The Digital Nomad's Guide to Southeast Asia

Why be a digital nomad?

Because people like the ability to travel whenever and wherever they want. The digital nomad (I'll abbreviate this to "DN" quite a bit) lifestyle is full of surprises, variation, opportunities, challenges and presents a constant change of pace to people's lifestyle. 

The tech world has changed rapidly over the last few years. Wifi and 3G are everywhere which has made online work more available and realistic to people around the world. Travel has also become more accessible and less intimidating due to the continued increase of quality and depth of online travel resources. 

Economic forces play a major role in pushing people out of the traditional way of doing things. There are multiple factors that are making the typical "school, job, house, etc." life path much less attractive today. These factors include increasing labor casualization, the high cost of living in developed countries, job security, and even the cost of buying a house. 

The cultural aspects of this change in lifestyle are typically less easily pinned down but also very important. Today, people tend to be interested in self actualization and personal freedom. As a result, they tend to place less emphasis on security and settling down. Many people have done well in school, gotten a job, a car, a house and then realized it was never the path to happiness that it was promised to be, that there must be 'something else' to life.

Why Southeast Asia?

  • It's cheap. This removes pressure of daily life and gives startups a longer runway. There is space to experiment, fail, and try again.
  • Exotic. The culture is very different to the west. Different food, ways of communicating, architecture, a feeling of dynamism and progress being made throughout the country.
  • Green. Many areas are relatively undeveloped or rural, making a beautiful aesthetic for a change of scenery. Many nomads are interested in an uncomplicated and minimalist life and finding happiness within that.
  • Fun. People are younger and more active, alcohol is cheap, weather is good, foreigners are all on holiday, and people are friendly.

Many other warm cheap parts of the world have serious shortcomings in terms of security or infrastructure.

Why should I listen to you?

I’m not like all those other “gurus” in their early 20’s who just landed in Chiang Mai and began telling everyone how to do it. The short version is I’ve been working from home since 2001, traveling SEA since 2006, and combining the two since 2014. The long version is on my about page.

I have personally experienced the vast majority of the places, equipment, coworking spaces and methods mentioned on this site.