INTO THE UNKOWN (with a bit of privilege) ?

“Our Bali Life Is Yours” ?

“The island has been amazing because of our elevated lifestyle at a much lower cost of living. I was paying US$1,300 for my LA studio. Now I have a treehouse for US$400.”

— Jan 16, 2021

It’s that easy to start a shitstorm on Twitter. 

After publishing a thread of unwise tweets, Kristen Gray, an American influencer and digital nomad, was deported from Indonesia, setting off intense backlash for her “clueless privilege.”

✨ All that glitters is not gold ✨

Remote work, location independence, digital nomadism, the liberty that technology furnishes to extend work options without geographical constraints. Merging work and travel is certainly a way of life increasing in popularity in most western countries, with new remote workers more likely to move abroad. Wifi, Macbooks, smartphones, tablets, coworking spaces, coffee shops, and enticing sceneries are the vital components of this modern work culture.

You may remember that in my very first post, I’ve stated that Gen Z tries to be a conscious generation. This is why in my last blog, I would like to reflect on some aspects of the nomadic life in a more critical manner.  

It’s hardly surprising that blogs and articles directed at aspiring digital nomads obsess over the greatness of this lifestyle. Digital nomads who earn a living being professional bloggers also sell the way of life and understandably hold little interest in denouncing their own practices.

So, let’s look at the less well-covered issues. ⇓

As a wealthy westerner, it’s tempting to take advantage of profitable exchange rates and enjoy a lifestyle beyond what is obtainable in your native country. With a five-star passport, visa-free work possibilities, economic security, and family connections, you can easily find destinations where your money “stretches further.”

Nevertheless, promoting the perks of living in lower-cost destinations, like often done by influencers and bloggers, isn’t always ethical. The only reason westerners like Kristen find places like Bali easy to live in is because the gained quality of life would be difficult to achieve on local salaries. So, bragging about benefits that often are not accessible to locals themselves, especially during a pandemic, can severely frustrate locals.

Sure, one could argue that these places need tourism to survive, but due to the nature of remote work, most of the money made by these workers doesn’t go back to the country’s economy from which they are operating. Furthermore, wealthy foreigners can invariably outspend residents and consequently, for instance, push natives out of the housing market.

I don’t think it’s wrong to enjoy a good quality of life. Yet it is problem if others (locals) suffer due to it. 

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take advantage of your privilege (we all do), but being privileged is something to be aware of (even if it’s uncomfortable).

With substantial passport privilege, you can just pack up and travel to places without a second thought. Often, there’s no need to apply for a visa as there’s the possibility of entering countries visa-free or using tourist visas, and even if there’s a need for it, it is never a long-complicated process.
Nonetheless, these tourist visas do not technically allow you to work at your destination. To legally perform work in most countries, you need a work visa. But what are the odds of government officials going after everyone bringing their laptops along their “vacation”?
However, that doesn’t make it legal or morally okay.

By becoming digital nomads, many try to escape the day-to-day 9-5 rat race. The thing is, however, that runaways tend to forget that their mindsets travel with them and underestimate the potential of sliding into another vicious cycle. I know, we’ve heard it all, the promise of living in Instragammable hot spots, working only a few hours a day, and fulfilling dreams —the seduction of leaving all of our problems behind and becoming a brand new human being.
But there’s the danger of entering the rat race of traveling just for the sake of checking another country off the bucket list. Priding yourself that you traveled to 30 countries in one year, adding to your country count. Chasing aesthetics simply to show others at home that you’re living the life — becoming restless and superficial.

Gen Z, we gotta be careful; romantic aesthetics won’t fix all our problems and didn’t do so for millennials.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of arranging life overseas and overlook the basic question of health care. Particularly if you’re young and aren’t sick very often. However, a basic doctor’s appointment or medical check-up in a foreign country may be rather costly as a nonnative, and if anything serious happens without having insurance, you might find yourself paying off debt.

As a Swiss citizen, suppose I am never leaving for longer than 12 months at a time; I can keep my coverage in Switzerland. That being so, it is worth getting travel insurance. But, if I would go abroad for more than a year, I’d actually have to de-register in Switzerland and so would no longer be entitled to compulsory health coverage. Consequently, I would have to buy international health insurance from a specialist provider (In some cases, though, you can suspend your supplementary insurance for a while).


When it comes to COVID vaccinations, there’s a lot of uncertainty for ex-pats and it all depends on where your insurance is issued. If you have insurance in the country you’re spending your time in, you potentially can put your name on a list there. But often, popular digital nomad destinations (with lower living costs) have less established healthcare systems, so it might take you longer to get your vaccine. If your health insurance isn’t from your destination country, you might need to board a flight back home when seeking immunization.

More info for Swiss: here??

Nomads Giving Back ?

All the above-listed aspects are things to consider when taking on a location-independent nomadic journey but do not mean that this is just the way things are. Happily, there are organizations like Nomads Giving Back that actively inspire, inform, and empower people to make a positive contribution while traveling and working abroad. 

Additionally, we should not forget that remote work could have a considerable positive impact on the lives of stay-at-home parents, people with physical disabilities, and those living in rural areas.

It’s a brave new world we live in, but we shouldn’t be delusional, thinking it is a fantasy world.

Working a remote job doesn’t have to mean irresponsible country-hopping. We can choose any hybrid model that we like. We can be location independent but work from a fixed home base; we can become digital nomads but engage in slow travel, we can have a remote job and work in co-working office spaces.

The digital nomad scene is developing, youthful, and perhaps imperfect. Yet, if you wish for a life without borders, where creativity is key and nationality or religion is not judged, then looking into the digital nomad scene seems reasonable. 

All kinds of previously unimaginable things are possible today, and who knows what the next years will bring, given how much has happened just within the past year.

If you made it this far, congrats! With this, we have arrived at the end of my eight blog post series. There’s a lot more we could discover when it comes to the location independent and nomad lifestyle; however, this extends the frame of my student blog.

I appreciate everyone who followed me along on this journey and thank you for the kind comments and feedback! Who would have thought that a girl with dyslexia who barely voluntarily read any books in her life would take on the challenge of blogging and even find joy in it? 

I wish you all the best and am looking forward to our shared future.

Lea ?

?? My other seven blog posts, if you haven’t yet!

Lea Schwegler

Welcome, nice to meet you! I'm Lea, a 22-year-old art graduate from Switzerland who's currently working towards a Master's degree in Online Business and Marketing. Whether it's art, design, or social media content, I hold a passion for creating and spend hours doing so. My adventurous nature always made me dream of living a life far away in foreign countries. Now that working remotely is on the rise, a location-independent lifestyle seems more feasible than ever. Keep up with my blog posts, and join me in discovering all the possibilities that location independence holds for us!

View all posts by Lea Schwegler →

6 thoughts on “INTO THE UNKOWN (with a bit of privilege) ?

  1. That was a nice closing blog to your series! I liked that you also shined a light on the issues of this topic, whilst not contradicting yourself! Really enjoyed the read, very insightful!

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