With more and more people working from home than ever before, the “digital nomad” lifestyle appeals to a wider range of people every day. My wife and I have worked online for more than a decade now (long before I worked here at Frequent Miler) and we’ve taken advantage of the ability to escape abroad for extended stays a few times – one of our favorite experiences was a few months we spent subletting an apartment in Berlin and roaming around Europe on the weekends.
Now that we have kids, the idea seems more dream than reality, but maybe that’s why Gilbert Ott’s piece at God Save the Points caught my eye. Gilbert features a list of countries offering “digital nomad” type visas to live and work abroad (in many cases with the freedom to come and go for a year or more). I am not surprised to see this trend in light of current affairs and I imagine these types of opportunities will only get more attractive (and hopefully more competitive) moving forward.
Growing up, I never considered the prospect of living abroad. My first real exposure to expat community came when my wife and I moved to Ecuador for about 9 months on a bit of a whim more than ten years ago. We found Americans living in Quito and that Cuenca was just becoming a retirement destination for some North Americans because of the uber-affordable nature (in more recent years it has often shown up on lists of places to retire cheaply). I remember meeting a woman from Arizona at a hostel in Colombia who said that she was spending her retirement traveling around South America because Social Security wasn’t enough to live as comfortably in the US.
These days, it isn’t just fringe outliers considering the chance to experience life abroad and countries are harnessing the demand by offering official visa programs for those who can demonstrate sufficient income and employment. That seems like a smart move for countries looking to draw foreign money to their economies. Indeed, I think many countries have been missing the boat on the opportunity to offer something like this for quite some time. While this is obviously a byproduct of the COVID era (and as such it comes with its share of inconveniences and concerns at the moment), I won’t be surprised to see this type of opportunity continue even after this time is behind us.
With two young kids, I think it’s unlikely that I’ll do something like this any time soon — though when they get a bit older, I would very much be open to having them spend a year living abroad. I’ll be keeping my eye out for opportunities like this and I enjoyed the read at God Save the Points for now.