Nomadic vibes: celebrating travel & freedom
“Digital nomads” is a term that, in recent years, can be heard more and more. Not limited by borders, they are the free spirits, the travelers working remotely as they see the world.
We recently discussed the concept of digital nomads and the effects — both positive and negative — they have on small towns and local communities.
Many of us at Namecheap work remotely and live around the globe — and this summer, some of us had the chance to see in person one of the biggest events that celebrate the digital nomad lifestyle — the Bansko Nomad Fest.
Transformed by digital nomads
Bansko is a small town in Bulgaria that, over the years, has become an attraction for tourists and digital nomads alike.
Previously famed for its beautiful ski resort, Bansko is also becoming increasingly popular as a year-round digital nomad hub, with many people becoming residents or frequenting the town during either winter or summer seasons (or, sometimes, both). Affordable prices, the coziness and charm of a beautiful town in the mountains, and a vibrant local culture are just a few of the things that attract digital nomads.
Those arriving to work remotely have had a positive influence on the town. The economy is growing, the infrastructure is on the rise, and local businesses such as cafes, restaurants, and bars are opening and thriving.
And, of course, there are coworking opportunities across the city. Those who seek both a nice place to work and a community of like-minded people can find such in one of the several coworking communities: Coworking Bansko, Nestwork Coworking, and Altspace Coworking — with each of those having several locations throughout the town. In addition to a great working atmosphere and a chance to make connections, these spaces run all sorts of events — with the Bansko Nomad Fest probably being the biggest one. Running for one week in late June-early July, it was first launched in 2020, and it is getting bigger and more epic with each year!
A hundred roads, a hundred stories
Gathering over 700 people from every corner of the world, the fest is a great opportunity to network, learn, pitch a startup, show your talent, hear stories of the things you would have never encountered or your own — and share your experience and story in return.
I met and had a chance to talk to hundreds of people. Hailing from different countries — from the USA to India, from Australia to Japan — they all brought their unique experiences, skills, and perspectives.
And it is striking how the experiences and perspectives can vary! I met bloggers, content creators, developers, designers, entrepreneurs, and many more. Some worked for a long time to achieve the level of independence and freedom of a digital nomad lifestyle, while others started to work remotely during the pandemic, and there are those who are still figuring out whether the nomad lifestyle is a right fit for them. There were also people who travel often and don’t stay in one place for too long and those with a home base.
In one case, I met a web designer whose digital nomad journey started when, after the pandemic, she switched to full remote work. She and her boyfriend are still figuring this lifestyle out but are enjoying their experiences working abroad.
There was an entrepreneur who, prior to his digital nomad journey, was a co-founder of a software consulting company. For him, one trip changed his life, leading to him founding a travel startup to connect fellow travelers. Since then, he hosted thousands of meetups for travel startups and bloggers.
And I met the founder of a startup who has a vast experience in marketing, and appreciates the digital nomad lifestyle because they’re also a surfer and a travel blogger.
There was even a guy whose remote work allows him to live on a boat!
Different lives, different ages, different interests, different languages.
But different as they are, these people are united by their passion and desire to share and exchange their experience and the road to success, their knowledge, and various lifehacks that will make a life of a nomad and traveler easier, professional advice, or various digital tools that either drew their interest or are actively used in their work, business, or day-to-day life.
As different as these people’s backgrounds and professional pursuits might be, they all share the same values — the values we at Namecheap share as well.
The main value is, undoubtedly, freedom: the freedom to travel, create, and choose the life that would be perfect for them. The freedom to set their own schedules, choose their work environments, select projects that align with their interests and passions, and take control of their career paths.
Openness is another big one. The digital nomads I met were people open to new experiences, new acquaintances, and new information. They are excited by the new technologies that are on the rise and are fascinated by the various AI tools and potential to revolutionize their work and boost productivity. They embrace technology and AI as the tools that can aid them in their businesses and projects, speed up some of the more routine tasks and achieve a better work-life balance, freeing more time for hobbies, passion projects, and family.
The spirit of entrepreneurship is strong within this community — while not all of them might be entrepreneurs or businessmen at the moment, many have dreams or ideas that they want to bring to life or a passion project that might become an additional source of income.
They value creativity — and are unafraid to demonstrate their talents — and out-of-the-box thinking, searching for the paths and solutions not taken by others.
They strive for learning and growth, embracing the “lifelong learning” concept and actively seeking out new experiences, skills, and knowledge. They engage in online courses, attend all sorts of workshops or conferences, or collaborate with others to expand their expertise and stay relevant in their fields.
Many are minimalistic — when someone travels from one place to another quite often, they learn to see and take only the things that are really important and to understand what are the most important to them.
And, of course, they like to share and connect with other people — the value that inspired the creation of the Bansko Nomad Fest to begin with. They seek out opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, whether through coworking spaces, online forums, social media groups, or networking events. They see the value of giving back — and know that collaboration, mutual support, and shared experiences can go a long way.
The road of… inspiration?
All in all, there is a deep feeling of inspiration left by attending an event like this and getting immersed in the world of digital nomads. An inspiration to be bold, to pursue your dreams, and to strive for freedom and independence.
What do you think about the lifestyle of digital nomads and remote workers? Maybe you are one or are on the road to becoming one. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!