5 Best Places in the World to Start Traveling as a Digital Nomad

Where is the best place in the world to start traveling as a digital nomad?

I guess the answer is… anywhere, really.

This December will be the last month in which I pay for rent, home insurance, utility bills, car registration, car insurance, internet bill, mobile phone bill, gym membership, Xbox LIVE subscription, everything!

I am thinking about spending the first days of January, before the big departure day, either couch surfing or hitchhiking around California and Nevada to see friends and family ahead of the zero hour.  A sort of digital-nomad-in-training prelude before leaving the country indefinitely.

Then, finally, the big moment will arrive on January 11th, 2016.  And just like taxes and head-banging during Bohemian Rhapsody… I intend to make my departure into the unknown an inevitable certainty.

This is why I want to buy my first ever one-way-international-ticket as soon as possible.

The plan is this… there is no plan.

Or rather, there will be a very minimal plan to start and whatever is to follow will be made up as I go along, influenced by the flow of spontaneity, adventure, and the new people whom I’ll meet along the way.

So… where to begin?

Let’s round up the suspects!!!  Quick… TO THE SHOWER!!!

Christopher Emerson Shower Map

Welcome to my world… shower!

Christopher Emerson - Planet Emerson: World Travel Shower Map

Nothing like learning world geography while wet and naked.

Planet Emerson: World Travel Digital Nomad - Asia

Planet Emerson: World Travel Digital Nomad – Asia

1. Far East/Southeast Asia

Magical. Mysterious. Intoxicating in its mystical eastern ways. I have longed to return to Japan, in particular, since traveling there for just ten wildly life-altering days back in the Fall of 2013.  I ventured to this part of the world, an eastern hemisphere virgin, with a beautiful sylph named Dedeker, a travel companion whom I‘ll always know as my “game-changer.”  For that reason, as well as the breathtaking contrasts the East juxtaposes to the West, I find this option-for-launch to be devastatingly alluring.  A journey that starts in Japan would most likely kick off a prodigious expedition that would carry me through China, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, India, Nepal, and then on through the Middle East, Northern Africa, and/or Eastern Europe.

ALSO… did I mention how much I love…CURRY!

Planet Emerson: World Travel Digital Nomad - South America

Planet Emerson: World Travel Digital Nomad – South America

2. Deep in South America

More specifically, Patagonia, the sparsely populated southern most region of South America.  An incredibly dynamic and geographically diverse area of the world.  The landscapes from this part of South America are like something out of the Lord of The Rings. Or, you know, New Zealand.  I’m particularly drawn to the idea of hiking all the way down to the southern most tip of South America; La Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia, and Cabo de Horno (Cape Horn.)  Starting here means that I would most likely fly into Santiago, Chile or Buenos Aires, Argentina and trek down along the Andes Mountains into… Middle-earth.  My digital nomad story thereafter would likely take me up through all of the countries of South America, including a return trip through Brazil, and northerly through Peru, Columbia, Panama, and on into Central America, perhaps the the Caribbean Islands after that.  I would also gain a significant language advantage in this part of the world as I can speak a fair bit of Spanish, with an Argentine accent no less, gracias a una professora en mi pasado de Buenos Aires.  I can also speak survival-Portuguese about as well as Jackie Chan speaks English.

ALSO… did I mention how much I love…LATINAS!

Planet Emerson: World Travel Digital Nomad - Iceland and Europe

Planet Emerson: World Travel Digital Nomad – Iceland and Europe

3. Iceland and European Quest

There is something oddly inviting to me about this distant country, a Nordic island nation, defined by its dramatic volcanic landscape of geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, glaciers and black-sand beaches. A place where fire and ice co-exist. The vast majority of homes are heated and powered by geo-thermal, the nightlife is world-renowned, and long dark winters contrast with the summer’s midnight sun. A country where isolation has ignited a dynamic and passionate culture.  Iceland’s climate leans on the milder side with average summer temperatures rarely breaking above 70-75°F and winters that live near 0°F and often dropping well below, the country receives about as much sun as Ireland or Scotland.  Iceland as a starting point would be a pretty wild cultural shift and act as a jumping off point into Northern Europe; Sweden, Finland, Norway, U.K., and flowing into a great European quest.

ALSO… did I mention how much I love… COLD WEATHER!

Hey… speaking of cold weather…

Planet Emerson: World Travel Digital Nomad - Antarctica

Planet Emerson: World Travel Digital Nomad – Antarctica

4. Antarctica.

Now hear me out on this.  There are not a lot of ways to travel to Antarctica.  It is primarily the domain of multinational scientific research bases and geological/climate science outposts.  The restrictions on travel, for both researchers and tourists, are so intense, it feels more like a trip to Area 51.

“Any boats with over 500 passengers will not be allowed to dock in the region, and only one boat will be allowed in each dock. Number of passengers to descend on the ground will not be able to pass 100, and every minute they are on the peninsula a guide is required for every 20 people.”

That is just one of many restrictions.  Tourism travel options to Antartica almost exclusively originate either from Argentina or Australia.  The absolute cheapest option I’ve seen is $3,000 for an 8-day boat trip out of Ushuaia, Argentina that takes you across the Southern Ocean by way of Drake’s Passage to SEE Antarctica. Zero guarantee of getting to touch land. Scoring a ticket for $3,000 is rare. Most tickets are $5,000 to $10,000!  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve seen the incredible photos, I’ve seen the breathtaking videos, and the occasional “you have no idea how much this changed my life” endorsements on Trip Advisor.  But, there has to be a better way.  And I am not talking about the $1,500-$10,000 flyover airplane out of Australia.  Though completely amazing looking… I still want to get on the ground and explore life on this alien continent!

The solution?  Volunteer!

Research expeditions on Antartica sometimes look to hire people for specialized jobs around the continent’s research facilities.  While most of these jobs carry pesky, inconvenient restrictions, such as needing to have a Ph.D, I have noticed that there are some low level odd jobs at times that only require the will to do it and the want to live in Antarctica for the during of the research project.  Hmmmm… Interesting.

ALSO… did I mention how much I love… WASHING DISHES!

Last, but not least…


You rock!

5. YOUR suggestions!!!

You tell me where I should begin. Where have you always wanted to go?  Where have you been that changed your life?  Inspire me. Teach me about Planet YOU!  What are some possible starting points that would lead to the most astounding sights, the most epic explorations, and most eye-opening cultural educations?

Let me know!

ALSO… did I mention how much I love… BEING SURPRISED!

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Christopher Emerson
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Christopher Emerson

Hi there and welcome to Planet Emerson: World Travel!I'm documenting my crazy journey into happy homelessness as a world travel blogger.I'm also a voice recording artist who makes his way through the world voicing characters for video games, animation, radio, TV, and movies. I'm the founder & CMO of SpherePlay. Owner: Mana Wines. Juggler. Helicopter pilot. And lover of life and art. *** Periscope me!! - @PlanetEmerson ***
Christopher Emerson
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  • Ken McKenna

    Wow, all your choices for where to start and the reasons for choosing them are compelling. I love Europe for the diversity and ease of travel between cultures, but I am fascinated with South America. I have never been, so that would attract me as a primary choice. Okay, Antarctica is just CRAZY, so yes, why not go crazy.
    I am casting my vote (suggestion) for South America. Do you have contacts there?