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Best And Worst Places I’ve Lived As A Digital Nomad

By May 12, 2016Professional Writing

If you think about it, the original nomads moved around for food, water and warmer climates that prevented them from freezing to death. A digital nomad moves around in a similar matter. You have the freedom to move around in order to find a place that allows you to work enough that it sustains you. I’ve found some perfect spots for writing but the internet has sucked. I’ve found fast internet but the place is so loud, I can’t think. When you write enough, you get a sense of what environment motivates your artistic side.

Ko Samui, Thailand

Ko Samui

Friends will come and go in Ko Samui. There is also a structure here though like a variety of associations for expats to get together. As Samui becomes more about permanent residents, it gets easier to build a real life with real friends.

Ko Samui has white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Originally a hippy with rustic bungalows lining the beach, its now a 50-star island with an international airport. You can still find cheap eats and decently priced housing away from the beach, making it a pretty good place to set up.

Finding a peaceful spot on this island in the south of Thailand is not easy though. They also tend to have power and internet issues. The island hadn’t been wired for so many people to dwell there and it shows from time to time. There are plenty of places where you can get wifi in public places but the island doesn’t have the laid back attitude that allows for some peace and quiet. I wasn’t inspired to write and if I was, the internet and the noise were a deterrent.

Bang Saphan, Thailand

Bang Saphan

You’ll probably make friends with the locals pretty quickly. They’re well-educated Thai with some knowledge of the English language. They’re nice because they’re good people, not because they’re rip off artists. Falang (expats) are really nice too and hang out in a crowd. They’re an older crowd though so if you’re younger, you might feel pretty alone and bored here.

This ideal beach side area is a hidden gem in Thailand. Very few tourists go there and the Thai people are really down to earth. It’s a large enough town that you can get all of your amenities. It’s close proximity to Bangkok and the size of the village means there are a lot of options for 3G or 4G service. Their service plans are pay as you go and super cheap. You can purchase the USB and prepay at any 7-11.

The beach side area is 4 km from town so you’ll need a bike or a motorcycle to get your amenities. There are some reasonably priced cottages near the beach that are quiet and full of retirees. This might be the downfall to Bang Saphan. Life gets too easy. Once you’ve emptied out the ideas in your head due to the calm lifestyle, you run out of experiences. If you’re writing a book though, I’d recommend staying here for a year or so. It’s an idealistic place of calm.

Panama City, Panama

Panama City

There are plenty of expats as well as educated Panamanians that you can hang out with in Panama City. It’s a great place to party and hang out.

I was fortunate to hang out at my super successful digital nomad buddy’s place on Argentina Street. It’s the more expensive area in Panama City that’s close to lots of bars and eateries. When we didn’t work at his place, we would go to a high-end hotel to get some work done. This is something he taught me, you have to get outside when you’re a digital nomad.

The city was loud and congested. I did put my head down and get a lot of writing contracts while I was there but creatively I struggled.

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Puerto Viejo

You will make plenty of friends. This seaside surfers paradise is full of wanders from all walks of life. Everyone is so friendly and willing to invite you to their parties, dinners and get together’s. You won’t feel alone for long in this positive little space by the sea.

Getting on a bike every morning, rolling through a jungle filled with howler monkeys and arriving at a pristine beach is good for the soul. While I was in Puerto Viejo, a Caribbean seaside village in Costa Rica, I was really inspired to be creative. Lovely little coffee shops with kind, positive people everywhere. It was perfection.

Sadly, there seemed to be way more stress than I imagined. The bank machines only let you take $100 out at a time but charge you a lot of money to withdraw. My landlord was a crazy, money hungry psycho and the food was really expensive. What began as inspiring ended up being a nightmare and I actually lost a job contract. The internet I had was a USB stick which I had to borrow from someone else. If you’re not a Costa Rican resident, they charge a lot of money for the stick. The internet was brutally slow and when I tried to use a hotspot through my phone, it was costing about $10 a day. I think Costa Rica is similar to the restraints you might experience in Canada or the US. I loved it but I found it hard to make enough money to live in the pricey country and the internet wasn’t digital nomad friendly.

Bavaria, Germany

Bavaria, Germany, Europe

You will make acquaintances that will help you out. It’s a reserved little village with people who have known each other all their lives. They don’t mind visitors but they don’t want to make new friends.

Waking up in this village that looks straight out of the Sound of Music is pretty inspiring. It’s a slow pace of life and they still continue to do things in a traditional way. I go down to a bakery every day and pick up fresh bread and buns. The butchery can tell you the name of the pig that was butchered. It’s peaceful, it’s magical and the internet is great.

If you were to be a full-time resident in Germany, you’d have to state you’re a freelancer and pay taxes on the money you make. As a writer, that’s not really realistic for me. Bavaria is a stop over as opposed to a place I’d live for good. It’s always been a good place for productivity with writing. I don’t get creative ideas as often as I would in a tropical location but I do get plenty of work done.

Haida Gwai, British Columbia, Canada

Haida Gwai

Yes, you will make friends. To the point it may be too distracting to work.

I did get a lot of brilliant ideas in the Haida Gwai but this has got to be one of the most difficult places to work as a digital nomad. People there use their hands for working. It’s a fishing and logging island. Nobody understood what I was doing online so I constantly got interrupted. We literally were forbidden to get internet at our place because some loggers had split on the bill at the address we lived at.

It’s really expensive for groceries because its so isolated so unless you’re a ballin’ DN, you might find it’s counterproductive to your savings. The internet is terrible, we’re talking dial-up terrible. If there’s a storm, the internet and the power is completely out. I loved this place but I didn’t get a lot done. I did write down my thoughts so once I got off the rock, I could bring the creative ideas I had to fruition.