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๐Ÿ“ Kuala Lumpur now 
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@manu

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๐ŸŽ–5yrs |


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๐Ÿ—ฏ Forum topics

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Can you recommend any social shipping platforms?


by @manu |  | 1 comment

I need to ship some outdoor gear from Vienna to Kuala Lumpur. Shipping with DHL will cost more than replacement. I know there are social shipping platforms that allow travelers to pick up an item and deliver it when they arrive. I already know Nimber. Do you guys use these services or can recommend one?

Maybe @levelsio wants to build one? Fits the rest of the #nomads network. With a cheap flight people may actually earn money when traveling.

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Is it possible to have children, while living a nomadic life?

 

by @manu |  | 27 comments

Anyone here has an opinion on having children, while living a nomadic life?

Me and my GF have been living on the road for 2 years now. Our businesses are mostly established and we are considering having kids within the next 2 years. The questions that come to my mind:

  • Can you optimize raising children like a web startup (picking a good location, school, doing a bit of home schooling, choosing languages, etc)
  • Is anyone doing this right now? What are your experiences?
  • Where are good places to live with children? I guess we would rent a house with garden and hire a local nanny/household helper.
  • Do you think itโ€™s an advantage for kids to grow up internationally with both parents being around more than usually?

Let me know what you think. I know Graham Brown is doing it with his Japanese wife. Sadly he doesnโ€™t write too much about family matters. Then there is also a family blog, I only recently discovered, but didnโ€™t get a chance to read yet.

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Does international health insurance for digital nomads exist?

 

by @al_steffen |  | 59 comments

Hey Nomads!

Iโ€™m looking for an international health insurance (no travel insurance) for my nomadic life. It should cover the basic services and at least be accepted in the EU (itโ€™s ok if itโ€™s not accepted in the US as Iโ€™m aware they rarely are). Nice to have: enter into a contract online. Anyone got a good experience or a recommendation?

Thanks in advance!

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How do you invest internationally as a nomad?


by @mateuszwieloch |  | 17 comments

I have finally saved enough money to start investing. What company gives good, diversified access to stock, ETFs and mutual funds? Does it make sense to use company like Vanguard or Fidelity for that? Iโ€™m a EU/Poland citizen, how would I transfer my money back and forth without incurring significant fees?

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What's the best bank account for a global nomad?

 

by @barrybjjoubert |  | 25 comments

Dear all
As a wanna be nomad figuring out a way to get free of the rat race, I was wondering what is the best bank account to have while travelling the globe? I need an account where is easy for me to receive payments from all over the world and it also need to be a bank that I can find almost anywhere in the world. I want to avoid carry cash on me if itโ€™s possible.

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Where should I register my company as a digital nomad? Singapore, Hong Kong?


in Singapore by @raphadk |  | 18 comments

Hey guys, hereโ€™s a question Iโ€™ve been asking nomads I meet everywhere, but still havenโ€™t found good information. My startups mostly focus on american and european markets but I donโ€™t have a registered company, nor I live permanently on any of these countries.

I get the cash payments online in paypal (or adsense) and transfer it to Thailand (or Malaysia, or Bali, or Brazil, or wherever Iโ€™m at). The thing isโ€ฆ for low volume living expenses it seems fine, but as I scale the business, Iโ€™m starting to think more and more about fiscal law.

A fellow nomad told me to transfer it to Singapore, Hong Kong or The Virgin Islands, and then use an international credit card anywhere. I donโ€™t know if itโ€™s the best way to optimize thisโ€ฆ any ideas?

Also, could there be any problems in selling to these countries without a registered local company?

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Where are the nomad hotspots where you can scuba dive?

 

by @madsn_ |  | 20 comments

Nomad-to-be here, wondering about destinations that offer a good mix of:

  1. Low cost of living
  2. Decent internet
  3. Scuba diving

Phuket seems an obvious choice, but Iโ€™m hoping there are some nomad scuba divers here who can share their experiences.

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How do you receive physical mail as a digital nomad?

 

by @danielgenser |  | 81 comments

Does anyone have recommendations to handle physical mail? In the USA, Iโ€™ve noticed various services over the years where you get a physical address that you can change your address to, they receive your mail, scan stuff and send you PDFโ€™s.

Has anyone used these types of services? Impressions?

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How is Chiang Mai's air quality?


in Chiang Mai, Thailand by @albyantoniazzi |  | 9 comments

Hello everyone!
Iโ€™m currently touring South East Asia and Iโ€™m now in Koh Lanta (Thailand). I was planning to visit Chiang Mai on friday, but Iโ€™ve read the air quality in this period is so bad due to fires that are using as a method of cultivating crops there in the north. Is it something to take in consideration or just nothing to care about?
Thanks in advance!
And by the way, if anybody is in Chiang Mai and would like to grab a coffee would also be cool!

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What's the best location to incorporate an online business?


by @dmftaras |  | 14 comments

Hey nomads,

Iโ€™m looking for the best location to incorporate my online business (offshore programming and so on).

The main requirements:

  • Low cost incorporation/yearly fee
  • Preferred with no audits (or other kind of paperwork)
  • With no local office/secretary/director needed
  • With low or 0% taxes
  • Easy to get paid from US/EU
  • Easy to send payments worldwide ( I can use Transferwise/Stripe or something like that, i donโ€™t care )
  • With corporate credit/debit cards

Iโ€™m only one owner of the company (not EU/US resident).
Iโ€™ve checked jurisdictions like BVI/Belize/Nevis and iโ€™m interested in it. It would be appreciated if you could give me some kind of advice, if you have experience with one of these jurisdictions.

My budget for incorporation < $1500

Thanks!

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How to best set up your taxes, residency and and business as a digital nomad?

 

by @theglobalcitizen |  | 60 comments

The purpose of this post is to discuss the benefits, downsides, and challenges of setting up an international business.

Comment with what you want to know, or with what knowledge you can offer others based on your experience.

  • Do you want to set up an offshore company but donโ€™t know
    where to start?
  • Do you have questions with setting up legal entities or bank accounts?
  • Do you have questions with regards to paying taxes and residency.

Before becoming a DN I worked in Dubai as a corporate service provider. I helped 100s of international entrepreneurs to set up their companies, engage in tax planning and obtaining residency. Most of them in Dubai, but also in other jurisdictions like Panama, Hong Kong & Seychelles.

Share your biggest struggles or tips!

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Does anybody have experience with setting up an offshore company and bank account in Labuan (Malaysia)


in Malaysia by @nomads_and_drifters |  | 4 comments

Hi there,
We are a husband and wife who travel a lot and have a small company set up in Fiji. We offer services to clients all over the world, but the Fijian banking system isnโ€™t very accommodating for a digital based business with a lot of overseas expenses.

To make our life easier we are planning to set up an offshore company and bank account in Labuan.
We have a Fijian, Belgium and Uk passport but have residency in Fiji.

Does anybody have experience with a situation like this? and any advice how to go about setting up an offshore company and bank account ideally in Labuan (or Singapore)?

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Digital nomads tax, how does it work?

 

by @homakov |  | 63 comments

Is there a lawyer here? Iโ€™m a Russian citizen and the last 2 years Iโ€™m living abroad. Which makes me non tax resident. And while i spend < 3 months in every country I do not owe taxes from my consulting income to any country.

Is there a flaw in this system? Yes I know Perpetual travel doesnโ€™t work for USA citizens, but everybody else here is in similar situation. Do you pay taxes and why?

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If you don't have a residence, where do you pay taxes as a European citizen?

 

by @mpp |  | 68 comments

While his type of question has been asked before, please bear with me as the existing threads donโ€™t match/answer my questions.

tl;dr

German citizen working as a consultant for a US startup and moving perpetually every < 3months.

  • (Where) Do I pay taxes when I technically donโ€™t have a residence?
  • Is it allowed by European/German law to not have a residence?
  • Are there countries where you can get a residence w/o staying 6 month/year or large investments, that do not tax non-remitted foreign-sourced income?
  • Can you recommend a good European/German tax advisor who could give a professional opinion?
  • Do I need to start a company to invoice an US company for consultancy work?

less short version:

Inspired by this community & @levelsio, Iโ€™m in the process of becoming a digital nomad myself. The one issue that is currently blocking me is sorting out what the best way to handle taxes is. Iโ€™ve been offered a job by a US startup, they want to hire me as a remote consultant (contractor). Iโ€™m not limited to a location and free to move where/as often as I want.

As the German tax authorities are known for not joking around, I want to make sure I handle the tax issue correctly. My research so far leads me to believe that as long as I donโ€™t own any property in Germany or do any business there, I should be fine with not paying taxes there. Switching countries at least once every three months also should be sufficient to not create any tax obligations in the respecitive countries.

While in theory this sounds like you donโ€™t have to have a residence anywhere and are not obliged to pay taxes, I have a hard time believing that this is not covered by International/European/German law. Did anyone (ideally European/German citizen) consult a tax advisor / lawyer on this and can give an educated answer to this? Iโ€™d also be thankful for recommendations for good tax advisors specialized on this topic.

Last but not least, as I havenโ€™t freelanced before: Do I need to start a company to be able to invoice the US company for my consultancy work or could I just do this as an individual?

Sorry for this rather long post, thanks to everyone whoโ€™ll take the time to answer <3

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Kuala Lumpur Nomads?


in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by @lucinda |  | 3 comments

Do yโ€™all exist?

Iโ€™m back in Kuala Lumpur and Iโ€™m looking for other nomads to hang with :slight_smile: perhaps arrange some group activities/meet ups. It seems like there are very few of us around compared to other SEA cities.

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What are the best/non-tourist places in Malaysia in Jan?


in Malaysia by @kathrynoh |  | 2 comments

Iโ€™m planning on travelling from Australia to the UK in Jan. I booked flights with a stopover in Malaysia for 2 weeks planning on going to Penang for that but wasnโ€™t thinking that itโ€™ll be peak tourist season!

Since I hate being in busy places, I am now reconsidering and wondered if there was anywhere with decent working spaces/cafes/accommodation that wonโ€™t be too overcrowded. The alternative is to just hang out in KL. Iโ€™ve been there a few times and wanted to try somewhere new but maybe holing up and having a work โ€œbootcampโ€ for the two weeks might be a better idea :slight_smile:

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Is Panama a good destination for tax residency for digital nomads?

 

in Panama by @anonym |  | 23 comments

Iโ€™m from Europe and is looking for a country where I can declare my residency, mostly for tax purposes. Panama seems to fit everything. The plan is:

  • Get permanent residency using โ€œFriendly Nations Visaโ€
  • Create a company and get a work permit
  • Get clients to pay me in that company

Since Panama has territorial tax, all income earned outside Panama has zero taxation.

Is it just that good or is there some hidden catch? I live in a Scandinavian country and they just hate to let people go. Will there be problems in paradise?

The plan is to visit Panama once a year and after five years get a passport.

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How can you avoid foreign banking, ATM, and transaction fees?

 

by @danielgenser |  | 52 comments

Whatโ€™s the latest on how to avoid ATM/bank/foreign transaction fees? How do you keep track of money spent when youโ€™re never quite sure of the exact exchange rate? I normally use YNAB to keep on top of my budget here at home, but Iโ€™m dreading keeping tabs on all the minute foreign transaction adjustments abroadโ€ฆ

Iโ€™m looking at this to check out some of the banking options: http://thepointsguy.com/2014/02/the-top-11-checking-accounts-for-avoiding-foreign-atm-fees/

Have you used any of these?

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Can you recommend a digital nomad accountant?


by @jaemin_yi |  | 8 comments

I know this is probably a long shot, but I wanted to ask my fellow entrepreneurial nomadsโ€ฆcan anyone recommend an accountant? Someone whoโ€™s affordable, communicative, comfortable working with remote clients, and really knows their shit!

Preferably one familiar with California tax law, but Iโ€™m open to any suggestions. If anyoneโ€™s happy with their current accountant (unlike me), Iโ€™d love to hear about them. Thanks guys!

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What do you do with presents?


by @bydorian |  | 6 comments

So there are many occasion people give gifts, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Birthdays, โ€ฆ etc.

For instance:

  • Food: you can use it pretty quickly
  • Flowers: doesnโ€™t last too long
  • Perfume: take a lot of space for a month or two
  • Clothes: what if you donโ€™t life them? (eg: a t-shirt, a scarf, โ€ฆ)
  • Random stuff: as part of the nomadic life, we want to be minimalist and canโ€™t keep too much stuff

I would say there is short-term, middle-term and long-term goods. And useful / useless / special goods.

So we have a problem, we donโ€™t have infinite storage space (either out of the bag in containers or inside bags).

Attacking the source of the problem:

  1. Asking people to give mostly short-term goods, useful middle-term/long-term goods (eg: from a wishlist for instance)
  2. Asking for no physical gifts
  3. Not going / celebrating those occasions
  4. Something else?

I think itโ€™s pretty hard to prevent people from giving unwanted gifts (rejecting a gift is an huge cultural mistake).

Attacking the effects of the problem:

  1. Giving gifts to somebody else
  2. Re-selling gifts
  3. Taking a photo of it and throwing it away
  4. Shipping them to some stockage container company
  5. Something else?

I personally think thatโ€™s one of the biggest thing against minimalism, and ultimately against the freedom of moving quickly.

So, what you you do?

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Is Bangkok's internet good enough for professional VOIP?


in Bangkok, Thailand by @douwe |  | 10 comments

Hi everebody,

I am new on nomadlist. We are from Holland but are now living in Spain.
We have a home based telemarketing company which is based in Holland. We work with a Voip connection in Spain where we call to Holland. This works perfect.

We are thinking of moving to Bangkok. Best way to find out is to test offcourse, but before that I was curious if there is someone here who has experience with a good voip connection from Asia to Europe.

Thanks in advance for your answers!

Douwe

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Any Apple users interested in beta testing my VPN service?


by @portable |  | 19 comments

Hi,

Iโ€™m a digital nomad (coming up to 3 years / 30 countries), software developer and run a VPN network.

Over the past few months Iโ€™ve scaled up the VPN network to include a lot of new countries (and popular nomad destinations) including Thailand, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Chile and a load of others.

Several locations have been configured to route across Tier 1 networks to Europe and the US so should help improve international bandwidth. (often the problem with Internet access in some countries is that you have a great connection to local services within that country but poor international connectivity. By connecting to a decent VPN server located in that country and then routing across premium bandwidth you can often get significantly better results).

Iโ€™m wondering if any techy Mac/iPhone/iPad users in some of these locations would be interested in testing and providing feedback on the services. Iโ€™ll give you a free subscription and can work with you to give you the best connection. Youโ€™ll have a network of 50 servers in 30 countries to connect to, and with your feedback hopefully I can tweak the network to give the best performance for other nomads.

Iโ€™m not sure if I can post a link to the apps (donโ€™t want my first post to be seen as spam) so reply to this thread if youโ€™re interested.

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Do you even plan your retirement?


by @gnclmorais |  | 6 comments

This is something that always bothered me, even outside the nomad lifestyle. Having to navigate through the planning, paperwork and headaches of your imminent retirement.

Is this something you are planning already? If so, how are you doing it? Are you setting it up on your โ€œhomeโ€ country? I must admit Iโ€™m terribly at blank here.

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What's your approach to finding medium term accommodation?

 

by @andygreenwood |  | 24 comments

Hi everyone.

Whatโ€™s your approach/resources for finding medium term accommodation (Iโ€™m thinking 1 month-3 months as that tends to be the visa limit)?

Been building up my work this year whilst also being a traditional backpacker so moving far too quickly.

Next year is all about picking two or three locations and โ€œsettlingโ€ for a while.

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What's the best way to get a visa for Bali?


by @danielgenser |  | 12 comments

How do people typically handle the Bali visa situation? Is it better to just arrive and get the 30 day visa on arrival, and then figure out an extension, if desired once youโ€™re there?

Or is it advisable to go through the process of getting the 60 day (single or multiple entry) visa ahead of time through the consulate here in the USA?

For some context, weโ€™re not 100% sure of how long we are planning on staying thus far, and were hoping to buy tickets to our next destination while in Bali.

Thanks for any advice you may offer!

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How can I stay responsive to clients while traveling?


by @jbroomeresearch |  | 6 comments

Hey all,
The feeling I get from a lot of nomads I talk to is that their time is very much their own-- no need to be โ€œon callโ€ or super-responsive to clients. Iโ€™m in a position of often needing to get back to clients quickly; checking email once a day really wonโ€™t do. This causes a lot of stress if Iโ€™m off the grid for more than a few hours. Would love to hear from others in this boat as to how they manage it.

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Any rock climber/digital nomads out there?


by @conorcussell |  | 8 comments

Any rock climber/digital nomads out there?

Iโ€™m off to work from various climbing locations around the world (starting in Spain in march), would be good to meet up with other people doing similar work whilst away!

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Hi, I'm Manu, an accountant turned digital nomad and offshore tax expert. AMA!

 

by @xiufensilver |  | 39 comments

Wonder how to do your taxes as a nomad? Ask your question now!

About Manu:
Today Iโ€™m here to clear any misunderstandings about international taxation for digital nomads. There is too much wrong, outdated and irrelevant information out there.

I will answer any general questions, relevant to the community as a whole. You are welcome to give your own situation as an example. If you are looking for personalized and actionable recommendations or referrals, please contact me or someone else you trust in this matter privately.

About myself: I learned accounting for 5 years in high school, but became more interested in international management and programming at university. I worked as a director and purchasing manager for a 100m+ private trust in Europe and Greater China. In 2013, I resigned from this position to have a better work-life balance and travel more. Since then I have spent most of my time in Asia doing consulting through various companies.

My latest project is a crowdfunding accelerator that will take place in Shenzhen, China later this year.

ASK AWAY!

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Are there people in relationships that are digital nomads?


by @tobu |  | 10 comments

Iโ€™m looking into the remote work lifestyle. Recently quit my standard job and working on my own. I have a wife though, specialized in pharmaceutical area so not really the type for remote work. Looking for any inspiration if anyone managed to do a couples nomading, where one co-worked and the other found local jobs. Looking to stay half to one year in one place.

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What's the best dentist in Bangkok?


in Bangkok, Thailand by @ryanleroux |  | 10 comments

Hello folks :smile:

Iโ€™ll be visiting Thailand for the month of May after a yearlong stay in France. Iโ€™ve heard that getting dental work is super affordable in Thailand and I was hoping to get a cleaning + checkup before returning home to Canada in June.

Anyone have any experience with this? Iโ€™d love to get your thoughts/experience.

Thanks,
Ryan

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My wife and I are in Ubud โ€“ would anyone like to meet up?


in Ubud, Indonesia by @danielgenser |  | 2 comments

Hi everyone, my wife, Devon, and I made it to Ubud yesterday, and have been hanging out at Hubud a bit today and otherwise wandering around. Iโ€™m wondering if anyone would like to meet up? We donโ€™t really know anyone here and would love to make some connections. This is our first nomad stop โ€“ weโ€™d love to hear your stories, find out more about what to do here in Bali, and otherwise get to know some new people.

Letโ€™s meet up!

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I gave up my job/place/stuff and am abroad. What should I do next?


by @mainlydana |  | 4 comments

Hi, all

Forgive me, as am not one for brevity. Like so many, Iโ€™ve been thinking a lot about being a digital nomad, and find myself in a good position to go for it (better position than most who are considering it, I think), but am still not sureโ€ฆ how/where to start.

Background: In July 2013 I left my home country for long-term travel for the first time. I found out, though I was already 35 at the time, that I was still eligible for a working holiday visa for a handful of countries. I was accepted to New Zealand. So, I quit my job, gave up my apartment, sold or gave away what I could, and have some stuff stored with family. I spent three months in SE Asia then 13 months in New Zealand. Though my background is communications, in NZ I worked in tourism/hospitality which was a fun and refreshingโ€”if low-payingโ€”change of scenery.

Now Iโ€™m in Cambodia working in communications for an NGO for six months. I only receive a small monthly stipend but Iโ€™d always been curious about NGO work and with the low cost of living here plus some savings built up I thought, why not?

Not content to watch my nest egg slowly drain, Iโ€™ve been looking into some freelance work on the side, mostly in writing which seems to be the most common freelance work available based on my background/experience. I also thought now would be an ideal testing ground for freelance work due to my savings plus low overhead

My NGO gig ends in June and Iโ€™d love to stay in Cambodia longer, but not overly keen on the 9-to-5 and would love an alternative (either as a telecommuting employee, freelancing, or a mix of both). Even though I made the hardest choice in 2013 with quitting my job and all that and Iโ€™m now based somewhere where I can live off a low income for awhile, I donโ€™t know how or where to start.

Due to the โ€œsabbaticalโ€ (ie. travel then time in NZ) and in my last few jobs not doing much writing outside of social media content, my writing portfolio is quite dated, which is not helping prove my writing abilities. Also, being in-house so long, I donโ€™t have many contacts that could become potential clients. I actually prefer editing, but the consensus out there seems to be that if the writing is good, then an editor is not needed so thereโ€™s less editing work as far as I can tell.

Oh, I should add my comms experience has been in the not-for-profit sector predominantly, so no experience writing marketing- or sales-type copy designed to sell products or services (though certainly willing to try). And one last thing: Iโ€™m not an overly confident person, so selling myself does not come easy which is certainly not helping in trying to get work. Some days I feel defeated and that this concept of being a digital nomad is just not attainable for someone like me.

If you read all that, thanks! Tips / advice / suggestions / thoughts / slap upside the head? :wink:

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Can i get a visa outside my home country?


by @piotr |  | 5 comments

Letโ€™s say I got into an EU country with a schengen visa.
But now, I want to get a visa to Thailand WHILE iโ€™m in an EU country.

Can I just go to the Thai counsular office / embassy and get a visa on my passport? (i have a Russian passport)
Or, do I need to get the visa in the country I reside in first?

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Would anyone be interested in an accounting app for nomads?


by @andrewkent |  | 16 comments

Taxes and accounting are a huge pain in the ass for me. Iโ€™m currently using a mix of quickbooks, google drive/dropbox, google sheets, and the ScanPro app. Getting all these things to integrate is just a headache.

I would like an accounting app that works for nomads. Would anyone else be interested in something like this? Or, does anyone know of any good accounting apps for nomad types out there?

Some of the features I want:

  • Connect to a bank account to load transactions and classify them (just like quickbooks)

  • Digitize receipts/docs. I canโ€™t haul a bunch documents around, so I want to be able to snap a picture of a receipt/document using a smartphone AND link it to a specific entry in my linked bank transactions. Why the hell does Quickbooks not have this feature?

  • Find tax deductions that nomads can typically claim. Quickbooks does deductions like home office, but nomads donโ€™t have home offices. Would like an app that finds deductions for the perpetual nomad (e.g., certain situations where housing is deductible while youโ€™re abroad, some travel expenses, etc.)

Any other features that people would like?

If no one knows of anything out there (Iโ€™ve googled my brains out, so any suggestions are welcome), please let me know.

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What do you use to work out on the road?


by @jbroomeresearch |  | 7 comments

Just made a list of a few of my favorite things when working out on the roadโ€ฆwould love to hear what other people are using! What do you use to work out on the road?

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Where should I register my company when operating in multiple countries in SE Asia?


by @username88 |  | 2 comments

We are two Australians developing a startup that will aim to have dozens/hundreds of different customers across SE Asia (Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia at first and then probably expanding elsewhere).

We are kind of lost as to where we should set up our company to operate. As I see it, setting up a company in these countries is a very daunting an expensive process and probably more trouble than itโ€™s worth. However, setting up a company in Australia is going to attract much higher tax. Another factor is that payments for our product may have to come through bank transfers from local banks (as credit card/paypal penetration is pretty low) so we assume that a local company and working visa is required to operate local bank accounts.

Does anyone know a solution to this problem?

Thanks in advance!

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How do you insure your laptop when you have already left your country of residence?


by @laurie |  | 11 comments

Hello Digital Nomads!

Iโ€™m in a bit of a pickle: I am a Canadian resident currently living a bit everywhere in Europe. Iโ€™m starting a trip around the world in March while I keep doing freelance work. I know want to insure my laptop, but how can I do that? In the eyes of Canadian insurance companies, Iโ€™m already on my tripโ€ฆ Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!!!

Laurie
LaurieMillotte.com

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Should I take the plunge? Push me over the edge!


by @hesitantnomad |  | 8 comments

Hey everyone!

This will be a throwaway account - I will sign up properly once Iโ€™m ready to embark on this exciting new journey. However, I need some support and advice before taking the plunge. I think this post is about to get a tad lengthy given that I need to explain my circumstances, but if you stick with me, you could possibly become a huge influence on my life and one of the catalysts for a drastic lifestyle change! (Scroll to the bottom for the TL;DR version)

First up, I am 26 years old, currently living in Australia. I work full-time in a web development/designer position, and have been employed for almost 6 months. Previous to this, I was running my own graphic and web design business, and I did this for about 3 years. Why did I decide to go back to working โ€œfor the manโ€? A few reasons: more money, more security, less headaches. I own my own apartment and my expenses exceed $2000/month, so I needed to increase my income in order to live more comfortably.

Iโ€™ve recently discovered the โ€œdigital nomadโ€ phenomenon, even though I actually kind of lived this lifestyle while travelling for 3 months (US/UK/parts of Europe), but the difference is I always stayed with friends or family and was never alone. I also never considered moving overseas to where expenses are low and building my business and other passive income ventures - until now, that is. I would love to have more time to work on some of my own projects that I have started over the years (e.g. finish writing my first novel, have more time to work on an online game that I started with a couple of buddies, blogging/vlogging, maybe even start setting up new online businesses like dropshipping, etc.)

Iโ€™ve been thinking about moving to Chiang Mai in Thailand. Iโ€™ve been doing a lot of research online and it seems like this is one of the biggest digital nomad hot-spots. I would also love to visit Thailand and experience the culture, people, and food. However, all I see online is the positives about being a digital nomad. Nobody seems to talk about how lonely it can be or the downsides to this way of life. For all of you out there that are currently living this lifestyle by yourselves (without partners), be frank with me! Whatโ€™s it like? Do you get lonely? Do you find it hard to go out and meet new people? Are the people you meet always temporary companions, or are you able to cultivate meaningful friendships with others that extend past the โ€œbusinessโ€ side of things? Iโ€™m a bit of an introvert at heart, and I have never gone out to a club by myself or anything like that in my life - itโ€™s always been with friends. However, I know that I would have to put myself out there if I decide to pursue this lifestyle. Honestly, this kind of excites me and terrifies me at the same time, but I know that it would be a great experience!

Another issue that I face is with my family. My parents are veryโ€ฆ shall we sayโ€ฆ โ€œinvestedโ€ in my life. They take a lot of interest in what I do and how I should be living my life. I say this in the most positive way possible, but sometimes I wish they werenโ€™t so protective and paranoid about the world. My mother in particular worries all the time, and this is what she thinks of the whole idea: Itโ€™s dangerous. People will rob me. What if I get sick? She thinks the healthcare system in Thailand is horrible (despite her only knowledge of Thailand stemming from documentaries she has watched pertaining to the sex industry). Drugs. Hookers. Corruption. Loneliness. โ€œYouโ€™ll be taking several steps back in your life/career if you do this.โ€ I mean, I could go on, but this post is getting long enough. How can I convince my family that this will be something positive and that I am not crazy for wanting to do this?

Is the whole thing worth it? My life right now is not bad by any means. I have the well-paying job, I have the apartment, the car, the (what some consider) โ€œperfectโ€ country. Am I not being humble? Do I not appreciate what I have? These are questions my parents are asking me. But alas, I am unhappy. Even though I have it beyond โ€œgoodโ€ when compared to other people, I am still not satisfied. I canโ€™t stand the 9-5 lifestyle. I am getting sick of my job and the people I have to put up with. Iโ€™m watching my life pass me by as I am getting older and older. I really want to experience more of the world and have the ability to work on projects that actually make me happy. Tell me Iโ€™m not crazy for wanting to drop everything to pursue a nomadic lifestyle!

Iโ€™m going to try to wrap this up now. Let me give you guys a breakdown of what I would need to do in order to become a digital nomad:

  1. Rent out my apartment (Itโ€™s been renovated and has new expensive furniture. I am definitely afraid that someone will come in and wreck it all, but hey, I wouldnโ€™t have much choice).

  2. Quit my job and get in touch with my old clients again (I think I could easily start getting freelance work again from my previous clients, so I probably wouldnโ€™t have an issue with getting by).

  3. Book my tickets and do all the preparations (Vaccinations, changing my address so my parents get my mail, sort out accommodation for Thailand, get my visa in order, etc. etc.)

Itโ€™s a huge change with a fair few financial risks, and all it boils down to is: Would it be worth it? Hereโ€™s a brief run-down of the questions I need answers to in case you couldnโ€™t be bothered reading the wall of text above.

TL;DR

  1. How lonely does it get as a digital nomad?
  2. Is it safe to travel to Thailand? What are the risks? What should I be wary of?
  3. How has being a digital nomad worked out of you? Donโ€™t just give me the glamorous version either! I want the gritty details too. :wink:
  4. Is it easy to make new friends that actually stick around?
  5. If you could do it all over again, would you?
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I'm Marcus Meurer, founder of the first digital nomad conference DNX, AMA


by @marcusmeurer |  | 13 comments

Hi fellow Nomads,
Iโ€™m Marcus, the founder of DNX GLOBAL, the first conference for Digital Nomads.
Together with my girlfriend @Feli we have worked and lived as Digital Nomads in 20 countries over the span of three years.
At the moment we are working from Taganga, a small fisher village at the caribbean coast of Colombia.

Originally employed at several start-up companies in tech hotspot Berlin, Felicia and me left our jobs behind to embrace self-employment and travel.

Some countries were very challenging: In the fisher village El Nido, Philippines, there was no power supply until 4 p.m. Myanmar and Belize came with very limited Internet access as well.
In Brazil you need a local tax number to buy a local SIM card. However, we found perfect conditions for Digital Nomads in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and most of the European countries.

Despite our constant roaming, we have an interest in creating services and products of real value to clients. When going on the road we started with freelancing and offering services like website coding, personal branding, and marketing consulting. We also run a German backpacking and adventure travel blog called โ€œTravelicia,โ€ in which we share our experiences.

To meet the wishes of other nomads and address the concerns of potential-nomads, we launched the first German DNX - Digital Nomad Conference in Berlin in May 2014.

This summer on 1st of August we are doing the first international conference for Digital Nomads - DNX GLOBAL in Berlin. The line-up for the main event includes bestselling Amazon author Natalie Sisson, TED Conference speaker Derek Sivers, long term traveling Digital Nomad Cody McKibben and international travel blogger Sabrina Iovino. The day before the main event we will do workshops to spread awareness of self-employment options for travel enthusiasts.

Ask me about being on the road as a couple. Ask me about work environment and setting in countries in Asia, Central America, South America and Europe. Ask me about the ups and downs in Digital Nomad life. Ask me about handling with common prejudices from people and the press. Ask me about the challenges and learnings being on the road for 3 years.

I am sure Digital Nomads from all over the world start to design their life in a way that creates more value for them and their environment.

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