The world is a constant reminder that it is inherently unstable and often dangerous. The Covid-19 pandemic has amply demonstrated this. The war in Ukraine and the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East also illustrate this implacable truth. As the number of digital nomads continues to grow, how should they react if they find themselves in a dangerous zone? Here's our advice.
Preparedness and Awareness
This must be one of your top priorities: a digital nomad has an obligation to keep abreast of what's going on in the world, and even more so of what's happening in the geographical area where he or she is. It's essential to keep a close eye on developments in the political, social and health situation in the country from which you're operating. To do this, it's best to subscribe to reliable sources of information (especially in this age of fake news), and to follow travel advisories, especially those issued by embassies. This will give you a good idea of the potential risks that could affect your safety.
In the same vein, it's a good idea to carry a list of emergency contacts, both personal and professional, at all times. This should include family, friends, embassies (or consulates) and local acquaintances. What's more, having a reliable means of communication in your possession (make sure, for example, that your Smartphone isn't at the end of its life) is just as important. How else will you be able to call in the event of a problem?
Finally, to ensure you're well-prepared for your trip, don't hesitate to invest in comprehensive health insurance to cover medical emergencies and repatriation in case of need. In the event of a health problem or accident, you should also be sure to keep all documents relating to medical consultations, hospitalization, treatment, etc. This will be necessary both for proper medical follow-up and to claim reimbursement of expenses incurred. It is also highly recommended to find out in advance about the existence and location of the nearest hospitals and emergency services. In the event of a serious problem, knowing immediately where to go can save your life.
Navigating War or Civil Unrest
In the event of war, popular uprising or political instability, a digital nomad's safety must remain his top priority, hence the need to seek out safe havens. Don’t hesitate to consider evacuation to a safer area (not to mention repatriation) if the deteriorating situation demands it. Having thought out a predetermined evacuation plan is certainly recommended. It should include transportation options, possible assembly points and contact details for the relevant authorities.
It's also imperative to contact your country's embassy or consulate. Registering with them as soon as you arrive in your work area is an excellent idea. This way, the consular services are aware of your presence in the country, which will facilitate their task in the event of a major crisis, particularly if emergency assistance is required.
Keeping in touch with other digital nomads and the local expatriate community is another necessity. This can provide invaluable information for planning an evacuation strategy.
Digital Nomads: Addressing Disease Outbreaks
If an epidemic breaks out, the first thing to do is to scrupulously follow the health guidelines laid down by the local authorities. This may include wearing a mask, observing hygiene rules and maintaining social distance, as recommended in the recent Covid-19 crisis. Sometimes, you can act on your own, for example, if you find yourself in an infected area and choose to self-isolate to minimize the risks. It's also a good idea to stock up on essential supplies and medication to avoid/minimize frequent outings. Finally, information also plays a vital role. You need to know how far the disease has spread, and adjust your actions accordingly.
Reactivity is the secret
If digital nomadism offers incomparable experiences, it can also confront us with totally unexpected and sometimes genuinely dangerous situations. If your work zone is the whole world, remember that your safety must always be the top priority. Being prepared and reactive is the key to managing difficult events.