#7 Describing themselves as “Nomads”
Image is very important to Expat Aid Workers.
Whether they’re changing their Facebook profile pic to the one of where they’re standing next to George Clooney in Juba or regaling the interns with stories of that time when they had a tapeworm, they’re essentially managing image. And no Expat Aid Worker’s image is really complete without a pithy word or phrase that gets across their exotic lives on the road. A word like “nomad.” Or “wanderer.”
It doesn’t matter that their culture has been sedentary for millenia, or that quite unlike real nomads Expat Aid Workers do not herd animals. The point they’re trying making is that they are out seeing the world. Expat Aid Workers a’re not sitting in a suburb somewhere watching the grass grow: they’re out there flying by the seats of their pants, never planning farther ahead than the end of their current contract, going to places that their parents probably cannot find on the map, and mingling with the bottom billion. Describing themselves as “Nomads” gives their non-aid worker friends a context for understanding what the Expat Aid Worker life is all about.
It’s important for Expat Aid Workers to use these key terms in Facebook and twitter profiles to draw attention to their nomad status (they may also set their location as “global”, rather than the city where they actually spend most of their time). Those who blog typically make “nomad”, “wanderer” or “global” part of the title. These days, though, it can really be tough to find an available URL that includes some permutation, it’s so popular among Expat Aid Workers.
Expat Aid Workers who have been in the game for some time are also good at finding occasions to very casually drop nomadic references into conversation:
“… I guess I’m really a bit of a cultural nomad…”
“…and so I’ve mainly been wandering most of my life…”
“Where am I based? Well, globally, really…”
I could go on, I suppose, but you’re getting the point. And anyway, I have a plane to catch…