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What is a Digital Nomad?

A digital nomad is someone who is able to make a living anywhere in the world. They are someone who has a business or a skill that provides them an income as long as they have a laptop and an internet connection. A digital nomad is the person you see in those cheesy photos of a shirtless guy or a girl in her bikini on the beach with a laptop on their lap. These are people who travel the world, living in the places of their fantasies, simply because they can.

Digital nomads belong to a global community of like-minded individuals. There are coworking spaces in a ton of cities all over the world that enable digital nomads to still get the communal feeling of having coworkers. There are also meetings arranged online for people that are in the same cities as others.

Digital nomads make a living in a wide variety of careers. Many are writers, some are web designers, some are entrepreneurs that start online businesses. There are photographers, affiliate marketers, virtual assistants, and more. There are countless careers or even just jobs that people can engage in which allows them the freedom to live and move around the world as they please.

This constant roaming is at the core of digital nomadism. In a chicken or the egg debate, it’s hard to say which begat which: having a job that allowed someone to live where they please, or having the desire to globetrot and finding a source of income to support that lifestyle. Regardless of which came first, digital nomads are generally filled with wanderlust.

As the trend continues to rise, digital nomad hotspots have begun to crop up. These are places that offer a few key criteria that are essential to the digital nomad lifestyle:

  1. Cost of living. Many digital nomads are trying to launch careers that aren’t raking in the big bucks yet. As such, a place that won’t break the bank is key.
  2. Internet speed. You can’t be digital in an analog world, after all.
  3. Weather and natural beauty. What’s the point of all that freedom is you don’t take advantage of it? The world is filled with beautiful places and digital nomads are finding the best of them.
  4. A community of like minded individuals. While escaping the office is a huge attraction of becoming a digital nomad, the comradery and social interaction of coworkers can often be missed. As such, having access to coworking spaces is an advantage.

Much of Southeast Asia has shown to meet this requirements: Thailand, Bali, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines — these are all countries that are gaining in popularity amongst digital nomads. They offer a high quality of living for a fraction of the price as the Western world. European cities, especially eastern Europe which is much cheaper than the more modernized west, are also popular. Cities such as Prague, Czech Republic, Sofia, Bulgaria, and Riga, Latvia are known hotspots for digital nomads.

At their core, digital nomads who people who value the quality of life more than their career. They work to live, not live to work. They see the world as a place that requires exploring and have found a way to support that requirement for as long as they want.

Photo Credit: gato-gato-gato via photopin cc

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