The “digital nomad” was a thing I saw in prior personal engagements with unnamed travel and remote work and developer groups which have become far more popular and mainstream since then. I list considerations so my experiences guide your decision-making. These considerations would apply to most job seekers, but … yeah.

Healthcare: Globally famously unequal American healthcare is a problem as ACA means plans with high premiums ($1k/mo/person if single, $5/mo/family, etc.) thus foreign systems where foreigners (including permanent residents) can buy into the national healthcare system for a relatively affordable rate (i.e. $50/mo/person) make for a far more compelling arrangement. This struggle is very real, literally life or death. Treat it as such.

Priorities: Pay is more about quality of life (must-read is NomadList) and retirement. Retirement’s threats are no (sufficient) retirement plans (whether public like SSA or private like 401k which are market-dependent) and time-loss (time is the exponent) thus topic of my next posts.

Negatives: My ancestral homeland of Taiwan is recently famed for having sub-1000 COVID cases despite 1/8 of their population having regular transits (i.e. employment) with mainland China, the site of the first major COVID outbreak, and a population roughly that of Florida’s which has 1000 each few minutes (multiply official numbers by 10 to compensate for testing scofflaws and 80% being asymptomatic). Taiwan however suffers from famous paltry pay ($19k average despite $2M apartment average), long hours (60h/w average, worn as a badge of both pride akin to JP and shame relative to US), and insufficient opportunities (thus high emmigration whether permanently or temporarily). All of those form the competitive desire that one have a remote job at non-TW wages while living in TW, akin to what’s been done. Similar problems in nearby similar economies such as Korea, Singaorea, Hong Kong, etc. These force serious countermeasures.

Personality: Kristen Gray and Sergei Kosenko are reminders that poorly behaved, insensitive, and overall awful human beings abusing digital nomad lifestyles need not apply. The frequent traveller ethos of genuine appreciation and respect for local norms is requisite. Such a personality isn’t in everyone. For me, personally, I used to have a frequent traveller lifestyle which is always there, tempting me. Likely, I’ll be goodie two shoes until I do Peace Corps after 50.

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