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The number of freelancers, remote workers and digital nomads has skyrocketed. While beachy surroundings might sound ideal for independent designers or copy writers, assets such as good WiFi, affordability and a community of like-minded individuals are key to a great a working base. We’ve found some of the best.
The land of self-discovery, Bali acts like a vortex for creatives, pulling in freelancers and entrepreneurs from every corner of the globe in search of a peaceful, natural setting in which to get their creative juices flowing. A slew of cafés serving iced coconut cappuccinos and buddha bowls attract remote workers with strong WiFi connection and open-air, leafy surrounds. A must-try for those who intend on spending a longer chunk of time working in Bali – or who plan on moving there permanently – is Hubud, a bamboo-clad coworking space overlooking the rice paddies of Ubud. Once you’ve cranked out a few hours of work in the company of people brainstorming for their startups, attend one of Hubud’s workshops that touch on topics as varied as health coaching and short filmmaking. It goes without saying that the main attraction of Bali lies in its natural beauty and affinity for self-discovery and healing, so take a class at The Yoga Barn or soak up the sunset on a surfboard to cap the day off.
2. The Netherlands
With one of the strongest startup scenes in the world, the Netherlands is without a doubt one of the most accessible and thriving places for remote working. A booming network of cafés and hip co-working spaces make it incredibly easy to set up shop here for any amount of time, and the high number of independent workers also makes it easier to network and connect with others. In fact, the country was voted number one in Europe for remote working by the 2019 Remote Workers index, and its combination of easy-to-access spaces, fantastic WiFi and a decent cost of living make this no surprise. While Delft, The Hague and Maastricht all have buzzing entrepreneurial communities, Amsterdam is the self-evident hub, where creative hotspots such as Soho House and the Hoxton have set up camp.
CDMX is a cultural nexus in 2019, especially for those working in the design sector. Gaining architectural, interior and fashion inspiration is as easy as stepping out your door, and the colours and forward thinking of many of the architects and interior designers in the city will help you advance your own work in leaps and bounds. Solo workers who are looking to get out of the metropolis have countless other beach towns and smaller cities at their fingertips. Artsy souls will feel nourished by San Miguel de Allende’s vibrant cultural scene, while digital nomads seeking sea and sun can join the masses of creatives in Tulum. Surfers should check out Sayulita if speedy internet connection isn’t a necessity (say, if you want to split your time between being on the water and finally writing the last few chapters of your novel).
For major bang for your buck and absolute cultural immersion, Vietnam fits the bill and then some. Its capital, Hanoi, attracts remote workers in flocks thanks to its affordability, entrepreneurial spirit and good WiFi connection. There’s a happening coffee culture in the city, so cafés will become a prime working space, punctuated by ultra-cheap shrimp bánh mì and lemongrass noodle soup for lunch and dinner. The city is challenging and exciting, so if a completely new experience is your aim with remote working, this is the place to be. While the city is a fantastic working base, it’s also a great jumping-off point for travelling to Ha Long Bay and Hội An with the flexible schedules afforded by remote working.
For a lesson in what work-life balance really means, heading to Germany is a great start. The country (alongside its Swiss neighbour) is known for its efficiency after all, so working hours are spent wisely. Once the day is over, however, everyone comes out to play, whether it’s for outdoor brews or a weekend swim at the lake. It feels much easier to plug away at work in a café when the people surrounding you are calm and concentrated, and then taking off on adventures once you’ve put in an honest day’s work. Munich is a favourite for digital nomads with an outdoorsy side thanks to perfect connectivity and the city’s proximity to the mountains. Creatives can obviously turn to Berlin to soak up the cool vibes in co-working spaces galore. Concept shops and galleries at every corner will get the innovative gears going on bike rides between home and your favourite coffee shop.
For the adventurous soul on a budget, Bulgaria is an exciting option for mixing work and play. Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the bohemian neighbourhoods of Plovdiv, which was voted European Capital of Culture 2019, or want to alternate between Sofia’s emerging co-working spaces and its nightlife, Bulgaria’s cities are hidden gold mines for creatives searching for untapped resources of inspiration. The country is also packed with out-of-office activities, whether that’s the affordable ski slopes of Bansko or checking out the under-the-radar Meadows in the Mountains music festival, where soul food stands, yoga classes and unchained dancing collide in the Rhodope Mountains. At once a culture shock and spiritual experience, Bulgaria is unlike anywhere else when it comes to working and living.
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