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In Turbulent Times – the best places for Digital Nomads

October 1, 2017

One of the best parts about becoming a Digital Nomad was leaving my country of origin before its slide into absurdity. Although fifteen minutes of watching the news suggest these are times of chaos, throughout human history chaos is humanities middle name.

With a war waging between Christianity and Islam, the United States being hacked by Russia, and the Trumptastic responses to North Korean aggression, the world seems to be a patchwork quilt of insanity.

So where can a Digital Nomad find refugee and a strong internet connection?

World’s Best Passports

‘We have witnessed several major events recently that are likely to have an impact on global mobility – including Brexit and the election of US President Donald Trump. Both can be interpreted as steps toward restricting movement and creating barriers to entry. This trend towards curbing travel freedom is already apparent in the shift in rankings on this year’s Visa Restrictions Index,’ explains Dr. Kälin, a leading authority on international immigration and citizenship law and policy.


Global Passport Power Rank 2017

Read the full rankings at Daily Mail’s Powerful Passports 2017 Revealed.

Of course, hanging on to your passport is golden. After traveling around Europe, my friend surprising had her passport lifted on the tram from the train station. Every country has pickpockets, and my peaceful Czech Republic is no exception. That is why the SCOTTeVEST maintains my piece of mind. I even wear it on business travel, and I navigate connections through immigration portals with ease, my passport and boarding piece zipped safely away, and nestled against my chest. I don’t have to worry about these scenarios:

Think Neutrality, Not Net Neutrality

So, where to go in the world. While Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Costa Rica and Panama have all declared international neutrality, only Costa Rica and Panama offer the affordable standard of living Digital Nomads require.
While Turkmenistan is on the list, it’s within the danger zone. Vatican City is on the list, although it is definitely not a Digital Nomad option. List of neutral countries.

Costa Rica makes sense to explore. They have eliminated their army, become a critical exporter of oxygen through their rainforest, and advocate “Pura Vida,” the pure life. Surely this could be a haven from turbulent times.

Internet Speed

We have to look at internet speeds before we go any further in this discussion. I live by my internet speed like trees need rain. There was a U.S. TV show called Revolution, where the world had lost power, so of course no internet. I had to stop watching after a few episodes. People without internet was more horrifying to me than zombies eating my face.

Internet speeds shift like passport power. You have to check in every year. For 2017, the winners are:

These rankings are misleading. Skewed in favor of northern densely populated countries. A couple of places appear surprisingly high up. The Norwegian island pairing of Svalbard and Jan Mayen, for example, has an average connection speed of 36.5Mbits/s – the highest of all. But it only has one unique IP address, so the result is somewhat skewed. The lofty positions of The Vatican (3rd) and Antarctica (27th) are also due to the low number of readings.

All we care about is whether the internet is strong enough and reliable enough to surf the web with ease. A lot of countries, some that would surprise you, offer adequate levels of digital freedom.

So, is Costa Rica the place to go. Unfortunately, their record around internet speed is deeply troubling.

The US tells Costa Rica, ‘Get rid of The Pirate Bay or we’ll shut down your country’s domain registry.’

Costa Rica Has The SLOWEST Mobile Internet On The Planet; Report
Rico 23 February 2017

Cost Rica falls even lower on the list if we factor in natural disasters. Costa Rica is forming into a solid no. It’s on the list of 20 least safe places in the world:

 Vanuatu – 36.43%
 Tonga – 28.23%
 Philippines – 27.52%
 Guatemala – 20.88%
 Bangladesh – 19.81%
 Solomon Islands – 18.11%
 Costa Rica – 16.94%
 Cambodia – 16.9%
 El Salvador – 16.85%
 Timor-Leste – 16.37%
 Papua New Guinea – 15.9%
 Brunei Darussalam – 15.58%
 Mauritius – 15.18%
 Nicaragua – 14.89%
 Japan – 14.1%
 Fiji – 13.56%
 Guinea-Bissau – 13.09%
 Vietnam – 12.81%
 Chile – 12.28%
 Jamaica – 12.15%

Where a Natural Disaster is Most Likely to Strike

The 20 safest are just as surprising and offer only a few digital friendly options. Estonia, Grenada, and Barbados stand out. Estonia is solid in wifi connectivity, with average download speeds of 13.75 and average upload speeds of 12.04. You can check out a list of best and worst countries here.

What about Barbados. Well, if this ad is any indication we should pack our bags and go.

And, if you are worried about hurricanes you are mistaken here.

“Barbados has not been hit by a hurricane since 1955 and has not been affected by either of the recent mega-storms, Irma and Maria but it is still suffering from their impact.”

Tourists think that Barbados would be in the same dire situation as its Caribbean neighbors. But, geography keeps Barbados out of harm’s way.

The inclusion of Grenada on the safest throws the credibility of the list into question. When it comes to Grenada, this sentence says it all.

The hurricane risk in Grenada is more significant than the earthquake risk.

Grenada – Hurricanes and earthquakes risk profile

Caribbean Internet Stats.

Here are the 20 safest countries, according to the report
 Qatar 0.1%
 Malta 0.61%
 Barbados 1.16%
 Saudi Arabia 1.32%
 Grenada 1.44%
 Iceland 1.55%
 Kiribati 1.78%
 Bahrain 1.81%
 United Arab Emirates 2.1%
 Sweden 2.26%
 Finland 2.28%
 Egypt 2.34%
 Norway 3.35%
 Israel 2.49%
 Singapore 2.49%
 Estonia 2.52%
 Seychelles 2.58%
 Switzerland 2.61%
 Luxembourg 2.68%
 Oman 2.74%

Life Expectancy

We should throw life expectancy in the mix. It is a good proxy for access to health care, adequate nutrition and a love of life. South America’s do pretty well here if they just didn’t have all those natural disasters. You can temper their impact by just not living near a volcano, but those earthquakes can surprise you.

So, what are the options when it comes to life expectancy?

Canada is kicking ass here. And, those friendly Canadians are unlikely to see a war fought on their soil. Too vast and cold. My friends in the U.S. are all threatening to become political refugees, and Canada just might be their spot.


Several new advances may make this decision much easier as the world is brought online. On several continents, research and development projects are underway to provide internet connectivity via high-altitude balloons like those used to capture weather data, unmanned solar-powered drones, and next-generation wireless routers. Each offers higher speeds and more reliability than current modes, plus the obvious benefit: getting the world online, all at the same time. Read about Six New Technologies That Will Provide Faster, Better Internet.

Where to Find Peace

So where in the world should you go? Perhaps the Global Peace Index is the right tool to make a decision.

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