When most people think of digital nomads or remote workers, they often think of Chang Mai in Thailand, Ubud in Bali, or other remote work hotspots in South East Asia. However, there are lot of inexpensive mountain and beach towns in Canada, the United States and Mexico that offer fast Internet and a low cost of living.
I love working remotely and having the freedom to take off in the winter to tropical paradises but the reality is that in the tropics the Internet connection is often slow and the heat oppressive.
There are clearly advantages of working in popular remote worker hotspots in South East Asia (exotic beaches, low cost, warm culture) but here are a few disadvantages that I’ve encountered in these faraway places:
1. Difficult time zones.
It’s very difficult to schedule meetings with clients back in North America when you’re working in South East Asia since the time zones are basically reversed (day in Thailand is night in the US).
2. Poor Internet speeds.
Once you leave a major metropolis like Bangkok or Hanoi the Internet speeds can get frustratingly slow. If you need super fast Internet to do your job (and not lose your sanity) then staying closer to home can be helpful.
3. Getting work done in paradise.
The heat and backpacker party culture in places like Thailand and Bali can make it hard to get meaningful work done. Back home in Canada or the United States, it’s often much easier to focus and get things done.
10 Adventure Towns in North America
If you want to be closer to family, in a similar time zone to your clients and where you can enjoy comforts of living in a Western society, sometimes it’s worth staying closer to home. Fortunately, there are plenty of hotspots for digital nomads and remote workers in North America.
I’ve done a lot of road tripping around Canada, Mexico and the United States and I’ve had the chance to explore many of the most beautiful towns and cities in each of these countries. From my experience, these are the best all-around adventure towns to live in if you want an active, outdoorsy lifestyle.
These adventure towns are ideal for balancing working online remotely with an active lifestyle that can include skiing, snowboarding, surfing, hiking, camping, kiteboarding, mountain biking and just about any other outdoor recreation opportunities you can think of:
10. Moab, Utah
This little town on the Colorado River in southern Utah is a mountain bike and adventure sport mecca. Moab is surrounded by spectacular national parks and the towering Rocky Mountains to the east.
9. Jackson, Wyoming
This Wild West cowboy town offers quick access to the legendary steeps of Jackson Hole and nearby Grand Tetons National Park. This area has exceptional backcountry skiing and incredibly good scenery.
8. Santa Barbara, California
Just 2 hours north of the hustle and bustle of LA is beautiful Santa Barbara and Ventura County. This is a great spot for surfing, hiking and mountain biking in a place with a perfect Mediterranean climate.
7. Hanalei, Kauai
This surfing mecca is on the peaceful northern coast of Kauai, the most remote of the major Hawaiian islands. There is excellent hiking on the world famous Napali Coast with epic trails like the Kalalau trail and Kauai Canyon.
6. Banff, Alberta
This majestic town in the Canadian Rockies is perfect for skiing, camping and exploring the massive Canadian Rockies National Park system. Many remote workers opt to live in nearby town of Canmore 20 minutes away, which is also majestically beautiful.
5. Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Home to the world famous Mexican Pipeline, this off-the-beaten-path town has long been known to surfers for a generation but is now attracting digital nomads and remote worker expats who are looking to get away from crowded resort towns.
4. Boulder, Colorado
They call Boulder 25 square miles surrounded by reality. This town is a little piece of a paradise on the edge of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains attracts creative professionals, digital nomads and entrepreneurs from all over the United States.
3. Taos, New Mexico
High in the mountains of New Mexico, Taos is a hub for skiers, adventurers and conscious people. It is a hotspot for sustainable communities and the birthplace of the Earthship “Biotecture” movement.
2. Bend, Oregon
This outdoor adventurer’s paradise in the southern deserts of Oregon is a refuge for remote workers and creative entrepreneurs looking to getaway from the rat race in big American cities.
1. Squamish, British Columbia
At end of the a long fjord, Squamish is probably the best adventure town in Canada. It offers unlimited possibilities for outdoor enthusiasts: hiking, camping, kiteboarding, rock climbing, scuba diving and the legendary skiing and mountain biking mecca Whistler Blackcomb is a short drive away.
Escape The 9 To 5 Grind In The City:
If you’re thinking of escaping the traffic, noise and high cost of living in busy North American cities like San Francisco, New York City and Toronto, these are some great adventure towns to consider.
Nearly all of these adventure towns mentioned offer a much lower cost of living than most major Canadian or American cities (although some like Boulder, Santa Barbara and Squamish can still be quite expensive).
If you’re ready for a healthier, more balanced lifestyle and a deeper sense of community, then you may want to visit some of these adventure towns and see how you like them. The lower cost of living and the nearly unlimited possibilities for outdoor recreation in these towns makes them ideal places to not only live but also to recruit the best talent if you’re entrepreneur looking to relocate.