next 4-Hour Workweek, it didn’t feel urgent or valuable. And I couldn’t summon any enthusiasm to work on a book-length project I didn’t believe in.
So, I spent the next two years figuring out the book I did want to write. In that timeframe, I also encountered a gnarly bout of writer’s block and found myself having a quarter-life crisis that made me question whether I wanted to continue my writing career at all.
By January 2020, I was depressed. A friend suggested that writing a newsletter might help me shake off my feelings of despair around identity, purpose, and meaning. I followed her advice and started Counterflows.
For two whole months, I hated everything I wrote. I had to force myself to hit publish each time. But my subscriber list grew.
People emailed me back to say they enjoyed my words and perspective—researchers from MIT and Harvard, policymakers from countries I’d never even been to, hoteliers and real estate investors, and even a member of Emirati royalty.
Why I Chose Holloway
Once I found my audience, the book began to take shape in my mind.
It would be a business title covering everything I knew about the rise of digital nomads and the Work From Anywhere movement. It would talk about my lived experience as a location-independent entrepreneur and my professional insights as a journalist and consultant. I’d call it Global Natives.
In March 2020, as borders closed and work went remote, the book’s subject matter became urgent. For the first time, I felt that understanding the roots and the story of Work From Anywhere would be valuable—to investors, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and curious individuals.
The next challenge was to find the right team to help bring Global Natives to life. From the very first conversation, Holloway felt like a natural home for me as an author. Traditional publishers had talked about a two-year timeline to publication. But these ideas and information were relevant now, and I was keen to get them out into the world.
Holloway understood, and their innovative model would enable it. Their unique position as both a tech and publishing company made them the perfect match for a former Googler like me too. The books they publish are sharp, practical, and reader-driven—so we are fully aligned on what matters in this project.
Global Natives is a comprehensive guide to digital nomads and the Work From Anywhere movement. You can follow my journey of writing it and learning in public via my newsletter and on Twitter. The book’s digital version is available for pre-order now, with a generous discount as a thank-you for those who support its creation.
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