Working as a digital nomad is the dream, isn’t it?
You set your own hours. You work from wherever you want—your bedroom, a cafe, the beach.
Best of all, you get to travel the world as you work!
But one of the hardest parts of being a digital nomad can be the loneliness.
You work by yourself. You move cities constantly. It’s tough being alone.
So what’s the ideal solution to this loneliness?
Attending digital nomad conferences.
Why Attend a Digital Nomad Conference?
First of all, digital nomad conferences are the perfect places to find your community. You’ll meet other people who love to travel and take their office on the road.
But conferences are more than just the people you meet. They’re also the lessons you learn.
As a digital nomad, you deal with budgets, taxes, pension and retirement concerns and other issues. These would normally be overseen by a government agency or by an employer, but digital nomads have to figure out these matters on their own.
Thankfully, lecturers at conferences can address all your questions about these scary topics.
Digital nomads also need resources when it comes to new tools and opportunities. Conferences provide networking venues where you can find new resources and methods to expand your business or boost your career.
Oh, and let’s not forget—you get to travel to these conferences! And isn’t travel a huge reason you’re a digital nomad in the first place?
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Which Digital Nomad Are You?
Not all digital nomad conferences are created equal. Different conferences are ideal for certain types of people.
Are you a writer? Photographer? Web developer? There are conferences just for you.
Do you work independently or function as part of an online team? Are you your own boss or do you manage a group of mobile content creators?
Many digital nomads do some or all of the above! And you’ll find your perfect conference.
Lastly, are you a digital nomad who prefers to rough it in cheap hostels? Or do you prefer to have a luxurious experience?
Do you only have one free weekend or do you want to settle in for a bit?
All these options are open to you.
Calling All Digital Nomads! 12 Digital Nomad Conferences Around the World
The following list includes everything from annual, large-scale conferences to smaller, one-time events like lectures and workshops.
Since 2015, this annual event has hosted hundreds of digital nomads living, working and traveling in Southeast Asia.
The Nomad Summit conference is open to anyone whose work is location independent and not tied to a regular nine-to-five schedule. Whether you’re just starting out or have been working remotely for years, this conference has something for you.
The conference is the perfect balance of professionalism and friendliness. The itinerary is filled with both lectures and opportunities for socialization and networking. The calendar for the four-day event includes pool parties and buffet lunches in addition to workshops, TED-style talks and round-table discussions.
This is an event designed for both individual digital nomads and the companies that employ or manage them.
Consider this upscale conference if you’re already leading a remote team or are thinking about making the leap to management.
Running Remote has been running annually for a few years and takes place in Bali, Indonesia.
The general ambiance is a mix of business and pleasure, with many events and the venue itself more like an upscale holiday than a simple conference. The main events, which include keynote speeches and buffet meals, are hosted by the luxurious Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort.
Running Remote claims to be the largest remote work conference in the world. The theme of the conference is working together and building teams, and price breaks are available if you come in a large group.
Software engineering, finance, marketing, web development and many other fields are well represented at this conference.
If large-scale conferences intimidate you, join a PACK instead.
Every month, this global organization arranges a coworking retreat for digital nomads who prefer smaller, grassroots meetings with a local emphasis. Venues include eclectic, international urban settings, such as Mexico City, Bali and Tuscany.
Comfortable and casual, these gatherings focus on a slow travel approach. Rather than going to a loud hostel or busy hotel, conference participants stay in private rooms that include full kitchens and cozy living rooms. Workspaces are located in authentic, quiet neighborhoods complete with markets and parks.
Only PACK members can these attend conferences, and potential members are carefully screened. Digital nomads can apply online, and the process includes an interview.
Virtual Working Summit
If you’re really going to have a digital nomad conference, why would you need a brick and mortar venue at all?
The Virtual Working Summit was developed with people’s convenience in mind. This virtual conference welcomes employees of international companies, global teams, salespeople and their clients, and of course digital nomads.
The Virtual Working Summit offers lectures and seminars for for free. After the conference closes, you can download these talks for a fee.
The whole conference takes place online, including keynote speeches, social events, meetings and other activities you would expect from any other conference.
The conference places a huge emphasis on the emerging technology that makes working remotely possible. The aim of the conference is to help the remote employees of the world work smarter instead of harder. Network, innovate and find ways to narrow the symbolic gaps between your team members despite the physical ones.
A conference for travelers, Flaks organizes “adventure workations” every year for entrepreneurs who live a flexible lifestyle.
For the last few years, these conferences have taken place in late August or early September in European destinations.
They focus on leadership and networking, and they’re more like retreats than stuffy conferences. The daily schedule is often integrated with team-building activities, such as yoga or hiking, where people can interact without stress or competition.
Elmar Haker, the founder of Flaks, always tries to put together workations that are peaceful, scenic, natural, affordable and inclusive. You don’t have to be a member of Flaks to attend, but you do you have to apply for a ticket, and spaces are limited.
Coworking Unconference Asia
This big, festive event welcomes a variety of networking professionals, including digital nomads, workplace futurists, global media analysts, web developers, marketing executives and venture capitalists.
Coworking Unconference Asia is a fantastic place to meet other travelers in your field. They’ve hosted up to 1,000 people from 40 countries at one conference. What a place to connect!
Consider this gathering if the very idea of a conference bores you. This isn’t your typical conference. The event itself is named for a unique idea invented here called an “unconference.” It mixes innovation, brainstorming and topical discussion. The website explains, “It’s not a conference. It’s more than an event. It’s an experience.”
And isn’t that why we love to travel as we work… so we can have more experiences?
Locations for this conference are scattered across the Asian continent and the Pacific Rim. Past conferences have taken place in Malaysia, Bali and Thailand. The spotlight of the conference is on remote work in the host nation and how that connects to the region, the continent and the international community.
Renew your old ideas, improve your productivity and let one of the world’s most culturally rich cities inspire you.
These are the goals of people attending a conference organized by Unsettled. This international group includes a variety of creative industries and digital entrepreneurs. Their virtual community currently has more than 1,300 members from over 80 countries.
These events are more like retreats than conferences and are two weeks to one month in duration.
Participants live and work with 20 other like-minded colleagues in accommodations that are more like a home than a hotel. Weekly meals, meetings and other networking opportunities are part of a very open, stress-free schedule.
You’ll attend workshops, seminars and activities that focus on skills you need to thrive in the digital economy. Outside of these meetings, there’s ample time to work on your own projects.
Unsettled conferences take place in fascinating locations like Argentina, South Africa and Colombia.
Berlin, Germany, has a long tradition of being a center of innovation, creativity and philosophy. It’s the perfect place for the DNX Festival 2019!
DNX conferences have also been held in Portugal, Thailand and Argentina.
If you look at the publicity and website, you might think this looks more like an arts festival than a conference for working remotely. DNX is targeted almost solely toward individuals who are digital nomads or want to know how to become one. There are just as many social events and musical performances as workshops and seminars.
There are 50 exhibitions for the more than 1,000 participants to experience and enjoy. The conference aims to create a vibrant atmosphere as participants learn better networking skills and get to know the rest of the DNX community.
The name of this unique set of conferences comes from the time frame and location. There are seven conferences on seven continents (one per year) and each lasts seven days.
Attend a workshop about the life of a digital nomad with kids, how to deal with international banks, traveling with different travel adaptors and other real-world, daily issues that are familiar to digital nomads. Unlike conferences like DNX, 7in7 is intended for those who already have some experience with the digital nomad lifestyle.
These seven conferences will each take place on a different continent for the next seven years. The first three conferences took place in Asia, Europe and South America with a fourth planned for Oceania.
At the end of 2019, this conference will take place in Las Palmas, a gorgeous city in Gran Canaria, Spain. The sun and beach are an integral part of a stress-free gathering that’s intended to be fun and casual. It’s an upscale event intended for team leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs in the digital economy.
Participants learn how to make their teams more productive, foster creativity and encourage innovation. Keynote speakers tend to focus on these subjects, as well as more specific team-building issues like motivation in the mobile workplace and finding new and fresh ideas.
Designers might present new technology, or an investor could give a talk on crypto-currency. Attend workshops on practical issues like software upgrades and using technology to create a remote community. For example, team leaders trade information on using custom-made software to organize their unique teams of digital nomads and remote workers.
South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference
SXSW is an arts and media organization that holds annual conferences, festivals, exhibitions and other events. Most of the events they organize take place in Austin, Texas, and this gathering of creative professionals is no exception.
All digital nomads are welcome, even those who are just slightly interested in the lifestyle.
This unique conference mixes traditional events, like lectures and workshops, with a lineup of independent musical performances and modern art exhibitions. This is as much an exposition of modern media as it is a conference dedicated to the lifestyle of a digital nomad. Information sessions cover unique topics such as how to use crypto-currency like Blockchain, experiential storytelling and social media with a global impact.
Take your time if you attend this conference, which stretches over nine days and consists of several festivals with themes like music, video and gaming. This is about entertainment, after all, so don’t forget to attend a few parties or visit the lounge, too.
Are you a digital nomad in America who’s looking for something a little closer to home? Then visit the Freelancers Union website and read up on their SPARK program. Membership is free and grants you access to a nationwide freelance community.
The union has a library of virtual resources to help digital nomads regarding networking, training, legal issues and budget concerns. It organizes weekly networking events, monthly workshops and other grassroots meetings for digital nomads in 25 American cities.
SPARK meets the first Wednesday of every month in these cities. This makes forming a community much easier than if you were to attend one of the other conferences on this list, most of which only take place once per year.
These activities are organized locally from the ground up. They might include holiday parties, social dinners, seminars or workshops. All of this is designed and intended to form a work community for those that work “office-less.”
Many jobs and careers that were previously tied to an office space have been freed by the connection the internet provides.
Choosing the life of a digital nomad is just like any other modern career choice. Why go nomad? For the same reason we climb the mountain… because we can.
Kristy Ambrose has been writing professionally since 2010. She dabbles in various genres, including everything from short blog posts to serialized novels. Her inspiration comes from gamers, beachcombers, foodies and fellow travelers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Victoria.
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