Recently I posted an interesting article on my fan page that garnered thousands of views:
Digital nomads or people who mainly work online are always looking for the next, cheapest country that has wickedly fast Internet, but bottom rung living costs.
I’m a big fan of exotic destinations to travel or live, but the truth is not everybody is as socially maladjusted or crazy as me.
Some people have family obligations, or just don’t want to live in China where firecrackers are a casual event on a Friday night (going deaf and getting angry).
Here are five places in North America that are inexpensive, but easy to run an online business:
1 / Quebec, Canada
Yes, they have icy winters, but Quebec is a personal favorite of mine. Montreal is full of rich culture and food, and charming apartments — all at reasonable prices.
Not only that, the music scene churns out some of the best indie bands on the planet (Chromeo, Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade). And don’t forget that Montreal boasts a very active entrepreneur scene, where meet-ups are always filling your calendar.
2 / North Dakota, USA
Voted the happiest state in the U.S. in 2014, this sounds like a pleasant place to live. North Dakota was the #1 state for growth in women-owned businesses that same year. How cool is that?
Great recreation in all four-seasons make this a place to play and work. North Dakota offers both broadband coverage and affordable housing along with an excellent quality of life.
Whether you are looking for an urban or country lifestyle, there is something here to fit your level of adventure and connectivity. The pretty prairie landscape and friendly people make it even more appealing.
3 / Manitoba, Canada
I’ve lived in a few prairie cities in Canada and the best one out of Calgary or Saskatoon is Winnipeg by car. Imagine rolling hills of gold and orange, where wild horses run.
I saw some breathtaking landscapes during my Via Rail trip across Canada and Winnipeg was a real highlight. There are distinct areas of the city to explore, whether historical Canadiana or the French-Canadian community, and there is a thriving arts scene, accompanied by a diverse food scene.
Rents run as low as $650 to a $1,000 for a one bedroom!
4 / Texas, USA (Specifically Austin)
That’s right, Austin needs to be distinguished from the rest of Texas. This golden nugget has 228 sunny days in a year.
An average price of a home is $196,000 and telecommuting jobs are the norm (nobody would think your job is weird). Also, you’d be living in the “music capital of the world”!
5 / Tennessee, USA
Memphis, Tennessee is not a wee city, boasting over 700,000 people, but it doesn’t have big city prices. A home costs less than $100,000 and of course, has Graceland (and good ribs too!).
You notice I’ve narrowed down a lot of cities with a healthy arts or music scene — those things are important to me. And Memphis is no different, a city where you can catch live jazz, blues or rock n’roll.
I’ve got to pick out a few stand-outs and discuss them in more detail.
You probably thought, whoah, why choose this state? I’m going to defend my choice!
This state has a lot going for it, making it a sound location to start or maintain an online business. Besides housing that is affordable, the surrounding rivers and state parks inject some beautiful nature in your pursuit for an affordable urban locale.
Think of it this way: North Dakota has a low unemployment rate, which makes it a more stable place to purchase real estate or raise a family. The state pays keen attention to dollars for infrastructure like public schools and road works projects, plus they maintain a budget surplus, which means less taxes for you.
Quality of life seems to be a big deal for this Midwestern state, which makes it A-OK in my book. 89.7% of the population has health insurance and education is a priority for its citizens, all factors that make North Dakota an attractive place to set roots for a while. Rethink your perception of this state, there is a lot more here than people let on making it a diamond in the rough.
I gotta rave about Quebec for a sec. Quebec City is compact and charming, truly the heart of Quebec. But, my own heart is stuck in Montreal.
A one-bedroom apartment away from downtown can be as low as $500 per month!! To find prices like that in a city like Montreal is a miracle. Truthfully, $800 per month is about average, which is still decent. Each neighbourhood has so much character, from Italian, to Jewish, nostalgic French, or immerse in the wave of international migrants that infuse the city with their language and flavors.
Some of my fave haunts were Le Plateau (great micro-brew pubs and restaurants), Saint-Henri, a mix of grit but rapidly being gentrified, and the Quartier Latin, a small, but lively spot for bars and restaurants.
Bottomline: Montreal is vibrant, affordable, and about the only other cheap place I could live in Canada.
The reason why I pulled together this list was to open your eyes. Options to live the way you want do exist; you just have to see them!
Do you believe it’s possible to be a digital nomad in your own country?