Three Things That Surprised Me About Digital Nomads
I fell into the digital nomad community by accident. I’ve been a freelancer for six years, and for most of that time, I lived the life of a backpacker. I worked a couple of hours a day from a tent in the middle of the mountains, from a packed train, from a hostel dorm room. I hung out with locals from whatever country I was in or with people who had quit their jobs to explore the world.
Amongst the latter group, I was the only one working, the only one who saw this lifestyle as something that could last. This was a wonderful time, a time of many adventures, but also a time of slight loneliness, as no one had quite the same lifestyle as I did.
This changed once Covid began. I ended up on Koh Phangan island in Thailand, where many of the people who remained throughout the pandemic were also making money online. I suddenly realised that there was a whole community of people like me — people who unironically referred to themselves as digital nomads.
Soon enough, I did, too.
I was intrigued to find out more, so I moved to one of Europe’s most popular digital nomad spots, a small town in the mountains. Since then, I have made it my base. I have a flat there and a close group of wonderful friends. The digital nomad scene has become an anchor for me, a place to come back to in between adventures, a place to make life-long friends who share the same travelling lifestyle and who I can not see for months, then meet up with again and feel like nothing has changed.
At the same time, a lot of things about the digital nomad community in general surprised me and, at times, even disappointed me.
1- Talking about tax evasion is incredibly normalised
Coworking spaces often offer skill shares, in which remote workers make a presentation to share knowledge of their field with others. I was shocked the first time one of these skill shares was about how to avoid paying taxes anywhere. Many nomads make their decisions based on paying the least possible to the government.
For those who earn a lot of money, it seems selfish to me that they are trying at all costs not to pay income…