Digital Nomad Lifestyle Across the EU
If you were to go back a couple of decades and speak with a well-educated adult, you would get some strange looks if you were to ask them about Facebook, Uber and Whatsapp. You would also get the same if you were to ask them about their thoughts on what makes a ‘Digital Nomad’. As with those now household brands, the idea of working from home, let alone from a different country from your employer would be met with a healthy dose of dismay! But that’s where we are in 2018: you can have your copywriter in Madrid, a graphic designer in Riga and the head office in Paris. They are typically people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and generally conduct their life in a nomadic manner. This is no longer unusual and it’s estimated that by 2035 there will be 1 billion digital nomads across the globe. Let’s take a closer look at what it’s like across Europe from East to West.
With year round sun, it’s no surprise that in 2015 Barcelona contained the third highest number of freelancers in Europe, and more than 100 dedicated co-working spaces. It’s a fast moving city with flight connections across all of Europe and more fast, reliable and free WIFI areas than you will ever need – you could be taking a Skype call whilst watching Messi score for FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the afternoon and checking your emails on the beach later the same evening! Barcelona is a great place to eat, drink and party: why not work at Casumo? they have an office here with a relaxed atmosphere just a 5 minute walk from the Marbella beach! There’s a great start-up scene and crucially, compared to other Western European cities, it’s relatively cheap. Other big players on this side of Europe include London, Amsterdam and Lisbon – take your pick!
Leading the way in the East of Europe, look no further than Estonia who introduced the ‘e-Residency’ programme on 1st December 2014, which got digital nomads excited everywhere. E-Residency allows digital nomads to start a company no matter where they are. The programme is fully manageable online and allows you to conduct online banking, establish and run a company, digitally sign documents and declare taxes online. All of this was welcomed by the digital nomad crowd who are now positively jumping for joy with news of Estonia’s forthcoming digital nomad visa! Announced by the Estonian Ministry of the Interior earlier this year, the visa will cut out administrative hurdles and make it easier to remain in a single spot longer-term. Known as a small country with a big digital heart, Estonia has opened the door to independent freelancers and made everything as easy as possible for them. On top of this entrepreneurial friendly landscape Estonia is also a very cool place to be based. The capital Tallinn, has great weather during the summer and is popular with digital nomads due to the whole city being walkable, clean, safe and exciting. You won’t want to leave, but if you do, you can take a ferry to Helsinki in just 2x hours and continue the life of a digital nomad (albeit a slightly more expensive one) there.
We should also give a nod to the rest of the world, the beauty of being a digital nomad is that there are no boundaries and borders. Islands in Thailand and Bali are particularly popular, there are even communities of digital nomads springing up with entrepreneurs from across the globe calling them home. However, across Europe the future isn’t quite so clear – after the UK vote to leave the EU we wonder whether the nomads will be as welcome in London and vice-versa. The Brits’ loss will be the rest of Europe’s gain; it always rains in London anyway.
As digital nomads become more of the norm, the phenomenon will continue to grow as businesses realise that they are often happier, more effective, cheaper and more productive. As technology continues to develop, working remotely becomes even easier – Skype video calls are clearer than some traditional phone calls, and Google Docs allow multiple users across the globe to edit the same document in real time. Whether you go East or West or take some time in them all, there has never been a better time to be a digital nomad!