Georgia | Absolutely Best Place for Digital Nomads | Pros and Cons
Hi all! Today, I want to share with you my story of how and why I started my journey as a digital nomad. It will be a personal story with all my experiences and thoughts during the beginning of the journey. I will also talk about which country I chose as my first stop and why.
Who am I
I am a young IT specialist who started his career relatively recently, just a year ago. By the way, this is not my first article on this site. I wrote more about my work and activities in this article. If you are interested, you can read about what I do in more detail.
In short, I was a technical support engineer, and now I opened my own web studio, because I was once fond of web development and dreamed of turning a hobby into a business (like everyone probably does). The most important thing here is probably the fact that I have never worked in an office in my life. All my previous jobs encouraged the remote format. I worked during classes at the university, I worked in pizzerias, cafes and subways. He worked everywhere, and that has its charm.
During the next working day, I thought - if I work remotely, then what's the difference where to do it - in the subway or on the beach under the sun. A banal thought, but I became so attached to my city and country that such thoughts did not even appear in my head. I did not even want to leave my area of the city, I did not even want to move closer to the metro station, not to mention another country.
Where did I go
I decided to try myself as a digital nomad, get out of my comfort zone, and went to live in Georgia. Why I chose this particular country, I can not answer myself. Most likely it has to do with bureaucracy. I am a person whose head is spinning if you need to collect more than one certificate. For me, getting the driving license was a headache, because I had to prepare two whole pieces of paper, which for me was a huge amount.
Friend I Met First Day
I didn't need visas to enter this country, and I could stay here for a year without formalizing anything. This was my first stop, and I didn't want to spoil my travel experience with paperwork and bureaucracy.
Another reason is the climate. It is warm here in winter, in the south of the country, by the sea. This year I met the New Year on the seashore at 15 degrees. It was a new experience for me, given that I never wanted to leave my area. It turns out that the absence of bureaucracy and a warm climate is enough for me to work and live comfortably.
After staying here for 4 months (that's 3 months more than I planned), I realized that this is a great place for a digital nomad. I understand that this is only my first stop, however, I am ready to say that this place is ideal for those who work or conduct business remotely.
Batumi - Where I Lived
First, prices. The prices here are affordable for everyone. I rented a studio in the very center of the city, in a 50-story skyscraper, for $400 a month. In my home country, for this amount, you could rent a storage room on the outskirts of the city for a week. Food prices here are also affordable. Most of the products are local, so they are fresh, tasty and cheap. In winter, it may be difficult with fruits, since in winter they are brought not of the best quality, but the rest of the time this food and products are magical.
The second plus is the weather. I lived in the south of the country, close to the Turkish border (which will be my second stop) and the sun shines here 10 months out of 12. I found 2 months of cloudy weather, endless rains and crazy winds, as well as a weak earthquake from neighboring Turkey. But I have never seen such cloudy weather in my life. For the first time in my life I saw a snowstorm with a thunderstorm. This is an incredible sight.
I also want to include the Internet as a plus. Here, from most operators, the Internet is very fast and cheap, and most importantly, each operator has a tariff for unlimited Internet, which at the time of this writing costs about $10, which is very cheap for the speed I get. Mobile Internet speed is more than enough to comfortably work and watch twitch in 2k quality.
The third plus for me is the banks. Banks here are very loyal to foreigners who work for foreign companies. I already wrote about how I received my first salary on a local bank card. If you haven't read it, you can check out the link. I came to the bank with a passport and said that I work for a company located in Shanghai. After 2 minutes, they brought me a ready-made bank card (although there were difficulties with transfers and I had to make a card from another local bank, but that's another story). Foreigners are very fond of here, but, unfortunately, no one except the hotel staff knows English. On that note, I'll move on to the cons.
As I said, no one here knows English, which is why communication was very difficult. Basically, I had to point fingers in stores and show what I want. Once, when I was buying a chicken fillet, a store worker cackled like a chicken so that we could understand each other. Then we laughed together. Food delivery services are great, but all apps only support Georgian. I understand why, because the application was made primarily for locals, however, there is a function to translate me into English, which only works at 15%, translating only a few words from the menu. Nevertheless, English was well known in banks and hotels, which is enough for life.
Another disadvantage, I think, is foreign investment. Now Georgia is actively growing and attracting foreign capital, and this is great, but I think that 50-storey skyscrapers are destroying the whole color and culture of the city. For example, the historical center of Batumi was clearly remade in a European manner. It's not bad, but it looks unnatural for the local culture. This is not even a minus, but rather my opinion.
One more disadvantage, I think, is the huge variety of currencies. I'll explain now. I paid for the apartment in dollars, for food in the supermarket in lari (local currency), for public transport in lira (in Turkish currency) and I don’t understand why. Variety in payment methods is great, but transferring at the local exchange rate just to ride the bus is too much for me.
As a digital nomad, I didn’t like the small number of co-working spaces. They are, I don’t argue, but they are always crowded, there are no empty seats and sockets in them, which is why I have to work either at home, which, to be honest, does not motivate me in any way, because there is a desire to hug with a pillow, or in some kind of cafe where it is very noisy especially at lunchtime. In a word, foreign investments have reached architecture and construction, but not yet infrastructure and amenities.
Here is my list of all the pros and cons of Georgia, my first stop as a digital nomad. I hope my findings will help you in choosing a country for remote work. I really liked living and working here, but for now I will move further west in search of an ideal place for me to live and work. My next stop will be Turkey, so stay tuned for more articles from me on the sunny shores of the Mediterranean. Good luck!