Five Great Places to Live as a Digital Nomad
By Mike Agerbo
November 14, 2019
Small Business & Entrepreneurship
The gig economy in Canada is growing, with a lot of Canadians turning to freelance work to gain more control over their earnings and work-life balance. In fact, Statistics Canada estimated that 2.18 million Canadians were taking part in temporary work in 2018. For many, one of the biggest advantages of being freelance professional is that it allows them to be location independent. That is, many freelancers are choosing to become digital nomads, working in overseas locations where they can enjoy better weather, experience new cultures and take advantage of a lower cost of living. These digital nomads tend to gravitate to places where internet connections are strong, coworking spaces are available and expat communities thrive. If you’re considering the digital nomad lifestyle, here are five great places to check out.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai has been highly regarded by digital nomads for quite some time now. This city in northern Thailand has so much to offer: great weather, rich culture and an abundance of cafes and coworking spaces. Chiang Mai has over 300 Buddhist temples to explore, each one more breathtaking than the last. Hiking, elephant tours, cooking classes and craft markets are just a few of the activities to choose from. Although it’s one of the largest cities in Thailand, life in Chiang Mai moves at a relaxed pace and people are exceptionally welcoming. Finally, the food scene is absolutely outstanding with a range of cheap, delicious traditional Thai dishes available in restaurants, food stalls and everything in between.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws to Chiang Mai is its proximity to other Thai destinations, like Bangkok and the beautiful islands along its coasts.
One of the most popular destinations in Bali, Ubud also has a long history of attracting digital nomads. While it might not have the best internet speeds, the lifestyle nomads in Ubud enjoy is hard to beat. Surrounded by rice terraces and rainforests, the city is teeming with yoga studios, restaurants, cafes and coworking spaces. As an added advantage, there is no shortage of things to do outdoors. Scuba diving, surfing, trekking, and white-water rafting are just a few of the options. Of course, the warm tropical climate is nothing to sneeze at either.
Despite its coloured history, Medellin is quickly climbing to the top when it comes to desirable locations for digital nomads. Over the past decade or so, the city has gone through an impressive transformation, cleaning up its safety record and attracting creative professionals. Medellin is affordable and has a mild climate with moderate temperatures year-round. There are plenty of coworking spaces around the city to choose from, along with lots of coffee shops with free Wi-Fi. There are no shortage of restaurants, bars and cafes around Medellin while the surrounding lush, green mountains offer the perfect escape for outdoorsy types.
Bulgaria is another up and coming nomad hotspot, being one of the top 30 countries for broadband speeds in the world. Although there are several great places where digital nomad communities thrive in this small Eastern European country, Plovdiv offers a mild climate along with some of the best amenities for remote work. With many cafes and a couple of coworking options within the charming Kapana neighbourhood, getting work done in Plovdiv is never a challenge.
In 2019, the European Union named Plovdiv one of two Capitals of Culture. As one of the oldest cities in Europe, Plovdiv earned this honour thanks to its rich history and stunning historical architecture. The old town, nestled atop a hill above the city center, features beautiful cobblestoned streets, an ancient Roman Amphitheatre and several museums.
Plovdiv’s city center and Kapana neighbourhoods offer all the comforts and amenities of a European city. Nomads here enjoy a variety of restaurants, shops and a bustling nightlife.
Like Colombia, Egypt struggles with reputation when it comes to safety, but many nomads who travel to Dahab are surprised at how safe they feel in this small seaside town. Dahab is home to many expats and tourism has grown consistently over the past few years. The town even attracts a healthy number or solo female travellers and remote workers. Nomads in Dahab enjoy a wide variety of restaurants and cafes as well as a couple of coworking spaces. However, the main draws to this little town are the outdoor activities, which include some of the best scuba diving, freediving, and kitesurfing in the world. While the internet can be a little spotty, the friendly community and outdoor activities make Dahab a great up and coming destination for digital nomads.