Freelancing is poised to be one of the biggest employment trends of the decade. But some freelancers take things to a whole new level. They’re not interested in working from their kitchen table. They want to work from a beach chair, a jungle tent or from the edge of a cliff.
Those people are digital nomads and they’re willing to leave the traditional sedentary lifestyle behind for what an upwardly mobile one. They look for their next destination based on cost of living, excitement and internet speeds.
Whether you’re a nomad on the hunt for your next workspace or just day dreaming, check out these 5 amazing cities to be a digital nomad:
1. Siem Riep, Cambodia
Neighboring Thailand usually gets all the attention in the nomadic circles. But Siem Reap in northern Cambodia offers a world class destination for those looking to avoid the crowds of Chiang Mai. The area is primed for tourists and offers a local culture whose prices can’t be beat. Yet, there is also the option to indulge in luxury accommodation, restaurants and spas.
The temples at Angkor are the perfect place to go to seek inspiration. Alternatively, if you need a break from it all, you can cycle out to the rice paddies in the countryside.
2. Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa is the perfect gate way to the rest of Africa and it happens to be a welcoming home to digital nomads. The cost of living is fine, the food is good and the culture and history are unlike anywhere else in the world.
Cape Town is a great base city; but there are a few things to note. First, you can grab a 90-day tourist visa at the airport and make a visa run to renew it once. But the government will ask you to apply for residency after six months. If you’re not planning on calling South Africa home, you’ll need to be prepared to move on.
Second, your Google Alert on Cape Town will probably alert you to a lot of violence. Pay attention and take precautions but don’t let it stop you. Like other areas of the world, violence in Cape Town primarily takes place in localized areas. It is often influenced by drugs and alcohol and usually occurs between two people who know each other.
3. Cartagena, Colombia
For those who prefer to move a little slower, head to the old colonial city of Cartagena on the coast of Colombia. The city is famous in all kinds of ways for being the home of Garcia-Marquez’s magical realism or the base for some of Pablo Escobar’s famous stunts. Either way, the city provides a strong lesson in entrepreneurism and creativity.
Cartagena does not have a lot of freelance infrastructure. You’ll probably need to rely on Starbucks if you’re looking for a co-working space. But, Cartagena is perfect if you need a place to truly chill out after work. If you stay too long, the city’s vibe can make your state of relaxation feel permanent.
4. Berlin, Germany
Berlin is dominated by students, artists and entrepreneurs all casually looking to make their mark. Because of this, Berlin offers all the trappings of a global city without the expense. The rental market offers value and if you’re not looking to stay too long, there are plenty of alternative places to crash. Plus, between the cafes, street food, markets, cinemas, museums, nightclubs and alt karaoke bars, you might never feel the need to crawl into bed.
Thailand is the obvious choice for a lot of digital nomads. The weather, inexpensive lifestyle, safety and the sheer number of freelancers who have set up camp in Thailand put it at the top of almost everyone’s list.
Freelancers in Thailand have lots of options depending on their travel and work style. Those who like the fast paced city life and are willing to pay a bit more can head to Bangkok, where everything you could ever want is at the tip of your fingers. Those looking for a mountain retreat head up to Chiang Mai, to live in the relative jungle, though it’s still a popular tourist destination. Beach bums make their way to Phuket and live their vacation all year round.
Thailand is also one of the best places to go if you’re a new nomad because of all of the facilities it offers including co-working spaces and reliable internet. It’s also a great place to learn the ropes and network with other freelancers to pick up top tips on making this fabled lifestyle work.
Being a digital nomad is not for everyone. After all, it takes a special kind of personality to be able to fathom turning on a computer while lounging in a beach chair. But if you’re looking for your next location or considering a workation, check out any of these five hotspots.
Featured photo credit: Clint Mason via flickr.com