You probably noticed I’ve started to use the phrase digital nomad in my article titles. I’ve found I really love the phrase as a way to describe my lifestyle.
The term encompasses all of us who have freed ourselves from the physical limitations of regular 9 to 5 jobs and have taken advantage of the opportunity by pursuing our love of travel and seeing the world.
Today in the spirit of digital nomadism I’m going to explain why I think Southeast Asia is an excellent travel destination for all of us interested in the geographic arbitrage lifestyle.
I’ve been doing a fair amount of research on the countries that encompass this region and I am excited to share with you some of the big reasons I am choosing to make this area of the world my home for a year or perhaps even longer.
The Costs of Living in the Region is Ridiculously Low Right Now
Western currencies like USD and Euro have always gone pretty far in places like Thailand and Indonesia. But right now your dollar goes the farthest it has in over 40 years when exchanged into these currencies.
This makes the already low prices even lower. If you are looking to rent an apartment month by month in a major destination in Indonesia or Thailand you can find a place to stay for as little as $200 through AirBnB.
With all that money you’d save through low housing costs you could splurge on lavish diners, costing between $2 and $15. Or why not get a shiatsu massage with herbs and natural remedies ($7-12/1hr). And getting around to your destinations won’t hurt the bank either as taxi services typically cost $1-3 to get around town.
Serious Freedom to Explore
Most of us who make a living through graphic design, SEO or any other online means have worked hard enough to free ourselves from the need to keep a second job.
That alone is a fantastic achievement and I was extremely ecstatic when I finally reached that point in my work.
But even with a modest income generated from online work it is still hard to create a rich, well traveled experience in the world.
Traveling across Europe is great and something that many of us would love to do, but it is expensive! I would need to take a great deal more graphic design gigs if I wanted to make a European tour a reality and all of that extra work could ruin the fun for me.
Queue Southeast Asia as a destination and you eliminate those worries. Even with a modest income it’s possible to travel between a great deal of Asian countries on the cheap and you can live lavishly while doing so.
When my friend was in Bali, Indonesia last month he came down with a debilitating cold and had to get treatment. He was surprised to find that he was able to get prompt support with some surprisingly effective natural herbal medicines for his cough, sickness and nausea (and for incredibly cheap). He told me he felt more taken care of in Indonesia than he ever had back home in the US.
Just because a country is less developed doesn’t mean that the care you receive is lessened!
Southeast Asia is a hub for like minded Online Entrepreneurs
Here is one of my favorite reasons to travel to a place like Southeast Asia. You will find people who, just like you, are making a living for themselves online and are traveling to see the world.
Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia… all of these places have had a large influx of digital nomads passing through and meeting up with one another.
Whether you are traveling to seek out business partners or just to explore and travel buddies you are likely to stumble into some highly motivated, successful and travel oriented people along the way!