🌍 Go nomad
Join a community of 17,818 remote workers living around the world
Join a community of 17,818 remote workers living around the world
Nomad List's mission is to accelerate the freedom of global movement enabled by remote work.
Nomad List finds you the best places in the world to live, work and travel as a remote worker. Every second, it collects millions of data points on thousands of cities around the world, from cost of living, temperature to safety. With that data, Nomad List gives you an idea of where it's best for you to go.
Nomad List has much more features than just that though: you can do things like find coworking spaces in each city, see how warm it is in a city in a specific month, search for places with specific climates, read reviews and see who of Nomad List's members is in a city now or will be there soon.
Nomad List originally started out for digital nomads but as remote work has become more prevalent, it's evolved into a platform for remote workers living anywhere in the world.
We have a 10,000+ people member base who log their trips to meet other people in the same place, and chat everyday on Slack to ask questions, share information and make friends. Many of them also organize and attend our regular meetups in real life. The goal of Nomad List's community is to make it less isolating to be a remote worker and since it's a paid membership it offers a way to fund the main site's development of city rankings and data to help people find places to go.
The Nomad Score of cities is based on all the different data points, with highest weight given to cost (should be affordable), current temperatures (should be comfortable), internet speed (should be somewhat fast and usable) and safety (should have low crime). Other indicators are also important like low in racism, gay/LGBTQ+ friendliness, air quality, if it's fun to live and if there's good nightlife.
Throughout the day the site keeps updating its data (including temperatures, humidity, internet speeds, exchange rates etc.) which means that at any moment you'll see the best cities recommended to you. Scores are re-generated every 10 minutes.
The ranking shows considerable changes throughout the seasons. In the summer, places in the US and Europe start moving up while (like Berlin) in the winter Asia (like Thailand) and South America (like Medellin) do very well.
Nomadic life dates back to the pre-agriculture days of nomadic hunter-gatherers. Without farming humans were often forced to move around to find food.
Before digital nomadism even existed, it was widely predicted for decades.
In 1964, Arthur C. Clarke, a futurist and writer of the film "2001: A Space Odyssey", predicted digital nomads working from Bali in 2014, an eerily accurate prediction up to the specific year:
In 1983, Robert Noyce, the founder of processor-maker Intel, predicted the end of commuting, the rise of remote workers and people living "where it's conducive to live, not where it's conducive to work":
That same year, Steve Roberts, a technology hacker from Columbus, OH in the U.S., quit his job, put a solar panel on his bicycle, packed up one of the first laptops ever built, the Tandy 100 and started a 27,000 kilometer (or 17,000 mile) journey while using the predecessor of the internet, ARPANET, to stay connected. By any record he was the first digital nomad ever. He presented about it in 1989 at the legendary Xerox PARC:
The nineties saw the term "telecommuting" on the rise and a failed push by networking companies like Bell Atlantic to get people to work from home:
Then in 1997, Tsugio Makimoto, one of Japan's most famous semiconductor innovators, was the first to coin the term "Digital Nomad" in a book with the same name. He predicted the rise of portable internet connected devices which would allow people to travel and live wherever they want as their work could be done on their devices, wherever they are. In the years after, telecommuting as a term became popular and increasingly people started working from home.
In 2007, Tim Ferriss wrote the 4-Hour Work Week. It described people building online businesses and using economic arbitrage (e.g. living in cheaper places while making money in expensive places). With internet connectivity rising everywhere, the technology was now just about ready for people to actually nomad and his book started the first wave of people doing it.
The first wave of digital nomadism received some criticism for incentivizing people "to escape the 9 to 5" and instead chase short-term profits with low-value products, shady business models like online MLM-style courses, get-rich-quick schemes and affiliate marketing, while living in cheap places. Nonetheless, those first nomads where the pioneers of a movement.
The first wave of nomadism transformed it from a theoretical concept written about for decades by futurists, into a real life activity that people tried out. But it was still a niche fringe, far from the mainstream.
After 2007's first wave of nomadism, it had been stagnant for quite awhile. At the same time though, telecommuting had transformed into remote work and had started to be adopted by many startups. It made working from home normal for millions of tech workers around the world, but especially in the Bay Area. This created the perfect environment for the second wave of nomadism starting with the launch of Nomad List in 2014.
"Digital nomadism became recognised as a mainstream phenomenon in 2014–15 when dedicated online communities emerged (e.g. Nomad List)"
— Daniel Schlagwein of the University of Sydney writes in "The History of Digital Nomadism"
Nomad List launched in July 2014 and went to the top of Product Hunt, Hacker News, hit Reddit's frontpage, and was continously covered by the New York Times, CNN, BBC, The Guardian, CNBC and most other major media outlets.
Nomad List was targeted at a different audience than the first wave of nomadism, it was for the people who could already work remotely: the web developers and designers working for companies with real customers, but who were still working from home.
Starting with a simple list of cities with their internet speed and cost of living, Nomad List was able to give people who could already work remotely the realization that they could now start working from anywhere in the world. Data on nomad hubs already existed before, but it was dispersed over thousands of blogs that varied in quality.
Nomad List steadily became the most popular website related to digital nomads and location independent remote workers in the world. Since its launch, Nomad List has received 97,944,562 visits, gets 8,916,024 visits per year and has become a multi-million dollar business.
The top places on Nomad List became overnight nomad hubs. Chiang Mai was the original nomad hub from the first wave of nomadism, but from just tens of nomads there back in 2013, it grew to thousands of nomads by 2016.
New nomad hubs also sprung up after Chiang Mai: first Ubud in Bali in 2015, which before that was a hippie spot (e.g. Eat, Pray, Love) but with the founding of Hubud Coworking started attracting nomads.
Meanwhile another place in Bali few had heard of called Canggu, an hour's drive from Ubud, had just turned from a fishing village into a surfer's hotspot. "Canggu is still relatively underdeveloped" the owner of a popular surfer's bar said in 2014:
But as the internet speed in Canggu started improving, it started to rank as a really attractive place for nomads on Nomad List:
And within a few years it turned into one of the most most popular remote work hubs in the world and rapidly developed:
For Americans, Medellin sprung up as the first real nomad hub near them in 2015, but then Mexico City surpassed as the most popular nomad hotspot in the Americas in 2018. Meanwhile in Europe, Budapest became a popular hub in 2016, due to its low cost, especially for European standards. More recently Ko Pha Ngan in Thailand, Lisbon in Portugal and Playa del Carmen in Mexico are making a surge in attracting nomads.
What the next nomad spot will be is hard to predict. You can study the trends page, to get a rough idea. Nomads seek affordability, mild to warm climates, and above all fast internet, clicking that link might show you the next hotspot.
2014's second wave of nomadism also sprung up many more businesses targeting location independent remote workers. Hacker Paradise was the first company organizing group travels for nomads. Soon after Remote Year started offering a similar product. Besides coworking spaces, now coliving spaces also started around the world. In 2015, companies like Selina started offering shared housing with other remote workers in hotspots around the world and Coworker.com started indexing coworking spaces everywhere for remote workers to find spaces to work within cities. In 2016, the first documentary about the rise of digital nomads came out called One Way Ticket. With regular travel and health insurance companies not wanting to insure nomads, in 2017, SafetyWing became the first company to start offering health insurance specifically for nomads.
As with any new market, most companies failed, but a few succesful ones remained and now an ecosystem of companies targeting location independent remote workers is flourishing.
The second wave of nomadism transformed it from a niche fringe enabled by early technology to a socio-cultural movement participated in by hundreds of thousands of people in hundreds of nomad hubs and made it well-known in the mainstream.
In 2020, the sudden Coronavirus pandemic forced people and companies to adopt and embrace remote work, as the virus caused lockdowns of entire societies for billions of people around the world. This might start the next wave of nomadism as people working from home for the first time will realize they can work from anywhere, and many won't want to return back to the traditional work setup. The effects of this, we might begin to see in 2021 as traveling recovers.
Location independence is a direct consequence of the enabling of remote work, and as remote work becomes mainstream in the next decade, it will closely follow in adoption. The prediction is that it will push it into the mainstream permanently starting in high-income regions like US, Canada, Europe and Australia and New Zealand.
Nomadism as a term will become less relevant and instead we will see the migration to and movement between remote work hubs, which will be places with high quality of life, great affordability and active social ecosystems for remote workers. Different places will cater to different niches and subcultures of remote workers. Not everyone will want to live in the typical hubs like Bali. Think of people living in places where they can work remotely and at the same time actively pursue their sports or hobbies. Ski resorts, cabins in nature or maybe Burning Man-style off-grid villages.
Where until now it's been mostly people from high-income countries working remotely and going nomad, the most interesting part of the fourth wave might be how it can enable people from South and South East Asia, Africa and other currently low and middle-income countries to work remotely around the world and make it accessible for everyone.
It started out as a crowdsourced spreadsheet:
That spreadsheet held about 25 cities. That was a great start, but crowdsourced data has by nature challenges with consistency. For example, some people have a more expensive taste than others and will tell you the rent in a city is higher than the actual average.
To mitigate this, we've since switched to public data sets by the UN, WHO, IMF, World Bank for things like demographic and healthcare information, as well as public APIs for things like weather, air quality and traffic density. All data is processed and normalized constantly. Practically that means there might be 42 different samples for air quality in Amsterdam, and 9 different internet speed measurements for Tokyo. Our robots will remove outliers, discount older values and calculate median values that have the highest probability of being accurate when you arrive in a place. The more data (and thus samples) is inserted into the site, the more accurate the overall data becomes.
How much it costs to live in a place varies by person. For cost data, our data is within the range of 90% of other cost of living sites. Ratings about cities can be especially subjective. Safety level is a particular datapoint that's highly discussed. Nomad List uses the most recently available crime statistics as well as armed conflict and political stability data for each place. As with any website with lots of data about lots of cities and countries all around the world, there will always be data points that are not accurate. Even more, many people have a tendency to be overly positive and patriotic about their own city or country, which might not strike with the reality if compared to other places.
We highly suggest to always double check data you find here with other sites before you go travel, to be sure. The nature of data is that the more sources you check, the more broad and accurate idea you get of the reality. Even then, keep in mind that how a place feels to you when you're there can be completely different than what any site, person or app tells you.
There isn't a site with data about destinations to travel that will ever be fully accurate. Data like this is by nature dynamic and subjective.
US AQI is the United States measurement system for air quality as defined by the US EPA. Lower values are cleaner air. A range from 0-25 is great, 25-50 is good, above 100 becomes bad, and above 200 is very unhealthy.
We source 10,000+ air quality sensors from around the world and diplay the air quality measurement at noon local time in every place.
Internet speeds on Nomad List are shown as averages of all internet devices like desktop PCs, laptops and smartphones. Yes, maybe you can get 250Mbps in your city. But that's not the average, that's the theoretical maximum as advertised. Remote workers don't care about theoretical maximums, we care about what the speed will realistically be in our hotel, Airbnb, cafe or coworking when we arrive in a city. Which is usually 10 to 50 times lower than telecom companies advertise with.
We use data from internet speed testing websites, internet service providers, public internet speed data sets, as well as measuring internet speed of users on Nomad List itself. That means for most cities we have hundreds of thousands samples from hundreds of sources to analyze.
Nomad List does not add coworking spaces. We have partnerships with sites indexing coworking spaces such as Coworker.com. Add your space on those sites, and it'll be indexed by us and show up on Nomad List, but that might take a week, so be patient.
Nomad List currently has indexed 100% of cities in the world with a population of over 500,000 people, and 99% of cities in the world with a population over 250,000 people. We are not planning on adding smaller places right now (with a few exceptions like Canggu or Koh Phi Phi which are low in population but popular nomad destinations). Usually the data for the biggest city near a small place is fairly close.
The reason for this is 1) data for small towns is very hard to find, it's usually not in datasets because there's no data collected there, 2) cities follow a power law, which means there is a long tail of tens of thousands of smaller places, we don't have the resources to collect data for all of them, 3) we want to avoid the site becoming saturated with smaller destinations.
Yes, we had it but closed it in 2016 after 6 clones of Nomad List showed up using our data on Product Hunt, Hacker News and in the iOS App Store and Google Play Store. It caused more trouble than it did good, so it's permanently closed.
The other reason we can't have an API anymore is that a lot of the data we use on Nomad List is licensed (and paid for) from other APIs (e.g. weather, climate data, traffic data) which we are not allowed to re-distribute.
Remember all those cool startups you used that were free but then they were acquired, shut down and now don't exist anymore? It's because free apps don't make money, and therefore can't survive:
Someone builds a cool, free product, it gets popular, and that popularity attracts a buyer. The new owner shuts the product down and the founders issue a glowing press release about how excited they are about synergies going forward. They are never heard from again.
Whether or not this is done in good faith, in practice this kind of 'exit event' is a pump-and-dump scheme. The very popularity that attracts a buyer also makes the project financially unsustainable. The owners cash out, the acquirer gets some good engineers, and the users get screwed.
To avoid this problem, avoid mom-and-pop projects that don't take your money! You might call this the anti-free-software movement.
If every additional user is putting money in the developers' pockets, then you're less likely to see the site disappear overnight. If every new user is costing the developers money, and the site is really taking off, then get ready to read about those synergies.
To illustrate, we have prepared this handy chart:
Free Paid Stagnant losing money making money Growing losing more money making more money Exploding losing lots of money making lots of money
What if a little site you love doesn't have a business model? Yell at the developers! Explain that you are tired of good projects folding and are willing to pay cash American dollar to prevent that from happening. It doesn't take prohibitive per-user revenue to put a project in the black. It just requires a number greater than zero.
I love free software and could not have built my site without it. But free web services are not like free software. If your free software project suddenly gets popular, you gain resources: testers, developers and people willing to pitch in. If your free website takes off, you lose resources. Your time is spent firefighting and your money all goes to the nice people at Linode.
So stop getting caught off guard when your favorite project sells out! “They were getting so popular, why did they have to shut it down?” Because it's hard to resist a big payday when you are rapidly heading into debt. And because it's culturally acceptable to leave your user base high and dry if you get a good offer, citing self-inflicted financial hardship.
Like a service? Make them charge you or show you ads. If they won't do it, clone them and do it yourself. Soon you'll be the only game in town!
— Maciej from Pinboard.
So if you want Nomad List to survive, please support it and become a paid member
Nomad List's main site is actually free, and you can find millions of data points on thousands of cities I researched for free. Posting on the forum, joining the chat and participating in the community is not. Why?
Because this is not a venture-capital funded startup. It's bootstrapped! We don't have any external funding on purpose. The problem with so many venture-capital funded startups is that their investors force them to grow fast in user base without making any money in the first few years, to then sell out to BigCo (e.g. Google, Facebook) for a few million dollars, then write a blog post about their incredible journey, then either shut the site down, or fuck over their users by selling their users data.
That sucks, right? We don't get that. We don't like that. The reason people do that is because they're trying to make a quick buck. We get it. We'd love to too. But the odds of actual success are very low in that realm.
So we'd rather go for higher odds of success, try to make money on day one, and not make a billion dollars but just make good money to live off. Maybe we can hire a few people then later on. Maybe we even get funding later, but then it should be money that's really necessary. Maybe we'd actually get acquired later too. But it'd have to be good for the users in the first place. And there shouldn't be the extreme high growth trajectory which will then F over our users.
The challenge of going this way is that we can't offer everything for free, like Facebook or Google or any other funded startup does. We have to get money somehow. We could make money in sneaky ways like selling your user data, but that'd suck and honestly it wouldn't make that much money at this scale. So the fastest way is simply asking you, as a user of this site, for money.
So if you like what we do, please support this site and become a paid member.
A good full stack developer is paid $150,000+. A normal startup probably has 5 engineers. That's $750,000/y. Add some marketing people and you're close to $900,000/y in labor costs. Hosting and bandwidth is relatively cheap but still gets to $10,000/year including backup storage and backup servers. You need regular security people to check your server and avoid it getting hacked, which is another $24,000/year. Using Mapbox's APIs for geocoding and showing maps is not free and costs about $6,000/year for our usage. Using Twilio/SendGrid's APIs for sending emails is not free and costs about $10,000/year for our usage.
That means Nomad List simply wouldn't exist if it was a normal startup. It needs your money to keep running!
It's written in HTML, CSS, JS with jQuery for the frontend and PHP with SQLite as db for backend. It's hosted on a single VPS running Ubuntu with NGINX. Nomad List doesn't use any frameworks except for jQuery. Every part of the site is manually built except that we use Slack for the chat.
Sure! You can use any data on the site and make screenshots of Nomad List as long as you reference us as "Nomad List" (with space in between) and link back! Thanks :)
Sure! The only partnership we do is paid advertisements. See next question.
You can place promotions yourself on the Promote page. You don't need to contact anybody and can use Nomad List's self-service advertise page for that.
We can do custom partnerships, like sponsorships and integrations into the site if they match our brand. Think insurance for remote workers, or coliving platforms. These start at $10,000/month and reach 743,002 monthly impressions. Tweet @nomadlist if you're interested. If you're below this budget, please don't waste your own time and try later when you are.
Go here and click Organize Meetup! If enough people RSVP, we'll make it happen.
We're not taking interviews to instead focus on making Nomad List better every day! We've tried to answer most questions on this page.
Digital nomads, or location independent remote workers, are people who live at least part of the year away from their home country while working remotely as an employee for their employer, as a contractor for companies or if they have their own business for themselves.
The classic stereotype of digital nomads is that they move fast from place to place every week or few weeks, while working on their laptop on a beach. Not much of that is true anymore in 2021: most people on Nomad List move only every 4 to 6 months, to the same handful of places, work from coworking spaces or cafes and have close ties to the places they visit and regularly come back to to meet their friends from all over the world. And hardly anybody works from the beach: too much sand, and too much sun glare on your screen.
Just like the traditional nomadic tribes which "follow a fixed annual or seasonal pattern of movements and settlements", remote working travelers do the same. Many like to stay in climates around 23°C/74°F, and will move based on the seasons.
The term "digital nomad" has been used and abused over the last decades, including in shady online courses and get rich quick schemes, and for that reason many remote workers who travel are wary of using that term to describe themselves. Unfortunately the alternative terms haven't taken off yet. The faster that remote work becomes mainstream, the faster the term digital nomad will go out of fashion and we'll see it as normal that people work from different countries based on their personal preferences in living.
There are currently 10 million to 100 million digital nomads in the world in 2021. This is based on the below assumptions:
It's hard to estimate how many digital nomads exist, but let's try with some live data from this site (this paragraph is live updated based on Nomad List data). To do this we have to make some assumptions though, so take this with a grain of salt.
In the last year, Nomad List got 8,916,024 visits. About 20% of those visits are unique users, or 1,783,205 users. Not everyone who visits is already a nomad, probably most are wanna be nomads: but let's assume 25% are nomads or 445,801 people. If we assume Nomad List captures 10% of the entire demographic of digital nomads in a year (it's uncommon for companies to capture double digit amounts of a market), that'd mean there's 4,458,012 digital nomads.
Nomad List mostly has an English-speaking Western audience though, which is only 20% of the world. Then again, most of the world is probably not in a position to go work remotely and travel (yet) due to differences in income. If we assume 40% of the world is though (or double the English speaking population), that means we can count 8,916,024 digital nomads.
That's only self-described digital nomads though. If we make the definition broader to people who work remotely at least part of the year in a country different than their home country the number might double to 17,832,048 or triple to 26,748,072 digital nomads in the entire world.
There's actual research that has surveyed this too. MBO Partners concluded "4.8 million independent workers currently describe themselves as digital nomads [in the United States]". The U.S. has a population of ~330 million people. That means 1.5% self-describes as a digital nomad. If we use that percentage for the entire world, we get ~100 million digital nomads. But most of the world isn't as developed as the U.S. Even if we only add Europe: 741 million people * 1.5% = ~10 million digital nomads. Adding back U.S. to that gets us to close to ~15 million digital nomads. MBO's research is within the range of 10 million - 100 million above.
Let's try one more calculation: business travelers. The Business Travel Association reports that in the U.S. alone there are 405 million business trips taken per year with the average traveler taking 12-14 trips. That means there's about 30 million business travelers in the U.S. It is stated in Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report that 43% of U.S. employees work remotely at least some of the time. If we take 30 million business travelers * 43% working remotely at least some of the time = 12.9 million remote working business travelers. If we add the same % to Europe, that's ~42 million people traveling while working remotely in the U.S. and EU. The estimate based on business traveler and remote work statistics is again within the range of 10 million - 100 million above.
If we check Facebook and search for "digital nomads", the biggest group is Digital Nomads Around the World which has ~125,000 members at time of writing. Let's say that group captures 10% of digital nomads and there's 1,250,000 nomads there. We then only have the predominantly English-speaking Western audience though, which again is only 20% of the world. If we add the rest of the world, that'd be a multiple of this, e.g. 2.5 million digital nomads. Which is a bit below the range of 10 million to 100 million but still in the millions.
If we do the same for Reddit, the main subreddit for digital nomads is /r/digitalnomad with about 1,000,000 subscribers. Probably most are wanna be nomads: but let's assume 25% are nomads, that's 250,000 people. If that group captures 10% of digital nomads (not everybody uses Reddit, nor does everybody who is a nomad subscribes to this subreddit), then there's 2.5 million nomads out there. Since Reddit too is mostly an English-speaking Western audience (e.g. 20% of the world) the real number is a multiple of 2.5 million. That's on the lower end of the 10 million to 100 million nomads range.
The 10 million to 100 million range with current growth is about in line with the prediction that there will be one billion digital nomads by 2035:
The average time a Nomad List member stays in one location is currently 80 days or about 2.6 months (this is pulled live from the trips database). Also the longer people are a member/nomad, the longer their trips become and the more they slow down.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that nomads move around every two weeks to their next spot while roaming around the world romantically. Many try to do that when they just start out and are super excited to see the world. However, moving around so fast gets physically and mentally challenging quickly.
Your identity is derived from your environment. If your environment is constantly in flux, you'll be constantly in flux. That's exciting for a while, but then gets tiring and many travelers burn out. Instead, most nomads stay in places for many months and will have a few favorite hubs they rotate around. That also means they can build up a somewhat stable group of friends in those spots.
This duration is a natural limitation of visas. Most nomads travel on tourist visas which are limited to 30, 60 or 90 days. If visa restrictions were minimized, many would probably start to stay in places for 6 months and move with the seasons.
About half of Nomad List's visitors are 25 to 34 year olds. The second biggest group is 18 to 24 year olds. And third is 35 to 44 year olds. From there on it decreases in traffic the older people get:
|18-24 years old||20%|
|25-34 years old||50%|
|35-44 years old||17%|
|45-54 years old||7%|
|55-64 years old||4%|
|65+ years old||2%|
We do not have enough age data from our members as we only recently started collecting. But we know there are significant outliers though in the member base. A lot of them are indeed in the typical 25 to 34 year old age group. But we have a lot of "empty nesters" who when their kids left the house decided to sell everything and travel perpetually. And we can only see this group growing in the future. Also the 35 to 44 year olds group will be growing since the digital nomads that started out 10 years ago as 25 year olds, are now reaching this age group. Many of them settle down in multiple places, but also many of them keep traveling like nomads, perhaps slowing down.
Especially in this scene, age seems to be much less important than people's mindset and at what stage they are in their life. Are they traveling while studying (on hold)? Are they working on a remote career? Building a business? Retired? Not many really care about your age.
Generally they live in places which are affordable, with warmer climates, and lots of other remote workers. Right now in May of 2021 the most popular places for digital nomads are Lisbon, Mexico City and Canggu.
Depending on how long they stay, their budget and affordability of housing in a place, they can live in hostels, hotels, Airbnbs, short-term apartments and if they stay for longer traditional long-term rentals. Some nomads own housing in different countries to stay there, and rent it out when they're not there.
The areas they stay are usually not the typical tourist neighborhoods. Instead, because nomads stay longer in a place, they want to live in areas that are somewhat local but international which means usually the areas a little bit out of the center, away from tourists but near to a healthy mix of locals, expats and nomads. Important for the area is that it has lots of facilities like cafes, restaurants, hotels/Airbnbs, and for many also gyms.
To see the full listing of current cities browse the most popular places to live and work remotely for digital nomads on the frontpage of Nomad List.
Good question! Primarily, you need a remote job, be a freelancer with remote clients or have your own business you can do online. If you have that, simply book a flight, pack up and go!
What you don't want to do is spend money on courses, seminars, conferences that teach you how to become a digital nomad. Things like re-selling products and having them shipped by other companies or warehouses to customers with you being in the middle, those are mostly scams. There's no magic secret to becoming a digital nomad: you need money coming in to pay your food and bills, put your stuff in a backpack, and fly somewhere. You also don't need to be a member of Nomad List to become a digital nomad. Just do it!
While most of the internet describes the amazing freedom of a location independent life where you can work from anywhere, go anywhere and live anywhere, and it is pretty nice, like anything there's downsides to it too:
One downside is that with all the freedom comes analysis parallysis. If you can go anywhere, where do you go? If you can live any type of life, which one do you choose? You can get parallyzed and just not make any life decision whatsoever. Side note to that is that maybe it's not necessary to make a choice, and a life is better lead by steering and readjusting while your living it vs. making decisions that might make you permanently stuck.
Another often discussed downside, especially by traditional people, is the lack of building up roots. If a person moves around a lot, it'll be hard for them to build up long term friendships in a specific place. And that can create isolation too once the novelty of a new place wears off. That's why most people start off traveling fast and then slow down to live in a few or a single place away from home. Because it gives them a chance to build up some roots. Then again, loneliness and isolation is a general disease of our time even for people who live in their home country in cities.
While you're on the other side of the world building up a new life away from your home country, it's probably your parents still live at home. And as your parents get older, the risk that they'll have some kind of ailment increases. You'll probably want to spend time with your parents before they pass on and that gets harder being away from home. On the other hand, many people that do live close to their parents hardly visit, and having the freedom of being anywhere, means you can also spend long stretches of time close to your parents, whenever you want.
It'd be silly if there were no downsides and it's up to you as a person to choose a life that fits your personality best and makes you satisfied.
We made a site called Remote OK that shows all remote jobs available today. Applying to jobs can be challenging, there might be thousands of people applying for a job with 1 position. Remote working is a perk in a job, many people want it, few still get it unfortunately! The best advice is, get highly skilled at what you do until you're hired.
If you're already a freelancer, talk to your current clients and see how they feel about you working remotely for them. Consider timezone differences and not being able to physically meet up. Many clients are actually fine with this, and you might even be able to offer a discount to them for giving you this freedom! The most common freelance industries for digital nomads are web development, app development, design and virtual assistants.
It's not that different from starting any internet-based business, although you'll want to make sure you don't need to do things physically tied to a geographical location. Or if you do, make sure you can hire people in that place to work for you. Many digital nomads have businesses like web development agencies (where they hire out freelancers), e-commerce businesses or making apps/websites that lots of people pay for.
One of the most controversial questions is hard to answer and that's why it's so controversial. Firstly, this isn't legal advice.
Remote work is such a recent and new technological development and governments are still lagging behind and figuring out how to deal with it. It's still quite a small niche compared to the overall population: Berlin might have thousands of nomads, but it also has close to 4 million people, so it's ~0.1% of the population.
Generally nobody is allowed to work in any country on a tourist visa, that's why there's work visas/permits. But this law is based on old times where work happened in offices and factories. What if an American working for a U.S. startup checks and answers their work email in a Berlin hotel while visiting on a tourist visa? That'd constitute work in official legal terms, but should that be illegal? Probably not.
Work permits are there to protect the local population from having anyone come to the country and compete with them on getting jobs. This makes perfect sense as you don't want the whole world to just come fly to your country and start working and pushing wages down for locals. However, 99% or more of remote workers visiting a country don't compete with locals on jobs. They're not going to restaurant kitchens to cook, instead they'll be in Berlin coding for startups in San Francisco which has customers from all over the world. If anything, governments would want to promote that as it means more consumer spending than tourists, and socializing with locals might mean technological, knowledge and cultural exchange, not at all increased competition to local workers.
However, that doesn't mean it's legal. Most countries have not spoken out about the legality of remote workers visiting their country and working without a work permit, and the ones who have have mostly made comments that it's okay if it's not work competing with locals, but those aren't official declarations. If you're strict, you can say it's illegal. If you're less strict, you can say it's a legal gray area due to laws lagging behind the reality of remote work. Personally, we believe the last. There haven't been any known cases of people getting arrested in foreign countries for working remotely, yet. In this case, Europeans have it easy, they can legally work anywhere in the European Union without any trouble.
It's therefore completely up to you and your risk assessment to choose what to do. Getting a work permit is possible in many countries, although it takes a lot of effort, tax constructions and lawyer fees, and it implies you're going to stay there for many years, which many remote workers aren't sure of. That makes it complicated.
Firstly, a required disclaimer: Nomad List does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.
The reality of tax as a digital nomad is complicated. It's a gray area because the laws haven't been updated yet to fit this new reality. There's some general guidelines that are relevant in most (developed) countries.
Firstly, if you're American, you're pretty much f'd because the U.S. government will tax you regardless of where you live (!). Then again their Navy Seals will save you if you get taken hostage anywhere, many can't say the same.
If you're from developed countries, you're usually a tax resident in a country if you live there for 183 days. Although some countries like Taiwan make it shorter at 90 days already.
Important: it's up to your national taxation authority (e.g. IRS) to make the judgement if you're a taxable resident or not. They will judge it based on where you're registered as a resident, how many days you are physically in the country, where do you rent/own a house, where do you work, where do you spend your money, where do you have bank accounts and assets, sometimes even where your friends and family are located. This complicates things.
There's more odd laws that make it more complicated. The idea that you can just deregister in your country as a resident, fly to the other side of the world and stop paying tax is mostly incorrect. Many developed countries have a so-called tax residency fallback law, which means if you're not a resident elsewhere, you immediately for tax purposes are a taxable resident in the country of your citizenship, or sometimes the last country you were a resident. This means a German citizen who becomes a non-resident, travels around the world to work remotely, is never a resident anywhere, then comes back after 7 years, can potentially be retro-actively taxed for the years he was away for his worldwide income. We know cases where this happened.
If you don't want to pay tax in your home country, you literally need to move quite permanently to another country, become a resident there, rent or buy a house there, and actually live there 183 days per year. And preferably, get rid of all assets in your home country, not take on clients in your home country, pretty much cut ties with your home country. Intense, right? You can visit your home country, but you will not even for a second want to consider opening your laptop there and work, because that might make you a tax resident there again. You can visit and have a coffee. That's about it.
Please note international tax law is one of the most confusing topics. The internet has thousands of websites that act like they have any idea what's going on, but since you're talking about 187 nationalities moving through 187 countries, there's so many intricacies that it's impossible to get it completely right for even the most advanced tax lawyers. International tax law is simply a gray area too.
So what should you do? Realistically, if you're planning to "go nomad" for awhile, stay a resident in your home country (maybe register at your parents house), if you have a company keep it in your home country and pay tax in your home country, as you did before. Your home country keeps receiving its tax and you remain a resident and it probably doesn't mind. What about the countries you're visiting? Again a gray area. Generally if you're not competing with local companies or local people, not hiring local people, not working for local companies in the country you're visiting, you're okay. I'm not saying you're completely legal. But the laws surrounding work permits in countries are generally made to protect local workers and companies. If you're French and your French company has French customers and French employees and you work from another country, it's hard for that country to argue you're competing with companies or the labor market in the country you're visiting.
We would suggest consulting an international tax lawyer. But we have to be real here. Right now, they're simply unaffordable. The international tax lawyers that actually know what they're talking about are companies like EY, KPMG, Deloitte etc. They won't advise people making $25,000/year. They advise you when you make $1,000,000/year and they'll charge a lot. But you'll be in the clear. But that's completely unattainable for most people. The international tax lawyers under this amount are simply not good enough. So to be radically honest, international tax for nomads is now a legal minefield. Tread carefully.
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As a user of Slack it's not possible to upgrade to a paying plan either, only the owner of the Slack team can upgrade everyone, which is out of our budget.
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One benefit is that the 10,000 message limit makes the chat more ephemeral. Chat histories aren't visible so it's more like walking into a cafe, meeting people and having a chat, so it kinda works well in that sense.
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Private channels exclude people, and that goes against the open spirit of Nomad List which should be welcoming for anybody wherever they're from and however they look like.
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These terms are a legalese-free version, for the legal version go here.
The most simple rule on this site. Just be nice. Try to help people. Have patience.
Don't be mean
That also means:
Things that aren't "against the rules", but you absolutely and actively *should* ban people from communities for:— Jeff Atwood (@codinghorror) October 17, 2018
- Endless Contrarianism
- Persistent Negativity
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That means no misogyny, misandry, xenophobia. For example, don't discuss how/where to date the hottest guys or girls. If you think it might offend a lot of people or the other gender, it’s not for here. On the other hand, if you want to spread self-righteous virtue signaling woke-ness preaching that’s actually masked hostility, don’t do it here. This includes shaming people, for example for their identity, for activities like flying or eating meat (hello vegans) or anything else. Most of all it breaks the #1 guideline on Nomad List which is be nice and #2 don't be mean. Go back to Twitter if you want to do that. This site is not a bastion of free speech. Start a blog if you want freedom of speech!
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We know in our times everyone’s obsessed with discussing politics. But it mostly just makes people fight each other on the internet.
Discussing and/or sympathizing with national socialism (and also racist, racial supremacist-type stuff) or communism (also neo-marxist ideologies) is especially not accepted. They were both responsible for millions of deaths in the last century, so go and find another site to do that, don't do it on here.
Also this is NOT the place for attacking people with your identity politics, or activism. This is a site about traveling and working remotely, not politics and not activism. Go back to Twitter.
We have a zero-tolerance policy for politics and we will permanently suspend accounts for it.
Don't make unwelcome advances or physical contact
Obviously the community (chat, forum, site) and meetups are to make friends and also people may find their partners through it. It's normal if you like someone, to see if they also like you, e.g. by flirting or asking them out. But if people state they are not interested and do not like your advances please end it right there.
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This site is about digital nomads, NOT about expats
See Internations (not affiliated), if you want to talk about expat jobs and work permits. If you want to discuss your 9 to 5 desk job, that’s nice but this also probably isn’t the site for it (unless you’re trying to change towards remote/nomad in a considerable time).
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Don’t promote products/services/startups/web site/social media unless it’s absolutely relevant in the context of the discussion that you are actively engaging in. Artificially seeding conversation to promote falls under the same category. Affiliate links, referral, coupon codes, vouchers, discounts, competition links etc are considered promotional. Links are always nofollow on here, that means you won’t get your SEO juice posting it here at all. Links to competitions are promotional and therefore included.
Also, don’t register as a brand, we’ll disable your account and refund your initial sign-up fee. Please have a profile pic that shows your face. We don’t allow brands on here at any time.
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Link posting will be limited
To reduce spam, links posted by newly active members may be deleted automatically. Once you regularly participate in the chat, this restriction will be lifted. Any attempt at bypassing the moderation process can lead to account suspension.
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See https://nomadlist.com/advertise you’ll help support Nomad List. We absolutely do not accept ANY promotion, either commercial or non-profit.
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If you’re sick, see a local doctor. If you’re depressed, find a local or remote therapist. Talkspace is nice (we’re not affiliated). Remember: strangers on the internet probably do not have the answer to your medical or mental condition.
Don’t ask people to do your survey, assist your product/service or do any user research/recruitment (a la Lean Startup, “please help me build my x”)
As much as we do enjoy these posts, it’d get crowded with those very fast if we’d allow them, deteriorating the experience for users.
Don’t ask startup questions
This is not a startup site, this is a site about digital nomads and remote work, try Hacker News to talk about startups. On Slack we have a #_startup channel you can use though.
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Don’t post affiliate links, coupon codes, vouchers anywhere Nomad List including on chat, forum, and in your bio. They sound nice but they’re in fact masked promotions for the companies behind them.
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If you’re out of money on the other side of the world, it’s your problem not ours. Be responsible and bring enough CASH money to survive and fly back home (e.g. a few thousand in US dollars). We delete posts/messages and ban you if you ask for people to transfer you money, for ex because your cards are blocked. This is a known scam, we can’t check if you’re lying about it so we assume it’s in bad faith and ban you.
Please do NOT discuss or mention (risk for ban if you do)
Making money is never an excuse to deceive people and do stuff that’s bad for the world. There’s enough fun work to do that pays and IS awesome and leaves the world better than you found it. Just stand for ethical values and not short-term profits.
Why this long list? The digital nomad scene has been littered for the last decade with scammy stuff like this. It’s not cool. It keeps a lot of people out because it makes the entire scene look like absolute idiots. So this is my little way of trying to raise the level. Do good.
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Moderators have the final word on Nomad List to moderate based on these guidelines. It’s not in anyone’s interest to discuss those. If you disagree with how we moderate, you’re free to cancel your membership and use a different website, and if it's a meetup, to leave the meetup. Any attempt at bypassing the moderation process can lead to bans.
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You agree to indemnify Nomad List (its employees and agents) for any loss suffered or liability incurred by Nomad List (its employees and agents) arising from any unlawful, unauthorised or improper access or use of the Website or any breach of these terms by you or your employees, contractors or representatives.
Nomad List does not guarantee constant availability of Website access and accept no liability for down time or access failure due to circumstances beyond its reasonable control (including any failure by ISP or system provider).
The Site may contain links to other sites on the internet (“Linked Sites”). Nomad List is not responsible for the accuracy, legality, decency of material or copyright compliance of any Linked Site or services or information provided via any Linked Site.
No data transmission over the Internet can be guaranteed as totally secure. Whilst we strive to protect such information we do not warrant and cannot ensure the security of information which you transmit to us. Accordingly, any information which you transmit to us is transmitted at your own risk.
These terms and conditions will be constructed according to and are governed by the laws of Singapore, regardless of where Nomad List operates or you use Nomad List from.
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