Working full time as a remote worker has been gaining popularity over the last decade. Freelancers are embracing the trend and enjoying the advantages of the digital nomad lifestyle. Being a digital nomad in Vancouver, Canada can be a nice adventure from the usual work schedule. A nice change of scenery is exactly what draws many digital nomads to this type of work. Freelancers enjoy better working conditions that adapt to different needs and life expectations, and companies experience real cost savings for their office needs.
As a result, digital nomadism has become a popular lifestyle for professionals, especially those in the “knowledge industry”, and a goal for people new to the labour market and entrepreneurs. What better way to explore the world than by still being able to make an income while doing it.
Digital nomads typically spend a lot of time travelling the world, and that is exactly what the Forager team does. Since we launched our Digital Nomadic HQ program, we wanted to find the best city to start off. Over the course of these past three months, we have been exploring the beautiful city of Vancouver. Exploring the region, sampling new foods and learning about the local culture, both in and out of the marketing industry. Armed with our laptops, smartphones and a great international calling plan, we set off to explore our new nomadic home in British Columbia.
As with any new city, Vancouver comes with its own challenges that any established or aspiring digital nomad needs to consider before embarking on this journey. After three months here, we have come to find some great things about this city we wanted to share with you.
Overall, Vancouver is an amazing city, and any digital nomad looking for their next stop would do well to add it to their list. Below, we have put together some of our takeaways from this Canadian nomadic HQ.
For any digital nomad, the first thing to be aware of is the availability of WiFi. Vancouver is one of the tech hubs of North America, so it is no wonder why it has so many great spots for free WiFi. In the downtown core, you can find plenty of work space to use at venues like the Central Library. There are also plenty of cafes with WiFi that can be utilised for the cost of a coffee (from $2.50CAD). The neighbourhood Forager set itself up, Gastown, has plenty of options.
Our only suggestion when visiting an independent cafe would be to check if the internet is working. We have purchased a wonderful cup of coffee or tea, sadly without any way to get online. Apart from that, you can find a more typical Starbucks if you want to stick with what you know.
WiFi at home is standard as well, so no matter if you are staying in a hotel or an Airbnb, there will be a good connection for those times when you just can’t sleep until you get just one more thing done.
Taking measures to ensure you are safe is essential for digital nomads, especially when travelling to places you aren’t familiar with. Vancouver is virtually a crime-free city. Petty crime can occur, so it is still important to pay attention to your surroundings and never leave valuables unattended on the table at the cafe. Crimes against travellers however, are very rare so you can feel safe as you walk around the city. Whether enjoying the nightlife or going for a run along the seawall, there is no need to feel unsafe.
Hot Desking and Co-Working
For many, a coffee shop or Starbucks is more than enough, but the comfort of using a space specifically designed for productivity and getting work done is what gives others the fresh start they need. Vancouver has a whole host of co-working spaces to park yourself for a few hours or days. You can find different WeWork options, Regus options, and some local ones too. We checked out HiVE because of its social impact focus.
If you prefer a dedicated working spot to be able to separate your day, then check out some of those options. And remember your old friend Google if you need to switch it up from time to time. There are many other providers you can choose from like L’Atelier Vancouver, VanCubers and Pavillion Cowork.
Even when you’re travelling the world as you work, it is always a good idea to check on local opportunities and build new contacts, find more clients and even a new job. For those interested in the tech industry, it is the perfect city as tech giants like Microsoft are opening new offices, and that entrepreneurial atmosphere brings new opportunities.
The local food industry has a lot of opportunities to offer (apart from unique flavours you won’t find anywhere else) and the film and television industry is quite active too. You can find plenty of local opportunities if you are searching for a new professional adventure.
Of course, not everything in the life of a digital nomad is about working. We love this lifestyle because it allows us to enjoy all the things we love about travelling the world while still sustaining our careers. There is no need to sacrifice one thing for the other.
So, let’s talk about the fun part! Enjoying your new destination will keep you motivated to continue this career choice. Vancouver has a prolific food scene that you won’t be able to enjoy in a single trip. There are just too many things to try and places to visit and if you’re a foodie like us believe me, you’ll want to try everything. We even made a post about the local food scene, go check it out!
Food isn’t the only thing waiting for you. Vancouver has a lot of events happening each week. Check out websites like Meetup to see what is going on in and around the city. There are plenty of concerts, theatrical shows, music festivals, film festivals and sports for you to enjoy.
If spending time in nature is your thing, don’t forget to take any of the local tours like the Sea to the Sky Gondola or just go for a hike in a local forest. You can’t miss the opportunity to go out and gather your own food from the woods if that’s not common in your city (or if you miss it) but before doing that, research the local rules and make sure you know how to do it safely!
As a digital nomad you need to know how you are getting from one place to another. Luckily Vancouver has a great public transport system. The entire city is blanketed with plenty of bus lines, and if you are needing to go farther out, there is the SkyTrain. Tickets cost anywhere between $3.00-$5.75CAD per trip. And don’t miss out taking the SeaBus from downtown Vancouver across the inlet towards North Vancouver.
Taxis aren’t easy to find, and cost around $3.50CAD + $1.89CAD per kilometre. Car-sharing services like Car2Go, Modo and Zipcar are popular among locals and travellers, costing around $0.41CAD per minute or $13.00CAD per hour.
Vancouver, one of the greenest cities in the world, is an amazing place to visit and explore new experiences. We enjoyed our three months in the city. It has incredible food, great events, beautiful landscapes and, on top of all that, it’s completely remote work friendly. Digital nomads can enjoy their stay in a safe place with many opportunities to offer as they keep up their productivity without worry.
Don’t forget to do your research before travelling to a new destination and plan according to your needs, that will save you from more than a headache in the future! If you need inspiration, don’t miss any of our blogs on working remotely. Every three months we are exploring a new city.