Here’s a preview of the remote work news we're covering in this newsletter:
- 🌎💥 Andreessen: Remote work will be an 'earthquake' that upends how and where we live
- 🇨🇷✍🏽 Costa Rica digital nomad visa gets passed into law
- 🏝🛫 Selina overhauls its Remote Year workation program
This is the Wayviator Newsletter — Summer Edition.
It’s the weekly newsletter from Wayviator.com. This week, we unpack a grandiose statement from a major futurist, investor, and thinker: Marc Andreessen — he bets that remote work is going to be GIGANTIC. Like, as big as the Industrial Revolution and the Internet...
... and Costa Rica, a top destination for travelers in Central America, finally signs its digital nomad visa bill into law.
Before we jump into the news, I wanted to share something I've been noticing on Twitter.
I see a bit of backlash against the term 'digital nomad' and 'nomad visas'. '
Nomad visas' is a shorthand for 'residence permits that allow foreign workers to temporarily reside in a nation and legally work (sometimes paying local income taxes, sometimes not)'. 'Remote worker visa' is probably a better, less quirky term. I think it may be beneficial to start using this term over 'nomad visa' — even though Wayviator.com uses the term 'nomad visa' quite a bit in our writing.
But 'digital nomad' is a bit more difficult. I do think it is a bit too cute and evocative of bohemian backpacking. The majority of digital nomads are hard-working professionals, not lazy backpackers or influencers.
As an aside, I remember in the '90s, when Canada introduced the two-dollar coin and decided to call it a "toonie" (derived from the name for the one-dollar coin: "loonie").
The lesson here is, that sometimes stupid, inapt names just get traction and stick.
Another lesson I've learned in this life is that subcultures and counter-cultural forces are (almost by definition) misunderstood by mainstream culture.
Here's how I've seen that play out with the misuse of the term 'digital nomads'.
Here's a tweet from back in 2020:
Digital nomads find border closures, Covid guilt and tax trouble catching up with their smug, Insta-perfect lifestyles nytimes.com/2020/11/08/bus…
November 30th 2020
A non-inflammatory definition of digital nomad/remote worker might be: "Someone who chooses to work in a different city, region or country than their nominal home because remote work flexibility affords them the ability to work from somewhere other than a centrally-located office."
All problems are communication problems. In this case, the tweeter above seems to have observed a very narrow segment of 'digital nomads' and conflated these few dastardly Instagram influencers or people who got a bit over their skis traveling during the pandemic with an entire movement of people that is diverse, open-minded and growing by the week.
The remote work movement encompasses all kinds of people — from medical doctors working telehealth jobs (yes... I have spoken with a few MDs), to Shopify, Microsoft, and Deloitte employees, to workers at small businesses and enterprises, to freelancers and entrepreneurs.
Whether it be from CEOs clinging to the idea that everyone MUST return to the office, or from narrow-minded people painting all remote workers with the same brush — it is clear that the remote work movement will face an ongoing cultural backlash over the next decade (despite its inevitability).
Perhaps people complaining about the global remote work movement could have a chat with the thousands of displaced Ukrainians who were able to obtain legitimate jobs and freelance contracts — all because remote work is possible.
🌎💥 Andreessen: Remote work will be an 'earthquake' that upends how and where we live
What if remote work isn't just an of-the-moment post-covid HR debate between employers and employees — but a societal shift on par with the invention of agriculture, the Industrial Revolution, or the Internet?
In recent comments, Silicon Valley founder and investor Marc Andreessen called remote work an 'earthquake in how and where people will live'.
Andreessen, founder and general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, has seen a few cycles in technology history and has been a direct participant in many technological shifts of the last thirty years.
He was part of the team that co-authored Mosaic, the first Internet browser, and built Netscape, one of the very first major Internet browser companies in the world.
Here are a few takeaways from Marc's comments, as reported by Business Insider:
- The primacy of the urban city as the place to go to find opportunity will face disruptive forces: "For thousands of years, if you were a sharp, ambitious young person — and this is true of the Medici, and it's true with the Greeks — you had to go to the city to basically get opportunity,"
- People no longer have to choose where their home will be, based on its proximity to an office.
- The concept of the nuclear family homestead, where one or two parents commute to and from a nearby office, will evolve. We may see more communal living — and more extended families living together.
- The bottom line is — people will not stop needing to work and earn a living. But they will start to go where life is best for them. This means different things to different people, and the great reshuffling of where we live will be one of the most notable societal shifts of the 2020s.
🇨🇷✍🏽 Costa Rica digital nomad visa gets passed into law
Costa Rica is a top destination for remote workers for a variety of reasons. We've talked about it, and we only expect it to grow in prominence in the coming years. First, there's the time zone that's aligned with North America. There are few countries in Latin America perceived to be as democratic, peaceful, and safe as Costa Rica for travel and living, and working with North American business time is an added bonus!
Then there's the beauty, variety, and possibilities of the nation itself — its flora and fauna, its weather and myriad microclimates, and a range of living experiences that can cater to a wide variety of preferences.
Whether it is a big city like San Jose, a mountain town like Monteverde (which almost feels like a warmer Colorado), the up-and-coming frontier towns of the Caribbean side of the country, or the sandy beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula — there is something for everyone in "CR".
Costa Rica finally passed a digital nomad visa bill into law, and they have intentionally drafted the legislation to make it easy for people to apply.
As a general rule of human nature, visa processes that are bureaucratic, full of red tape, and a hassle to apply for will not become popular.
The lawmakers of the Costa Rican legislature recognize this and made some last-minute adjustments to ensure the process by which people can apply for the visa is user-friendly.
We'll have to wait and see how the reviews come in from the first people who actually go through the visa process, but in the meantime here are the simple requirements to qualify for the visa:
- Prove an income of at least $36,000 USD per year
- Work remotely — as a self-employed person or for an employer of a company registered outside Costa Rica
- Provide proof of health insurance for the whole duration of the stay.
One caveat: once you obtain the visa which allows you to travel — there may be an in-person appointment in Costa Rica once you arrive. This sounds annoying and we will track the actual details of this as they come in...
🏝🛫 Selina overhauls its Remote Year workation program
Once upon a time, (in 2020), a hostel/hotel company catering to remote workers and nomads (Selina) acquired a workation company called Remote Year.
This seemed like a natural fit — Selina provides a network of hotel and hostel properties that are usually paired with coworking spaces. They have been betting this type of accommodation is desirable for a future where remote work is popular. Selina has been consistently raising money from venture capital and private equity investors over the past years and announced plans to go public earlier this year.
Remote Year was co-founded in 2014 (which seems so long ago now!) to provide structured workations: long-form working vacations (in some cases, as long as a full year, as the name implies) that are social, curated, and aimed to give people a sense of adventure as they work around the world.
Imagine if, instead of getting on a mega-cruise in the Mediterranean for 3 months that sails around to 14 different ports in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, you joined a curated travel experience where you spent 2-4 weeks each in 6 different cities around the world, traveling with the same people, staying in similar accommodations, and partaking in similar group activities when you aren't working productively at comfortable coworking spaces during the workweek.
Remote Year launched with that particular 'workation' model and, based on publicly available info, seems to have been able to put a few thousand people through their workation programs prior to their acquisition by Selina.
Now they are moving to a subscription model, where some of the many benefits (community, discounts, access to Selina hostels) are accessible for a lower fee.
Basically, they are opening up some of the perks of their platform to people for a smaller monthly fee, (where in the past you had to actually go on one of their trips to become a Remote Year member).
We believe workations will be big — and we are working on testing some workation concepts of our own.
News You Can Use 🍿 Quick links from around the world wide web.
Did we bury the lede on the biggest remote work news of the week?
Maybe! The Netherlands makes remote work a 🚨 LEGAL RIGHT!!. We'll talk more about this bomb drop in next week's newsletter...
Nothing is certain but remote work and taxes.
Remote work is good for the economy.
You subscribe to Wayviator, so you already know this... but digital nomad visa programs are everywhere.
Ireland continues with its remote work legislation...
Zagreb, Croatia keeps growing as a digital nomad hub