Here's a preview of remote work news we're covering this week:
- 🇲🇪✍🏽 Montenegro introduces a two-year, tax-free digital nomad visa
- 🇲🇽☀️ Cancún hits all-time record for tourists and visitors
- 🛫 Condé Nast highlights the journey of an 'empty nester' nomad
This is the Wayviator Newsletter — Summer Edition.
It’s the remote work newsletter from Wayviator.com, written by Curtis Duggan.
In the last few weeks, we've undergone a slight redesign (visually and in our internal processes).
After a lot of testing, soul-searching, whiteboarding, and several intense board meetings, we've decided to shift to a new time slot and move on from the "weekend" model.
So Wayviator is moving the newsletter release cadence to Thursday mornings at 8 AM Pacific Time / 11 AM Eastern Time / 4 PM London Time. The aim is to catch more people during the week and bring up our consistency as we graduate from a baby newsletter to a... teenage newsletter. (Time moves differently in newsletter years).
Hopefully, our weekly dispatches will provide food for thought every Thursday heading into each weekend!
So, that's a small but significant update. We have a bigger one, though:
🚨📓 We're releasing a full-length e-book: How To Be a Digital Nomad and Work Where You Want
Over the last month, we've been working on something special — the first book from Wayviator.com.
This guidebook draws upon the experience of the author (me) leading remote and hybrid teams over the last decade, hands-on travel experience, and insights from other digital nomads, remote workers, and researchers worldwide.
It's called How To Be a Digital Nomad and Work Wherever You Want.
Something we do right away in the first chapter is bust myths about what it means to be a digital nomad. So this is not just a book for insiders or people who already identify as 'nomads.'
This is a guide for anyone thinking about working remotely, taking a one-month workation, or maybe even embarking on a longer international remote work journey.
We'll cover topics like:
- Criteria for choosing remote work destinations
- Banking and international payments
- Coworking spaces
- Travel and health insurance
- Groceries and restaurants
- Health and safety
- Making a routine
- Finding accommodations
... and more
The book will be available in mid-August. Additionally, all newsletter subscribers will receive a code for 50% off!
Let's get to the news.
🇲🇪✍🏽Montenegro introduces two-year digital nomad visa
Montenegro is a location that has recently gotten more attention (including this newsletter author, who went there last November and spent time in the Bay of Kotor).
Montenegro is a small Balkan country on the Adriatic sea, near Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Serbia. The country is covered in mountains (black mountains, which give the nation its moniker), but the mountainous slopes wind their way down to Mediterranean shores in a dramatic fashion.
The Bay of Kotor is one of those underrated but up-and-coming areas where the mountains meet the sea in Montenegro. It will quickly become a hotspot for remote workers in the coming years.
And this week, the government announced plans for a digital nomad visa that will allow remote workers to come into the country and work for foreign employers and businesses.
Overall, this news will sound familiar to long-time readers of this newsletter. Another month, another country with a digital nomad visa. But let's take this opportunity to review some of the recurring themes and features of the nomad visa landscape again.
Digital nomad visas are essentially "products" competing in a crowded marketplace, and these products have features.
What, then, are some features of nomad visas? Let's use the new Montenegro visa to review a couple:
Length of Stay
Montenegro is offering a "2+2" plan. This means the first successful application gives the visitor two years of free live-and-work rights. After two years, the visa is renewable for a further two years.
Length of stay is a feature. Some countries offer six months. Some offer a year. Some (like Bali's upcoming program) are preparing to offer five years of residency.
This will be a big deal for a lot of people. Digital nomads are exempt from Montenegrin income tax while working there.
American citizens will still have an obligation to file with the IRS. However, many other travelers may be able to temporarily shed their residence (and tax obligations) in their home country and make use of Montenegro's generous zero-tax policy.
This is not financial advice, and I never suggest trying to avoid or evade tax obligations!
Just making the point that countries like Montenegro will compete on "taxation burden" (or lack thereof) as a feature of their nomad visa programs.
Ease and Speed of Application Approval
We don't yet know precisely what the application process will look like in Montenegro.
However, Costa Rica is a recent example of a country whose government ministers actually held up the process and rewrote the bill for their nomad visa. They took their time to insist that a minimum standard for the ease and speed of the application process be written into the governing legislation of the program.
Overall, Montenegro joining the digital nomad visa club means there's another player in a specific regional game: the battle among Mediterranean and Adriatic countries to attract European and global workers to come work in the sun.
Greece, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Malta, and Italy will all be looking to market themselves as the go-to destination for sea and sunshine in this part of the world.
Greece and Italy have the strongest brands, but other less famous countries will benefit from a lower cost of living and perhaps less crowded and more 'authentic' towns and cities.
🇲🇽☀️Cancún hits all-time record for tourists and visitors (400,000 per day)
Out on the Yucatán Peninsula, the Mexican Caribbean province of Quintana Roo is welcoming more visitors this summer than at any time in its history.
400,000 visitors per day. Are most of these people 'remote workers'? No, absolutely not. So why do I bring it up?
Because increasingly, whether for vacations, workations, or long-term remote work, the sunny towns of Mexico's Pacific and Caribbean coasts will be irresistible to travelers from the USA and Canada, with longer and longer stays becoming more common.
Mexico was already popular before the pandemic accelerated remote work. And now, I wager that we'll see this visitors record be broken every year in succession for the foreseeable future.
It's all part of The Great Migration — remote work will set off the most significant shift in where people choose to live since the economic shocks and war-related migrations of the early 20th century.
🛫Condé Nast highlights the journey of an 'empty nester' nomad couple
People will inevitably assume that digital nomads are all young people living out of their backpacks.
It's not entirely true. While the statistics might skew toward people in their 20s or 30s, the opportunity to work remotely is available to everyone — at every stage of life.
In this Condé Nast Traveler piece, writer Kimanzi Constable explains how he and his wife embarked on a digital nomad journey — after raising 5 kids and building a full life. This life included a house and a nice Audi.
They sold it all and hit the road. However, their decision-making process to 'go for it' wasn't impulsive and surfaced legitimate doubts and concerns. The article describes some of the emotions they went through (like the feeling they might be 'abandoning' their adult children).
🌎 Remote Work News from Around the Internet
An update on Spain's remote work visa plans.
Oops! Make sure your next remote work employee isn't actually a North Korean spy...
The New York Times argues that remote work is over in certain parts of the country. We might have to keep a record of some of these takes.
I have a feeling there will be a few opinion pieces out there this year that, in retrospect, will be about as foresighted as other famously wrong predictions. Like cars being a fad, The Beatles not being worth signing to Decca Records, 640K of RAM being enough, and the world ending on January 1, 2000.
Speaking of North Americans in Mexico, overtourism is a hot topic now, far from the sandy beaches — right in the heart of the capital city.
Remote work continues to be a possible unsung hero in the fight against this summer's economic villain: inflation.
The Verge releases a guide to working from home.
That's it for this week! See you next week...