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In a first of its kind, the Irish government has announced that it will invest €15.4 million in 147 rural towns & villages it has identified with the primary purpose of making these places amenable to remote working.

Irish government realises that remote work is a permanent trend and that remote workers want to move away from crowded cities to affordable towns with a lower cost of living. At the same time, it also understands that just the desire to relocate to towns & villages isn't sufficient, there's also the need to improve public infrastructure & other facilities in these towns.

What exactly will the funding be used for?

- Building & improving public infrastructure like walkways, community parks, cinemas, broadband access & other amenities. This will elevate the standard of living at such places making them a favourable choice for remote workers moving out of large cities.

- Development of remote work specific facilities like renovation & conversion of vacant buildings into digital hubs and changes to local community centres to provide for remote working & e-learning facilities.

Other countries & cities are offering lucrative remote work programs but that's only a half-step

Many countries offered remote work visas in 2020 & many more will in 2021.

At the same time, there are many existing & new programs that attract remote workers.

But unless these countries & cities don't combine this effort with an equal or more spending & effort on improving their public infrastructure & providing for remote work specific facilities, it won't stand as a long-term solution. In fact, it will just bring in bad publicity & discourage people from applying in future.

Review on the Remote Shoals program that offers $10K to remote workers to relocate

Trend to watch out for in 2021

2021 is a crucial & deciding year for local governments & policymakers aiming to attract remote workers. There's a definite motivation for individuals to move away from crowded, expensive places.

An excellent testimony to this is the recent data revealed about the applications to Finland's 90-day remote work program. It received 3500+ applicants in its very first batch which had a majority of people from US, Canada & UK.

We will surely see more such announcements about programs this year but only time will tell how many of those survive or are successful in the longer run. Meanwhile, rest assured that you will be getting the latest updates about them here (😎) and enjoy this amazing post about travel trends by Ashley (if you haven't read it already).


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    @sophia: When we were chatting the other day, you mentioned that you've moved to the countryside in France. Would love to hear more about your experience and thoughts around this this generally.

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      Indeed, moving to the countryside while working remotely has been a solution I've been exploring for some time. My main motivation has been to experience a different lifestyle, be closer to nature, and enjoy a bigger space for living without spending too much. 

      I even started a business case for opening a digital hub for remote workers in one of these houses that are sold for 1 euro in rural Sicily. While studying this opportunity, my main concerns have been: 1) broadband access, 2) access to main facilities (is it really enjoyable for everyone to drive some miles to do grocery shopping?), and 3) how to engage the community of remote workers/digital nomads and how to make it live in harmony with the local community. 

      The answer to the first two concerns depends on the exact place you are. I'm now living in a 2500 inhabitants village but my internet has been as good as in Paris and because there are large supermarkets around, I have had access to more consumer goods than in Paris. This might be very different in a place just 15 miles away from here. 

      Now, after two months of living here, what I'm trying to figure out is whether it would be sustainable for me in the long term, or if it's a solution that fits my passion for being a nomad and discover new places. I'm starting to miss my friends and social life, and the lockdown situation hasn't helped me create social bonds with the people here. 

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        Amazing points Sophia. I am curious to know more - you have said that the village you live in has great internet:

        - Did the local government body consciously invest in setting up the infrastructure

        - Are there other remote workers/nomads like you and

        - Did you already know about this before you relocated?

        (sorry for bombarding you with so many questions 😛)

        From my experience, particularly in India, fast, stable internet in remote places is a huge challenge and that's why I am quite skeptical to travel often.

        Also, great points around gelling with the local community and also missing out seeing your friends & the social life. But I guess it starts making more sense for either someone who wants to settle down with their family or a nomads looking for short to medium-term stays.

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          haha 😁 All very good questions!

          - Did the local government body consciously invest in setting up the infrastructure? 

          No idea really 🤔. They did open a "digital hub" in town but it's been closed because of the lockdown. So I guess there has been a conscious effort of increasing awareness on this matter. 

          - Are there other remote workers/nomads like you? 

          Partially because of the lockdown, I didn't have a chance to look and find if there were any remote workers (all bars and cafés closed so not many places to socialize and meet people spontaneously). 

          - Did you already know about this before you relocated?

          I guess you're talking about internet access here. That was our biggest question before moving and we had no clue if our portable 4G would work at all, let alone support two people spending their day on video-conferencing platforms. As we moved the day before the lockdown (covid refugees😅), it was a complete bet and we thought that if the internet wouldn't work properly, we'd just move back to the city the day after. It just turned out that it worked and we've been here since!

          But I guess it starts making more sense for either someone who wants to settle down with their family or a nomads looking for short to medium-term stays.

          Definitely agree. I'm still experimenting with living in the countryside and being a nomad at the same time but these are two different topics. 

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      Thanks for the insight, Hrishikesh. Before making such remote program announcements, countries and cities should prioritize improving their remote infrastructure. Good to see Ireland moving forward in the right direction.