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[Listen to an audio version of this blog entry here.]
‘Choose where you want to live and then find ways to make your life sustainable there.’
In those pre-coronavirus days that now seem like a lifetime ago, for many open-minded people with internationally transferable skills or in jobs that required no fixed abode, and with nothing too emotional tying them to one particular place, that epigraph made a lot of sense. The world was, to all intents and purposes, their oyster.
Wealth is health
With the pandemic, while the (relatively) free movement of people hasn’t completely ground to a halt, it is much more restricted than it was just nine months ago. In addition, there is the moral element at play in relation to the risks associated with unnecessary travel and mixing with strangers.
This can be even more of a burden considering the direction of travel in a live-anywhere-because-I-can context is heavily weighted towards emerging market countries and away from more developed nations. The latter — in theory, although this current pandemic hasn’t exactly borne this out — is much better equipped to handle a health emergency.
‘Many will have to reinvent themselves to survive in the new landscape.’
So, using that as a guide, it’s quite understandable that a country such as Colombia appears to be making it more difficult for digital nomad types to pitch their virtual tents in its territory. Unless it can clearly be demonstrated you’re of a benefit to the state and its people, away with you. (For the record, I can’t really call myself a digital nomad, if this is classed in terms of making money doing online work.)
Of course, the pandemic will pass and restrictions on movement — for tourism and some wishing to be economic migrants in any case — are likely to ease. What will take longer to get over is the fallout from it.
Work the location
For some, in terms of living standards anyway, little has changed. Indeed, in certain aspects, their lives may have even improved.
For others — and for the large part, those who were already struggling before coronavirus — things are much more difficult. Many will have to practically reinvent themselves to survive in the new landscape.
I can’t really blame the pandemic for my current imbroglio. OK, the virus (“Alan“, you owe me money!) certainly hasn’t helped my situation, but I took a decision to try to ‘go it alone‘ before our enemy from the East arrived. The results thus far are nothing to write home about.
Coming back to our opening quote, if I continue to choose Colombia as the country in which I live — a decision that I have less control over today than previously — then it looks like I need to reappraise how I can ‘make it’ here. Certain things that I’ve said ‘no more’ to, specifically English teaching and marketing agency work, may have to come back into play.
Yet, if the strategy is all about finding gainful employment that I consider more meaningful and suited to my skills, then perhaps I need to reconsider the location.
There is no ideal — even Colombia purely as a location has its negatives — yet my current approach isn’t exactly paying dividends.
Listen to Wrong Way’s Colombia Cast podcast here.