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Any digital nomads from third world countries?

 

by @mika | 6yr  | 39 comments

Hello, Iโ€™m a freelance designer from the Philippines. I was just wondering if there were any digital nomads who arenโ€™t American/European/Australian/Canadian/etc. How do you deal with visa issues? Or do you just stick to countries where you donโ€™t need visas? Are there any other challenges that you have because of your country of origin?

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@oskar | 6yr

Hi there
Iโ€™m also from the third world, i was born in Peru and i reside in Uruguay but i have passports from both countries so i have a pretty good coverage of visa free countries in the World. Uruguayan passport allows me to travel visa free in Europe, including the whole Schengen zone, Ireland, the UK, Russia, Croatia, Turkey, etc and other first world countries like New Zealand, South Korea and Japan. Peruvian passport is good for South East Asia where i can travel visa free to Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, etc. Both passports allow me free movement in Latin America. For USA i have a tourist visa for 10 years, for Australia i can get a visa online and for Canada well i really dont care about it hehe

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@anon82020850 | 6yr

I am from South Africa, and yes visas can be an issue but I just go to countries which I can enter visa-free. This limits me basically to Southeast Asia, parts of Africa, and Central and South America.

I still have a USA visa which is valid for the next 7 years, and that also allows me to enter Mexico (from what I understand).

There are also a handful of European countries I can enter visa-free, but for any of the countries in the Schengen countries I need a visa. As a DN that is a next to impossible visa to get since they want proof of regular salary, a letter from your employer to say you will come back to your job, bank statements, proof that you own a property or are renting and a fully booked itinerary (with flight back to your home country).

If you have a job and are just going on a vacation it is not difficult to supply that paperwork, but being a DN I can supply none of it. So I just skip the Schengen area altogether. It does not bother me.

Up until now I have been in Southeast Asia, but next year I hope to go across to South America.

The only other issue sort of affecting me is that South Africaโ€™s currency is busy declining at a rapid rate due to it turning into yet another failed African state.

Thankfully most of my (cash) money is out of the country already, but I still have retirement funds which I cannot move and are probably going to be worthless by the time those policies pay out. So I need to start putting other plans in place for that.

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@lachicnomad | 6yr

Hi, Iโ€™m Beatrice from the tiny island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. I have always wondered if there are other nomads from third world countries and so pleased to see there are :). Most of the documentaries I watched are from canadians or U.S citizens and when they talk about living the dream, with a simple life, less stuff, by the beach, I think wait - thatโ€™s EXACTLY the life I left when I started travelling and taking the steps towards being a digital nomad! I guess we have other aspirations. For me the challenges are not so much about visa because my passport gives me free entry to Schengen and a lot of other countries. What I find very challenging is financial stability. I aspire to a different lifestyle than living in a beach hut and eating asian food because Iโ€™ve had it all my life growing up. So, the places where I want to live are rich in history like Europe, which is harder to finance I guessโ€ฆ

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@gui | 6yr

Hey guys! Iโ€™m Brazilian, but also have a Portuguese passport, which makes things a lot easier.

So I suppose I have the best of both worlds. Iโ€™ve been living in the UK for almost a decade; when I lived in NZ I applied for a Working Holiday Visa with my Brazilian Passport and now that Iโ€™m going to Thailand, Iโ€™m going to take advantage of the agreement between Thailand and Brazil, which gives me a three month tourist visa on arrival.

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@db8871 | 6yr

There are advantages of being from sea, get an apec card, 3 months stay in member countries.

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@nikipaniki | 6yr

Iโ€™m so happy to see this thread and started by a fellow Filipino too. Iโ€™m also one and based in Singapore. Iโ€™m not a DN yet but definitely looking to transition. The whole visa thing is such a big pain. Maybe I should look into SEA for the first year being a DN but I really want to travel around South Korea in 2017. The visa thing will be an issue though and I am dreading it.

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@kittytana | 6yr

So great to see quite a few location independent people from developing countries here! I am from Thailand, as most of you know, everything outside of SEA is freaking expensive. And visa is a major issue. For me Europe is not in the picture right now as I donโ€™t wanna deal with all that hassle just yet.

Luckily I have a US tourist visa (with that you can also travel to a lot of other countries in Central America as well). With my passport I can travel to most countries in South America, too. So last year and this year Iโ€™ve spent a lot of time in the US. I will be moving to Mexico in a few days and explore Central and South America this year and next year.

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@danielfae | 6yr

Hi everyone,

I am from Colombia and because of that I need to ask for a visa almost everywhere I plan to go.

I have been working and travelling in the US, both under working permit and tourist visa. I currently live in Oslo after I came as a tourist and found a great community in Norway, I needed to apply for a Visa to stay longer but it was easier than applying to the US since my girlfriend is from here.

Now I have the fortune to say that I am a Nomad from a third world country working remotely in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Bogota and Medellin have better ranking in NomadList than Oslo and I encourage all nomads to try them out because you will definitely have a lot of fun. But as Colombian I decided to work abroad since I have more opportunities as an interaction designer. Because Norway is so expensive, almost any city has a better ranking, but the community here is growing and the startup scene will be soon huge in scandinavia, so now I feel I am in the right place as a Nomad.

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@neilsteel | 6yr

Hello there mika and everyone else who are from developing countries! I am a freelance developer born and raised in Manila, Philippines and I am currently in Chiang Mai - a place I consider my second home :smile:

Dealing with visa issues:

To be honest, I hate dealing with visas so I have (for now) avoided countries that require one. I have been โ€œtravelivingโ€ here in Thailand for almost 6 months now (on and off) and at first I just did visa run every 30 days (15 days from land borders). When I lived in Cambodia for 40 days, I also did a visa run as Filipinos only get 21 days free. It saved me money, but not time, so I decided to not do land-based visa runs anymore.

Thankfully, it is now possible to extend your 30 day exemption in Thailand to another 30 days at a cost (1900 thb). This is what I did the last time. When it expired, I backpackโ€™ed to Myanmar (14 days free) for two weeks and got a proper 2 month visa (can be extended for another month).

Like most other ASEANs here, I am excited to see what the AEC integration will bring about.

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@allancaeg | 6yr

Iโ€™m also curious about what the ASEAN 2015 Integration would mean for passport holders of affected counties

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@allancaeg | 6yr

Some tips:

  • travel in your own country
  • choose places where itโ€™d be inexpensive to do visa runs
  • favor cities without higher living costs than your origin

And hello to everyone I know on this thread!

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@hungryzi | 6yr

Ahhh visas. I want to rant.

Iโ€™m from Vietnam. I need a visa to most countries, and I canโ€™t apply for visa in countries where Iโ€™m not a resident. Although Iโ€™m freelancing, I started a company in Singapore and hire myself so I have a residence status in Singapore. Applying for visas in Singapore as a resident is much easier than doing so from my home country. This comes with a cost: legal & accounting issues of running a company.

Iโ€™m thinking of taking the Trans-Mongolian to Europe over China, Mongolia and Russia soonish and just thinking about applying to the 4 visas needed make my head spin. After this, I think Iโ€™d stick with โ€œeasyโ€ countries for a while. You know, Africa, South America, Asia. There are many other things to explore anyway.

Hopefully visas will become something of the past soon. I donโ€™t have a solution for it right now, but I can think of many benefits eliminating visas would bring.

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@destiny | 6yr

Hi @hungryzi What type of business did you register? And what is the general cost involved.

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@hungryzi | 6yr

@destiny Itโ€™s a private limited. Costs me 1k to setup and about the same annually to hire a virtual office & general tax & accounting services. Itโ€™s easy to have a company in Singapore, but that doesnโ€™t mean you automatically become of resident. I need to hire myself for that, and getting a work permit in Singapore is not easy (they have requirements such as: degree, min salaryโ€ฆ) Itโ€™s relatively easy for me because I studied there and have worked there for a few years.

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@mika | 6yr

@hungryzi I considered doing that last year! But right now I feel itโ€™s too much for me to have a company. Maybe in the future. I want to do the long train ride thing too XD itโ€™s a lot of planning indeed. I would love for visas to be eliminated but I can also see why they are necessary right now.

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@allancaeg | 6yr

@hungryzi Cแบฃm ฦกn bแบกn!

Interesting. So upfront cost of 1k SGD for incorporation then 1k SGD/year for the PTE LTD?

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@homakov | 6yr

Iโ€™m from Russia, most asian and south american countries are visa-free, but all 1st world countries require a visa (USA, EU, Australia etc).

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@laverick | 6yr

Thanks guys.
@mika Did that make any reference to an โ€˜approved leave of absenseโ€™, or was it merely that you were employed / expected to be employed? All the schengen countries seem to indicate requiring the leave of absence being mentioned, just wondering if they actually enforce it.

@crigor Sounds like the business may not need as much history as I expected. Did you say you were coming to visit clients at your destination, or just generally that they were abroad?

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@crigor | 6yr

@laverick that the clients were abroad. My purpose for the trip on the application was vacation even if I worked remotely.

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@crigor | 6yr

@mika Good luck with the visa application. Iโ€™m going to Rio end of Feb :slight_smile: Iโ€™ll already be in the US so the airfare is not that expensive but if youโ€™re coming from Manila, it is. Iโ€™ll only stay a few days though. Iโ€™m giving a talk at Tropical Ruby in Porto de Galinhas. I need to get back to Manila so the rest of South America has to wait! Sad about that, I just learned there are other countries in South America where we donโ€™t need visas.

@James thereโ€™s a direct flight from Manila to Phuket so thatโ€™s easier for me. Hopefully April or May!

@laverick I have a registered business but it only started in late 2013 - I only submitted the registration papers, no Income Tax Return. IIRC, I also submitted a letter stating Iโ€™m a freelancer with clients abroad.

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@james | 6yr

@crigor see you then! :slight_smile:

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@mika | 6yr

@crigor Thank you! Have fun in Rio :slight_smile: I want to go there too if Iโ€™m coming from the US. Maybe Iโ€™ll ask you for tips XD
@laverick yes I specified the leave of absence in the letter. I donโ€™t think they contacted my client though but itโ€™s best to have everything in the letter.

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@blueazulbughaw | 6yr

I am a freelancer as well here in MNL, I just have a few questions:

  • Did you specify your salary in the CoE
  • Did they require you to show your bank account or bank statement.
  • What are your tips in getting a schengen Visa when you donโ€™t have a work to show them except your freelance works

I would really love to visit Europe and US but it seems to be very hard for freelancers.

Thank You

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@marinajaneiko | 6yr

Hey, Iโ€™m from Latvia - technically European Union, but since itโ€™s the least developed part of Europe, my passport gets me into the โ€œsuspicious lanesโ€ at borders. Iโ€™ve experienced it in both US and Canada. Sticking to visa on arrival or pre-clearance opportunity (like US for many other citizenships) countries is definitely a benefit.

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@james | 6yr

@destiny fascinating, the visa will be great, who are the first four to join?

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@destiny | 6yr

Visaโ€™s can be a pain, but I did the SEAsia thing for a whole year in 2010, and was able to get 3 month visas without a problem. I prefer warmer climates, the beach and Asian food so Iโ€™m pretty content and happy with that.

Iโ€™m actually waiting for whatever changes will happen to visa regulations with ASEAN countries, since technically its 2015 and the ASEAN integration has started (kinda like the EU).

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@flyonthewall | 6yr

Iโ€™m from India. I deal with visa issues all the time. I travel to countries that do not require a visa as well as those that do. Depends on what I feel like doing :smile:

After several years (almost 4 nowโ€ฆ) of traveling, I am however quite tired of applying for visas. So I think for the coming year Iโ€™m mostly going to stick to countries that do give me visa on arrival.

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@crigor | 6yr

Iโ€™m from Manila and getting a visa is definitely an issue. I work mostly from home so I have time to apply for one. But there are problems too. Last year, I went on a 3-month trip to the US and Europe. I already had a US visa but it was my first time in Europe.

You can only apply 3 months before your trip so even if you plan a year early you have to wait. I ended up going to the US before the 3 month trip so I only applied once I got home. It took about a month to get the Schengen visa. Our airfare ended up being more expensive.

Going to countries where you donโ€™t need a visa is definitely an option. We can travel to anywhere in South East Asia so take advantage of that. Last November I had an opportunity to speak at Rails Israel. I was only told 2 weeks prior and fortunately Filipinos donโ€™t need a visa to Israel. I would have wanted to go to other countries like Turkey on the same trip but didnโ€™t have time to get a visa.

This year I will spend more time in South East Asia. Itโ€™s cheaper and itโ€™s just a shame if I donโ€™t get to visit the places near me.

@mika what are your plans this year?

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@james | 6yr

How are your Visaโ€™s for Thailand, we would love to see some SEA DNโ€™s down in Koh Lanta, Thailand. If not there is also a big DN scene in Ubud (Indonesia) & Chiang Mai (Thailand), which I am sure you are aware of.

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@crigor | 6yr

Hi @James! I donโ€™t need a visa to stay in Thailand for 30 days. I guess I can get a long-term visa if I need to stay more than that.

Iโ€™ll definitely check out Koh Lanta. I see youโ€™re the co-founder of KoHUB. Awesome! Is Phuket Airport the nearest to Koh Lanta?

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@james | 6yr

Hi @crigor Krabi is closer (mini bus and ferry options). But we have nomads arrive from Phuket as well. There are mini-busses, ferries and speed boat options.

@Mika @crigor We would always be very happy to see SEA DNโ€™s here. When/if you make it to Thailand/Lanta pop by for a coffee or juice! :slight_smile:

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@james | 6yr

@destiny I think ASEAN 2015 is a very exciting idea for SEAโ€™s.

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@destiny | 6yr

Not just for free trade purposes, we may actually see a single ASEAN visa, works likes Schegen. It has been in the talks for years, only Myanmar is reluctant but we may see 4 countries in the beginning eventually all ASEAN countries will be part of it.

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@mika | 6yr

I think we get 30 days without a visa for other SEA countries. Thailand is definitely on my travel list!

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@mika | 6yr

Oh yay another Filipino :slight_smile: I only know one other Filipino DN. Yeah the 3 month thing is annoying! And I have to keep applying every time I go. Luckily for me it only took me around 2 weeks to get. Iโ€™m not really a fan of hot weather haha which is why Iโ€™m trying to go further. I guess Iโ€™m stuck here for now.
Iโ€™m currently waiting for the results of my freelance visa application to Germany, not that Iโ€™m feeling optimistic about it or anything. Looking into backup places to go in case I donโ€™t get it. Yes, I definitely want to go to Tel Aviv. I met some Israelis last year who invited me. I also really want to go to Rio but the plane ticket going there is so expensive!

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@laverick | 6yr

@crigor Any tips for handling the employment / return to home country proof when getting a Schengen from Manila? Friend of mine about to apply.

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@mika | 6yr

@laverick I got a letter of employment from one of my Manila clients.

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@musnit | 6yr

Iโ€™m from South Africa, which is technically third world (and in terms of passport, sucks). Iโ€™m just in South East Asia at the moment, which I donโ€™t need visas in. Iโ€™m also used to the prices of South Africa which is quite a bit lower than the first world, so these South East Asia prices arenโ€™t crazy cheap like I assume they are for others from first world countries. Iโ€™ve only been travelling for like 6 days, so no other issues :).

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@mika | 6yr

Hope you are enjoying SEA :slight_smile: I feel a bit odd because all the digital nomads seem to be going here and I was born here and I want to explore elsewhere but having visa issues. I wish there would be more resources for people like us XD

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I dream of being a digital nomad? How do I do it?


by @programmingmark | 1yr 1 year ago | 2 comments

Hello digital nomad!

I dream of being an independent digital nomad. But it feels very elusive & unattainable with my success rate. In full disclosure, whilst I have dreamed about making money online since high school; I have not earned a single cent making money online. $0, nada, zilch!! On the contrary, I have spent a lot of time & money on books, podcasts. Even though I have spent a lot of time reading/listening to others, I do not have anything to show for it!

I have made attempts in the past to start an online business, but these fizzle out quite quickly when I do not see traction especially when the goal I have set myself is too high.

Instead of reaching for the ultimate nomadic lifestyle goal, I want to start much smaller. Really small! I am simply looking to make $50 profit per month from a new online business. Thatโ€™s it.

I need some advice from you please!

  • Is $50 profit too low? How long did it take you to earn $50 profit per month?

  • What is a good way of achieving this goal?

Thanks
Mark
aka the $0 online business entrepreneur

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How do digital nomads pay tax?


by @rodriigovieira | 1yr 1 year ago | 19 comments

Hello everyone! Iโ€™m new here and probably this is a very newbie question, but it doesnโ€™t leave my head.

How do you, nomads, pay your taxes? I mean, if youโ€™re constantly traveling, how are you going to pay taxes for a certain country if you are going to stay there a short period of time?
Or do you return to your โ€œoriginal countryโ€ and then pay them?

By the way, this forum has very nice cool formatting features! :smile:

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Anyone know an accountant for Canadian nomads/expats?


by @noam_lightstone | 1yr 1 year ago | 16 comments

Hey guys, this was my first year as a Canadian nomad.

As far as I know of, Canadians donโ€™t pay taxes if they do not live in the country for 6 months.

But Iโ€™d like to talk to an accountant or someone who does Canadian taxes specifically for expats and nomads to get clear on the rules and for help on my return coming up.

Does anyone know someone who specializes in Canada who can help? Iโ€™ve seen plenty of US recommendations but none for us canucks.

Thanks guys!

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Best place for Digital Nomad in Latin America?


by @rose_davis | 1yr 1 year ago | 7 comments

Hi!

I am planning to move to Latin America for 3-4 months (Oct-January). Iโ€™ve narrowed down 6 different places that I want to visit before committing to settling down, but Iโ€™d love to get some community input.

Here are the cities Iโ€™m considering:

  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Medellin, Columbia
  • Cartagena, Columbia
  • Antigua, Guatemala
  • San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala

The most important things Iโ€™m looking for:

  • Fast/easily accessible internet
  • Easy to meet other nomads/make friends in general
  • Safe for women
  • Some sort of spiritual community (Iโ€™m also a yoga teacher)
  • Easily walkable city

Anyone have any experience with these places and can give some insight? Iโ€™m also completely open to other recommendations.

Thanks!
Rose

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Where are the nomads in Mexico City?


in Mexico City, Mexico by @shellyfish | 1yr 1 year ago | 9 comments

I just landed as a n00b digital nomad in Mexico City, and I am wonderingโ€ฆ Where are all the international digital nomads hiding around here? I have been to several coworking spaces (Selina etc.) only to find A LOT of local Mexican workers and businesses. Donโ€™t get me wrong, that is all fine, but I was hoping to meet some international nomads! Any advice?

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How do we solve housing for digital nomads?

 

by @levelsio | 2yr 1 year ago | 61 comments

Thereโ€™s been a lot of discussion on this recently.

Nomads usually stay in hostels, hotels and short-term apartments. But itโ€™s all not very optimal.

Iโ€™ve heard people suggest getting funding and building a network of houses you can stay at for a subscription price (e.g. Bruno Haid is working on that).

I donโ€™t want do physical stuff, so Iโ€™m thinking of building a platform around making housing better for nomads.

What are the housing problems nomads face? And how can we solve them with products/services?

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App/tool/service for nomads to bring things from another country?


by @brmolin | 2yr 1 year ago | 4 comments

I vaguely remember hearing about such a service before, but Iโ€™m drawing a blank on the name. Basically I left my tablet on a connecting flight in Europe, right before my main flight to Thailand. They have my tablet and are willing to ship it out for me, but people have warned me thereโ€™s a big risk of it getting โ€œlost in the mailโ€ if I ship something expensive like that to Thailand.

Iโ€™m wondering if thereโ€™s a service or community, where I can find a nomad whoโ€™s in Europe/heading to Thailand soon, so I can have it shipped to them in Europe and pay them to ferry it down here for me? I met someone in Budapest a ways back who had built something for this type of use-case, but I canโ€™t remember the name of it. Any help would be appreciated!

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Are there any nomads from India?

 

in India by @ankitdas123 | 2yr 1 year ago | 56 comments

I have seen a lot of posts from different people across the world, but not even a single post from someone in India, who has been a nomad, either living within the country or traveling to another one.

Would definitely love to hear stories from such people. We are a couple traveling as social nomads who are trying to bridge the gap between the rural and urban societies in India. We have started out very humble and do not have much resources, so looking out for help from the community.

Ankit & Rishika
Around Love and Life

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How is Sicily for digital nomads?


by @gaelm | 2yr 1 year ago | 15 comments

Hi all, I was looking for a cool spot in Southern Europe for winter and Iโ€™m considering Sicilyโ€ฆ Have you ever been there? If yes, how was your experience? If not, why?
thanks!

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How is Bari, Italy for digital nomads?


in Bari, Italy by @mitch_dina | 2yr 1 year ago | 7 comments

Greetings!
Does anyone have experience in Bari, Italy please? We are thinking of going from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Bari by boat in mid-March. Has anyone taken a boat across? Is it nice or can it be choppy? (We are trying to avoid planes, to reduce our carbon footprint, so adding more surface travel.) Also, any info you might be able to offer about Bari and the surrounds? Next step will likely be trains up Italy as the Spring progresses.

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How is Mauritius for digital nomads?


in Mauritius by @wakkos | 2yr 1 year ago | 14 comments

Hello all,

Iโ€™m planning on spending a couple of month in Mauritius Island and even when Iโ€™ve been there for a week, never rented or worked there.

Does anyone here has tips or experience to share about Mauritius?

Cheers!

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