Coworking in Khao Sok Thailand on the lake with a laptop

Life-changing Nomad Retreats: My Journey Through These 8 Transformative Events

HI there, I’m Ranika, a seasoned nomad that started her digital journey through covid and went south to Mexico. I meticulously researched travel programs and nomad retreats where I could work as well as finding a balance between the two, with a full time job, was of utmost importance. 

I researched the big 3 at the time: Remote Year (now acquired by Selina), Hacker’s Paradise and Wifi Tribe. 2 out of the 3 were heading to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. 

I went with Wifi Tribe as the price point was a bit better for me. They actually had an online chapter prior that I joined as I was honestly a bit lonely during Covid and keen on meeting those with an adventurous travel spirit. 

That was October 2020, since then I’ve been fully nomadic bopping around places with a current max of 2 months. This is normally on the faster side as now slomads (aka nomads living in a place for 3-6 months) and expats I’d like to define as people who are keen on establishing roots in a spot for a good amount of time through extensive visa processes. 

There’s quite a few nomad visas out there enabling longer stays like the 1 year Brazil visa, SE Asia visa and even the 2 year Greece nomad visa which allows nomads to stay in the EU for that duration!

What is a nomad retreat?

A group of individuals that are keen on experiencing the culture in a particular part of the world with a like-minded community to explore, eat, learn and connect with that place with a built in network. They can be hands-on with activities like DNA, Cloud Connections, or Bansko Nomad Fest. They can be community led like the longer Wifi Tribe or Hacker’s Paradise.

Wifi Tribe:

What it is: Big group size of 20-25 remote independent people traveling to nomad hotspots

This has been my OG and the beginning of my nomad retreat travel in 2020. I traveled extensively with WifiTribe as they bring in a lot of repeat people that you form ties with. This eventually leads to the branching of new bonds and friendships under a slack group. I’m retired from Wifi Tribe as of today as I haven’t renewed the annual fee however some of my best nomad friends have been discovered thanks to WifiTribe. 

Highlights include the community and vetting process. It’s a great option for first timers. 

Lowlights: not all accommodations are made the same and that means there’s places where the wifi wasn’t great or the quality to price wasn’t there.

How you can join: Apply here and get interviewed, upon selection, you’ll pay a deposit and then have access to their chapters. 

There are about 3-5 chapters concurrently running. 

Most of the time these do incorporate hosts. 

Bansko Nomad Fest:

What it is: A conference with talks, activities and exploration to celebrate the nomadic lifestyle.

I’ve been in 2022 as a participant and 2023 as a first time speaker gracing the stage

See more about that in the local Bansko papers here. 

Speaking at Bansko Nomad Fest in Bansko, Bulgaria, keynote

The first year was all about immersing and going to all the activities like the hot springs, pool parties, 4th of July celebration (Americans were well represented.) and well more parties. It was difficult as my friend and I were coming from Peru so that first week, we were quite jetlagged and turned into night owls. 

My friend and I returned the 2nd year and were assimilated into the time zone and took the conference and all its talks by storm, networked, attended the Unconference (a chance for people that didn’t apply for speaking slots to share topics of interest) and I shared my first presentation with a sold out audience which was super exciting about High Ticket Affiliate Marketing.

It’s been incredible to see it grow so much and have learned there will be new management for 2024 nomad retreat.

It is unclear if I will attend, however I do recommend going as Bansko is a charming town that has a penance for the digital nomad lifestyle and would be a great entryway for any aspiring nomad.

How you can Join: Sign up here. This event takes place every year at the end of June.

Wild Wifi:

What is it: Nomad coliving popup with focus on exploring sights in Namibia with base in Windhoek. 

I went October of 2022 and was with 12 other individuals and represented America in the group. This was a first as usually most nomad retreats/co-lives I’ve been a part of, Americanness was the common factor due to the high wages and job flex that was found. 

Now more and more places around the world are offering remote work and it’s never been easier to work online with ample opportunities. As the only American, I was the only one working American hours meaning my days were free and my nights were not. This made it difficult to meld with the mostly EU hour based crew during the work week however the weekend getaways were fun! 

They offer a weekend to Etosha, the safari self drive game park, 

Sousselsvei, the highlight of Namibia with climbing big daddy desert dunes and 

Hannging on Namibian sand dunes in Sousselvei

Swakopmund, a small beach city, with delicious oysters and one of a kind landscapes where the beach meets giant sand dune. 

How you can Join: Tine, the founder, plans to expand to other locations in Africa. Have an interview with her here and lock in your spots for the upcoming adventure to explore one of Africa’s safest countries.

Beet Coliving:

What is it: Charming coliving in the heart of Palermo, Sicily.

Marco, the founder, works dynamically with his mom to turn a beautiful building to a well functioning co-living and co-working. There’s plenty of ergonomic desks and a kitchen with a charming patio to enjoy. He is a gracious host that takes you around the best of Sicily to a journey only one can experience as a local. 

How you can Join: This one’s easy, you just book your stay via the Beet Coliving website. Priority goes to longer stays to create a more coliving knit family. 

Remote 9:

What is it: Co-working nomad retreat road trips in remote destinations around the world with 9 people.

I went in May of 2023 to explore Iceland with Andreas and Guilia the co-founders. They’re energetic people that say yes to life and in Iceland that often meant embracing the chilly waters and eclectic cuisines. 

It was nice that the initial price includes all transport, accommodations and food so very little was to worry about. I did need to buy a few more winter clothes as my digs weren’t cutting it and sometimes there would be wifi issues as the places we’d enter wouldn’t have cellular signal. 

The founders were very good at ensuring that black out zones wouldn’t affect a single member of the group and accommodate plans around that.

How you can Join: Sign up to interview with one of the co-founders today and express interest in one of their upcoming co-working road trips.

Beautiful rainbows and wateralls in Iceland on the Ring road

Cloud Connections:

What is it: Cultural celebrations for people interested in the location independent lifestyle to delve into the world’s best festivals.

I’m the founder of Cloud Connections and admit that there’s a little bias and sharing what I’m about to share. With that being said, I’m in my 4th year of nomading and genuinely love all the connections I’ve met in this lifestyle and highly encourage people that are remotely interested to experience this and that is exactly why I created Cloud Connections Digital Nomad Retreats. 

It’s to not only foster that opportunity but to share some of the best moments that the world celebrates together during beautiful cultural festival celebrations:

How you can join: Connect with me here and let’s chat about upcoming retreats found on the Cloud Connections site.

Pre-carnival celebrations cloud connections rio de janiero carnival samba nomad retreats

Nomad Escape: 

What is it: A business forward networking event bringing nomads to different parts of the globe, now a ton of nomad retreats are based in the gorgeous island Madeira in Portugal where the founder has based. She focuses on helping individuals level up and work together to solve biggest business goals and challenges. 

It was delightful to meet Michelle in Madeira December 2023 for the Nomad Island Fest where over 60 people from all nationalities came to experience workshops, lectures and bonding. 

This was a special moment for me as I was able to grace the stage to share my passion of helping individuals become nomads and pursue the passive income lifestyle. 

I was quite sick where I couldn’t even speak on the day I was supposed to deliver the keynote, however Michelle’s team were more than accommodating in rescheduling. The interesting thing here is that I met a lot of people who leave their families behind to attend to gain value from the event for their businesses.

How you can join. This one is also application based, interview here to meet with the team and pack your bags for the stunning island. You’ll definitely want to stay a bit longer in this nomad hotspot.

DNA (Digital Nomad Adventures):

What it is: From the founders of TruTravel came an adult spin catered to the nomad lifestyle focused on travel precision and personal development to create DNA for the digital nomad crowd.

I went on a DNA tour in November of 2023 right before Cloud Connections Chiang Mai Lantern festival celebration and got to meet the founder Joe.

He knows how to have fun to boot to throw in the perfect balance of travel and fun with growth and connection. He’s seen success building a tour company from scratch and is now giving it a spin for nomad retreats. 

There’s currently multiple retreats happening in Bali and Southern Thailand that’ll be a recipe for sunshine and good vibes. They recommend putting the laptop away and immersing fully in the experience to muster true bonds.

How you can join: Apply here and chat with the team, they’re sure to convince you to head on over to the next nomad retreat for more than just fun in the sun. 

Wrapping Up

As a retreat leader I love going on other retreats so you better believe this list will get updated with the latest and greatest. That means I’ll also bring back the knowledge learned to future Cloud Connections retreats to tailor cultural festivals, connections, and self-development to a whole nother level. 

Get ready for 2024 as it’s going to be the best year to start your nomadic journey yet. Curious on how to get started into the laptop lifestyle? Hop on a call and let’s chat, I highly recommend this lifestyle and you could just be one phone call away from discovering if this is the right fit for you. 

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