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Location independent jobs are not a new concept, but have been growing in popularity the last few years. People who have these types of careers often label themselves as ‘digital nomads’. This means they may hold true to the old ways of roaming or not having a base, but they are connected digitally through their online work.
According to recent research, by 2025 remote workers may outnumber those who work from an office worldwide. Those working from ‘home’ for a company full-time has increased 140% since 2005. With the rise of job that can be done from just a laptop, this type of lifestyle is appealing to many. Engineers, web developers, marketers and even language teachers can all have a successful income while living on the road or in another country.
Here’s what being a digital nomad entails so you can decide if it’s right for you.
Perks of Location Independent Jobs
Being a digital nomad can mean freelancing for yourself or working remotely for the company. This can be full or part-time. The freedom of not having to go into an office everyday is one of the best benefits of this lifestyle!
Otherwise, it can also open up possibilities on where you can live. Some digital nomads choose to live in more rural areas, as they don’t need to be in or close to a city for opportunities. Others will make a more drastic move, by relocating to another country that allow remote workers (such as Thailand).
Digital nomads who have location independent jobs enjoy many benefits. Commute expenses tend to be non-existent, as well as the worry for business wear in a professional setting. Hours are usually more flexible, so personal vacation time and errands/social calls during the day are easier to take. Taxes might be slightly more complicated, but there are supplemented healthcare benefits and other perks digital nomads can take advantage of with proper commitment and research to the experience.
Ways to Embrace the Lifestyle
No matter if you are a digital nomad full-time or simply have a remote work position, these opportunities can align nicely with a move to a new country.
Before doing any major changes, make sure your current goals, career and personal, align with this type of work. Also, do some research on the best expat enclaves for people who do remote work that are conducive to your desires.
Before making the move, consider cultivating some helpful remote work habits. Without a boss or office structure in your vicinity, your motivation remains your own responsibility. Have a way to organize your days and maintain a routine regardless of where you get work done.
Resources for Digital Nomads
If you’re happy at your current position, consider speaking with your boss about an international or remote transfer. Many large businesses are becoming more open to the idea of remote workers – just know you might still have to keep their office hours if you’re in another time zone!
Beyond that, here’s a few more things to help learn more about location independent jobs and careers.
- Here’s a good list of resources for finding remote work and preparing for the change.
- If launching your own business or looking to take your remote position to the next level, this is an excellent podcast with great information from Tandem Nomads.
- Invest in good hardware, such as a sturdy laptop extra battery packs and a roaming Wifi hotspot.
- If you’re an American citizen, these are countries you may be able to do a working holiday. Check the work visa rules for your specific citizenship, and if a company will sponsor you.
- If you’re new to the idea of remote work, consider a structured program such as Remote Year to get started.
- Once you’ve made the leap, don’t forget KITnDO to stay connected and discover new things in your new location!
Would you ever consider working remotely? Would you move to a new country to work digitally?
Whether you plan to be living abroad for a year or hope to be an expat more permanently, there are endless benefits to trying out a new place. People worldwide will leave their ‘home country’ to experience other cultures, enjoy new job opportunities, study abroad or simply change their lifestyle. Not only is it exciting, but it’s also good for you as a person to gain a fresh global perspective, learn to adapt and possibly even master a second language. Here’s some wonderful positives of being an expat and living somewhere else.
Improves Your Mental Health
According to the Harvard Business Review, people who choose to try living abroad for a year or longer can experience benefits to their mental durability. The study mostly deals with a sense of strong identity and self-awareness. Other benefits include things like reducing group biases, career success and enhancing creativity.
Improves Your Physical Health
Not always, but sometimes, when living in a new country, you may have different transport situations than at home. Perhaps walking to work or cycling is more accepted in a new city or rural destination. People who move to new countries often have to find new friends, which could lead to joining more intramural sports and activities. Also, in new countries, expats are inclined to try new, fresh foods that are local and delicious. All of these things can promote better health.
Helps you Appreciate Your Home Country
You don’t know what you have until it’s gone, right? Sometimes a move, especially a drastic one, can help you understand where you’re from on a deeper level. People who move abroad sometimes will miss ‘home’ and seek out ways to re-connect with their culture of birth. Furthermore, people who’ve lived in multiple different countries will see differences clearly and appreciate the beauty in each place.
Moving to a new country often means having to learn a new language – or at least the basics! This challenge can lead to lots of benefits, including enhanced creativity, learning about new cultures and even more job opportunities. Simply having to adapt and learn how to get around a new place to live can be a refreshing way to stimulate the brain.
Even outside of learning the local language, you usually have to be very clear in your communication. Slang words, colloquialisms and simply different customs all require deeper thought. Communication and respect are key when living abroad for a year or more, which can be great for your job, home life and overall relationships.
Leads to the Travel Bug!
If nothing else, some time spent living abroad will most likely have you wanting more! People who are expats or move elsewhere often prioritize traveling and exploring. Living in a new country feels like the ultimate trip in itself.
Want to know more about living abroad for a year or longer? Stay tuned, we’ll be covering lots of important expat tips and guides in the coming months. If you’ve already made the move, check out the KITnDO homepage to connect with your culture in your new home!
In our series presenting different experiences of expats all over the globe, let us introduce you to Tushita, who is hailing from India and living actually with her family in Johannesburg, South Africa.
As she shared with us when we first chatted, the decision to move and to explore the ‘unknown’ has surprised her! She has always been in Delhi and thus, to take the huge step of leaving not only her city, but the country, has been her biggest achievement. How does she deal with the remoteness from her family, questions of cultural identities while raising a toddler in another country and what are her biggest challenges?
KITnDO: How was your relocation to South Africa?
Tushita: While in India, my husband and I travelled across Italy, New Zealand, USA, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey on holidays, we always wondered how ‘living’ abroad would be like. Our son was born on Feb 7th, 2017, and two days later, my husband gave us another life-changing news – that we were to move to Johannesburg as he was offered a global movement in his company. With a newborn, life anyway turns upside down and now with this news – I was speechless. We always wanted to experience living elsewhere, especially with increasing pollution in the city. But the move came at a point when I was at my most vulnerable phase.
The idea of having to leave my professional life and managing the baby on my own was a big weight on my shoulders. I felt overwhelmed. We reached Jo’burg, with our 5.5 month old, leaving behind our loved ones, my job and a life we were super comfortable in. Starting afresh and doing things I never did – like cooking, managing the baby single-handedly and leaving my passion – my career was taking its toll. I had good and bad days… But we managed to find people who helped us settle here.
KITnDO: How do you describe your cultural background?
Tushita: We are Bengalis, originally from East India, however, my grandparents moved to the Western part of the country and I was brought up in Delhi, the Capital and melting pot of cultures. Our community is known for its vivacious literature, performing arts, movies, among others. We are foodies and extremely proud of our culture that boasts of feisty women, our ability to question the norms and our sweet mother tongue – Bangla. We have rich culture and heritage and most children are involved in learning either music, dance, theatre or sports – primarily football. Our people are well read and enjoy a healthy discussion that we call ‘adda’. Our community is enriched by many stalwarts – from Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Satyajit Ray, Amartya Sen to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Swami Vivekananda, Sarojini Naidu, Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Saurav Ganguly.
KITnDO: What do you miss from India? Have you found places in Johannesburg that bring you a little bit closer to your homeland?
Tushita: I miss our family and friends, street food, the chaos and the noise of the city – thankfully, access to street food, albeit occasionally is sorted!
Fordsburg (a suburb of Johannesburg) is the place to go if you’re looking for South Asian spices, herbs, vegetables, fish or small restaurants. You have small shops keeping stock of Indian sweets, savories and street food. Our go-to places are Dosa Hut that offers south Indian, Indian-Chinese and North Indian cuisines. For tandoori items, I go to a small Pakistani shop called Pehelwan – their roast chicken is to die for! For Biryanis and other such items, I usually go to Al Makka run by a Bangladeshi gentleman.
KITnDO: What language do you teach to your son? How is it important to transmit him your culture? Share some example.
Tushita: We speak in Bengali with our son while he learns English in his play school. We intend to teach him Hindi – the national language of India – a bit later.
As a student of history, I understand the importance of knowing one’s culture and heritage as it not only gives a sense of belonging but helps shape one’s identity. It is thus, important for me to provide a glimpse of my culture to my child. Knowing where I came from, helped me understand and respect those from diverse backgrounds. It helped me see what’s good and encouraged me to question norms that I wasn’t comfortable with. Reading and learning music nourished my soul and made me who I am today.
I’m not high on rituals or traditions, I believe in transferring the beauty of our culture – dance, music, literature to my child. Yet, my favorite celebration is Durga Puja – because it’s more than a religious tradition. It is a social occasion where we see our deity – not as god but as daughter visiting her family. Humanizing Goddess Durga and celebrating her and her children was my favorite since childhood. Here too, I’m happy to have founded my community people and we celebrated Durga Puja together – by performing and eating galore!
KITnDO: How did you find this community?
Tushita: Before moving to Joburg, I did my own research and found the Bengali Association of South Africa (BASA) page on FB. I contacted them and upon landing immediately became its member. The thriving community has 80+ Bengali families and organises many events during the year – starting from an annual picnic, Celebrating Tagore’s Birthday to the Durga Pujo. The warm and friendly members meet occasionally and I have made some lifelong friends through the association. We all participate and take our responsibilities extremely seriously!
KITnDO: What is most challenging for you as an expat spouse?
Tushita: As an expat spouse, the biggest challenge has been to give up my job and accompany my husband. I have a decade-long experience across nonprofit and private sectors with expertise in communications, CSR and programme management.
To face it, I have recently restarted my career as an independent consultant/freelance specializing in nonprofit communications, content development, M&E reporting and documentation. Finding work is an arduous task and though I regularly apply for positions at UN and likes, it’s proving to be extremely difficult.
I am looking for a development consultancy or an organization that doesn’t shy away from hiring a person like me and I would very much like to work in the social sector space and hoping to work in the mecca of international development – Africa. (And we are happy to share the link to Tushita’s Linkedin Profile!)
KITnDO: Finally, what represents community for you and how you deal with fact having to look for new friends?
Tushita: I feel lucky to have this opportunity of exploring another country and meeting new people. Yes, it’s a challenge to make friends and expand your professional network – but one needs to be open minded and embrace this as part of this journey… after all how many get such an opportunity? It’s best to focus on the positive, and for me community is all encompassing that shares common values like love, respect and acceptance.
So inspired? Have you ever moved abroad to follow your spouse? How did you manage in this new life? If you want to share something, don’t hesitate to do so in the comments section below. We’d like to hear about it!
Thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
When you share addresses of places for specific country of origin, reviews or pictures, you help other users to find necessary resources or to facilitate their decision process. This is essential to the KITNDO community and the reason the rewards program was integrated since the beginning.
Starting today, thanks to your contributions you can earn a free tote bag, designed by Petra from “Czech this out”, when you reach level 3 (make sure your address is filled in your profile so that we can mail it to you).
We are very excited to work on this project with “Czech this out”. It is a young brand created by a couple, originally from Czech Republic: while David focuses on metal sculptures, Petra draws, knits and makes jewelry. In the heart of their projects – one common thing: the inspiration from the nature. And this is not surprising, when living in British Columbia, the couple spend most of their weekends hiking and wandering in nature. Their products are sold online on Etsy and We Shop Canadian or at craft markets in and around New Westminster.
When we asked Petra to create a design for us, she related right away with KITNDO’s mission. In fact, the couple has been travelling and living abroad since few years: Scotland, Slovenia, New Zealand and now Canada. They moved to New Westminster, British Columbia in March 2017 and even though it meant to be a one-year stop, they fell in love with Canadian nature and they are not ready to leave.
When interviewing Petra about her Czech roots, and how does she see herself as opposed to other cultures, she pointed out a huge difference in the nation pride between Czechs and people from countries where she has lived. She took an example in the way how Canadians or Americans celebrate their Independence Day. Once, when they hiked the Garibaldi Lake on the Canada Day, she was blown away by the number of people carrying the Canadian flag and wishing them “happy Canada Day”. She wishes something like that exists on September 28 back in her native country.
Petra also describes what she misses most from Czech Republic, her answer was short and clear: “Friends and family for sure”. “I feel like there are always Czechs wherever we go :D. Even in Scotland where we lived in a small town of 8000 inhabitants. The community is even bigger in Edinburgh where you can find a Czech pub called “Pivo”. While living in Wellington, in New Zealand, we attended a few monthly Czech meetings and even though we did not particularly look for these events, as we wanted to get to know more about other cultures, we had a lot of fun… I know here is a strong Czech community- especially people on Working Holiday visa as British Columbia is very attractive with its stunning landscape and it’s relatively easy to find a job.”
Finally, the question we are always curious to ask to people living abroad, is what traditions do they keep alive? Petra told us: “We celebrate Christmas the Czech way (we bake cookies, eat fish and potato salad for dinner and unwrap presents on Christmas Eve- I still don’t understand how people can wait the whole night to open the presents in the morning- impossible :). Also, during Easter time I dye eggs and my husband cannot forget the “pomlazka“ tradition* on Easter Monday. And, of course, we keep celebrating our name days*”.
*”Pomlazka”: a braided whip made from pussywillow twigs – therefore used for centuries by boys who go caroling on Easter Monday and symbolically whip girls on the legs. Name Day: consists of celebrating a day of the year that is associated with one’s given name. The celebration is similar to a birthday.
Photo credits: Czech this out
How do I keep the contact with my friends and make new ones?
During several moments in the life of a nomad, expat, digital nomad or just a continuous traveler, we find ourselves submerged in effective memories. It’s normal to feel this way.
I believe that what surrounds us is the thoughts of how to keep our friendships or how not to be alone in our new destination.
On the occasion of the World Day of Friendship we took the time to talk a little bit about what to do when we see ourselves in a different country, with a different culture and often with a different language. Below you will find some nice ways to change the situation! Follow me!
A good tip to adapt yourself better in a new place is to find out about the habits of the country that you are going to. One of the biggest problems I realized is the routine. Those who are not newcomers do not know our difficulties. How about looking for people who are in the same situation?
Where to look? Nowadays, that the world is so well-connected, social media is a great way to network and find new groups. It can be a great start. Believe me, whenever I go to a new country I look for groups of the same nationality, people who speak the same language or who have the same interests. There are many groups divided by sports and even activities in common. I once met a group of people who came together to help each other on the challenge of how to clean the house with the variety of unknown products the new country offered.
A new country could mean a world of discoveries. Who better to talk than people who have been through it? Already, in this first contact we can discover many people with the same affinities, same routines and challenges. These people end up becoming our circle of friendship.
Language schools are also good places to bond with people in the same situation. Besides being very good to learn a new language, the local language can open many doors.
In some countries, these classes are free, subsidized by the government or cheap. It is worth checking.
Another nice tip: find out when are the national holidays! Many cities have a very nice cultural calendar. Promoting meetings with locals and expats, whether they are from work, friends of friends or someone you just met. It can also help you to know more about the culture and integrate yourself better in the new place.
Besides, many people are willing to help a foreigner and it could result in a beautiful friendship.
What about my friends who are at my home country? Usually it is cool to send photos and videos, funny little stories and events.
This helps our friends and family know how we are doing. Besides, it can always encourage them to come to visit. Which is always a delight!
Nowadays we can say that our circle of friendship is international and wherever we go we will have company. Being nomad has its advantages.
How about you, tell us what challenges you have already encountered in making new friends!
Check our Instagram for the chance to win a Rafiki bracelet!
Written by Tábata Martín
Let’s discover about some expats living far from their homelands and how they share their culture(s) with their children. Today, let’s get to know a bit more about Naomi, a Canadian born to a Japanese father and a Canadian mother with Scottish ancestry, living now in Slovakia. Naomi has completely embraced the culture of her Slovak husband. This has just added to her already multicultural background and influences the way she raises her four kids.
KITNDO: Do you pay special attention on transmitting to your kids their cultural heritage and how?
Naomi: I didn’t learn my father’s native language as a child and feel I missed out getting to know that side of the family as well as the culture. So, making sure my children are bilingual is very important to me.
Food and special holidays are the easiest ways to transmit their Canadian cultural heritage. For example, on New Year’s Eve we have Slovak Kapustnica for supper and Japanese sushi during the night. This year we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving properly for the first time and one of my children asked what Thanksgiving was. Oops. We incorporate both Canadian and Slovak traditions for holidays like Easter (Easter egg hunt) and Christmas (food, opening presents both in the evening and gifts from Canada in the morning).
I also sing with the children and teach them songs I learned as a child. We read books aloud, from children’s books centering on Japanese culture to historical fiction chapter books (like Anne of Green Gables and the Canadian Girls series). Here in Slovakia, the children go to a children’s folklore group where they learn traditional songs and dance, as well as wear the traditional dress for performances. It is easy to take for granted that what I know as an adult, everyone must know, but we need to be intentional about teaching children.
KITNDO: What do you miss the most from your homeland?
Naomi: Besides friends and family, I grew up on a farm in the mountains and miss that lifestyle. There is not much snow where we live, and I grew up doing lots of winter activities outside in the Canadian Rockies. Having all that land with animals, living far from town.
I also miss the availability of ethnic foods from all over the world. There is a lot more here now than there was 10 years ago, but I still have to go to the city to get some.
KITNDO: Are you in touch with any Canadian community or with other expats in Slovakia?
Naomi: I know a few expats in my town from various countries, but don’t have connections with any expat community in particular. I live in a small town and it is logistically difficult to go often to Bratislava.
KITNDO: What other ways help you to keep in touch with your homeland?
Naomi: Video calling with family, two of my children have pen pals, I always bring books back with me when we go visit Canada.
KITNDO: What new tradition or recipe, that you learnt in the country you live now, would you take with you if you should move somewhere else?
Naomi: My favorite Slovak dish probably: strapačky (potato dumplings sautéed with sauerkraut and bacon). I love the traditions associated with food, like the process of pig butchering or making sauerkraut.
I also really appreciate traditional Slovak crafts, like embroidery and pottery. Music is one of my favorites – I always enjoy and marvel when a large group of people are together and everyone can sing along because everybody knows the songs.
Back in the 90’s, just few years after the end of the Cold War, the difference of salaries and costs of living on East and West of Europe were so important that a price of subway ticket was considered as expensive for someone from ex-Soviet bloc. Though I had obtained a scholarship for my studies in a French College, each time I travelled for school break to Slovakia, I would bring back to France bags full of food and non-food items (of course, it would include some sweets from my childhood like “Horalky” or “Študentská pečať”). Many years later, the content of my bags reduced and changed, as I could travel by plane and was also limited by weight. I would bring mostly some souvenirs ‘Made in Slovakia’ for my friends, gifts I received from my family, and food that I’ve been really missing abroad (such as “Bryndza” – special sheep cheese, and “Becherovka” – herb based schnapps).
Much later, with the birth of my daughter, I would mostly bring CD’s with lullabies and little songs, books, and DVD with cartoons in Slovak language. If my family was visiting me in France during Christmas or Easter time, they would also bring some decorations (hand painted eggs, gingerbreads or beeswax candles) and also, some products to cook typical recipes for those special moments. Once, I even asked to bring me a special earthen cask to prepare my own sauerkraut, so I would never miss this ingredient so important in the Slovak kitchen. But unfortunately, when we moved to our New Yorker apartment, this item was left behind, it was not ideal to have fermenting cabbage literally in the kitchen/living room.
During our last summer break, we made a very long trip, visiting all three countries that represent our ‘Home’ countries: Slovakia, France and Mauritius (over 32.000 km all together). Following picture testifies that what we brought back with us, was decent to hold an international mini fair! So, if you are wondering what we have been missing since we moved to the US, here are some examples:
- Special laundry sheets that make your life easier because you don’t have to worry mixing clothes of different colors
- Baking Powder and chocolate Nestle (French expats in US would agree that Hershey’s is not the best substitute for a perfect “Moelleux au chocolat”: French molten chocolate cake)
- Cosmetics like Chanel, Clarins, and Occitane (all available in US but pricier)
- Tea “Mariage Frère”
- Foie gras and some duck terrines
- Different sweets like “Têtes brulées” and “Malabar”, and comic books for our daughter
- Mixtures of different spices to cook typical Mauritian recipes like Daube, Carry, etc.
- Pickled chilis from Reunion and Rodrigues Islands
- “Eau de Mélisse” and “Alcool de Menthe”: alternative to meds for digestive problems, travel sickness, stress, fatigue, and so on
- Fried salt fish (that we love so much)
- Some spices and Hungarian paste in tube called “Porkolt” (for cooking a sort of beef stew)
- Some more candies 🙂
- Swiss toothbrushes Curaprox
- Special cook utensil for “Koblihy” (Czech style of donuts)
Luckily we don’t have to wait until our next vacation, if we want to cook our traditional meals. In fact, in New York City, we have a couple of French, Slovak, Polish, Ukrainian or Indian stores, where we can buy many products and there are online shops too. If you want to find addresses of stores related to your home country that are situated in your neighborhood, try out KITnDO platform. You can also add places you know if they are missing there, so that others can discover them too.
Please, share with us what is on your shopping list for your next trip to the country(ies) you are connected to? What are you missing the most (besides family and friends of course)?
Written by Martina Hornakova
Thought it would be great to discover together some of the local New York addresses with family recipes, memories and stories related to them. Let’s start with East-Slovak specialty called “pirohy”, or what is commonly known here as “Pierogies”.
When we arrived in New York in 2015, my heart bumped up when I first saw “Pierogies” in the supermarket. They are sold fresh or frozen, filled with potato, cheese, feta and spinach, cabbage, etc. But the dough is very thick as compared to what I was used to eat since I can remember. Also, I find that fillings are too “sturdy”. I understood why 5-6 pieces are enough for one portion while in my home, you would eat at least a dozen.
All my family would agree, that my paternal grandma, who lived close to the town Michalovce, did the best pirohy ever: “Zemplinske pirohy” (Pierogies of Zemplin Region). She had such ease to make them, no matter how many we gathered in her house. As she knew that this meal will make everyone happy, whenever we called her that we are coming to visit, she would start preparing them right away. So, when we arrived she was waiting for us in the kitchen, with a big bowl of pirohy filled with home made plum jam and with Slovak style cottage cheese (called “tvaroh”), poured over with melted butter. They were thin and you could see through the cooked dough, in which there was jam and in which one cheese – as you may prefer one or the other, but we always ate them all.
I realized too late that my grandma’s knowledge of making pirohy at the perfection, was our family heritage. My mom and my aunts are good cooks as well and their pirohy are delicious, but I wish I could ask my grandma her secrets.
During my last summer vacation in Slovakia, I had a goal to learn how to cook them. I was proud of making them alone under my mom’s instructions but they were just like any beginning. You need to practice to reach the rightness, and I don’t. So, when I heard about a restaurant called Baba’s Pierogies situated in Brooklyn, founded by the couple with Slovak ancestors, I was curious. Will they taste as the ones from my childhood?
First, I read many positive reviews. I was touched by the story that Helena, co-founder of this place, explained in different interviews. In fact, her Slovak grandma, Julia Hlinka, was also the one who gathered all the family every Friday around the bowl of pierogies. And when Helena and her partner Robert wanted to open a restaurant business, she taught them all she could about pierogies so now, it’s them who perpetuate this cultural heritage. And they do it so well!
Their restaurant, situated close to Union Station in Brooklyn, is very cozy, with modern interior design integrating some Slovak elements. The long wall is covered by pictures with family memories and map highlighting Slovakia, and an open kitchen enables guests to feel the home atmosphere. I had a great Chicken soup and a “tasting” plate with every variety of pierogies proposed here. I began with boiled Potato & Cheese, and this is definitely my favorite because it reminds me the closest to the taste I was used to.
I had a chance to chat with Helena about all this “adventure”. We spoke Slovak even though she was born here. I was curious to know why the menu doesn’t include “bryndza” filling (sheep cheese), as this would be really typical Slovak recipe. Though this cheese is available nowadays in New York, it was not the case in the 60’s when Helena’s grandma arrived in New York and needed to adapt her recipe with American Cheese. To keep the family tradition, Baba’s Pierogies proposes the same recipe and when you order “Classic Potato” filling, get ready to be transported. And if you really want to taste bryndza, order the “Kielbasa sliders”, that features this typical Slovak cheese with sausage from Muncan in Queens, sauerkraut, and home cooked mustard. Czech and Slovak beers are available as well. I can’t wait to return here.
Written by Martina Hornakova