Is The Great Digital Nomad Migration Beginning?

Is The Great Digital Nomad Migration Beginning?

Anyone who has sat in a cubicle in some office building wished for a change of scenery at some point. The allure to many corporate warriors to ditch the stale confines of cubicles and water coolers instead for sandy beaches is strong. To fire up your laptop after a quick dip in the ocean from your seaside villa sounds like a dream. Well, it was. Now it’s more possible than ever. Because of COVID-19, many companies around the world have adapted to and granted remote work. More employees see newfound opportunities to work anywhere. Which begs the question, is the great digital nomad migration beginning?

A Digital Nomad?

A quick explanation.

It usually refers to a person that can earn money using an internet-connected device while traveling anywhere in the world. See photos of a said trailblazer with a laptop, sipping on coffee next to a body of water.

The term is said to have originated in 1997. By 2014, it gained traction as a wanderlust alternative to typical 9-5 office hours with freelance individuals.

Now, people from all global nooks have taken notice and embraced this freedom not thought possible. However large scale adoption hasn’t happened, yet.

Then, a pandemic hit.

Desperate Times

Many countries around the world are heavily reliant on tourism money. Countries such as Bermuda, Estonia, Georgia, and Barbados desperately need this money to return since COVID-19 paralyzed tourism. As that vital cash stream has dried to a trickle, they’re looking to get creative.

One idea is to lure remote workers to stay, work, and play for potentially months. Which makes sense especially since quarantine pandemic requirements may be around for years.

Real Virtual Citizens

The countries mentioned above are either piecing together or have already launched programs to allow entry options beyond tourist visas. Think of a digital nomad visa. Become an e-Estonian!


As you would expect, government red tape is a hindrance to official nomadic life. For many countries to allow nomads to stay and work without establishing residency requires changes to local laws. There may be tax implications as well to resolve from both host and home countries.

Will Reality Live Up To The Dream?

In reading the tales from many bloggers who’ve lived the dream traveling and working remotely, there’s one particular complaint brought up often.


If you’re considering this lifestyle, learn from those that have done it. Even in idyllic settings, without someone or a group to share the experience with has led to depression-like feelings.

For those that have ventured off solo and loved it have commonly made quick local friends. Couples also don’t typically have issues with loneliness since they have each other to explore while not working.

Look no further than the book made into a movie, Into The Wild as a cautionary tale. A bummer of a story about Chris McCandless who died alone in a remote abandoned bus in Alaska.

A takeaway from his experience is to plan and enjoy your journey with others.

Speaking Of Planning

Before you dive into the deep end, here are a few things to think about.

Do your research to find a great place to explore. You want it to be safe. Also, it needs to fit your budget. The team at Nomad List offers a robust site packed with advice from nomads that have lived it. The site offers costs and a ton of insights to explore. To know before you go if there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy living there. If you’re serious about making the leap, becoming a member might make sense.

Keep flexibility in mind. Don’t lock yourself into a long-term housing arrangement. You never know where the journey will take you.

Your environment affects your experience. It’s important, especially where you lay your head. You don’t want noisy neighbors or strange smells wafting around.

What about health care? Make sure you have access. You never know when you will need it.

Time zones matter. Will your work allow you to work when you want or are you required to be available at certain hours? If your company wants you to work during New York office hours, but you want to work remotely in Sydney, Australia, that might not be so much fun.

Who says it has to be full time. What about becoming a part-time nomad with a home base? If you live in Chicago as I do, winter getaways sound enticing.

Will You Join The Migration?

While this lifestyle for many sounds amazing, as with most things in life, be cautious where the dream won’t match reality. However, there are times where the reality far exceeds the dream. You’ll only know by experiencing it.

To answer the question in the headline, yes, nomads will swell in numbers with more options available. What an exciting time!

Read. Plan. Travel. Repeat!


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