When the work is travelling

You have your office in your carry-on luggage. Digital nomads use the opportunity to decide where they want to live to work and not vice versa. One of their favorite destinations is the Mediterranean metropolis of Barcelona.


On a mild December morning in Barcelona, Victoria Venn, 36, stands on the roof terrace of the Cloud Coworking Space overlooking the Sagrada Familia and takes a sip from her coffee cup. For the online marketing consultant, it is a normal working day, with the difference that she can determine when and where it starts and how long it lasts. Seven years ago, the Munich-born woman traded the classic Nine-to-Five for independence because she wanted more personal freedom. Then there was the dream of combining travelling with working.


The digital revolution makes it possible. Today, freelancers like Victoria can open their laptops anywhere, whether in Barcelona or Bali. They call themselves "digital nomads" and work as IT experts, graphic designers, bloggers, copywriters, programmers, software developers, marketing specialists or entrepreneurs. The authors Tsugio Makimoto and David Manners already predicted this location-independent and multilocal working model in their 1997 book "Digital Nomad". Today the title has become the collective term of a global movement. "I don't really like that term very much," says Victoria. "Very few lead a nomadic life like a backpacker."

Victoria, who has lived in Spain, Vietnam, Australia, Colombia and the USA in recent years, always stays in one place for several months. In the respective countries she seeks a base from which she makes smaller trips to other regions and neighbouring countries. Because relocating every two or three weeks would only make her working life unnecessarily difficult. She also has deadlines, must be reliably reachable for her customers and always take the respective time difference into account. "It takes a lot of self-discipline," she says. The cliché of a laptop in a hammock on a palm tree beach is not true for most people.


However, those who don't want to miss out on Country Hopping, they can book offers from travel agencies such as WiFi Tribe, Remote Year or Hacker Paradise, which specialise in the needs of digital nomads and offer their customers accommodation and work in a community of like-minded people for around 500 US dollars a week. Following the motto: "Working together less alone", tour operators rent houses all over the world that become coliving spaces. These hassle-free packages are especially convenient for those who are just starting their independent working lives and want to see if it's right for them, says Victoria. She's not planning to pack her bags again. The Mediterranean metropolis is a hub for digital nomads.


"Barcelona offers a great quality of life, good infrastructure, countless coworking spaces, culture, creativity, the sea, the mountains and a vibrant start-up scene," explains Victoria.

The digital nomads of the Dynamite Club also agree. Every year they hold their meetings in the Catalan capital. Only those who generate at least 5,000 US dollars a month as a digital nomad will become members of the community. Founder Dan Andrews gives tips for independent entrepreneurs on his blog "Tropical MBA". He's self-employed, his company builds mobile bars. He has chosen Southeast Asia as his location. The weather is good, the flights are cheap and compared to the USA or Europe you can set up your own start-up for a quarter of the costs. In the nomadlist ranking, a platform that evaluates the best places for nomadic workers, Bali and Chiang Mai rank among the top places. 


There are currently an estimated half a million digital nomads worldwide, and the number is rising. How popular mobile working is is also shown by a study by the consulting firm PwC, in which every fifth interviewee from Generation Y could imagine working from different locations. The multilocal Ich-AG is certainly not suitable for all lifestyles, but employees with families also benefit from the possibilities offered by mobile working on the go or in a home office. More flexibility and self-determination promotes employee satisfaction and thus also creates a gain in efficiency for companies.

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