Twenty years ago the idea of a digital nomad was virtually unheard of. Thanks to high speed internet and cheap laptops and smartphones there are many occupations that offer up the luxury of being able to work anywhere in the world. The gig economy is on the rise and new industries and services like AirBnb, Uber co-working spaces and social media make embracing the digital nomad life easier than ever.
Where to Live
Many digital nomads will pick a city or destination and hang out there anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months. Destinations are chosen by their affordability, the amenities that are available and the cost of living somewhere short term. When you arrive in a new place many with find an AirBnB for their duration if they are there short term, for longer stays they will find a furnished short term apartment rental.
Where to Work
You can work anywhere with a reliable internet connection, if you’re coming from Canada and the US you’re used to having a good connection pretty much anywhere. When you are traveling you may find good connections a problem, although it is getting better. Starbucks have locations all over the world, but if you can find one nearby then you are going to have to find a café with a good connection. If you are in an urban area, no problem. If you plan on working while on the beach in Phuket…you’re going to run into problems. Be flexible and be prepared to have to move around the city to find a good connection.
When it comes to getting around digital nomads have to rely on public transportation and driving services. Learn how to read a bus/subway map and install the Uber app onto your phone. Cabs are available everywhere but be cautious when taking cabs, while affordable you could end up taking the “long route” to your destination. Be careful of pickpockets and thieves while you’re out and about, be cautious of the parts of town you travel to and don’t flaunt things like smartphones and jewelry. Every city will have a transportation guide for getting around, you can even find them on YouTube, here is an example for one in Chiang Mai.
How to Communicate
This is the tricky part. While English is the language of business and in a big city you will probably find a person or two who speaks your language, but it may not be the staff at the café where you are trying to work. There are translation apps that you can get on your phone to help you communicate, texting helps too. It wouldn’t hurt to learn a few phrases in the local language to help you get around. Don’t let language stop you from seeing the world.