The biggest plus of being a digital nomad, as we all know, is that you can live and work anywhere and everywhere. It’s what attracted many of us to freelance work in the first place – total and complete independence, and the freedom to write our own lifestyle. With that upside comes a downside, though – with literally the entire world to choose from as your potential office, where should you go?
It’s all well and good to say ‘anywhere you like,’ but that isn’t a viable plan. We could spend the rest of our lives trying to visit every town and city on Earth, and we’d never manage to get it all done – and nor would we ever find time to do any work! A good prospective city for digital nomads is one that welcomes travelers, has friendly prices for the cost of living and accommodation, and most importantly of all has stable and reliable internet connections.
To those who don’t understand what a digital nomad is – either because they’ve never heard the term before or they don’t want to know through ignorance – it might appear that we just throw a dart at a map and go wherever it lands. That would be foolish. Gambling on a location would be gambling with our livelihoods. If we’re going with a gambling metaphor, a good gambler doesn’t just stick their money into an mobile slots game at random and cross their fingers that they’ll see a return on their money. Experienced online slots players on sites such as Amigo Slots will check the return to player rate of a mobile slot game and familiarize themselves with its features before putting money in it at all. Only when they know what the value of the jackpot is – and how likely they are to get it – will they commit to spending on it. Intelligent digital nomads will do the same. As the old saying goes, one should always look before they leap!
As we’re your friends in this endeavor, we’ve done some of the looking for you. Here’s where we’ve seen digital nomads having a great time during 2019 so far.
1. Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
We know we’re not telling you anything that’s going to blow your mind here. Vietnam has been popular with digital nomads for as long as being a digital nomad has been popular, but it’s lost none of its appeal in all the years that have followed. Although many of the places around the world that have drawn creative minds have started to hike their prices up as they become more desirable, we haven’t yet seen such price increases happening in Ho Chi Minh. If you’ve never been before, and you’re coming to Vietnam from the United States or the major countries of Europe, the low price of goods and services will likely amaze you. If you’re happier working in a co-working space than you are in the seclusion of your own room or apartment, you’ll find one for barely more than fifty dollars a month – in some cases, even less! If you’re happy to stay in your apartment and write, you can find a reasonable one for $300 per month, including all bills. Ho Chi Minh is beautiful and vibrant. The only reason you wouldn’t come here is if you weren’t too keen on all the noise of city life.
2. Bankso, Bulgaria
What you do if you’re a ski resort, and you’re not attracting as many ski tourists as you used to? If you follow the lead of Bankso in Bulgaria, you make a conscious effort to attract freelancers, creatives, and digital nomads instead. As Bansko is rolling the red carpet out to us, it feels rude not to go and spend some time there. You’ll be richly rewarded for doing so as long as you don’t mind the cold too much. Plenty of nomads have already found their way out there, and they’re currently eating for around $5 a day in their $150pcm apartments. With so many young people now semi-resident here, the party scene is booming at night, and the coffee shops are full of like-minded people throughout the day. On top of that, you could learn how to ski while you’re here.
3. Georgetown, Malaysia
We feel like Georgetown has somehow been missed by the majority of digital nomads, even though it has all the qualities that would make it attractive to us. Kuala Lumpur is packed full of writers, poets, artists, and other varieties of nomads, but comparatively few people have looked further afield within the nation. Don’t let that happen to you! You’ll find this understated town on Penang island, packed full of color, vibrancy, and quirks. The people here are receptive to outsiders, and although the prices aren’t as low as they are in Bulgaria, they’re still well within budget for the average nomad. You’re looking at $350 for rent plus bills if you’re happy to live in a studio or one-bed apartment, but the incredibly low cost of food balances that out. In fact, given how incredible the food is, eating this cheaply feels like theft.
Putting together an exhaustive list of where nomads are currently experiencing success or planning to find success in the future would be an exhaustive operation, but these are three places we’ve heard excellent things about in recent months. On top of that, many of the places we went when the industry was young are still just as much fun now as they were then. Nobody has quite managed to topple Lisbon in Portugal as the nomad capital of the world, although the rent is no longer as cheap as it once was. Most of Thailand is still ideal for nomadic work and leisure. Bali remains a paradise destination, even if the cost of living is going up at an alarming rate. If you want to look in less obvious places, we’ve also heard great things about Medellin in Colombia, and Tbilisi in Georgia.
Wherever you decide to work, and whatever you think of it when you go there, remember to do the one important thing that many digital nomads forget to do – get online, and tell other people about it. Even though we may be separated by oceans and continents, we’re all one big community, and we rely on each other for help and advice!