The Annual Digital Nomad Migration

by | Dec 28, 2016 | Blog


One of the (many) things I love about location independence is the ability to escape winter. That is why there is two hemispheres, right?  Once the cold and rain hits Europe in November then it is time for the herd of digital nomads to head to warmer pastures.  

My annual migration over the years has taken me to Brazil, Mauritius, Madagascar, Australia, West Africa, Asia and other destinations.  15 years ago, when I first started to embark upon these winter escapes, I would rarely see anybody else that would do the same.  Nowadays there are an increasing number of people able to live an endless summer!  People are coming to the realisation that there is no need to go into hibernation once the winters hit. We no longer need to suffer cold, dark, wintery days any longer!  We can continue to live!

Not that winters are all bad! I have consciously elected to spend the winter in Europe for the first time in many years and I am loving it! Cosy nights at home, winter soups, dinner in front of tv watching a movie, lots of time in the gym…although that is not as good as it sounds, it just happens to have an incredible spa zone!  However, it is all very novel for me…I am not so sure I would enjoy it so much year after year after year…

So where are the herds of digital nomads and location independent professionals flocking to? South East Asia has been the pioneer in creating hubs for those looking for a change of lifestyle and a move to the tropics.  Bali, specifically the town of Ubud and its first coworking space Hubud, became the mecca for a range of freelancers, entrepreneurs and remote workers from all parts of the globe.  Nowadays there are coastal coworking spaces on the Balinese coast for those seeking the surf such as Dojo (which has its own swimming pool!).    

Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand, rivals Bali well as the principal hub for travelling laptops.  They complement each other nicely…when the rainy season lands in Bali, off to Chiang Mai, and once the smokey season hits Chiang Mai, it is back to Bali!

Nowadays, however, more and more alternatives are popping up in other parts of Asia and all around the world! Medellin in Colombia, the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa… Coworking spaces and coliving are popping up in traditionally holiday destinations. For example, Kohub  coworking on the beach in Koh Lanta advertises on its website ”Switch your office for our beach”…I am sold! Not only is it appealing but it is affordable.  They have a package for under $600usd that takes care of all your basics…accommodation, meals and work space.  So what are you doing still suffering the northern cold, exactly???

These possibilities are not just for digital nomads.  Nor is it just for freelancers and self-employed workers who have more freedom to choose when and where they work from. It is also for company teams.  An increasing number of progressive managers are seeing the value in allowing their employees to get out of the office and go work from another part of the world.  “Get the job done, it doesn’t matter where you do the job!” is the new paradigm.  Work is done better when we are feeling good about ourselves and happy about life.  Well, getting away to a tropical island can assist in putting ourselves in these positive states!  


So, no matter who you are or what you do…you can still escape the winters!  Here are some lifestyle design ideas for different personality types and living situations.

1. YOU: I am a homebody!  I enjoy spending time in different spots but I really want to have a home, a base, a kitchen and not to be moving around

IDEA:  Dream of living in two different locations but you can’t choose which?  Well, get the best of both worlds! Have two homes!  I have a couple of situations that I dream about (and working towards)…I love Bali, I love Barcelona… floating between homes in both locations.  My second idea is to have a home in Melbourne and also in Lisbon (or Medellin, Colombia).  

2. YOU: I am perfectly happy where I am!  You have no desire to spend much time travelling nor does it appeal to you to live in different parts of the world.  You are living in one place, have your work, your family and friends all there, and you do not consider it an option to change that at all.

IDEA: As happy as you are in one spot everybody can benefit from getting away from the routine of our day-to-day existence every now and again.  Stir things up, get some space, reflect, look at new perspectives, see somewhere different…so many benefits!  So go on a workation, or join others on a coworkation.  One week or one month…you will come back a new person, refreshed, inspired and full of new ideas!

3. YOU: I am restless and I want to explore the world! You are not feeling fulfilled in your current career.  Or you have just finished university and you don’t feel ready to enter the “real world”.  You feel as though there is more out there in the world and that you are missing out on it.

IDEA: Book a one way ticket and become a digital nomad!  The lessons you will learn, the people you will meet, the inspiration will find will ensure it is a fantastic investment…on both a personal and a professional level!


  • Islands of Thailand: Kohub on Koh Lanta island or Koh Space on Koh Pha-Ngan. Or hang out at Angkor Hub in Siem Reap, Cambodia (made famous for the Temples of Angkor).
  • Brazil: There are few better cities in the world than Rio de Janeiro! Rio Surf n Stay is being renovated and setting up a coworking/coliving area for digital nomads and remote workers. Or go hang out with the crew at Amadoria, an innovative coworking in the awesome city of Belo Horizonte.
  • Bali: Ok, it may not be the best time of year (rainy season).  But it is just such an incredibly inspiring environment no matter the weather!  
  • Australia:  StartInno coworking and innovation hub in the coastal town of Byron Bay talks about “putting more life into your work”. Surf, BBQ’s, beaches and beers…sounds good to me!
  • Canary Islands: CoworkingC in Gran Canaria, Hub Fuerteventura or, the appropriately named Coworking in the Sun! on Tenerife.   
  • Join a coworkation: Sunny Office is doing a 9 day retreat in the Canary Islands,
  • Switzerland: If you can’t beat the cold…join it!  Put the skis on and hit the slopes.  Swiss Escape is a coliving/coworking chalet that serves as a perfect base.
  • The world is your oyster: Hunt around for your new roomies and work colleagues on CoLiving or CoWoLi.
  • Morocco: Head down to the uber-cool fishing village of Taghazout.  Great waves for surfers and Sun Desk coworking is conveniently located for when you take a break from your laptop to hit the waves!
  • Costa Rica: Another spot to go for a surf as well as be amidst some of the most unique and varied wildlife on the planet…Costa Rica!  Find your tribe at Tamarindo Coworking located on the coast.  

Hmm, now that I have been writing about these places and looking at their websites…well, I may have to re-think my plan to stay in Barcelona for the winter!

** Check out more ideas in our directory of companies related to the location independent scene.


Endless summer


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