With a growing number of countries offering Digital Nomad Visas and as a recent podcast guest on this topic*, it occurs to me that I have a unique perspective that may be helpful. Whether you are looking to work remotely or to change your lifestyle, here are a few tips if you’re considering relocating to another country (or if you’re asking for a friend…wink, wink).
1. Make a list: No, not a to-do list, but a passions list! What are your interests? What brings you joy? What are the things that you’re passionate about but have never found the time to pursue? Use this list to guide your ultimate destination.
2. Do your research: Create a list of must-haves and build your destination list around it. BTW – your passions list should be part of your must-haves. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive, but you want to make sure that you find a good fit for your life or how you want to live.
3. Take a trip: Break out that passport and travel! It’s a big world, go explore it. You can’t get the feel of a place without getting the feel of a place. When you visit, you can do a few tourist activities, but make sure you get some local flavor. Talk to the hotel concierge or your Air BnB/VRBO manager or host for some local experiences and/or local people that can serve as a guide. Also, talk to the indigenous people about their country.
4. Be flexible: If you’re moving to a new country, don’t expect the nuances and rituals of your previous home. Learn something new, have patience and if there is a new language, learn it (people will appreciate your effort and respond to you differently).
5. Make connections: Social media can provide you with a window into different countries. There are groups for just about everything. Join a few that match your needs (I joined a Black Expats in Costa Rica Facebook Group about three years prior to moving.)
6. Create a plan: No, everything doesn’t need to be etched in stone, but at least plan your logistics: moving, selling or storing belongings, finding a renter or buyer for your residence, etc. This should include a timeline.
7. Credentials please: Particularly if you’re moving with a family, have your vital records and paperwork stored in a manner that it is easy to access. I mean passports (obviously), health records, birth certificates, ID cards and other country-specific administrative records.
8. Make a budget: You are no longer a tourist. Make sure you account for the essentials (rent, utilities, healthcare, food, transportation) as well as some splurges along the way.
9. Follow your heart: This is your journey. What is right for you may not be right for someone else and that’s okay. Don’t be deterred if everyone is not onboard with your move (this excludes your family unit – you need some consensus). Do it anyway!
10. Enjoy the ride: Even if this isn’t your final destination, lean into it! Slow down. Take in the scenery and culture. Find your tribe. Have some great experiences!