“The 21st century will be the millennium which resurrects for humans a dilemma which has been dormant for 10,000 years – humans will be able to ask themselves: ‘Am I a Nomad or a Settler?’” wrote tech pioneer Tsugio Makimoto and author David Manners in their 1997 book, Digital Nomad , which presented theories on how technology would change our working lives and introduced us to the now ubiquitous term used as the title. In the decades since, digital nomads – loosely defined as location-independent remote workers who rely only on a decent internet connection to do their job – have gone mainstream, and for many footloose e-lancers, Asia is the region of choice. Ask any search engine which countries are best for digital nomads and Indonesia (read: Bali) and Thailand often come out on top. Financial newspaper Nikkei Asia calls digital nomadism “the most lucrative and fastest-growing migrant worker trend of the digital era”, explaining that digital nomads “stay overseas for longer periods than regular leisure tourists, and, even during the pandemic, the market is growing”. Consequently, countries around the world are wising up to the value of offering visas tailored to remote workers, with Estonia, Barbados and Dubai among those making it easy for e-lancers to toil on their soil. The same cannot be said for Asian nations, yet. Despite being preferred destinations, what most digital nomads are doing in Indonesia, Thailand and other Asian countries – including Cambodia, Taiwan and Vietnam – is essentially illegal. Why there’s more to Bali than a cold bottle of Bintang beer Immigration services company Newland Chase breaks it down as follows: “Are digital nomads ‘working’ in the countries to which they travel? Technically, yes. However, most digital nomads enter the country using visa-free privileges based on their passports or via tourist visas. In almost no countries are you permitted to work while visa-free or on a tourist visa.” That could be set to change. In March, Indonesian tourism minister Sandiaga Uno acknowledged that a proposed long-term visa, which would allow foreigners to work from the country, was a “prerequisite” to attract digital nomads. According to online news site Coconuts Bali, Sandiaga has recently started dividing his office hours between Jakarta and Bali, and is encouraging others to do the same. He gets a “‘thrill’ from working in Bali, which he says improves work efficiency, later adding that being in Bali is lifting up his spirits”. However, this comes amid increased deportations of foreigners from Bali “for committing violations such as violating visas and length of stay” and the formation of 57 “foreigner monitoring teams”, according to The Bali Beat newsletter, which cites Indonesian media reports. As for when the long-stay visa might be introduced, that is anyone’s guess. In December, Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration approved a proposal to allow freelancers to work remotely for up to four years under the county’s existing Smart Visa programme, which currently targets “science and technology experts, senior executives, investors and start-ups” from selected industries, including automation and robotics, smart electronics and “food for the future”, according to the Smart Visa webpage. From their launch in February 2018 to February this year, a total of 625 Smart Visas were issued, according to the webpage. “But if the new Smart Visa proposal is approved by the Thai cabinet this year, the program will doubtlessly come much closer to meeting its lofty objectives,” reports Nikkei . For now, though, digital nomads, like us settlers, will have to wait for travel restrictions to lift before their itinerant lifestyle – legally sanctioned or otherwise – can resume. Thailand approves eight vaccines for foreign arrivals Thailand has approved a list of eight Covid-19 vaccines that could be used by foreigners looking to shorten their stay in quarantine on entering the country, according to a report from Bloomberg. Travellers who have received shots made by AstraZeneca, Pfizer, BioNTech, Sinovac, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Serum Institute of India, SK Bioscience, Sinovac and Sinopharm can reduce their period of self-isolation from 10 to seven days by uploading copies of their vaccination certificates to the Thai foreign ministry. Vaxxed visitors from high-risk countries, including South Africa, will still be subject to 14-day quarantine. Lights, camel, action! China’s Gansu province is known for its Silk Road significance, its singing sand dunes and, for many tourists, its camels. To accommodate the latter, “Officials in northern China have inaugurated what they say is the world’s first traffic signal for camels,” according to CNN Travel. The signal, which is similar to a pedestrian crossing but with red and green camels as well as red and green men, is located in an area popular with tourists near Dunhuang City. “Stop! Camel time!” as CNN’s headline ran.