Feeling restless? Expand your horizons at Freedom X Fest

A village in Lleida in the Pyrenees

Summer is coming (I can barely believe it, either) in the northern hemisphere, and you might be thinking about getting away from it all. Sun, sand, sangria and all that. Summer is also a time to be rethinking priorities before the dreaded back-to-school feeling returns.

Perhaps, as you sit on that fluffy beach and stare at the deep blue sea, a sea that appears to go on forever, you think big thoughts on doing big things in a big world unconstrained by, erm, big borders.

But where to begin?

Coworkation, who organises work retreats for digital nomads, will be holding a festival on freedom this August in Spain. Over six days, Freedom X Fest will bring together leaders of the location independent movement, entrepreneurs and creatives in a remote village in the Pyrenees.

It’s far from a bad choice of location for a festival seeking to inspire. The Pyrenees are somewhat underrated – amazing food and drink, ancient villages forgotten by time, and fabulous Barcelona on your doorstep. Seriously, what more can anyone want? To kind of prove my point, the following image shows the Pyrenees snapped from a flight I took in January 2016:

More than 50 speakers are now reportedly confirmed, and there will be additional activities such as rock-climbing, swimming, hiking, yoga and meditation, and live music with DJs.

Aspiring digital nomads can sign up on the website for a ticket (with one day, weekend and week passes available).

Iberian nations dominate InterNations Quality of Life 2017 index

Portugal

With kids now going back to school across Europe, many parents will perhaps be reminiscing on their summer holiday in the Mediterranean and how nice everything was. They might even think about living there (that’s the dangerous thing about holidays – they tend to force a what if rethink in people’s minds).

Southern Europe wouldn’t be a bad choice, either: the latest InterNations Quality of Life Index shows that Portugal and Spain have the best standard of living rated by expats in the world, divided only by 2016 winner Taiwan (which is also a wonderful destination, albeit for different reasons).

On that point, it’s interesting to see blocs in the index – Denmark, Sweden and Finland are bunched together, as are Germany and Luxembourg. It does feel a little like a Eurovision Song Contest of living standards.

The top 20 is as follows:

1. Portugal
2. Taiwan
3. Spain
4. Singapore
5. Czech Republic
6. Japan
7. Australia
8. Switzerland
9. Costa Rica
10. Germany
11. Luxembourg
12. Denmark
13. Canada
14. Sweden
15. New Zealand
16. Finland
17. Netherlands
18. UAE
19. Malta
20. South Korea

Portugal’s success, coming a year after the nation won football’s European Championships, shows the country on the ascendancy. Perhaps. It might not be a surprise to the organisers of the amazing coworking retreat Offsite Immersive in Guia, offering a pool and a nearby beach.

Overall Quality of Life aside, the Quality of Life Index grouped countries under five categories: Leisure Options, Personal Happiness, Travel & Transport, Health & Wellbeing, and Safety & Security.

InterNations polled 12,500 expats of 166 nationalities based in 188 territories and asked them to rate 43 aspects of life overseas.

Barcelona bootcamp offered to budding digital nomads

Barcelona skyline

If surrounded by fifty shades of beige, and the thought of following a location independent lifestyle in idyllic Ko Lanta appeals but you’re unsure where to begin (other than buying a ticket to Bangkok), a digital nomad bootcamp in Barcelona might nudge you in the right direction.

The Nomad Accelerator has launched a two-week programme that aims to equip participants with the relevant knowledge, skills and mindset to get started.

During the course, nomad wannabes will learn digital marketing skills, from how to build a search-optimised website and design landing pages with high conversions to social media, from 10 experienced nomads. The programme will also include interactive workshops as well as talks.

Starting on 31 July in the Catalan capital, the bootcamp will cost USD2,750 (accommodation included) with seats for 30 candidates, so get applying.