As the anniversary of our first official lockdown approaches, let us take a moment to reflect on this very personal, yet globally connected journey. With level one finally a reality - we are slowly starting to navigate this ‘new normal’ with a bit more surety, yet still grappling with lingering uncertainty and consequences. However, here at Soul Traveller, we like to keep our eyes on the horizon, searching for the possibilities that any situation has to offer – and a pandemic that has had devasting effects on the tourism industry, is no exception.
2020 radically shifted our relationship with space. Within a week, we were all confined to our homes, which saw overnight transformation into makeshift workspaces and schools. In the beginning, the thought of working and living from home for three weeks didn’t seem impossible, albeit daunting, but as three weeks become five and time become irrelevant – the fatigue set in. Our boundaries of space were no longer there. Where does home start and work end? Studies have confirmed our productivity levels actually increased in the midst of this crisis yet as we became increasingly connected through the digital world, we lost touch with our physical one. Never before has the world witnessed such a mass digital migration. This presented those who did not have to rely on location with the opportunity to remain unconventionally connected. So we see the birth of the Digital Migrant. Working remotely is nothing new – graciously luring you in with the promise of freedom and independence. Yet this time around, working remotely was not necessarily a choice and has been a compulsory shift for countless people. Side effects include: demotivation and restlessness, despite still performing well by traditional standards.
Our team over here at Soul Traveller tends to care more about how your soul is doing than how many hours you are smashing out behind a screen – so let us revaluate this notion of the remote worker. Firstly the term remote worker is inherently isolating and leaves little room for the imagination to conceptualise anything other than work. Thus we prefer to call it digital migration – it allows for some play and curiosity, even a little bit of freedom. In some capacity, we are all digital migrants, continuously adopting new digital means of connecting to people and spaces. Yet the working Digital Migrant faces the added complexity of being bound by their four walls. The monotony of working from home can begin to take its toll on one's soul. There is real value in having distinctions between our spaces of rest and work. They allow for quality time to reset and spark new creativity.
Would you believe us if we told you that spaces outside of your home office could actually inspire you to do some great work? We have been on a mission to find spaces that reignite inspiration and set us free from the constraints of our routine. Have a look at what we have found. Changing up our work environment at least once a week has had a profound effect on our creativity. The best ideas have come from the most untraditional of spaces. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery and new, friendly faces to renew your energy.
As we navigate this tricky time, let us not forget that our new relationship with space allows us to play, explore and remain curious even in the more mundane activities of our lives.
Alexis Wellman, Cape Town, March 2021.