A Trip Down the Digital Nomad Rabbit Hole
Maybe I’ve just huffed too much jet fuel…
But here I am, al frescoing again at one of my favorite neighborhood cafés in Prague, and I’m thinking about what subject I want to address in this dispatch…and I get distracted by a random thought that pops into my head from nowhere.
“I wonder how hard it is to get Iceland’s digital nomad visa?”
And just like that, I’m so far down the rabbit hole I’ve passed the rabbit.
To hell with work! I have information to unearth because that is what my brain craves at this very moment. That’s how my brain works when it is discombobulated and racked by directional uncertainty: It finds true north and recalibrates.
And for me, true north has always been global travel.
Throughout my adult life—at least in the age of the internet—my down moments have routinely been spent searching for places to go. Finding airfares and routes, planning itineraries, pricing trips to figure out where I can fly and at what price.
Most of this has always been idle, mental twiddling. It goes nowhere. But sometimes…
Well, years ago, when I was writing a book, I actually nabbed a flight from New York City to Auckland, New Zealand, just because I decided on a whim that all those uninterrupted hours in the air would be a great opportunity to write without distractions.
I spent just two days on the other side of the world, then flew home.
Which brings me back to Iceland—a country near the very top of my to-see list, and a country that just recently launched a new long-term visa for remote workers. Certainly, I’m not looking to leave the Czech Republic to work somewhere else for the long term. I love living and working in Prague; best move I’ve ever made.
But, I mean, Iceland!
Maybe I go…just for a few months?
Like I said, I’ve probably huffed too much jet fuel over the years. Maybe I’ve been watching too many Icelandic crime-noir series on Netflix recently.
Whatever the case, Iceland just seems like it would be a pretty cool place to live and work for a while.
It turns out, however, that moving there is not so realistic, since the monthly income requirement for the visa is around $8,000. For sure, Iceland is a costly place to live, but that’s one of the priciest options in the digital nomad space.
But, then, that led to another offshoot in the rabbit hole: If not Iceland, what other countries are offering or developing more affordable digital nomad visas (since so many are moving in that direction) and which country seems like it might be a really interesting place to live and work for a few months?
I was researching, writing, and holidaying in Greece for a few weeks a couple years ago and it would definitely be a heck of a place to work—especially one of the lesser populated and underappreciated islands like Leros or Ikaria.
Portugal? Without question! Grab a little place in the Algarve for a few months. Morning with Portuguese coffee and pastel de nata pastries, then work near the beach every day until it’s time for a late seafood lunch.
The United Arab Emirates? I’d be able to hop across borders to easily visit all the Middle Eastern countries that fascinate me—Iran, Oman, Jordan, Palestine.
Croatia? Anthony Bourdain, a superhero in my world, recorded one of his very best No Reservations episodes there. Ever since, I’ve been eager to get to Croatia’s northern coast and islands. The new Croatian digital nomad visa would be a great opportunity to pursue that goal.
Thailand is moving to launch a new digital nomad visa, as is Colombia (both are fantastic countries). And rumor has it that South Africa is looking to offer one as well. Living in Cape Town, on the South Atlantic, right near South African wine country…
Most of these visas should be quite attainable.
That’s it! I’m too far down this rabbit hole. I have to stop, now. I have a column to write…