Digital Nomads: Slowmadding, One-Bag Travel, Location Independence

“You must go on adventures to find out where you belong.” – Sue Fitzmaurice

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❓ What You’ll Learn

  • How to geoarbitrage?
  • How to build a directory for nomads?
  • How are countries competing for digital nomads?
  • How to choose your next destination as a nomad?
  • How to build products for nomads?
  • What is worldschooling?
  • How to make life easier as a digital nomad?

💎 Why It Matters

You can live where you want without sacrificing your career.

🔍 Problem

One place rarely checks every box.

We want to optimize where we live and when we live there.

💡 Solution

Digital nomads can pursue careers without sacrificing their lifestyle.

🏁 Players

Digital Nomads

Digital Nomad Tools

  • Nomad List • Rankings for the best places for digital nomads to live.
  • Working Nomads • Job board for remote work.
  • Teleport • Explore where to move based on your preferences.
  • TripIt • Popular trip planning tool.
  • Workfrom • Remote-friendly accommodation.

Digital Nomad Services

  • Remote Year • Group travel for digital nomads for up to a year.
  • LiquidSpace • Coworking spaces for individuals and businesses.
  • Safety Wing • Medical insurance for nomads and remote teams.
  • Digital Nomad Kit • Lifestyle design and hiring for virtual assistants.

🔮 Predictions

  • Countries will compete for digital nomads. Nomad visas and special tax incentives will give countries better opportunities to attract nomads.
    • Bali’s new nomad visa means foreigners can live and work in Indonesia tax-free.
    • Dubai attracts founders from companies like Polygon with its 0% capital gains tax.
    • Spain’s new nomad visa is luring expats with a reduced 15% tax rate for the first 5 years.
    • Costa Rica signed a law that grants year-long visas. Holders are exempt from local taxes.
    • Estonia has offered e-residency for 8 years. They want to form a digital nation by making it easy to start businesses in the EU.
  • Digital nomads will gentrify many of the world’s major cities. There will be conflict.
    • Kristen sparked controversy with her thread about moving from America to Bali.
    • This sign found in Mexico City demands tourists to leave. Many countered that tourism is critical to CDMX’s economic success.
    • Corbett Barr argues that nomads are ruining all the good cities through gentrification. She talks about “touristification” and forced displacement.
    • Jo Frrey implored nomads not to come to Lisbon because local workers can’t keep up with the cost of living. Portugal closed their golden visa program.

☁️ Opportunities

  • Build products for nomads. Digital nomads have unique travel needs that the market has only just begun adapting to.
  • Build a directory. Help people become nomads by curating the most useful tools and resources.
    • Wikivoyage is ”Wikipedia” for travel guides.
    • Numbeo sources data for the cost of living and quality of life in every major city.
    • Where Can I Live is a database of best places for living abroad that fit your needs.
    • YOLO Nomads curates the best nomad hubs for remote workers fed up with the big city.
    • Visa List won ProductHunt’s Golden Kitty award. It ranks and explains the visa process for tourist and nomad visas worldwide.
    • Nomad List ranks the best places for digital nomads to live. They use user-generated ratings for a vast variety of criteria.

🏔️ Risks

  • Loneliness. Being a digital nomad can be a lonely experience if you don’t know how to find a community in the places you travel.
  • Switching Costs. You can lose a lot of productivity and burn energy by switching locations too often.
  • Safety. This risk is often overstated, but you should exercise vigilance about your surroundings. Especially at night or as a minority in the city you’re visiting. It’s an unfortunate reality of our world.

🔑 Key Lessons

  • Use ‘location independence’ to save money. Many nomads view taxes and cost of living as an expense that can be optimized by location.
  • Build travel systems. Have a system for packing, booking trips and developing routines. It’s disorienting to show up to your destination unprepared.
  • Seek discomfort. Nomading introduces you to new ways of life and leads to paradigm shifts. “Experience” should not be measured in years but the number of shocks that you have withstood.

🔥 Hot Takes

  • Avoid the hotspots. You will feel better where you are welcome. Hotspots are rarely enthused to see new visitors. You’re also far more likely to have an enriching cultural experience off the beaten path.
  • Global cultures are converging into a single monoculture. The internet, ease of travel and remote work will mean that trends, ideas and culture will converge.
  • Being a nomad requires a relaxed attitude. Stop sprinting through immigration and expecting immediate service everywhere you go. You’ll have a better time when you calm down and worry less about things going wrong.

😠 Haters

“I care about habits too much. This would be disruptive to my routine.”
Being a nomad doesn’t mean sacrificing your habits. Travel forces you to build robust habits that can withstand different environments. It also prevents “habit rot.” You’ll have regular shocks to your “system” which force you to grow. People can do the same thing for 20 years and never grow because they’re not undergoing shocks.

“Digital nomads are destroying culture and gentrifying entire countries.”
Asking travelers not to travel is impractical. The responsibility of ensuring that tourism benefits everyday people largely falls on governments. But visitors are still responsible for respecting and supporting the places they visit. Support small businesses wherever you go.

🔗 Links

  1. Nomads… What’s your Favorite City Right Now? • The Tweet behind this report.
  2. Why You Should Quit Your Job and Travel around the World • Blog about how and why to live a non-conformist lifestyle as a nomad.
  3. What’s Your Personal Finance Setup for Travel? • In-depth guide to the unique financial ‘stacks’ of nomads.

📁 Related Reports

  • Remote Work • Remote work allows nomads to work from anywhere.
  • Charter Cities • Digital nomads will form communities that become charter cities.
  • The Creator Economy • Creators are well-positioned to become digital nomads.
  • Paid Communities • Nomads join paid communities to meet friends and access resources.
  • Token-Gated Communities • Token-Gated Communities may be a key part of future network states.

🙏 Thanks

Thanks to Stewart Townsend, Uwe Dreissigacker, Soma Mandal, Swapnil Puranik, Fausto Sá Teles, Iwo Szapar, Mac Martine, Thomas Sorheim, Parminder Singh. We had a great time jamming on this report.

✏️ Harry researched and wrote this report. Dru and Emin edited this report.

📈 What else?

Trends PRO #0110 — Digital Nomads has more insights.

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  • 28 Digital Nomad Examples (180% More)
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  • 13 Digital Nomad Services (225% More)
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  • 15 Opportunities (275% More)
  • 6 Risks (100% More)
  • 7 Key Lessons (133% More)
  • 6 Hot Takes (100% More)
  • 5 Haters (150% More)
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With Trends Pro you’ll learn:

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  • (📈 Pro) What are the advantages of slowmadding?
  • And much more…

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