How No­mads Rate NZ

North & South - - Technology -

WHILE New Zealand isn’t the high­est-ranked dig­i­tal nomad des­ti­na­tion in the world, be­cause of the cost of liv­ing, what do vis­it­ing no­mads think about their work ex­pe­ri­ence here?

Robert Crocker A 28-year- old Amer­i­can with a back­ground in IT work­ing free­lance in data vi­su­al­i­sa­tion – a way of mak­ing data eas­ier to un­der­stand. He’s been work­ing as a nomad for the past year and has vis­ited 10 coun­tries.

Why New Zealand? To speak to a data vi­su­al­i­sa­tion group in Auck­land, meet friends and stir up new leads for my work. Why work as a nomad? The DN life­style feels very nat­u­ral to me. No need for ex­pen­sive clothes or ex­ces­sive ma­te­rial goods. You also don’t have to waste un­nec­es­sary time com­mut­ing. Where did you base your­self? A cafe in Im­pe­rial Lane, Auck­land. I couch-surfed at a friend’s place. Oth­er­wise it would have cost me around $1000 a fort­night to live. You stayed just a few weeks? I could have worked in New Zealand if I had the right visa and more time. My skills are rare and sought-af­ter, but only in small cir­cles. How do you rate the coun­try as a nomad? I love how ev­ery­one is kind and wel­com­ing. The food is de­li­cious. But I found work re­la­tion­ships in New Zealand are built on trust over a long pe­riod of time. Time is a lux­ury for no­mads. We don’t have it; we need to get into a coun­try, make con­tacts and get peo­ple to trust that we can de­liver what they need. New Zealand has a way to go in that re­spect.

Tom Finn A 25-year- old Cana­dian work­ing for Space Squir­rel (spacesquir­rel.co), a com­pany build­ing apps for the Shopify e- com­merce plat­form. The founders are based in the UK, but there are re­mote work­ers in Bangladesh, Lux­em­bourg and New Zealand.

Why New Zealand? I met my part­ner, a Kiwi, in Canada. I love the out­doors and the mas­sive di­ver­sity in New Zealand’s land­scape. Why work as a nomad? In Canada, I worked re­motely for Shopify and the life grew on me. With­out a “place of work” per se, I’m free to work where and when I want. I’ll keep go­ing as long as it’s fi­nan­cially vi­able. Where do you base your­self? I’ve worked in co-work­ing spa­ces like Min­istry of Awe­some in Christchurch, where I’m based now. I also en­joy just go­ing to a park and work­ing from my phone when I can. How do you rate the coun­try as a nomad? It’s more ex­pen­sive than Canada, es­pe­cially gro­ceries and eat­ing out, but phone plans are much cheaper, es­pe­cially if you use lots of data, like I do. It’s good fi­bre is be­ing rolled out; it makes such a dif­fer­ence. Un­for­tu­nately, in the re­mote places in New Zealand that are most beau­ti­ful, it’s hard to find a wifi con­nec­tion and a place to work. I think the com­mu­nity of no­mads here will grow as re­sources im­prove.

Jonathan H. Lee A 32-year- old Hong Kong-born pho­tog­ra­pher and videog­ra­pher, who has lived most of his life in the US. He works mainly on en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial en­ter­prise projects, and left the US in 2009 to work and travel as a dig­i­tal nomad.

Why New Zealand? The coun­try had been on my radar for 10 years be­cause of its nat­u­ral beauty. A friend con­tacted me a cou­ple of years ago about an ur­ban food hub get­ting un­der­way in Christchurch, sparked by the earth­quake. I have an in­ter­est in ur­ban food, so I booked my ticket for the So­cial En­ter­prise World Fo­rum, in Christchurch in Septem­ber last year. Why work as a nomad? I like that I can com­bine my hobby and my work in dif­fer­ent places around the world. You can meet peo­ple with sim­i­lar pas­sions for the work you do. Where do you base your­self? Out of cafes and peo­ple’s homes, if I’m work­ing in­de­pen­dently. I also have a hot desk at the Min­istry of Awe­some while I’m work­ing on a col­lab­o­ra­tive project with them. How do you rate the coun­try as a nomad? Nat­u­rally, it’s very beau­ti­ful. But, for a small coun­try, it also has a lot of in­no­va­tive peo­ple work­ing in the so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal space. I was go­ing to spend three months here, but I think it will be at least six months. +

Above: Hong Kong-born Jonathan H. Lee works out of cafes and other peo­ple’s homes. Above right: Amer­i­can Robert Crocker has been a nomad for 10 years.

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