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Is the Era of Being a Digital Nomad Over?

With the Corona Virus impacting all of our lives I can’t help but wonder if the era of being a Digital nomad is over for awhile at least. The allure of being a digital nomad is closely linked to Travel, which is the hardest hit industry. Countries have closed their borders to foreigners, and even transiting through an airport is not possible at the moment. Airlines and Airports have started to downsize staff, and operations making less flights available. I and some friends are currently in various parts of Asia went this pandemic suddenly accelerated into a full lockdown.

Era of Being a Digital Nomad Over
the stereotype of a digital nomad or freelancer working at a cafe

The last 7 years have been a bit of a roller coaster with ongoing travel and what seems non stop hustling and grinding to scale our businesses. It’s also a good time to reflect a bit on highlights of the digital nomad lifestyle.

I would like to share a bit of background before I continue. I have been a digital nomad since 2013 before I even heard of the term in Taiwan. I first heard of the term from a Canadian Digital nomad named Nigel while in Taipei in 2014. I’ve been able to earn an income regardless of location using my video and creative skills in freelancing and online business and sustain it for 7 years. I consider myself a veteran in this game due to my age and time in the game and share my creative, travel, and business knowledge in my Creator Academy School. I have digital nomad friends that are 10 years my senior as well as the younger group that are 10 – 15 years younger than I am. Although I don’t consider myself a digital nomad because I tend to stay in a location for 3 – 6 months I do identify most closely with this group.

Creator Academy
I share my knowledge through Video, Travel, and Business Courses at my Creator Academy https://phantom3.teachable.com/

Traveling itself was never an essential requirement of being a digital nomad although it has been one of the perks being able to travel primarily to lower cost countries with a good lifestyle. The term nomad implies not having a home base, and there are different flavors of the digital nomad from slow to binge traveler. The issue is that regulation and government visa’s haven’t adapted to technology and the new lifestyle possibilities that digital nomad’s have enjoyed in recent years using tourist or social visit visa’s. Digital nomads often use creative means like visa runs where they change location every 1 to 3 months to another country often returning to their home base country to reset the duration of their visa. If you spend any length of time in Thailand especially in Chiang Mai you’re bound to hear a visa run story.

Work hard play hard. Celebrating Thailand Songkran in Chiang Mai with long time friends

If the traveling lockdown does ever end and I think we may be looking at a very different environment for travelers and digital nomads. Travelers are already in the crosshairs of governments seen as the primary carriers of the coronavirus. In the future we may be looking at countries that make non essential travel a lot more restrictive than ever. Of course digital nomads are just a minority of the potential victims of a post corona fallout. We’ve already read stories of airlines, hotels, tourism operators, and travel companies like Lonely Planet take a hit.

Human’s are naturally curious and I think the rules will relax over time to allow travel again. I’m not sure how long this period could be. It could be 6 months, it could be a year or many years. By this time there will be a larger group of people with home base businesses with the ability to live a digital nomad lifestyle. There may come up a point where pent up demand meets a relaxation in traveling again potentially creating the next larger wave of digital nomads.

The original crew Chiang Mai, Thailand enjoying Beer o Clock outside Nimman Punspace. Rip Christian. This was my second night in Chiang Mai Thailand and the beginning of long friendships.

How are Digital Nomads coping with the lockdown?

For this year 2020 at least I think the established Digital Nomads are in good shape partly because most will benefit from the rest of the world spending more time online than ever. They had a period of 5 years to ramp up their knowledge and skills to make a sustainable living without the need to return back to their home countries. They are highly independent and it is normal for them to solo travel and work in isolation at home or from a co-work space or cafe.

I myself teach online courses and I have seen all-time highs of my teaching minutes as well as watch time on my Youtube Channel. Most established digital nomads are able to earn an income purely online so that they don’t have to be in physical contact with people. They have learned specialized skills in areas of affiliate marketing, online teaching, dropshipping, ecommerce, youtubing, video editing, teaching english, teaching online courses, translation, search engine optimization, stock trading, licensing video and templates and more. It’s true there has probably never been a better time for someone to make a living online due to the technology we have available and the number of people spending time online in isolation.

We are fortunate that technology is where it is today in 2020. Internet speeds, smartphones, laptops, and essentials apps and platforms have made this lifestyle possible. Starting in the period between 2013-2015 developing and lower cost countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia offered everything that a Digital nomad needed and then some. Things like good weather, safe environments, cowork spaces, fast wifi, nice places to stay, and the opportunity for new friendships and relationships. Established digital nomads are quite tech savy, adaptable, flexible, and can operating a business lot of overhead. My Videography production side of the business has been impacted, but I had build a business on the foundation of diverse income streams. For example, I have online course, license footage, and still freelance by video editing for clients.

Co-work spaces

Co-work spaces were also an important, but not an essential requirement of the digital nomad. In fact it was in 2019 that co-working spaces had reached the mainstream where giants like we-work had become the domain of team startups and even larger firms. In Thailand and Malaysia I had seen cowork spaces sprout up to serve Digital nomads, students, and businesses. Co-work spaces for some were essential to get the necessary environment to do their work, for some a place to get inspired and get out of the house, and for some it was a place to network and community. However many cowork spaces will likely loose a lot of money and business during the lockdown and may even shutdown and not reenter the market. I hope this is not the case.

Is the Era of Being a Digital Nomad Over?
the coco kala cowork space in Chiang Mai Jan 2020
The Hubba Discovery cowork space in Bangkok Thailand
A popular 24/7 Cowork space Camp in Chiang Mai Thailand

Chiang Mai, Thailand was considered the global capital for Digital nomads. In my opinion it reached it’s golden age in 2015 where there was peak interest and there was a strong organic international community. It was a great time to meet other like-minded people, exchange ideas, get inspiration, make friends, and attend business and social events. This year in 2020 the dreaded burning seasons started as early as January and still continues to plague Chiang mai even into April. Digital nomads value the basic essentials like fast wifi, good weather, but also value good air. I see digital nomads spending shorter periods of time here in the future unless this changes.

Enjoying a sunset with friends at the baristro cafe in Chiang Mai January 2020

When stripped down to the bare essentials needed to run my online business it is fairly basic. I need a power laptop, hdmi cable, fast internet, monitor, and comfortable desk and chair. If this is the last season for awhile to being able to enjoy this lifestyle I will have no regrets. I’ve had a lifetime of experiences being able to make good international friendships, relationships, scaling my business, and experiencing living in different cities around the world. Some digital nomads and travelers currently abroad including myself are currently in Asia anxiously awaiting to see what will unfold during the lockdown. There are many factors at play like government decisions on lockdown’s, visa length, airport closures, flight costs, and even health and safety being in a plane and airport with other travelers.

Chiang Mai House Party 2016
a vlog from my latest visit to Chiang mai Jan 2020

We may end up staying in our current destination longer than expected or our options may dwindle down to one, which is to return home. Whatever happens I will treasure the remaining time abroad. If travel is restricted, if cowork spaces close, if we have to return home it mark a different chapter for many digital nomads. 2013 to 2020 was a good run and I’m grateful for it. Thanks Thailand and Malaysia for the memories. If you have enjoyed any of these digital nomad vlog videos be sure to subscribe to my digital nomad Youtube Channel.

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Taipei Taiwan for Digital Nomads – Still a Great Place to Visit

I had a recent visit to Taipei Taiwan in 2019 & 2020. Is it still a great place to visit? Who is this destination for? This city changes fast. There are new places to stay, eat, and even get around. For example you can take the MRT from the Airport direct to the city. Let me help you get an Expat local insider view into Taipei.

Taipei is a great spot if you’re not too price sensitive, you want a blend of nature and the big city, great food, fast internet, and cultural experience.

Taipei is a destination for digital nomads or travelers that are looking for a safe, convenient, a relatively affordable food paradise. The locals are friendly and there is lots to see and it’s easy to get around on public transport. Internet is never an issue with their fast 4g unlimited data plans.

digital nomad Taiwan
Digitla Nomad in Asia Course
Check out Digital Nomads in Asia Course for in depth guides on destinations I’ve lived as a Digital nomad

The Digital Nomad in Asia Course

Check out the Digital Nomad in Asia course for in depth guides for not only Taiwan, but Thailand, Bali, Vietnam, South Korea and more

Taipei Taiwan digital nomad

Where to stay?

There are lots of nice little pockets in Taipei. Some areas I enjoy are Daan especially near the Daan Park station, dongmen mrt, Xinyi Anhe, Songshan, and zhongshan just to name a few. If you want the ultimate convenience you can stay near Taipei main station, beimen, or ximen stations. The airport mrt goes directly to beimen and taipei main giving you less transfers to go through if you carry a lot of luggage.

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Tainan Taiwan – A Quick Guide trip from Kaoshiung Taiwan

I was contracted to do a last minute video shoot in Tainan Taiwan. Taian is a one hour train ride away from Taiwan’s third largest city Kaoshiung. In this post you’ll get an idea of Tainan is worth your time.

You can get into Tainan Taiwan via Kaoshiung Airport via Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. If you’re in Taipei you can take the high speed railway from Taipei. The train prices are no expensive. I would recommend getting your sim cards at the airport or in Taipei city. There are pretty good plans that offer unlimited sim card data at 4g speeds. I paid 450 nt for 8 days with Taiwan mobile. A sim card is key to getting the most out of Tainan or Taiwan in general.

tainan taiwan

I would recommend staying somewhere near the Tainan station as there are a lot more restaurants, bars, and cafes. I stayed near the dive bar, which is considered west Tainan downtown and is very walkable. There are plenty of airbnb’s to choose from in the city.

tainan taiwan

Getting around can hard during the day because it is very hot. You can use the Easy taxi app as at the time there are no grab or uber taxi’s. However there is food panda and uber eats. I would recommend renting one of the city’s bicycles if you have time as the city is very flat.

As for things to do you can do you can visit the restaurants to enjoy beef noodle soup, beef soup, dumplings, taiwan teppanyaki and more. It can be hard to find these places if you don’t know how to type chinese so I create a google map with some posts to start off with. There are plenty of temples to see and there are some bars like the dive bar you can visit. You can see most of Tainan in a couple of days and then I would recommend heading into Kaoshiung Taiwan

As for Digital nomads Tainan could support your needs, but there are better options such as Taipei or Kaoshiung. Check out my Taiwan digital nomad guide if you need some help here. There weren’t a lot of cafe’s and cowork spaces that looked laptop friendly. There is the occasional starbucks you can sit at, but finding a comfortable place to stay long-term could be challenging because most of the buildings in town are older. To get around you would need a motorbike, or making use of the local bus or train system. The local taxis can really add up. Overall, there would be more to do outside of Tainan.

The main reason I went to Tainan was to film a baseball event as I do Travel Videography, but my main base for this year has been Malaysia. If you’re curious about the Travel videographer lifestyle and want to learn more about video, travel, or business check my Online School.

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How to be a Digital Nomad using your Camera and Video Skills – Working Holiday

In 2011 I took a major risk. I sold my apartment in Vancouver Canada to fund my dream of starting a travel related business. I left a stable high paying IT manager job in Vancouver after getting my MBA degree. Why? I wasn’t happy. I knew it was time for the next chapter of my life. I discovered my passions for Travel, Video, and Business. After the travel venture didn’t work out I ended going on a tour of Asia for my friends wedding in Taiwan along with my SLR camera. It was eye opening, but I eventually ran out of money.

I went back to corporate life again in 2013 all the while I was experimenting with creating my first product. It started as a trip to Asia on vacation and then a working holiday to Taiwan in 2013. I sold my apartment, car, and packed a laptop and my camera with my dreams. 6 years later I found myself sharing my lessons learned with the next generation of travel videographers

After a 13 year career in IT in Vancouver Canada and a university and MBA degree from SFU I decided to needed a change. I went through a process of self discovery to determine what my values and passions were. (Travel, Business, Video).
It started as a trip to Asia on vacation and then a working holiday to Taiwan in 2013. I sold my apartment, car, and packed a laptop and my camera with my dreams. 6 years later I found myself sharing my lessons learned with the next generation of travel videographers in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Chiang Mai, was an important part of my Entreprenuarial journey and it’s great to be able to give back some knowledge to the community.

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Passive income Podcast episodes

GHS 21 Johnny FD (Taiwan) single most important business advice (Pt 3 of 3)

Johnny FD is a prominent digital nomad who has built up the digital nomad community and openly shares business advice and earnings. He has been featured on articles like Forbes and Business insider. In part 3 of 3 Johnny shares his single most important piece of advice for digital nomads.

Johnny’s website

Johnny Forbes article

Antony’s dropship lifestyle

Johnny on Business Insider

Nomad Coffee club facebook group

My Taiwan Digital nomad Guide

Hosted By Greg Hung chicvoyagetravel.com
Produced and edited by Greg Hung chicvoyageproductions.com
filmed at Maker Bar Taipei

Chiang Mai, digital nomad, johnny fd, maker bar, Taipei, Taiwan

Johnny FD is a prominent digital nomad who has built up the digital nomad community and openly shares business advice and earnings. He has been featured on articles like Forbes and Business insider. In part 2 of 3 from Taipei Taiwan we compare food and rent in Taiwan vs Chiang Mai, food airlines in Asia, banking, and his business. The real gem comes at the end of this epsiode when Johnny talks about the abundance mindset.

Johnny’s website

Johnny Forbes article

Antony’s dropship lifestyle

Johnny on Business Insider

Nomad Coffee club facebook group

My Taiwan Digital nomad Guide

Hosted By Greg Hung chicvoyagetravel.com
Produced and edited by Greg Hung chicvoyageproductions.com
filmed at Maker Bar Taipei

Chiang Mai, digital nomad, johnny fd, maker bar, Taipei, Taiwan

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Passive income Podcast episodes Taiwan experiences

GHS 20 Johnny FD (Taiwan) on food, business, & abundance mindset

Johnny FD is a prominent digital nomad who has built up the digital nomad community and openly shares business advice and earnings. He has been featured on articles like Forbes and Business insider. In part 2 of 3 from Taipei Taiwan we compare food and rent in Taiwan vs Chiang Mai, food airlines in Asia, banking, and his business. The real gem comes at the end of this epsiode when Johnny talks about the abundance mindset.

Johnny’s website

Johnny Forbes article

Antony’s dropship lifestyle

Johnny on Business Insider

Nomad Coffee club facebook group

My Taiwan Digital nomad Guide

Hosted By Greg Hung chicvoyagetravel.com
Produced and edited by Greg Hung chicvoyageproductions.com
filmed at Maker Bar Taipei

Chiang Mai, digital nomad, johnny fd, maker bar, Taipei, Taiwan

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Passive income Podcast episodes

GHS 19 Johnny FD on Taiwan vs Chiang Mai digital nomad lifestyle (PT 1 of 3)

Johnny FD is a prominent digital nomad building community and sharing business advice. He has been featured on articles on forbes and business insider. I discovered Johnny through his many youtube videos about Chiang Mai. Learn about Johnny and his journey, business, and thoughts on living in Taiwan Vs Chiang Mai as a digital nomad

Johnny’s website

Nomad Coffee club facebook group

My Taiwan Digital nomad guide
Hosted By Greg Hung chicvoyagetravel.com
Produced and edited by Greg Hung chicvoyageproductions.com
filmed at Maker Bar Taipei

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#17 @NigelFish – Running man & Vancouver Digital Nomad

Nigel Fish is a Canadian running junkie and location independent developer junkie that is living a pimp downtown lifestyle in Vancouver. He lived and ran in Asian cities such as Taipei, Siem riep, and Chiang mai. He is also the man who introduced me to the Digital nomad scene that eventually led to me to relocating to Thailand. We got together in downtown Vancouver to discuss running in Asia, dating in Asia compared to Vancouver, and even really good tips for digital nomads in Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver digital nomads

In this episode you will learn:

  • Running tips while living abroad in Asia (Taipei, Bangkok, Chiang Mai)
  • Digital nomad Canadian customs experiences
  • Dating in Vancouver compared with Asia
  • Tips for being a digital nomad in Vancouver
  • Where to record a podcast for free in Vancouver

Links

Nigel’s Scirunner Podcast Page and Blog

Twitter @nigelfish

 

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Passive income Podcast episodes Taiwan experiences

GHS 12 – Taiwan Working Holiday Pt 1

In this episode of the Greg Hung show I take a shift from the video world  to focus on travel and life in Taiwan. I used a working holiday visa to live in Taipei , study chinese, teach english and continue working on my video business. Later I came up with the idea for an ebook called  “Waiguoren” (外國人) The Taiwan working Holiday. The book was to be a compilation of stories about my 2.5 years living in Taiwan.

Taiwan working holiday

Some highlights of what you’ll hear in this podcast.

  • Good places to live in Taipei
  • Good destinations to travel to in Taiwan
  • Relationships and the dating scene  in Taiwan
  • Breakdown of local areas and what to do there
  • Good eats in Taipei. Yes it’s all about the food
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Passive income

Taiwan Digital nomad guide

The Taiwan Digital nomad guide is designed for digital nomads or on-line workers that are interested in working and living abroad in Taiwan. I’m a Canadian that visited Taiwan in 2012 for a wedding. I returned in 2013 for a 1 year working holiday and ended up living there for almost 2.5 years. Taiwan is a gem in asia that often gets overlooked for Thailand and Indonesia. There are many benefits to Taiwan like generous tour visas.

Taiwan Digital nomad guide
The digital nomad in Taiwan guide

Here are chapters in the guide

Why is Taiwan a great place to be a digital nomad (air, water, food, safety, rent etc

Visas

Sample monthly/daily living costs

How to rent an apartment and where to stay

Where to work

How to meet other entrepreneurs/friends

Survival Chinese

Where to go relax and exercise

Getting a sim card

Getting around

Greg’s favorite eats