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What's next for remote work and digital nomads?

 

by @levelsio | 4yr  | 21 comments

Weโ€™ve seen A LOT happen over the past 2 years. Digital nomads have gone pretty mainstream and about half of my normal friends in some way or another travel a lot and are starting to work remotely for their companies now. Over half of startups have people working remotely.

The housing problem that we talked about back then? Lots of companies have popped up to try coliving projects and thereโ€™s now countless fixed and temporary retreats around the world.

I tried to add my bit by adding the social grid to the digital nomad scene letting people meet each other on here, organizing meetups and building out this site.

Butโ€ฆwhatโ€™s next? What can we do/organize/build now?

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@achampagnedev | 3yr

I have been seeing a lot of posts related to where to go, how to do itโ€ฆ But I have also seen many many post about how to handle your insurances, your taxes, your residence/citizenship mattersโ€ฆ Many of the resources are oriented towards the โ€˜where toโ€™ and โ€˜how toโ€™ once you get to a foreign country to workโ€ฆ But a lot of the nomads issues seem to be related to their own country or finding work once they are somewhereโ€ฆ I know this thought might look confusingโ€ฆ Put I think every country should actually have an help hub if you are from that country and need to know how to handle different matters while you go away. I have been thinking of moving abroad for a couple months for now so I am currently a โ€˜digital nomad wannabeโ€™ but I have been doing my homework and reading a lot on the forum or online to find out what is the best way to proceed and I have to say it is pretty out to figure out the whole process you need to go through to have everything organized (your insurances, your taxes, your residence/citizenship mattersโ€ฆ ). Maybe everywhere is too specific so it is hard to find that out but curated information on how to handle this on a citizenship perspective would be great!

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@mattia | 3yr

So, in my view some patterns emerge here:

  • the digital nomad bubble stills in its infancy, outside of a small circle. To really benefit from it, every nomad should โ€œevangelizeโ€ about the pros and educate people outside the bubble. The more wide becomes the sector, the more jobs will be available

-geolocalization tools and resources. I think too many organizations try to profit from nomadism instead of solving real problems like housing, visa/legal

-we should form a startup working on the oddy path of easing pain points. something between an agency and a tool

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@imabhimallik | 3yr

I am quite new to DN community. But being a beginner I would love to see a career guidance website which can help you step by step on how to become a digital nomad. Especially for the ones who are stuck in non-digital jobs.

There is so much info that it becomes tough to identify genuine guys.

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@ms_maire | 4yr

Adding to this - I have a remote company, but hiring nomads is hard because nomads all want to work as freelancers etc. Whenever you try to discuss a role or work they are like โ€˜let me send you my proposalโ€™ etc. I feel that nomads have a mindset that they will be freelancers / entrepreneurs and not part of a team.

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@imabhimallik | 3yr

I donโ€™t see any problem in this. You can make them part of your team as consultants :slight_smile:

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@dearezkitha | 4yr

Iโ€™m taking from my experience helping setting up digital nomad retreats. I see there is a trend of experiencing the digital nomad lifestyle in traditional company through a [workcation]
(https://medium.com/@No.Location/workcation-in-bali-how-the-workplace-is-changing-f99cf49af58#.odysp0c0f).

Not every company is going to be able to be distributed or even wants to be distributed, in fact some rely on the team being present together or find that physical togetherness is essential to achieving quality. A workcation allows these kinds of companies to be location independent together, taking a certain amount of time during the year to move everyone to another location where they work like normal (work) but live in an exotic environment where everyone can be adventurous together (vacation).

So my company, No-Location, organized a workcation for a Polish android development company few months ago. They brought their entire 32 team members to Bali. The workcation and digital nomad retreats are very simillar: they lived together for a month, worked from a co-working space (or even made their own workspace in the villa), went for excursion on the weekend, and worked on their own project or personal development plan. Since we worked very closely with the team, we saw how much the team evolved and got benefit from just doing a one month workcation.

I personally think that more and more companies who hire people to work remotely will adapt the workcation as part of their team building activity, team member retention and also a strategy to hire new team member. And I guess this is the next step of remote work and digital nomadism.

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@lia9255 | 4yr

First, I think there are different opportunities for co-living vs. co-working. In general, both might benefit from adding services that all participants need in the same way that cooperatives offer reliable wifi.
Letโ€™s start by identifying what most DNโ€™s see as pain points: shipping, storage, travel/medical insurance, visas, veterinary care (for those that travel with pets), laundry, computer repair, banking, transportationโ€ฆ
Next, is there an opportunity for multiple locations to band together to negotiate group discounts for DNโ€™s? Or at least develop consistency from location to location?
Finally, maybe more co-working AND co-living spaces customized for specific demographics (ie over age 50) or special interest groups (ie foodies).

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@jtompl | 4yr
  1. Make it easier to acclimate into a local place. It takes me a bit of time to get to know whereโ€™s what in the city; what style each neighbourhood is like; where are good local places to go out/eat/do jogging, etc. Itโ€™s not really difficult right now (it either just requires a bit of research on the internet, or requires you to go out and make local friends and ask them), but still it takes some time and brings a bit of stress to the whole process of โ€˜changing placeโ€™ every time.

  2. Make it easier to build local friendships. Thatโ€™s a broader subject of course. We have websites right now like meetup.com, DN events, language exchange clubs, but in many of them youโ€™ll meet only small extent of the local population. Other option is to start doing some local activities (dance, sports for example); or just start approaching random people on the street ;> ; but Iโ€™d love to have some other ways for it.

The problem with Facebook is that it limits you to your own friends network. Iโ€™d love to see another platform like that, but instead of being focused on your friendships, be more focused on your interests and geographical location. Just the question is if people would actually use it.

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@ivankaraman | 4yr

Guys, I suspect a good bet would be office space sharing for nomads! Think Airbnb or even Couchsurfing for desks within non-DN companies. You travel somewhere and find a proactive local company (e.g. a creative agency) that has extra space. You pay them or trade favors (e.g. you help them design their new website) in exchange for access to their office space, WiFi and especially their workers. Think โ€œcrowdsourced coffee machine chit-chatโ€, in a way.

As a nomad, you get a semblance of teamwork with locals. The companies get someone that their employees could share ideas and perspectives, as well as some extra cash for space that is not being fully used anyway.

I donโ€™t see this becoming mainstream, mainly out of security concerns (trade secrets, stealing equipment etc.). However, I bet you tons of progressive startups would be happy to give it a try: itโ€™s all about the networking, after all, and who knows what perspectives could some creative from abroad bring to your business?
Whaddaya think?

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@kmander | 4yr

I worked at both Google/Facebook. Two very modern, technology-driven, organisations. Although โ€œolderโ€ than most people think and still with plenty of old-way practices. Still, interesting to observe that even these companies donโ€™t really promote/support remote working. Offices arenโ€™t quite dead. Photo realistic VR might start to make a dent.

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@tgrassin | 4yr

I believe we are still far from making remote work the norm. However thatโ€™s something I plan on changing. Iโ€™m in the process of building a new business which will setup remote work for businesses, thus enabling them to send a group of employees to work from one or several locations for a certain duration. Think remote year for businesses. I believe the future of DN is going to be company driven, part time remote work.
As DNs ourselves we know the benefit of working remotely both for our personal well being and for our productivity/creativity. What Iโ€™m struggling to find is any data proving that companies (my clients) will benefit from this. Iโ€™d like to be able to show them that their remote employees will perform better, be more loyal, drive productivity and creativity, etc. Would any of you (Levels) know where this type of data could be accesses or aggregated?
Side note, a great idea would be to create a reverse job board where companies could pick DNs based on their skills, time zone, rating and cost.

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@adamnowek | 4yr

Thereโ€™s no way that remote work is even remotely close to being mainstreamed in the labour market. Maybe itโ€™s the case with developers, but I donโ€™t know a single person outside of the organisation that I work at that works remotely (and my organisation only shifted to encouraging remote work a couple of years ago because nobody wanted to move from Geneva to Nairobi).

Itโ€™s probably more of a supply problem than a demand problem, but there really isnโ€™t much out there for editors and communications specialists.

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@kmander | 4yr

Medium-term accommodation is still a pain point. Airbnb works fine for <1-month, and rental leases are typically 1-year. Difficult to find an economic 2-3 month option.

I see a gap for a collection of properties in common DM hotspots, much like Roam/Common/similar, but more humble and priced more like an Airbnb. Nomad House comes close, but I think the properties need to be company-run so that there is a consistent experience. Just needs someone to make it happen and there doesnโ€™t appear to be a big enough upside to incite anyone.

Meeting people is easy enough. With this forum, DC, Facebook, and others, it just takes the person to be proactive. I donโ€™t see a big need for a super DM social network, that said it would be a nice-to-have if there was a single destination with the network effect of being โ€œtheโ€ place to meet whoโ€™s in a city, organise a meetup etc. Nomad Forum/Trips is best poised to make that happen.

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@lightmotif | 4yr

I donโ€™t think meeting people is all that easy, though youโ€™re right about several tools being spread thin out there. The UX of NomadBase and NomadTrips need help - they are both hard to use, and unless you make it super simple and casual, people wonโ€™t get in there and hunt around. @levelsio - message me if youโ€™d like any help there, I could definitely improve it. It would be really great just to post meetups (as events) in cities here too โ€“ Iโ€™m not really sure of the way to do that.

Iโ€™m still waiting for the day, which I think will have to come, where companies support remote work for environmental reasons or even law (to cut down on pollution/ carbon). But of course digital nomadism doesnโ€™t really support that goal, though Iโ€™m always keen to meet nomads who want to discuss and co-create community solutions for a lower impact lifestyle. But those of us who express interest in this type of thing seem to be so spread out.

Which brings me to my next point. One thing nomads suffer dearly from is lack of networking. Iโ€™d love to see smart online networking โ€“ targeted but casual hangouts and such โ€“ where people can just get to know one another better.

After about two years of doing this and reading the job posts, Iโ€™d say most organizations who are OK with digital nomads working outside their own countries are either looking to pit freelancers against offshore labor for scrappy wages, or โ€“ on the much more positive side โ€“ have a vested interest in an internationally-minded resource, multi-cultural workforce, or distributed team โ€“ for reasons related directly to their business concept or organizational mission.

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@levelsio | 4yr

Yes! Iโ€™d love to improve it. Can you tell me what youโ€™d change?

But it kinda does though. The amount of stuff people buy creates more pollution through the supply chain I think. Nomads are relatively minimalist.

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@lightmotif | 4yr

Youโ€™re right โ€“ it kind of doesโ€ฆ but it kinda doesnโ€™t. You make a good point, but I donโ€™t have to mention the jet-setting and ship-cruising as negativesโ€ฆ I do tell myself at least I donโ€™t own a car, or drive one (often) though people who live in big cities can argue the same. As far as amount of stuff goesโ€ฆ not to overthink this or get off on a tangent, but unless they are nomads forever, most people have owned Stuff (big Stuff, capital โ€˜Sโ€™ :wink: ) in the past, and/ or will own it again some day. (Though a small segment of us are looking at longer term communal arrangements.) So while the net impact of not buying Stuff temporarily is thereโ€ฆ not sure how great it is. Itโ€™s something though.

Anyway, even if I wasnโ€™t doing this myself โ€“ I would still fully support a personโ€™s right to wander long-term, reflect on their life and earn a living remotely at the same time. I think the greater positive impact we have in doing so is being exposed long-term to other cultures, and for many of us, weโ€™re often in places with a lot less wealth than what we had growing up, and it gives us more perspective, makes us more resourceful, makes us better humans. So maybe thatโ€™s part of the bigger story to tell to companiesโ€ฆ

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@levelsio | 4yr

Sorry Iโ€™m not hiring more people, but if you tell me exactly whatโ€™s wrong I can fix it.

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@wanderboss | 4yr

To me, we need to educate people about the DN lifestyle.
There are so many people who have never heard about the term digital nomad and when told โ€˜โ€˜remote workโ€™โ€™ they understand it as WFH (working from home). There are still many companies who still donโ€™t even accept employees to WFH.
Iโ€™m not a digital nomad (yet) but I a working on a project that will hopefully soon allow me to experience this lifestyle.
Iโ€™ve lived and worked in several countries (France, UK, USA and now Australia) and I had never heard about DN until a few months ago.
Iโ€™ve talked about my project to my friends in France, UK and USA (some of them are startup owners and are able to work remotely) and none of them had heard about anything like it.
There are a few people helping others become digital nomads but I donโ€™t know how far their reach goes. It is also a huge challenge as there are many roadblocks on the way to become a nomad.
There are so many souls working 9 to 5 in an office doing work they hate and surrounded by people they dislike. We need to reach out to those guys and help them uncover and realise their dreams.
Developing professionally and personally, doing things you like, surrounding yourself with like-minded people, experiencing new things, discovering the world and making a difference, living a life with purpose sound like a far away dream for most people living in the situation that Iโ€™ve just described.

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@dearezkitha | 4yr

Yeah we see this also as an issue as digital nomad. So we are currently building a solution for that, and will launch it next year.

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@kathrynoh | 4yr

One thing Iโ€™d like to see is a site like Airbnb with the listings curated and verified.

I think Airbnb are trying to do that with their business site but are not hitting the mark, eg. having a โ€œlaptop friendly workspaceโ€ is not the same as having a properly set up desk. It can mean a kitchen table or bench with a power outlet nearby.

Iโ€™d pay extra to know I was booking somewhere that was clean, had a smooth check in and had a functional/ergonomic workspace.

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@veryfyodor | 4yr

Thatโ€™s a good question.

As for me, one of the biggest painful moments (which can be somewhat enjoyable if youโ€™re into planning) in being a DM is figuring out the visas. Since I have a Russian passport itโ€™s not so straightforward as it could be. At the same time, questions like โ€˜whatโ€™s the cheapest way to stay in Bali for a year, visa-wiseโ€™ are universal.

If there was a single organized, open-sourced website where you could find all the answers regarding visas, that would be awesome. Itโ€™s not sexy, though, so I doubt that itโ€™s going to be the next big thing.

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Read and participate in 13,969 discussions on Nomad List

Suggested topics

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What is the best online insurance for digital nomads ?


by @berberos | 2d 1 day ago | 4 comments

Hi guys ! hope you are doing well.

I would love to get your feedback regarding the best insurance for digital nomads. i'm traveling around Asia since 1 year and for next 4 or 5 years. Would love to buy an insurance to cover especially :

- health

- laptop, phone ...

- Flights

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Where should I set up my company as a remote worker?


by @beloruchka | 19d 19 days ago | 6 comments

Iโ€™m looking for any recommendations for services or people others have used to get answers on the best place to set up their businesses based on their personal circumstances.

Leaning towards Singapore after a ton of research, but would really like some concrete advice before jumping in.

Appreciate it!

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Bali to focus on attracting remote workers when the island reopens for tourism


by @levelsio | 2mo 1 month ago | 0 comments

When reopening for tourism, Bali says it will focus on attracting remote workers to choose the island as their workplace:

"We will focus on a new pattern of how Bali is not just for leisure, but indeed to work in Bali as well"

thebalisun.com/bali-tourism-will-target-digital-nomads-and-those-who-work-online/

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Any attorneys working remotely?


by @rohitsn | 2mo 1 month ago | 3 comments

Transactional Attorney with a focus on US Immigration. Burnt out doing the law firm thing. Trying to leverage skill to get on this digital nomad tip. Love the traveling experience, hostels, seeing new places, new cocktails etc etc.

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What's the best SIM card you can get for traveling to Spain?


in Spain by @gabygarreau | 2mo 1 month ago | 3 comments

Hi! I want to relocate to Spain and I was wondering if someone can recommend a SIM card with a good data package.

Thanks

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What do you use to work together remotely?


by @artofwarbiz | 4mo 3 months ago | 6 comments

What do you use to work together remotely with your team?

I know Slack, Hipchat and Hall.

Which ones do you guys use and why?

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What have been your biggest challenges working remotely in your team?


by @wanderer | 4mo 3 months ago | 2 comments

My interest in DN lifestyle started when half of our company have been taking 1 month for remote work @ Ko Samui. It was truly cool but we observed quite some communication challenges. Communication seemed just โ€œriskierโ€ when online.

What were your worst situations caused by misunderstanding while communicating online with your teammates? What do you do to avoid misunderstandings?

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Any Ph.D students dissertating while a digital nomad?


by @larsheather | 4mo 4 months ago | 5 comments

Anyone know of any groups or resources for Ph.D. students working on dissertation while living as a digital nomad? I know there are several virtual writing groups around, but wondered if there were any specifically for digital nomads, particularly those who are dissertating.

Thanks!

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Does international health insurance for digital nomads exist?

 

by @al_steffen | 4mo 4 months ago | 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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I dream of being a digital nomad? How do I do it?


by @programmingmark | 6mo 5 months 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 | 6mo 6 months 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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Central America - Where and what's next?


by @as11 | 7mo 6 months ago | 11 comments

Currently in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and heading to Santa Teressa, Costa Rica next week.
Then Aruba in the Caribbean Sea for Christmas and New Year.

However I feel I want to head back to Central America to bring living costs down, rather than staying in the Caribbean Sea among the expensive Islands.

This means I have around 2 - 2,5 month of unplanned travelling.
Any digital nomads who have ideas about where to head in that timeframe?

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Best place for Digital Nomad in Latin America?


by @rose_davis | 8mo 8 months 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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How do we solve housing for digital nomads?

 

by @levelsio | 9mo 8 months 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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What's the first step now that I can work remotely?


by @mariaplslourdes | 10mo 10 months ago | 4 comments

Hi everyone and nice to e-meet you!
finally, after so long I found a job that allows me to work remotely.
But now? Do you have any practical advice that I can use to approach this new world?
In particular, I have to put my tax situation in order, do you know a good tax advisor from whom I can ask for advice? (Iโ€™m Italian but I live in Franceโ€ฆI donโ€™t know how long it will beโ€ฆ) )
Beyond that, any advice is welcome.
Thank you!
Maria

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How is Sicily for digital nomads?


by @gaelm | 10mo 10 months 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 | 10mo 10 months 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 | 11mo 11 months 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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Are there any digital nomad fitness retreats?


by @ryanjames | 11mo 11 months ago | 1 comment

Hey all:

Does anyone here have any experience attending a full time fitness bootcamp or a fitness resort while working? I know there is one in Cambodia for digital nomads (Fitness Retreat Resort Kep Gym), unfortunately the time difference vs my work schedule would make my life suck if I tried to go there. Iโ€™m looking for a place between US and Europe timezones that lets you live with them, kicks your butt with fitness, but would also have good WiFi/accommodate working eight hours a day. Iโ€™m also open to other tangential ideas for something close-ish to get that same experience.

Thanks for any help!

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Best place to set up a company selling digital services?


by @pras_k | 12mo 11 months ago | 10 comments

Whatโ€™s the best place?
For residency Iโ€™m looking at Portugal and they have the NHR (non habitual resident) program which would exempt dividends from foreign income.
So all Iโ€™m really looking for is the best place to actually start the company.
Biggest factors are of course low taxes and ease of setting up the company plus a business bank account that enables me to receive payments through Stripe.

What I found so far:
Hong Kong
Corporate tax rate of 16.5% (8.25% for the first HK$2 million)
โŠ•/โŠ– offshore income from outside HK is exempt from taxation but itโ€™s not clear whether this can be done in the first year and prorated or if itโ€™s only through filing the offshore exemption claim. This might take two years and requires not income from HK at all. More info on that would be great
โŠ– seems very difficult to get a business bank account
โŠ– necessary services and fees are roughly around โ‚ฌ2000 / year
โŠ– accounting requirements seem to be very strict
โŠ• Doesnโ€™t require local partner
โŠ• Agencies available that seem to handle most of the work

Singapore
Corporate tax rate of 17% (0% on the first S$100k, 8.5% up to S$300k)
โŠ– requires a local director. What are the implications of this?

Malta
Corporate tax rate of 35%
There is the โ€œfull imputation systemโ€ but I donโ€™t really understand it.
"In most cases, the tax refund to the shareholder is 6/7 of the tax paid by the company on profits distributed as dividends. The tax refund rate may be different in the following cases: " This would result in an effective corporate tax of around 5%.
โŠ– European customers would have to pay VAT and Iโ€™d have to deal with that

Cyprus
Corporate tax rate of 12.5% and there seem to be ways to lower this
โŠ– European customers would have to pay VAT and Iโ€™d have to deal with that
โŠ– requires staying in Cyprus for 2 months / year

I find it surprising how much research this requires and how much โ€œit dependsโ€ information is out there when Iโ€™d assume that there are probably thousands of digital nomads who probably have very similar requirements.

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