8 Awesome Digital Nomad Movies and Documentaries You Need to See [2022]


One of the first uses of the phrase “digital nomad” was in 1997 in a book with the same name. Used to describe the possibility of humans returning to a more nomadic lifestyle due to the invention of technology like the world wide web, it is a term that many people use to describe themselves now. 

In the present day, there are about 10 million people who live the digital nomad lifestyle. These people work remotely full-time while residing in a traveler’s van, campsites, friend’s homes, or hotels. People choose the digital nomad lifestyle because they value happiness, travel, and freedom most in life. 

The film world has gotten its fair share of digital nomad movies and documentaries since the term was first coined back in the 1990s. There is something mysterious, awe-inspiring, and whimsical about this lifestyle. These documentaries aim to show the realities of nomadic life and the personalities of the people who live it. 

Before we share the top digital nomad movies and documentaries you need to see, let’s go over what a digital nomad is and what they do. 


digital nomad movies and documentaries


What Is a Digital Nomad?


Though we have briefly introduced what a digital nomad lifestyle entails, let’s go through more of the specifics. 

Many people who adhere to digital nomadism are women. The average age of these people is 32 years old. They come from all over the world and represent many age groups, genders, and ethnicities. 

Plenty of nomads are freelancers, but there are also a lot of them who are not. Some are CEOs, some work for one business or have their own business, and some are consultants. About half of the people living this way make just as much or more than they did in their traditional office jobs. 

Their job satisfaction rate is almost double of those who work in a traditional job and about 20 percent of them work and travel simultaneously. Digital nomads can take a slower, more immersive approach to travel. Many of them view this as a positive thing and will spend a month in one place just to fully immerse themselves in that culture without missing a beat for work.


digital nomad movies and documentaries


Why Are Digital Nomad Films and Documentaries Made? 


With the rise of digital nomadism and the availability to make films, these two ideas almost go hand in hand. Digital nomads are often the subjects of documentaries because their life is untraditional, making it interesting to watch and learn about. 

A lot of them have ideas that are non-mainstream, like extreme minimalism or veganism. They like to share the wonders of the world with others and a nomads’ documentary is a great way to do that. Some of them even provide helpful tips on transitioning into this lifestyle. 

Keep reading for our top picks for the travel movies and digital nomad movies and documentaries you need to see. 


Top 8 Nomad Movies and Documentaries About Nomads You Should Watch 


  • Into the Wild (2007)
  • Nomadland (2020)
  • One Way Ticket (2017)
  • Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (2015)
  • Pedal the World (2015)
  • Wild (2014)
  • The Wireless Generation (2013)
  • The Reality of #VanLife (2018)

Into the Wild (2007)

Into the Wild is a dramatization based on the real-life events of Christopher McCandless. It follows a student who wants to be free in the wild after a life of pursuing higher learning and excellence in sports at Emory University.

After graduation, McCandless gives his entire savings of $24,000 to charity and begins his journey. He hitchhikes to Alaska and encounters many trials along the way – an adventure that ultimately ends in tragedy.

This film is a fictional dramatization of real events, based on the bestselling book of the same name. While hammering home the trials and hardships of living a nomadic lifestyle, this film also shows the main character finding beauty in the freedom of nature.

Watch the trailer here:


 

Nomadland (2020)

Another nomad movie based on real events is the 2020 cinema sensation Nomadland. Directed by Chloe Zhao, it follows one woman’s nomadic lifestyle after losing her job in a town she spent most of her life in. 

Along the way, the main character Fern, played by Frances McDormand, meets others who embrace the nomadic lifestyle and work seasonal jobs to keep their nomad status. It is a beautiful story about human connection, the way we build relationships, and a look into the nomadic lifestyles that many people embrace. 

It also won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2021 and McDormand won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2021. Zhao won the Oscar for Best Director in 2021. 

Watch the trailer here:


One Way Ticket (2017)

Perhaps the most prolific and popular documentary about nomads, One Way Ticket is a short documentary that explores digital nomadism, who the digital nomads are, and what they believe. It explores the question, “is digital nomadism the future of work or neo-colonialism?” in an eye-opening way. 

Through numerous interviews with academics, advocates of the lifestyle, and authorities, the film shows the highs and lows of the digital nomad lifestyle. Anyone looking into beginning a life of digital nomad tendencies should watch this to learn more about the movement. 

Watch the trailer here:


Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (2015)

This documentary is directed by Dan Harris, an author on minimalism and happiness. YouTuber turned documentarian Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists shoots the film. Minimalism is defined as “living with less” and some people take it as far as becoming digital nomads so they can live with less. 

It is an interesting documentary filled with talking heads that are authorities on the matter and people who have transitioned from a life of retail excess to minimalism. For a digital nomad, this is a good documentary to watch. You can see how other people like you live and perhaps how others got started in their search for freedom from the world’s boundaries. 

Watch the trailer here:


Pedal the World (2015)

Pedal the World is another story that follows one man’s quest for freedom from the world, similar to Christopher McCandless. This time, the subject is a German man named Felix Starck. He leaves his traditional lifestyle to bike in search of freedom and what it means to exist in the world. 

The documentary follows him on a 365 day, 11,185-mile journey. It lets the viewer in on the ups and downs of a journey like this. The film is indicative of the nomadic lifestyle as it shows what you can learn by being present in the world and learning from different people you encounter. 

Watch the trailer here:


Wild (2014)

Wild starring Reese Witherspoon is a fictional adaptation of a novel by the same name.

Witherspoon portrays the real-life woman Cheryl Strayed who wrote the autobiographical book about her time hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. 

Strayed embarks on this journey with little hiking experience, but is looking for a journey of self-exploration after her divorce and other life struggles that put her on a path of self-destruction. 

This film shows the peace and self-fulfillment one can get from living a nomadic lifestyle.

It serves as an inspiration to those who want to embark on a journey of redemption and self-actualization all while exploring the beautiful outdoors. 

Watch the trailer here:


The Wireless Generation (2013)

Another well-known documentary in the digital nomad space is The Wireless Generation.

It follows eighteen people across five continents who have taken their lives to the open road while working remotely.

Professions examined include a psychology professor teaching online, a financial analyst for American Express, a family of four whose parents build websites, and more! 

This is an excellent look at the digitally nomadic and how they navigate their newfound independent living situations. It serves as an inspiration for anyone who also wants to pick up this lifestyle. In the age of the Internet, anything is possible. 

Watch the trailer here:


The Reality of #VanLife (2018)

The Reality of #VanLife is unique in that it is available for free on YouTube to watch and was filmed with that intention. It explores the change in the American psyche from wanting financial and physical stability to yearning for freedom from restraints of traditional life. 

The director of the film tried van life, became disillusioned, and went on a search to find people who genuinely love the lifestyle. On his way, he finds plenty of people who enjoy the lifestyle but show the hardships that come with this nomadic way of living without masking any of it. 

Watch the full documentary here:


Conclusion – Best Digital Nomad Movies And Documentaries


So, will you watch all eight of these films to prepare for your digital nomad adventure? It’s a great way to research and become familiar with the concepts of the movement without immersing yourself in it. And all of these digital movies and documentaries will get you longing for travel.

Through watching these documentaries, you may find that the nomad lifestyle isn’t quite what you imagined or expected. Perhaps you romanticized the idea of not being tied down to a mortgage or job in your head, but in practice, it seems much more strenuous.

Or it may have the opposite effect on you. You could get wildly motivated and decide to try out the lifestyle yourself. Either way, we hope you find inspiration and hope in these films. Check them out!


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