Jul 2, 2022 5 min read

Bansko Nomad Fest πŸ‡§πŸ‡¬ Edition

a bird flies above Niagara Falls as Canadians and Americans look at the waterfall

Happy Canada Day πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ + Fourth of July πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

Here’s a preview of the remote work news we're covering in this newsletter:

  • πŸ‡§πŸ‡¬ πŸŽ‰ All roads lead to Bansko, Bulgaria as the town hosts the "Bansko Nomad Festival"
  • 🏠 πŸ’° Czech nomad housing startup Flatio acquires flOasis
  • πŸ‡±πŸ‡» πŸ“„ Latvia introduces a digital nomad visa

This is the Wayviator Newsletter β€” Canada Day πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ and Fourth of July πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Edition.

It’s the weekly newsletter from Wayviator.com. This week, we'll talk about digital nomads and how they are starting to attend their own little Coachellas and Glastonbury festivals (OK, not that big and extravagant... but digital nomad festivals are becoming a thing...). While it's fun for people to get together and celebrate, I think the understated key stakeholders in remote worker festivals will be the cities, regions, and municipalities themselves who can use in-person events to brand their jurisdiction as "remote-worker friendly".

🏝 This week on the site, I wrote about how to prepare for a workation.

Although there are many ambitious perpetual travelers out there who consider themselves "permanent digital nomads", the vast majority of remote work experiences are likely to be shorter and sweeter, with first-time remote workers testing the waters on 'workations' β€” weeks- or months-long trips working in a different location. No vacation days used up, no productivity lost β€” just a change of scenery in a different city, to have some fun and explore β€” alone, with a partner, or with a family.

Workations will be big.

OK. Let's jump into the news this week...

πŸ‡§πŸ‡¬ πŸŽ‰ All roads lead to Bansko, Bulgaria as it hosts Bansko Nomad Festival

Music fans and Instagram influencers have Coachella β€” and this week, remote workers and digital nomads have the Bansko Nomad Festival which runs from June 26th to July 3rd this week.

The festival brings several hundred remote workers and digital nomads together for a week of celebration with the common theme being the digital nomad lifestyle.

Where is Bansko? Well, it's a Bulgarian ski resort town. It's in the western part of the country, closer to North Macedonia and Greece than it is to Turkey and the Black Sea.

snow-capped mountains and snowboarders in Bansko, Bulgaria
Will Bansko Nomad Festival attendees be carving up the slopes of the Pirin mountains? Probably not in July...!

Bulgaria is not necessarily the first destination that comes to mind for travelers and remote workers... but events like this help build reputations of underrated areas β€” effectively these events are part of a larger concentrated push by local communities to establish a 'remote work brand' and market themselves as remote work destinations.

The event is supported by location organizations and run by Coworking Bansko, who, of course, would love to fill their coworking space with memberships from people who come to Bansko once, like what they see, and maybe decide to work in Bulgaria for a little while!

Other notable remote worker conferences (some with slightly different audiences/goals) include:

We're very much in the early innings of this genre of the conference. Savvy public-private partnerships will form around large-scale events that can market a destination as remote-work friendly β€” tourism departments will partner with private entrepreneurs and businesses to host events that are a combination: cultural festival + destination marketing showcase.

On that note β€” I certainly had never heard of Bansko, Bulgaria until a few weeks ago, and now I've associated its brand with "a convenient place to go work remotely". This will happen hundreds of times over, with destinations competing for mindshare.


🏠 πŸ’° Czech nomad housing startup Flatio acquires flOasis

Who will provide short- and long-term accommodation to remote workers?

In our article, How to prepare for a workation, we highlighted companies that are specializing in housing that caters to remote workers.

Remote workers need reliable, professional accommodation, and don't have time to screw around with crappy Wi-Fi or a supposed "dedicated office space" in an Airbnb that turns out to be just a broken chair and a kitchen table.

A company from Czechia (yes, I know most of us, me included, still want to say "Czech Republic") called Flatio has acquired a smaller competitor/partner, "flOasis" to grow its listings platform for digital nomads.

The big dogs in this accommodations space are of course Airbnb and VRBO. But these major platforms' broad mandate to cater to leisure travelers and vacation-goers may make it a bit harder for them to compete with dedicated, boutique platforms that build their short-term rental listings specifically around remote workers.


πŸ‡±πŸ‡» πŸ“„ Latvia introduces a digital nomad visa

One day, when the last holdout country is introducing its last digital nomad visa, nomad visas will stop being news and start just being a part of life. But until that day, there will still be a continuing trickle and flow of countries releasing new nomad visas β€” and we will keep you updated on it. The latest country to jump on board is Latvia.

OK. Let's not beat around the bush. Latvia is located close to the war in Ukraine β€” close to Russia β€” and like its neighbor Estonia, it may find that global demand for relocation to Baltic states remains subdued until the war in Ukraine is resolved and there is peace in the region.

Latvia, like Bulgaria, may not be known as a hot-weather or tourism destination β€” but like many countries in Eastern Europe, what it can offer to remote workers is a democratic society, tolerant culture, and a lower cost of living for people escaping out-of-control inflation and skyrocketing living costs.

I think the Baltics (eventually) will be able to carve out a niche as a European destination of choice for a certain profile of remote worker who doesn't mind cold winters, wants to experience a magical corner of Europe and is comfortable being further away from more familiar Western European population centers.


More News You Can Peruse 🍿

Do companies need a corporate mobility policy?

South China Morning Post's top 6 cities for "​executive" digital nomads! Sounds fancy...

​Work-from-home could ease inflation pressure?? This is big, if true... how do we make this happen 🀣? Have you seen the prices at the grocery store lately??

How remote work drove housing demand in California.

54.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot πŸ˜ƒ... and McKinsey reports that 87% of workers opt for remote work... ...this is kind of skewed because it's actually saying "87% of mathematical and computer workers" or some narrower definition...

In layperson's terms, let's say this: The majority of people who work using a computer, would prefer to do it from a location of their choosing.

​92 million Americans have the opportunity to work remotely, reports The Verge. Seems like a lot.

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