Nick Donnelly’s life as a designer and software developer requires him to be at his creative best all the time. Waking up to the same scenery every day was not doing him any favors.
It took a trip to China in 2001 for him to realize a hunger inside of him, which could only be quenched by chasing different sunsets across the world.
“I started as a digital nomad around 20 years ago after a random trip to China and then backpacking to Berlin and Prague,” Donnelly, who bought his first bitcoin (BTC) in 2013, told Be[in]Crypto.
What is a digital nomad?
Donnelly is a modern-day nomad. Or what many people refer to as a digital nomad – a remote worker who is not confined to one area and seeks inspiration in different cosmopolitan cities and towns around the world.
Digital nomads will typically have a base in one city where their belongings are stored for the long term. Donnelly maintains a flat in the city of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, while he travels the world.
“I’m currently in Bansko, Bulgaria – Europe’s digital nomad hub. I used to live in Saigon and London and travel (while working) several months a year (conditions allowing). I’ve also spent many years traveling slowly, visiting 73 countries so far,” he said.
Digital nomads using crypto
In the early days, planning for a working visit to a city was strenuous. One would have to find accommodation, and ensure there were requisite amenities like good internet connectivity.
Thanks to technology, there are now platforms that allow one to book a stay and set up a new base remotely. One such platform is Nomad List, which has been used by more than five million people to find nearly 1,400 cities in 190 countries in the last year.
Nomad List finds “the best places in the world to live, work and travel as a remote worker.” According to its website, it “collects millions of data points on thousands of cities around the world, from cost of living, temperature to safety.”
Digital nomads can use that data to decide what best works for them. Donnelly has used the platform from time to time.
“I have used Nomad List to research which are the cheapest nomad cities or talk to people in locations I’m visiting or am planning to visit. I’ve also used it to find nomad events – and to promote my own Prague Digital Nomad Meetup,” said the developer.
To navigate regulations around exchange control and payments in different jurisdictions, Donelly is pinning his hopes on cryptocurrency. He detailed:
“Most places still don’t accept crypto, and fees on most blockchains are too high to use crypto for payment. Though in Bansko I’ve persuaded a few places and people I needed to pay to accept Solana (SOL). Solana has very low fees and fast transactions so it works well for payment.”
Crypto allows greater freedom
Financial technology, crypto, in particular, has given digital nomads more freedom to settle in countries whose banking systems are riddled with challenges.
Another digital nomad, Courage Kimber, from the United States, said life as a digital nomad has allowed her more peace of mind.
Speaking to Be[in]Crypto, Kimber said: “I have always wanted to live a life independent of time, money, location, and the opinions of other people. A typical day starts with a little mindset work, which is me creating, editing, and reviewing content. I work with people across different time zones and in different countries.”
Kimber does consultancy work and due to her regular movements, has been accepting payments in cryptocurrency. She stated:
“I use crypto primarily for investing. I just started to incorporate it as payment for consulting services. The payment vendor I use has crypto option for payout. Payment time settlement is faster with crypto.”
“When I was first in Paris sending money was difficult via wire transfer and the only decent payment option was PayPal for consulting services. They don’t have Venmo or Cash App in Europe. Also banking options for U.S. citizens in France can be tricky,” she added.
She hopes that companies keep warming up to the idea of crypto assets such as bitcoin.
“I think in the future most companies will offer crypto for payment and as small business owners start to accept crypto it will be easy for digital nomads to do business both nationally and internationally. It will be awesome for digital nomads overseas. No more having to worry about exchange rates for money,” says Kimber.
Insurance for digital nomads
Remote workers have been excluded from the conventional insurance structure due to the impermanence of some of their gigs.
However, a new platform, Safetywing, which offers insurance for remote workers, is holding a lot of promise for digital nomads.
Safetywing describes itself as a platform for nomads, which aims “to remove the role of geographical borders as a barrier to equal opportunities…”
Both Donnelly and Kimber say they are considering enlisting, as being insured helps in times of uncertainty like the pandemic from which the world is emerging.
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