Summer 2021 is approaching rapidly, and the world is re-opening. Destinations that were closed off to us six months ago are open for business again. Planes that have spent months in hangars are being brought back out into the sunlight, dusted down, and prepared to take to the air again. It feels like the events of the past eighteen months lasted for a lifetime, but we’re finally beginning to approach something that feels like normality once more.
This is great news for everybody, but it’s especially great news for digital nomads. Those of us who don’t like to be bound to a desk, an office, or even a country are now free to resume our nomadic lifestyles working from wherever we like. We pack out laptops, take to the skies, and get paid for writing or working in some of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s a way of life that very few people understand, but those who partake in it would never swap it for anything else.
With a whole world of opportunity open to us once more, the most difficult decision to make is where to start? Where should a digital nomad go during the summer of 2021? As usual, the answer to that question will vary from person to person – but there are a few defining attributes. We need a low cost of living, great weather, stunning scenery, and the chance to learn and grow within our environment. I’m happy to propose a few potential locations to you, but the final decision is yours to take!
Late last year, I read a fantastic article about digital nomads who live and work in Barbados. It sounded like they have a lot of fun, and so joining them for a while is high on my travel priority list. Barbados is one of very few territories that truly understand what a digital nomad is and how they can appeal to them. Mia Amor Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados, has recently introduced a new “Barbados Welcome Stamp” aimed squarely at digital nomads or people who intend to do short-term work during a travel break. It grants you a twelve-month stay in this Caribbean paradise and even includes the option to extend your stay if you fall in love with the place. Given that Barbados is said to be the culinary capital of the entire Caribbean region, you might find yourself taking her up on that offer. From low living costs to fantastic weather and stunning scenery, the laid-back Caribbean way of life is a hard-to-beat proposal for a digital nomad.
Malta & Gozo
Head away from the southernmost tip of Italy and travel across the sea for a while, and you’ll eventually land on the beautiful islands of Malta & Gozo. Like Barbados, Malta has fully got to grips with the digital way of life. That’s why so many casinos headquarters are based here. While there’s a difference between being a digital nomad and working within the casino industry, the fact that Malta has thrown its doors open to gaming companies websites says a lot about its attitude to internet-based industries. Even review websites based in other territories like the UK Sister Site often maintain a presence here. Malta is safe, offers affordable housing and accommodation, and was recently voted as the country with the world’s best all-year-round climate. You’re allowed to work on a tourist visa, and everyone speaks English. What more could you want?
Vietnam has always lent itself well to digital nomads. That hasn’t changed during the past eighteen months. British and American ex-pats can be found all over Vietnam, many of whom have been living there for multiple decades. They came as tourists or for short-term work and then decided they never wanted to leave. Who’s to say you won’t be next? The best thing about Vietnam is you can live in as busy or as quiet an area as you like. Ho Chi Minh City compares favourably to almost any modern metropolis in the western world, whereas Hoi An and Da Nag offer laid-back environments with out-of-this-world natural beauty. The country’s high-speed internet is also a major plus to anyone who relies on a strong and stable connection to go about their business.
There’s a big difference between Edinburgh and the other destinations we’ve mentioned so far. Edinburgh is not a paradise island. It’s far from it. It’s a cold and often wet city in Scotland, but it’s also one of the most beautiful, progressive cities in the United Kingdom. It also has ancient, stunning, and inspiring architecture and scenery. This is, after all, where JK Rowling wrote the first “Harry Potter” novel while she was young and unemployed – a fact that’s celebrated by several city tours of “Harry Potter” locations. The city’s council has recently thrown its support behind a number of start-up and freelancer-friendly initiatives, so this is a great time to head there and take advantage of them. Just remember to pack a sweater and a raincoat.
Like many countries around the world, Estonia suffered badly from the near-total loss of its tourism industry during the 2020 pandemic. It’s trying to right the ship as quickly as possible, and the country’s government believes that digital nomads can play a big part in that. The country has issued a “Digital Nomad Visa” comparable to the “Barbados Welcome Stamp” we mentioned earlier, designed to make it easier for freelancers and remote workers to live and work in the country on short-term stays. Estonia isn’t just a host country that tolerates your presence – it actually wants you to come. You have to be a relatively successful digital nomad to qualify for the scheme, which is currently only open to those earning $3500 per month or more, but if you’re lucky enough to be in that bracket, there will probably never be a better time to maximise your advantage. The quality of life in this up-and-coming country is excellent. It’s Europe’s hidden gem.
I’ve given you five places to think about in this article, but there are so many more. One of the nicer problems that digital nomads face is that there are so many countries and so little time to see them all! I believe that any of these five potential destinations would be a good choice, but that’s not to say you won’t find somewhere even better. The most important thing is to go out and find it. The world is rolling out the welcome mat for travellers once more, so go and put your feet on it this summer.
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