The entire purpose of this blog is to offer the best experience to digital nomads. With this in mind, there are some questions that we keep thinking about when we travel ourselves as digital nomads or when we work to provide services to those.
Is digital nomadism ethical? Is my stay going to do any harm to the local population?
We have seen with our eyes the immense damage traditional tourism first and then digital nomads have created in some cities. In Barcelona or Lisbon, major digital nomad hubs, the locals have been gradually thrown out of their city. As renting short-term to tourists or digital nomads was much more profitable than renting long-term to locals, those had no other choice than to move out of their own city as the renting prices were going over the roof.
This process contributed to the increasing hatred of the local population towards the tourists, often targeted with bad messages around the city such as “tourists go home”.
What about Greece?
Some of these episodes have happened in Greece, mainly in Athens. A couple of “tourists go home” also appeared in Exarchia and somewhere else in the city, but the magnitude of the phenomenon has not really caught on in Greece yet.
We can probably say that, although many digital nomads choose Greece as their base, digital nomadism did not have yet the level of bad consequences we see on other countries
The reason is that the country is far from reaching its full capacity, so it is still very welcoming for tourists and digital nomads alike.
Actually, most of the people used to go to Greece only in summer, and welcoming digital nomads for the entire year has extended the season and brought in some more profits.
This is especially true when we talk about the islands.
Most Greek people usually go on holiday for 1 week, or a maximum of 2 weeks, in the first half of August. The rest, especially foreign tourists, would also pick some days in July or the end of August, but that is all.
The season where everything is open and working at full efficiency, on the islands, used to be, and to some extent still is, quite short. However, the actual summer, intended with lovely 30-degree weather, lasts in Greece from May until October, to say the least.
For this reason, most of the inhabitants of the islands, especially the small ones, do not live there for the entire year. They live in Athens or other big cities instead and go to the islands just for the 2 months of the summer to work on seasonal jobs in hotels, bars, restaurants etc. They would love to stay for more, likely, as they are native to the islands, but there is no other job opportunity for them, so they have to go back to the city.
In this regard, it becomes clear how extending the season from 2 to 6 months would be extremely beneficial for them as they could stay permanently on the islands.
As more and more digital nomads (like us!) are spending extended periods of time on the islands, we are creating a demand for having all the touristic facilities open for longer. This helps the local population so much that the ethical dilemma of the digital nomads is not even a question anymore.
Instead, if some nomads choose to go to Santorini or other well-known places for 1 or 2 weeks in the high season, they will just be part of the problem and they will probably have a disappointing and poor experience. Digital Nomadism is not supposed to be about that.
Ethical accommodations and alternatives to Airbnb
Coming back to the sore subject of the digital nomads in the cities, it is well known that AirBnb is one of the major contributors to the harm done to the local communities, as it allows anyone (not only hotels and places with touristic license) to rent their apartments short-term, driving the prices up.
For this reason, as digital nomads, we try to avoid AirBnb as much as possible. We prefer instead:
- Digital nomads retreats
- Fairbnb.coop The co-op and sustainable vacation rental platform that gives back 50% of its revenues to support local community projects
- Normal apartments, with shorter contracts maybe, but directly with landlords. This is also what we are aiming to offer on our website
- HomeExchange, that involves no money at all as you are exchanging your house with someone else’s house, even not simultaneously
What we do differently
Going against the wind is hard so we have a long way ahead of us, but we are thinking of doing something different for ourselves and all the digital nomads that are using our services from time to time.
Therefore, we are constantly looking for alternative ways of travelling that distance themselves from potentially harmful digital nomad activities while making a positive impact to the local communities.
Alternative retreats that include local communities
Our vision is to support and guide digital nomads to enjoy the best of our country while supporting the local communities and people. We dream of a win-win situation. We want the local communities to take all the benefits of the digital nomadism in their area. So, we involve locals in anything that is related to your stay: accommodation, activities, transportation, etc.
Sunset Yoga can be cool for some and for sure you should do it if you love yoga, but it’s the same activity you find in Bali, Mexico or Costa Rica. We want you to remember why you came to Greece, what makes it different and make lifelong memories along the way. We promote activities that allow you to explore all that Greece has to offer, from the bustling cities to the agroturism. A fair part of Greece is rural, so we suggest you check its old traditions and its locally produced food. Or how about a fishing or snorkelling tour?
Off the beaten path
The beauty of digital nomadism is that you can experience authentic places and avoid all the bad characteristics of mass tourism. By making the right choices and respecting people and culture you can have a real experience and also be welcomed in the community like a native and not like a typical tourist.
Greece is not only Mykonos and Santorini. With 200 more remote islands and countless beautiful villages and towns in the mainland, we promote all the places you did not know that exist, but that will amaze you in so many aspects you will not want to leave!