Exactly one year ago, on August 5, 2021, I embarked on a digital nomadic journey. One of the impressive things about it is that I did not plan to do it at all. But how can I become a digital nomad without intending it? ! What did I manage to do and see in one year? What motivated me to become one? And of course statistics and some pictures from all the countries I visited.
In 2021 I started working in one job and moved on to another to ensure I could continue to move as a digital nomad.
I have visited over 20 countries, quite a few of which I have seen several times in different regions, with 35 unique places.
To get to all these places, I departed: 33 flights, 5 trains, one ferry, and one taxi between Abu Dhabi to Dubai.
I have been to 20 countries outside of Israel, plus the Vatican City (counted as a country), and visited Israel.
All this traveling put me in 22 countries in one year. If the statistics and location are the most exciting part for you, you can find all of them at the end of this post.
The Beginning of My Nomadism
September 2021 was a holiday month in Israel. All the holidays were in the middle of the week, allowing for an entire month’s of vacations for those who made bridges of days off between the holidays, and this was precisely my plan.
But, the beginning of August 2021 was a daily contagion record of Covid-19 in Israel (“The Delta wave”). This new wave of covid made me realize that if I stay in Israel until the beginning of September, I will probably not go to Europe, either because Europe will close borders to red countries like Israel or Israel will decide to restrict its departure to Israelis.
On August 3, 2021, the news on Israeli television was catastrophic, talking about the closure of the sky. At that moment, I decided that I must act! The following day I sent a Slack message to the CTO of the company I was working at with an explanation of the situation. I asked him to work the whole month of August from Europe, on the understanding that we would probably work remotely anyway in the next few days according to the situation of the pandemic in Israel. In this way, by working remotely in August in Europe, I will already be in Europe and able to spend my holiday vacation there.
The CTO of my company applies my request. On the same day, in the evening, I bought a flight ticket for the next day, 5/8, to Lithuania (with a landing on 6/8).
I spend the month of August in full-time remote work in the countries of Lithuania and Latvia.
When August ended, I started a trip to countries that interested me more, at least on paper: the Netherlands and Germany. In the Netherlands, I met friends who became part of my “European family”. And so, without noticing, I spent two full months in Europe.
My Portuguese Passport
At the beginning of October, I was supposed to return to Israel for about 11 days. I’m using the word “supposed” because I did not have a ticket back to Israel. When I left Israel, I bought a one-way ticket. The reason for that was that I didn’t know from which country I was going to get back to Israel. My understanding was that I would probably return to Israel on October 1.
I had another flight ticket from Israel to Portugal, for 12/10, with Elal Airlines; this flight was bought before I bought the current one-way ticket. But Elal Airlines decided to change the ticket date to 13/10, which is equivalent to canceling because I was supposed to be at the Portuguese Ministry of the Interior office on 13/10 morning.
But on the other hand, it suited me that Elal airways postponed my flight. I started thinking about not returning to Israel, especially since they decided that my second vaccine was invalid and I must isolate myself when I came back to Israel. And so it turned out that thanks to the postponement of Elal’s flight, I was entitled to a cash credit for a flight ticket that I no longer needed.
And so, a month-long holiday became two months abroad. And more logistic problems made me start the third month as a digital nomad in Europe.
By the time I finished the need to stay in Portugal on 15/10, I already had a conference in France on 21/10 that I would speak there. So from Portugal, I continued to France. After such an extended stay in Europe, I also wanted to jump to London to see some musical shows and only then return to Israel.
But then I was admitted to another conference in London that was supposed to take place on November 21. And then also a conference in Poland on December 7, and I find myself supposedly with no reason to return to Israel.
During my stay in London, the London conference at which I was supposed to speak in postponed, and I find myself without any real reason not to return to Israel. So I brought the flight to Israel forward to November 8th.
From Temporary Digital Nomad to Permanent Digital Nomad
In the last week in London before returning to Israel, there were feelings of longing for family and friends after three months outside of Israel. But at the same time, there were also moments of reluctance that I did not have the abilities/desire to accommodate the crazy life we as Israelis have in our country. It became noticeable after I had not been in Israel for several months; without insulting Israel, I started to see what sanity looks like (by the way, the two things that are most difficult for me with Israel are missiles and traffic jams).
From this point, I find myself not wanting to return to Israel.
In my last week in London, I talked casually with my friend’s girlfriend due to WhatsApp messages from one of our groups. After talking with her, I also spoke to him; his name is Eldad Fox, for those who don’t know him, he is the creator of the open source project called Appwrite, which became a startup with a company that doesn’t have physical offices, 100 percent full remote company!
From there, I talked to him, and he told me when are you joining me? With the thoughts of the last week in London that I just shared with you, “how shall I say this,” it would have seemed to me like a glove for a hand.
Taking the Control to My Own Hands
In the meantime, I returned to Israel to resign from my job and sign with my friend’s new company, with the understanding that I am on a light break of a month (a month of notice in the current company) before I immediately continue to be a full time as a digital nomad.
But then, at the time of the month alert notice, on 26.11.2021, Bennett, the prime minister of Israel at that time, Bennett feared that there might be no choice and they would have to close the sky (because they discovered the omicron, the new type of covid virus).
I can remember the anger and rage that burned in me at that moment. You have to understand after a year and a half in kind of a closer in Israel, and after tasting a taste of new life and control over your own life, you are not ready to accept this thing that the state of Israel or any other country can decide for me that I should be closed, especially when you understand that Israel is a controlled frenzy. What can I do in this situation, you may ask?
I bought a one-way flight ticket out (Friday 26.11) for the next day (Saturday 27.11)! And so, it turned out that I spent two weeks in Malta and Greece. And you need to understand; that I did not inform the current place, I’m flying. I just bought a ticket and flew. The following week I worked remotely, and only then did my company workers realize that I, once again, was working from abroad.
The Most Important Tip For Starting to Be Digital Nomads
Before my first departure as a digital nomad, I did not check anything. I bought a one-way plane ticket, booked a hotel for the first few days, and flew. I did the rest of the flights and booked the rest of the accommodations with popular apps like:
- For Flights: Google flights
- For Accommodation: Booking.com
- For Navigation: Google Maps
- For Attractions: I type in Google the name of a city in English plus the word “Attractions” and without leaving the search page, Google would give me the top attractions in the city.
- For Covid-19 entry requirements: I’m using this special Air Baltic engine.
My tip here: less research, less analysis. The more you think about how you do it, the less likely you will succeed. People tend to be afraid of changes, and they will put all the fears of their lives into this decision, even though, in most cases, it has nothing to do with this decision.
The only critical thing is remote work; you can try with a current job or replace to a new position for that. As soon as you are working remotely, throw an idea place on the globes, buy a ticket flight and fly, the rest of the thoughts of “how I will manage” you will do when you land in the new place.
I can tell you that in the 20 countries I’ve been to in the last year, I made no plans before arriving in the country; all my decisions, except accommodation, were made after landing. For example: how to get from the airport to the hotel/accommodation; I will search after I have landed in the country using the Google Maps app. And I’m not making it easy on myself; I’m doing everything to start learning public transportation when I land and not being tempted to take a taxi (the easy way).
What Made Me Start Wandering the World?
One of the most interesting questions for people who meet me in Israel is, “Why did I start nomadic?”. This question doesn’t have one answer.
The decision to go wandering consists of a mosaic of negative and positive things that have happened to you in life. I think that the negative ones are the ones that have a chance to help you to start to be a digital nomad, and the positive ones are the ones that will keep you as one. But if you want a variety of my little perspectives, let’s start with the negatives.
Negative Perspectives for the Initiation of Nomadism
House Rent/Buy Prices
In 2010 I chose to move from living in the central area of Israel to moving and living in the peripheral city of Ashkelon. The decision was prophetic as I realized, already in 2010, that if I didn’t buy an apartment at that moment, the prices would not stop rising, and I didn’t want to buy an apartment that would mortgage my salary for many years of my life.
So I bought a cute little apartment of 35 square meters in the marina in Ashkelon and moved in. For many years I knew how to close my eyes to the significant gap in why I am not adapted to the “general atmosphere of Ashkelon city”. What is a general atmosphere, you ask?
Ashkelon is a bit of a wild west city, A place where the law is not enforced, where crime and violence rule the streets, but everything is fine if you don’t accidentally open your mouth to someone who cut you off on the road. If you accidentally open your mouth, don’t be surprised to find a car chasing you on the streets and threatening you.
That said, I lived a relatively fun life in a relatively new apartment with a pool and, yes, entirely disconnected from most of what happens in Ashkelon.
I moved to Ashkelon, knowing it would take me more time to drive on the road. But when I went to the center of Israel, driving for work, it was about an hour and a quarter with the worst traffic jams, and sometimes the trains were a sufficient alternative.
But as the years passed, it became impossible to move inside Israel, as if the most “healthy” situation is to work from home and order shopping, and it is best not to get out from home because it is congested in Israel all the time.
One of the things that angered me the most was that people in Israel were telling me that I didn’t have to live in the suburbs. It is funny because when I lived in the center, the same type of people said I don’t have to live in the center if the housing price is so high.
If there’s anything I’ve learned while living in Israel, people living in Israel live in a “LOOSE LOOSE SITUATION game”. What does it mean? You will lose no matter how you choose to live in Israel; life in Israel is too tricky. And the saddest truth about it is that it only gets worse from year to year. Let’s not forget this delusional thing that there is no public transportation on the weekend in Israel, which is an integral part of the unbearable traffic jams, “because who would want to travel by public transportation after buying a private car to drive on the weekend.”
Wars, Missiles, and Violence
The year 2021 is the second year we have lived with the Coronavirus pandemic. But it’s not just the coronavirus that has miserable our lives in Israel. I used to live in Ashkelon, as I mentioned before, and I remember the year 2021 very well also due to the problematic war with the Gaza Strip, in which Ashkelon received close to 1000 missiles in 8 days, with an intifada that occurred in Israel. When we add to this the painful reality of traffic jams, the constant situation is that we function in a continuous state of war. All of this, plus the stress in Israel that creates inner violence in almost every parameter of Israeli society, finally broke me.
The thought of being less in Israel accompanied me for several years. In 2021 it reached a peak with all the things I mentioned. My soul could no longer survive the reality in Israel and continue doing many public things, which probably added much more mental pressure.
For illustration, the missile barrage filmed in the video below, which I did not shoot, caught me just as I was leaving my father’s house near the city of Yavne, intending to go further north away from the war. I was lying flat on the ground for several minutes; dozens (if not some 100) of missiles kept exploding above me.
The realization that these two aspects cannot exist together in a sane way indirectly caused me to make an unexpected move, which eventually became a planned move.
Positive Perspectives for the Initiation of Nomadism
As soon as you embark on a journey of digital nomadism, you can notice that everything is calmer for the first time. Every country has problems, but the default is patience and less stress.
Cost of Leaving
It is difficult to “beat Israel” at the cost of leaving prices; several individual countries may be in the same territory as Israel. Most places outside of Israel will seem relatively cheap for people after living in Israel.
One of the advantages of earning an Israeli salary and living somewhere else is that your money is worth more in most places. And when your money is worth more, the underlying feeling is better. It doesn’t matter how much the locals earn; you feel better when your money is worth more. And if for some reason the place you are in changes for the worse? Nothing happened; you pack up and move, the advantage of being a digital nomad.
The Freedom to Choose
Who doesn’t want to travel and experience the world? It is fun knowing that you can be and enjoy anywhere. It is so addicting that in my first year, I was in over 20 countries in one year, which is also a lying number because, in many of the countries, I was multiple times in different locations, something equivalent to 35 separate vacations abroad, and all of this in one year.
The crisis of crossing the age of 40 is not imaginary; it is the mother of all crises! You understand that life is finite, and you try to maximize it. It’s favorable if you take it to a positive place of living life to the fullest.
The fragility of life – absurdly, the coronavirus- made us all want to be abroad even more. This happened because we weren’t allowed to move freely for a long time. “After” this pandemic, most of us understand that everything in life is fragile. Suddenly there is an epidemic in the world, suddenly there is a war in Ukraine, and now you can’t visit this country, suddenly Iranians are looking for Israelis in Turkey, and it is recommended not to go to Turkey. All this makes you want to live your life here and now!
So Which Countries Have I Been to?
In the last year, I have been to 22 countries on paper, including the “Vatican City ” and Israel; even if we discount them, I have been to no less than 20 countries outside of Israel in the last year. Nineteen of them are in Europe and the United Arab Emirates.
Below is a list of countries I have been to with some images from all the nations.
1. Lithuania 🇱🇹
Lithuania was the first country I reached in my first year of nomadism; I have a warm place in my heart for this country. Don’t be mistaken by the pictures; the first day wandering in Lithuania was traumatic; it rained endlessly, and all the electrical appliances I had in my backpack broke down. (The photos I have with short clothes are from the images I got there in August 2021, the picture with warm clothes is from April 2022)
2. Latvia 🇱🇻
After two weeks in Lithuania, you understand how easy it is to move to Europe; I jumped for two weeks to the capital city of Latvia, Riga.
3. Netherlands 🇳🇱
The Netherlands is a warm place in my heart, one of the complete places for me to live in Europe and with many friends.
4. Germany 🇩🇪
I have been to Berlin twice; the first time, I was there for a few days and ran away, and the second time I came to talk at a conference and corrected the experience the first time.
5. Portugal 🇵🇹
I feel at home in Portugal because of the calm and because I am a citizen of Portugal after receiving citizenship in Portugal last year (October 2021). I spent 39 days in Portugal last year. Both in the north and the south.
6. France 🇫🇷
I came to the city of Nantes to talk there at a conference.
7. England 🏴
I have visited London 4 times in the last year. I’m a “musical shows junkie”; I’ve been to more than 20 shows just this year in London alone.
8. Malta 🇲🇹
A country which I flew to “escape from Israel”, which turned out to be a stunning and magical place.
9. Greece 🇬🇷
I went to Athens for diversity and to guarantee 10 countries a year (including Croatia 🇭🇷, where I was in June 2021, plus the current 9 until December 2021). At that time, I didn’t realize that I would reach 20 countries a year (from the 6th of August 2021 to the 5th of August 2022).
10. Spain 🇪🇸
The country I have been to the most outside of Israel. I was in Barcelona separately, I was in Madrid separately, and two separate long times in Tenerife. A total of 46 days in Spain in the last year.
11. United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪
The only country I’ve been to outside of Europe. I spent a week in Abu Dhabi and two weeks in Dubai.
12. Poland 🇵🇱
I came for the second time to talk at a conference in Warsaw, Poland.
13. Finland 🇫🇮
One of the places I feel I missed, I arrived at a freezing time; it was snowy and beautiful, but just too cold for me, which made me change to another country after five days.
14. Estonia 🇪🇪
I fled to Estonia from frozen Finland. But Estonia was also frozen, but there was a hotel with a fantastic spa at a low price.
15. Sweden 🇸🇪
Stockholm is one of the best cities I’ve been to in Europe; kindness, sanity, and healthy spirit, the city that surprised me the most for good.
16. Italy 🇮🇹
A consolidation week in the company I work is breaking my digital nomad routine.
17. Czechia 🇨🇿
A weekend in Prague, a long connection between Rome and Berlin.
18. Denmark 🇩🇰
I came to Denmark to give lectures at a conference in the city of Odense. Beside, I was another day in Copenhagen that brought a taste of more. To the disadvantage of Copenhagen, it is one of the most expensive cities in Europe and the world.
19. Bulgaria 🇧🇬
I came to Bulgaria for a digital nomads conference in a town called Bansko. I regretted not looking for things like this until that moment. It is because it’s just amazing to meet people of your kind. One thing that characterizes digital nomads is that nothing represents them; each digital nomad is special in its own ways.
20. Romania 🇷🇴
I traveled to so many places in the past year. I was jumping and returning to the same countries back and forth. When I looked at how many countries I visited last year, I wanted to round the number to 20. Even with the “Vatican City” considered an independent nation, I preferred to ensure the arrival of this round number of 20. Because how many people can say that they have been to 20 countries in their life in one year!
So Romania, no offense, was the excuse to stop in country number 20 before visiting my home country and signing for sure at least 20 countries I stayed in the last year.
21. Vatican City 🇻🇦
Oh, and yes, the Vatican City can be counted as well.
There is no summary. I continue to travel around the world, trying to slow down a bit, get to know countries more deeply, and aim for more exotic lands later on, such as Thailand, for which I already have a ticket flight and other countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia.
That’s how without noticing, I created a life of digital nomadism. In fact, from August 6, 2021, I was in Israel only on visits and visited no less than 20 countries.
The division into days by country:
- Spain – 46 days
- Portugal – 39 days
- England – 33 days
- Netherlands – 27 days
- Greece – 26 days
- Lithuania – 22 days
- United Arab Emirates – 19 days
- Bulgaria – 18 days
- Estonia – 14 days
- Latvia – 14 days
- Germany – 8 days
- Malta – 8 days
- Sweden – 8 days
- Finland – 5 days
- Denmark – 5 days
- France – 5 days
- Poland – 4 days
- Italy – 4 days
- Romania – 4 days
- Czechia – 3 days
- Vatican City 🇻🇦 – half day
- 6.8 – Lithuania (Vilnius, Druskininkai)
- 20.8 – Latvia (Riga)
- 3.9 – Netherlands (Amsterdam, Utrecht, Giethoorn, Volendam, Walibi, Efteling, Rotterdam, Delft, Zaandam)
- 19.9 – Germany (Berlin)
- 24.9 – Portugal (Porto, Lisbon, Sintra, Cascais, Cabo da Roca)
- 20.10 – France (Nantes + Talk at conference, little bit in Paris)
- 25.10 – England (London)
- 8.11 – (Visit Israel 🇮🇱)
- 27.11 – Malta (Many places in the main island)
- 5.12 – Greece (Athens)
- 11.12 – (Visit Israel 🇮🇱)
- 24.12 – 27.12 Greece (Athens)
- 28.12 – (Visit Israel 🇮🇱)
- 7.1 – Greece (Athens + Aegina Island)
- 23.1 – England (London)
- 30.1 – Portugal (North – Ponte De Lima, Braga, Guimarães and Viana do Castelo)
- 12.2 – Spain (Barcelona)
- 19.2 – (Visit Israel 🇮🇱)
- 5.3 – United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai)
- 24.3 – Poland (Warsaw, Talk at conference)
- 27.3 – Finland (Helsinki)
- 2.4 – Estonia (Tallinn)
- 16.4 – Sweden (Stockholm)
- 24.4 – Lithuania (Vilnius, Trakai)
- 2.5 – Spain (Canarias Islands [Tenerife], Talk at conference, Madrid)
- 23.5 – Italy (Rome, Company week)
- 27.5 – Czechia (Prague)
- 30.5 – Germany (Berlin, Talk at conference)
- 2.6 – Netherlands (Utrecht, Amsterdam, The Hague, Zaandam, Leiden)
- 13.6 – Denmark (Odense, Copenhagen, Talk at conference)
- 18.6 – Bulgaria (Sofia + Bansko)
- 6.7 – England (London)
- 9.7 – Spain (La-laguna and Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife, Canarias Islands)
- 26.7 – England (London)
- 4.8 – Romania (Bucharest)
- 8.8 – (Visit Israel 🇮🇱)
The trips I made (flights/trains/ferries/buses):
Total significant trips: 33 flights, 5 trains, 1 ferry, and 1 taxi (from Abu Dhabi to Dubai)
- 5.8.2021 – Flight – Tel Aviv (Israel) 🇮🇱 – Vilna (Lithuania) 🇱🇹
- 20.8.2021 – Flight – Vilna (Lithuania) 🇱🇹 – Riga (Latvia) 🇱🇻
- 3.9.2021 – Flight – Riga (Latvia) 🇱🇻 – Amsterdam (Netherlands) 🇳🇱
- 19.9.2021 – Train – Amsterdam (Netherlands) 🇳🇱 – Berlin (Germany) 🇩🇪
- 23.9.2021 – Flight – Berlin (Germany) 🇩🇪 – Porto (Portugal) 🇵🇹
- 7.10.2021 – Bus – Porto (Portugal) 🇵🇹 – Lisbon (Portugal) 🇵🇹
- 20.10.2021 – Flight – Lisbon (Portugal) 🇵🇹 – Nantes (France) 🇫🇷
- 24.10.2021 – Train – Nantes (France) 🇫🇷 – Paris (France) 🇫🇷
- 24.10.2021 – Train – Paris (France) 🇫🇷 – London (UK) 🇬🇧
- 7.11.2021 – Flight – London (UK) 🇬🇧 – Tel Aviv (Israel) 🇮🇱
- 27.11.2021 – Flight – Tel Aviv (Israel) 🇮🇱 – Malta (Malta) 🇲🇹
- 5.12.2021 – Flight – Malta (Malta) 🇲🇹 – Athens (Greece) 🇬🇷
- 10.12.2021 – Flight – Athens (Greece) 🇬🇷 – Tel Aviv (Israel) 🇮🇱
- 24.12.2021 – Flight – Tel Aviv (Israel) 🇮🇱 – Athens (Greece) 🇬🇷
- 27.12.2021 – Flight – Athens (Greece) 🇬🇷 – Tel Aviv (Israel) 🇮🇱
- 7.1.2022 – Flight – Tel Aviv (Israel) 🇮🇱 – Athens (Greece) 🇬🇷
- 23.1.2022 – Flight – Athens (Greece) 🇬🇷 – London (UK) 🇬🇧
- 30.1.2022 – Flight – London (England) 🇬🇧 – Porto (Portugal) 🇵🇹
- 11.2.2022 – Flight – Porto (Portugal) 🇵🇹 – Barcelona (Spain) 🇪🇸
- 19.2.2022 – Flight – Barcelona (Spain) 🇪🇸 – Tel Aviv (Israel) 🇮🇱
- 5.3.2022 – Flight – Tel Aviv (Israel) 🇮🇱 – Abu Dhabi (UAE) 🇦🇪
- 11.3.2022 – Taxi – Abu Dhabi (UAE) 🇦🇪 – Dubai (UAE) 🇦🇪
- 24.3.2022 – Flight – Dubai (UAE) 🇦🇪 – Warsaw (Poland) 🇵🇱
- 27.3.2022 – Flight – Warsaw (Poland) 🇵🇱 – Helsinki (Finland) 🇫🇮
- 1.4.2022 – Ferry – Helsinki (Finland) 🇫🇮 – Talin (Estonia) 🇪🇪
- 15.4.2022 – Flight – Talin (Estonia) 🇪🇪 – Stockholm (Sweden) 🇸🇪
- 24.4.2022 – Flight – Stockholm (Sweden) 🇸🇪 – Vilna (Lithuania) 🇱🇹
- 1.5.2022 – Flight – Vilna (Lithuania) 🇱🇹 – Barcelona (Spain) 🇪🇸 – Replacement for another flight
- 1.5.2022 – Flight – Barcelona (Spain) 🇪🇸 – Tenerife (Spain) 🇪🇸
- 20.5.2022 – Flight – Tenerife (Spain) 🇪🇸 – Madrid (Spain) 🇪🇸
- 23.5.2022 – Flight – Madrid (Spain) 🇪🇸 – Rome (Italy) 🇮🇹
- 27.5.2022 – Flight – Rome (Italy) 🇮🇹 – Prague (Czech) 🇨🇿
- 30.5.2022 – Train – Prague (Czech) 🇨🇿 – Berlin (Germany) 🇩🇪
- 2.6.2022 – Train – Berlin (Germany) 🇩🇪 – Amsterdam (Netherlands) 🇳🇱
- 13.6.2022 – Flight – Amsterdam (Netherlands) 🇳🇱 – Copenhagen (Denmark) 🇩🇰
- 18.6.2022 – Flight – Copenhagen (Denmark) 🇩🇰 – Sofia (Bulgaria) 🇧🇬
- 5.7.2022 – Flight – Sofia (Bulgaria) 🇧🇬 – London (England) 🇬🇧
- 8.7.2022 – Flight – London (England) 🇬🇧 – Tenerife (Spain) 🇪🇸
- 26.7.2022 – Flight – Tenerife (Spain) 🇪🇸 – London (England) 🇬🇧
- 4.8.2022 – Flight – London (England) 🇬🇧 – Bucharest (Romania) 🇷🇴
- 7.8.2022 – Flight – Bucharest (Romania) 🇷🇴 – Tel Aviv (Israel) 🇮🇱
With What Flight Companies I flew?
- Ryanair – 16 Flights
- Wizz Air – 6 Flights
- Air Baltic – 3 Flights
- Vueling – 2 Flights
- Transavia – 1 Flight
- Virgin Atlantic – 1 Flight
- Elal – 1 Flight
- Fly Dubai – 1 Flight
- ITA Airways – 1 Flight
- Eurowings – 1 Flight