Is 2023 The Year of the Expat and Nomad?

T​he way in which we adapt even to contrived problems is truly remarkable. Post pandemic recovery is no exception. This is why I think 2023 is the year of the expat and nomad.

January 16, 2023

By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP

expat and nomad Nothing will ever replace supply and demand as the key market indicators and activators. Nothing.

And the eager desire for the market to want to correct what is wrong about it is undeniable. Human beings and their very entrepreneurial spirit to solve for each of their individual problems never ceases to impress me.

I see a lot of stories of people who lost their businesses due to the Covid response from local and national government. It has me spitting nails, it’s so infuriating. Sadly, these stories aren’t covered by the mainstream media. Rather, they are one-off anecdotes of people sharing videos or personal stories.

T​o have a job, business, or anything taken from you without due process is fundamentally and morally wrong. No one can justify this.

I saw a recent article in Zerohedge citing how the stagflationary period in the1970s was mischaracterized because our focus was on economic indicators rather than future dividends. All the regulatory measures instituted during that decade paid off and continues to do so, but no one credits that era for it.

T​hat’s like saying to someone: were it not for all these tragedies in your family, you wouldn’t have been born! And no one is focusing on the goodness of your life but rather they are focusing too much on the traumas of the past.

Man, don’t. Just stop. It’s 2023, and we don’t do that diversionary crap anymore. Tragedy being a catalyst for change is certainly NOT absolution for the tragedy itself. Any more than you can convince me that the expansion of the surveillance state preventing a lone gunman was somehow worth running rough shod over people’s civil liberties.

2​020 and 2021 were rife with “if it can save just one life”. I won’t go back to that.

Despite the hobbling logic of this article, it did flag something of merit (my incurable optimism and desperation for a silver lining is showing, I know). This ONE sentence:

Well-being isn’t measured, so it isn’t recognized.

T​his is worth examining. This deserves some consideration. “Well-being” unto itself is multifaceted, right? Emotional, physical, and financial well-being are all part of it. The author focused on the fact that only economic well-being was measured while ecological well-being was some unmemorable background noise.

T​he thing is, whether you’re using Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, or the attendant on your last flight, you need to save yourself if you stand a chance of helping anyone else. So focusing on short term well-being is as it should be.

During the pandemic, people and institutions failed to account for the moral hazard of the policies, specifically mandates. People continue to ignore well-being. They were so fixated on mitigating spread (and failing miserably at it) they did so at the cost of children, mental health, economic survival, and quality of life.

Would I do it all over again to get the outcome of greater acceptance of remote work and normalization of nomad visas? No. That we got these consolation prizes for going through all that is no justification for it, and honestly the very least employers and countries could do, seeing as how they created the mess in the first place.

People work with what they got. We are nothing if not practical.

And what we got was amenability toward remote work, and freshly made entrepreneurs who decided to go the digital route rather than the brick n’ mortar route. What we got was countries who couldn’t afford the loss in tourism and extended their visas for the new remote work crowd.

In other words, we got a path forward and a way out for some folks. The snap back after the pandemic has some offices requiring hybrid employees who work part-time from the office, while more countries joined in on the digital nomad visa bandwagon.

Those fortunate enough to stay in the remote work space, you have an opportunity in front of you.


  • Inflation is here in a big way

  • Y​our work and dollar won’t go as far as it once did

  • The economy is going to get worse before it gets better

Any of these things might be true for you:

  • You’re looking to keep the cost of living and operating low

  • You want a comparable or better quality of life

  • You want to live somewhere that isn’t so high-strung on taxes and regulations, and perhaps getting a little reprieve

You should know that countries are vying for your consideration! In fact, the competition is getting pretty intense and that’s the BEST news to come out of this.

I​t went from: “We need to get a digital nomad visa” to “What can we do to make our visa more appealing?”

T​here are currently FIFTY-TWO countries offering a digital nomad visa. That’s a lot of choices, and they are quite diverse: from cold to warm climates, to higher and lower costs of living, and offered in nearly every continent!

Revelio Labs looked into the trend, and while it does depend on the trajectory of remote work, I think people got their taste for it. I think we will start to see a real “Great Resignation” from the workforce that isn’t early retirees, but people who feel emboldened to take their skills remotely.

The number of U.S. workers opting to become digital nomads rose 100% between 2021 and 2022, according to a report from workforce analytics company Revelio Labs…

Germany attracted over 150,000 digital nomad workers last year, the highest of all countries to offer digital nomad visas, according to the Revelio Labs report. The United Arab Emirates and Spain each welcomed over 100,000 digital nomads last year. Portugal and Spain provide the greatest increase in quality of life and affordability for digital nomads questioned in the report, in comparison with their country of origin. However, according to the report, Lisbon has also emerged as an increasingly popular destination when comparing quality of life and affordability to an individual’s original country.

The report also found that within a year of moving, most digital nomads decide to not settle down, but instead move forward to new destinations.

I​f you are ambivalent about taking the plunge, keep an open mind. More countries are getting on board, with different benefits. If the country you’re currently residing in hasn’t fought hard enough to keep you there, there are still plenty of other countries that will… at least temporarily. What would be your ideal list of features in a given country? You’d be surprised what you can get as an expat or nomad.

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