Beyond Traditional Rentals: Chris Cerra’s formula for unique stays

Beyond Traditional Rentals: Chris Cerra’s formula for unique stays

Have you ever wondered if there is going to be innovation in accommodations for remote workers and digital nomads?

Look no further than this episode, where we delve into the expertise of Chris Cerra, the mastermind behind Digital Nomad Trip Reports and Remote Base. Chris is a veteran digital nomad who has crafted the ultimate blueprint for finding great places to stay while working remotely.


Learn how he navigates the world and finds places to stay—all while maintaining a fulfilling, productive work life. Join us as we uncover Chris's essential advice on adapting to new cultures, securing accommodations, and avoiding common pitfalls in the nomadic journey.

Chris is the founder of two remote work/digital nomad online ventures:

Digital Nomad Trip Reports
RemoteBase

Transcript:

Curtis Duggan (00:01.27)
Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of Remotely Serious. We're back in 2024. As you know, we did take a little bit of a break, but we're getting these new 2024, quote unquote, season two episodes out. And I'm excited about the one that we're recording right now. Here with me is Chris Chera. You've got a few different projects. You might be most famous for remote base, but I was checking out digi

Curtis Duggan (00:31.146)
And that looks interesting too. That's kind of an inside info thing, but I'll let you get it. I'll let you introduce it. Um, what, what's sort of your background and how did you start these two or more, um, entrepreneurial ventures or media companies that you have.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (00:46.818)
What a brilliant introduction. I think that's the first time somebody has ever said that I'm most famous for one thing, suggesting that I'm famous for...

Curtis Duggan (00:55.038)
Most famous to me, most famous to me, but I could be wrong and I'm just one man.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (01:00.042)
I love it. I love it. Yeah, I got started with my, I guess, my remote work and travel journey through, like most people, a remote job. And that was pre-pandemic, way back in like 2016. And that evolved for me quite quickly into digital nomad life. And after doing that for like five minutes, I was like, okay, this is going to be the way that so many people live in the future.

through all of the circumstances of the last few years, that did kind of shift things a little. And so I went quite hard into building a newsletter called RemoteBase, which was all about curated accommodation for people who want to live this lifestyle, where we find all of the best deals and we share them on a free email newsletter. And there's a premium version of that where you can...

get more deals and better deals and all of that good stuff. But fundamentally you put your email in a box and we send you the best accommodation deals. It's super, super simple. And then very, very recently, just at the start of this year, I also realized that there's another issue, another little, that I have with this lifestyle, which is when you want to go to a place, probably one of the first things you do is like you Google it and you get a bunch of stuff.

but you often find blogs that are littered with affiliate links or they're like listicles that are a bit copy paste. And they might be great for tourists or for experts, but for nomads, that kind of middle ground, it's a bit difficult. And so I wanted there to be a resource that filled that void. And one of the things that I like doing and that a lot of other digital nomads do is when they meet another nomad, they say,

Have you been here? And if you have, like, tell me what it's like. I think I might go there. It sounds like it's interesting to me, so I'm probably gonna go there. Tell me what you think. And they like download this experience that they had to you live verbally. And I wanted there to be a version of that was online. And that's kind of how digital nomad trip reports came to be. That's like a way for digital nomads to...

Chirs @ RemoteBase (03:22.838)
report their experience in a place with a form where it's all of the same questions, no matter what location is being described. And then those are also shared via email newsletter once every week. And it's like a five minute email that you can read for any of the popular Nomad hubs. And for those who want to give back to that community and share their experience, obviously there's a way to do that. And it's a very kind of circular.

more community driven newsletter, which I really love.

Curtis Duggan (03:57.15)
Yeah.

You know what it reminds me of is, I was just thinking about how previous, or I shouldn't say previous generations, but older generations, how they decide how to travel. And I'm in between Gen Z and the Boomers or in between Gen X and Gen Z. I'm a millennial, but I've seen, I feel like I'm right at the age where I know how my parents' generation and the Boomers decide how to travel all the way through Gen X in the 90s and 2000s and then us the millennials.

and now seeing what Gen Z is doing with how they use social media to inform themselves like a search engine. And one thing that strikes me about, probably a little bit of an old fashioned and kind of corny way of learning about travel is in North America, and especially, I'm from the Pacific Northwest, and especially there's an entrepreneur for many decades in the Seattle, Washington area called Rick Steves, and he's a travel guru who goes on PBS and does,

does TV specials on, you know, half an hour walking around Vienna, half an hour walking around the Amalfi Coast, half an hour walking around London and its suburbs or whatever, and giving his trip report or really his. It's kind of a historical tour and out of it comes this authoritative. And here are the spots you should go to. And that's a different kind of travel than nomading. That's tourism. That's European tourism for North Americans, which is a very specific and lucrative.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (05:12.602)
Mm.

Curtis Duggan (05:24.722)
area. But it strikes me that program has been on TV for decades and in a certain subculture within a certain subculture, everyone knows it. And so people will say, Yeah, we're doing the Rick Steves tour in Spain, you know, or we're doing the Rick Steves tour in Italy. And it becomes this thing where you're following the advice of a

Chirs @ RemoteBase (05:35.627)
Yeah.

Curtis Duggan (05:45.95)
guru or a wise sage who says this is what I did follow me and that's kind of a Different way of traveling but it seems like you're on to something with how people want to be informed about how they want to travel So I'm curious to see you know where it will go and it seems like it's rather new Did you just start it within the last year? I was just looking at it on your LinkedIn and kind of when that when the different trip reports date from and it looks Like it's kind of new

Chirs @ RemoteBase (06:12.522)
Yeah, it's very new. It launched January 24th. So I was kind of sat on the idea at the end of last year and I spoke to some people and they were like, oh, I want that, give it to me. So I decided to press on with it. It's really, really enjoyable. Like I love sharing that content because I know, I know that it's gonna be useful and people reply and they're like.

Curtis Duggan (06:18.119)
Oh yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (06:40.29)
this is amazing, thank you, like I'm going in, like this is my next destination, this is really helpful. Or they say like, I was not thinking about this place, but it sounds very different to what I had in mind, like maybe I should go there. So it's really cool to see the impact and for it to, yeah, just for it to have that place. I think it, like you said, it's a great comparison. I'm gonna steal the comparison that you've given.

with the Rick Steves tool because there's like a UK equivalent of this too. Um, and yeah, I think every, every culture or every country or every generation, like you say, probably has some version of that. And I think that trip reports, you've just given me this brilliant blurb of like how to describe trip reports. So I think I'm going to steal that and use that in the future.

Curtis Duggan (07:31.454)
Well, when I think about this travel advice, I not to do another history lesson back to the history of media. But I remember when I was a teenager getting into early 20s, the movie The Beach came out with Leonardo DiCaprio and dating myself a little bit but like that was the wake of the era after the Cold War, like the cold the Berlin Wall fell down 1015 years before that back in 89, 9091. But it was one it was it was not it hadn't been that long that

Cambodia was available or that Prague was available. They had only been open for 10 or 15 years. And so what happened then was there was kind of a split where there were tourists, we've all known about tourists since post-World War II, there've been people that go as tourists to Paris and London and they see the sights. But there was this split into the counterculture that has been there since the hippies and the beatniks, but it really kind of came into the modern era where people said, hey, no, I'm going to Thailand. I'm not a tourist, I'm a traveler.

I want to stay at a hostel. I don't want to go to the tourist spots unless it's like a nice waterfall with my hostel friends. But I'm not a tourist, I'm a traveler. And travelers want a different thing than tourists. I actually think that's kind of a bullshit dichotomy and split that was a little bit about hipster posturing and people wanting to self-identify a certain way. Fair enough. Maybe the same thing happens with digital nomads. We like to identify that way or people like to identify that way. So I gotta be careful what I say. But.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (08:51.67)
Mm.

Curtis Duggan (08:59.622)
I'm curious, what kinds of things do nomads want to hear about in a trip report? Do they want to hear about the landmarks, the restaurants? If you think, I think about tourist travelers and now fast forward the modern era, nomads and remote workers. What's important within a trip report for them to hear?

Chirs @ RemoteBase (09:17.41)
Hmm. This is super interesting. And like I said, this is this fairly new project, right? So one of the early pieces of feedback that I got was there's nothing in here about public transport. And I was like, Oh, yeah, you're right. Like, that's important. We should put that in. So so we added that into the into the form. So the first thing is like, what's it like for working? Like what what's the internet like? And how is it to work from? So there's a little section there about

Like maybe it's the cafe cowork culture, or maybe there's lots of coworking spaces, but cafes aren't allowed, or maybe there's nothing and you have to work from your apartment. So these are the kind of things that we want people to touch on early in the trip report, because that's a big filter for people, right? It's like, if I can't do my work the way that I like to do my work, maybe it's not for me. And then it filters all the way down into like daily life. And the big one that we just added was like, tell us about...

the public transport and the infrastructure there. Like how easy is it to get around if, if one needs to do that, which presumably you do. And then there's another section which we have, which is just called like anything else. And this is really like where we give the mic to whoever is submitting the report to say, look, tell us something that is unique and interesting about this from your perspective. And people will often go,

They'll often go a more personal route here. So if somebody really likes hiking, they'll tell you about the amazing hiking that's available in their place. There is some kind of variance there, but that's what adds flavor to it. That's what makes it a unique report. It's not all just fact-based. But fundamentally, we're talking about the work, the working situation. There's another aspect of this.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (11:19.667)
I forgot the...

Curtis Duggan (11:22.518)
You mean another aspect to your trip reports like, or a.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (11:25.374)
No, no, there's another aspect which is important to talk about here. And I forgot the order of the, like the order of the questions. Cause we talk about, we talk about public transport. That's the, that's the one that stands out to me because it was like, I still is the one that I missed and somebody, I had somebody had to ask me to add it. Yeah.

Curtis Duggan (11:40.418)
So you have a set list of questions that are, we always ask this because we know we need, like they can't leave that out, public transport, Wi-Fi, grocery store, proximity, things like that.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (11:54.614)
Like, the form is available on the site. And I tell people, like, it's going to take roughly 15 or 20 minutes to submit a report just to manage expectations. But actually, everybody who does it tells me, like, hey, it didn't take me that long. Like, I did it way quicker. And we also ask people to upload photos. So this is another opportunity for people to, you know, again, add some flavor. Add a visual about what this place looks like. Here's what it looks like on the ground.

Curtis Duggan (12:03.456)
Yeah.

Curtis Duggan (12:09.771)
Yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (12:23.894)
or here's what the co-working, here's the quality of the co-working spaces, or this is what the, this is the button that you have to press on the ticket machine if it's in a foreign language. Language, that's the other one, that's the one I forgot. We always ask about language because some places have a really, really kind of high density of English speakers and other places don't. Not that, you know, everyone should speak English and English language rules the world, but like a lot of international

international travelers, nomads, will want to have some understanding of how much English is spoken in a place. But yeah, the biggest variance in all of the reports comes in the anything else section. That's where people talk about the amazing wine and the amazing food or the hiking or the community or whatever it is that makes that place really unique. That's where we see where we see the biggest variance.

Curtis Duggan (13:20.938)
And so the format of the report is kind of like a blog post with a personal touch, some photos have been added. Is that, are the formats pretty consistent? Is it the same format every time you enter your email? Maybe you see a preview and then enter your email and then if you subscribe to digi then you get to see the whole page. Yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (13:44.778)
Yeah, exactly. Usually I try to plug and be like, hey, it's going on Friday at this time. So if you wanna get this, sign up now. But you also get, of course, you get the access to all of the previous stuff. So every single previous trip report is available online at digi But we'll also, every Friday, we'll email you the latest trip report. So...

Yeah, it'll be interesting how it'll be interesting to see how many have been added by the time this goes out. We've not talked about scheduling, but I won't date it, but the next one should be a good one.

Curtis Duggan (14:24.782)
Have you had any, have you had any experience with packaged up workations for remote workers or nomads where you go somewhere for a month and you're not necessarily just using a report but you might actually sign up for combined accommodation coworking in a particular city.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (14:42.774)
I've done it. I've done that by every done like the DIY version of that, which is like an accommodation that comes like a coworking accommodation that comes a co-living accommodation that comes with coworking. I haven't done like the remote year, wifi tribe, hacker paradise. I've not done that kind of cohort based travel where they, they'll, they'll move you through several locations. Have you done that or like, what? Okay.

Curtis Duggan (14:46.839)
Mm-hmm.

Curtis Duggan (15:09.618)
No, I'm curious if that model is growing or declining. I think there was some optimism that this is gonna be, there's gonna be, in 2021, there's gonna be a hundred million new remote workers coming and that these things will blow up. But from a business perspective, you know.

For instance, remote years part of Selena and Selena stock is kind of in the toilet, unfortunately for Selena. And it doesn't seem like that model is lifting up. Many of those are private and we have no idea how they're doing from a financial perspective. But there's just an anecdotal sense that.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (15:44.993)
Mm.

Curtis Duggan (15:48.702)
Maybe they're not quite, maybe they're not positioned properly yet, but I don't, I, I asked, I was going to ask you the question, do you think they're declining or do you think they're growing? And then I just gave my answer and asked you a leading question. So I've biased myself and you in the process, but I'll try and shut up and just ask you what do you think these things are declining or growing in popularity?

Chirs @ RemoteBase (16:00.701)
Huh?

No.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (16:10.598)
I think that, I don't think you have, there's no risk of biasing me here because I have quite firm opinions on this. And I was always of the opinion that a program like that was really, really good for an individual who was like on their first ever experience. It's kind of like you ride a bike with the training wheels on.

Curtis Duggan (16:37.612)
Yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (16:37.782)
Um, it's like, I want to go to some far flung country in or seemingly far flung country in South, in like Latin America, but I have no idea what, like what to do on the ground once I get there and a program like that kind of gets you out a little bit of your comfort zone, but you've got this safety net, you've got this, uh, escape shoot with you. You've got like a backup parachute with you. Um, it lets you, lets you do that.

Curtis Duggan (16:50.187)
Yeah.

Curtis Duggan (17:03.106)
Yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (17:06.946)
but knowing that you have this cocoon of people who are probably from the same place that you are, but also want to try and kind of slowly experience somewhere new safely. And so I think those programs are really, really good for that. But I think they're a bit one shot. I think the issue and maybe part of that decline or the, the thing you said to Selena's share price was in the toilet. Like maybe a part of that issue is,

Curtis Duggan (17:25.3)
Mm-hmm.

Curtis Duggan (17:34.39)
It's a, it's a, yeah, you can phrase it differently. You can phrase it differently, but it has declined since their SPAC, yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (17:37.083)
Like... I think f-

I think it's, I think it's got something to do with the fact that more and more people do it for the first time and they realize, Oh, it's not so bad. Maybe I could do this myself. Um, and the more comfortable somebody becomes with that experience themselves, like two things happen. They either, they either love it and they're like, cool, I can probably do this for myself now. Or they hate it and they go back to where they're from and they never do it. Like they never do the remote work travel thing again. Um, I saw that that's one aspect.

Curtis Duggan (18:08.063)
Yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (18:11.006)
I also think that alongside all of that, at the same time, all of this, all of this material and resources and platforms, like it's all grown. It's all grown to feed those people. So if people do want to go and do it by themselves, there's now more resources than ever before, like a, like a Nomad trip report or a podcast for them to listen to and learn from and get more comfortable with this idea. So I think that those programs and cohorts served a.

like a wildly large group of people for a very specific thing at a very certain time. The longevity of that, I think that's the thing that I would question.

Curtis Duggan (18:51.671)
Yeah.

Yeah, I was just looking at some of the, I think I can pull it out without making my mouse click too much sound in this podcast recording. Just pulling up the digital Nomad Trip reports. I imagine that you're gonna see lots of cities or towns that you already know about. So you've got a cluster of keywords or a filter mechanism for various cities that you can filter the reports by. A lot of familiar things, familiar locations,

Mexico City, Medellin, Thailand, Lisbon. That's great. And you can go and find the most popular ones. There's a, I'm trying to think, is there any names here that I don't recognize? Maybe this one here, Agaete, Agaichi? I don't know. I'm not sure if that's in Portugal or Brazil or where that is, but I'm gonna look that up after, or I'll look that up while you're talking. But that brings me to my question is, do you think that there's an opportunity for, or where do you see the opportunity in terms of people reading about the places they already know about?

Chirs @ RemoteBase (19:33.678)
Mm-mm.

Curtis Duggan (19:52.7)
I've watched six YouTube videos on Madeira. Now for my seventh, it's just another hit of content. I'm gonna go read a trip report on Madeira on your site. Or do you think there's a possibility for people to discover never before heard up and coming places through digital nomad trip reports in terms of what's gonna keep bringing people back?

Chirs @ RemoteBase (20:09.398)
Mmm.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (20:13.922)
Yeah, it's an interesting question. I think humans are like fundamentally curious, especially I feel like especially like the nomad profile of an individual is somebody who's really curious about a place and even the places, somebody told me that one of the reports that was most interesting to them and like they were most engaged in was one of a place where they'd already been. It's like they didn't have no nothing to really gain from reading this report.

Curtis Duggan (20:38.414)
Mm-hmm.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (20:43.434)
nothing to learn about a future trip of theirs, but they wanted to know what somebody else's experience of that place was and how it compared to their experience. And I just found that so fascinating because it's like, somebody once told me, right, when you, when you leave a place, like I'm a digital nomad and I travel to many places in a given year, but I often return. So there's like, I'm mostly going to be found at the end of the year in Southeast Asia. And

maybe like through the springtime, I'll probably be in Europe.

And this was interesting to me because I, oh, I've lost the train of thought. That's horrible.

Sorry, sorry. I'm gonna make your editing job a nightmare.

Curtis Duggan (21:29.567)
No, it's okay. I'm just I'm wondering so yours no, it's alright. Let's just pick it up from

Curtis Duggan (21:39.866)
If you have the thought about, you know, finding new places versus reading about the ones you've heard, you could even just say, if you just want to tell that story about the person who read something, read about where they've already been, and that was still good, then we can just pick it right up.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (21:47.96)
Got it.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (21:57.61)
Yeah, so, okay, I got it. So the, I'm a digital nomad and I will be mostly at the end of the year, I'll be in Southeast Asia around springtime. I'm probably going to be in Europe and that's fine. How has this happened again?

Curtis Duggan (22:19.132)
What's the point that you want to make? Is it about finding new places?

Chirs @ RemoteBase (22:22.286)
point. Yeah, yeah. It was like it leads back to that. And it's like, okay, yeah, so places don't pause. So, so that, yeah, somebody, somebody told me like, look, I'm a digital nomad, I'm going to be in Asia at the end of the year, almost every year. I'm going to be in Europe or the Balkans around springtime, almost every year. But we have this, we have this idea as a human, that when we leave a place, that place is on pause.

Curtis Duggan (22:29.566)
Okay, yeah, I like that phrase.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (22:50.998)
And it just waits for us to come back and they don't evolve. But actually that's just not true. Like you can go to a place and you've returned three years later and it's a totally different place, even, even your hometown. If you go back to your hometown after like five years, six years, you're like, whoa, so much has changed because for the entire time you've been away, you've had this, you only you remember it as it was not, you don't get to see all of the change. So trip reports, having multiple.

Curtis Duggan (22:53.074)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Curtis Duggan (23:00.15)
Mm-hmm.

Curtis Duggan (23:07.136)
Yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (23:18.912)
having multiple reports in the same locations.

I think still has a purpose and still serves a purpose because every report is maybe slightly different for the reason that the place changes, but it's also very different because the person experiencing the place has their own take on it. And even though you might have already been there, you're curious as an individual to see how that person's experience has differed to your experience or how you remember a place. So yeah, I think that there are lots of kind of...

duplicate reports or multiple reports on one location. But I think that's really important. I think almost like to avoid this echo chamber where everybody thinks that one place is this, like this thing, or that one place fits neatly into a box. Being able to look at 10 reports for Lisbon that all say...

like probably some of the stuff is the same, but they all have their own like unique individual flavor, I think gives somebody a much kind of better spread of context and like, like contextual information about the place for a Nomad in one place. So I think that, I think that's, I think there's a benefit to having a multiple in the same place, but I do hope, you know, you're right. I do hope that there are.

weird and wild locations that people submit reports for places that you just never heard of.

Curtis Duggan (24:50.762)
Yeah, when you mentioned that you travel throughout the world and you know, you go somewhere in a certain season, then you go to Europe in a certain season and back to Asia in a certain season and it doesn't, it doesn't necessarily pause for you. It makes me think there's kind of two or even, it brings up two or even three things. I think the first two is like, it's almost like first I'm hearing like, there's almost a literary aspect, which is I know this place, but

through the prose of someone else, I can see it through their eyes and then I see it differently. And that's eternal. Like even if you were there for the exact same month at the exact same time, simply seeing it through someone's eyes, their preferences, their way of writing, what they notice is like a literary thing. I see it through their eyes. Then there's also a purely practical thing, which would be someone was there during a different month than me and the weather was different. And even if we're very similar and we would have noticed the similar things, a June report

could be different than a December report. Certainly in North America, where I'm from, a June report is very different than a December report in terms of how awesome it is to be there and what you can do and what the activities are. You might be snowshoeing and skiing instead of hanging out by the lake in 30 degree weather, 30 degree Celsius weather. I say that because I'm Canadian. I think we probably both use that scale.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (26:09.367)
Yeah. Ha ha ha.

Curtis Duggan (26:10.962)
I actually found that even with people with time, you know, when the pandemic happened, I think there's a sense of wanting things, something's on pause and we wanted to unpause back to the way it was. Almost like during the pandemic, we can't wait for this to be over so we can unpause and get back to 2019. Remember 2019, just unpausing it back, but we don't unpause in time and then just go back to 2019.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (26:28.727)
Hmm.

Curtis Duggan (26:34.966)
We enter a new era where there's AI and where there's different geopolitical dynamics and there's different pricing dynamics, things Airbnb's don't cost the same in 2024 that they did in 2017 in a lot of places. That's something I'm sure you know a lot about with, uh, with your first, uh, I shouldn't say your first venture, but the one you're most famous for remote based famous to me, um, how in, in aggregating and curating.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (26:55.704)
Hahaha

Curtis Duggan (27:01.898)
RemoteBase, available at remotebase.co. How have you observed trends in accommodation over the last 10 years? Let's say you've been doing this a while. I know, I guess eight years. Did you say 2016 was when you started? Yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (27:18.718)
2016 was when I basically started working remotely. By 2018 I was like a full-time nomad. So it only took a couple of years.

Curtis Duggan (27:22.316)
Yeah.

Curtis Duggan (27:28.128)
Okay, the better part of a decade. You've been probably purchasing.

accommodation yourself and of course, launching remote based.co where people can find it. What's the accommodation scene like right now and how has that changed from let's say, early coming out of the pandemic? I'll be more specific, two years ago versus eight years ago. How has purchasing accommodation changed 2024 versus then?

Chirs @ RemoteBase (27:59.834)
So I think initially it's good to be more specific with the question, because it's a really big question. There's, I mean, I don't even know where to begin. It's that big a question. Even though it's specific, it's still a big question. Like last year I was giving presentations about the future of Nomad accommodation. So this is like something that I could quite happily talk about all day, I'll try not to. But I think the immediate impact was

host or property manager education. So on the accommodation provider side, you have this massive explosion of awareness about digital nomadism or traveling remote work and the desire for a medium term stay, like not a traditional short-term rental for a weekend or a week and also not the...

12 month lease, that kind of middle ground of like, somebody wants to take this apartment for one month or two months. That the awareness of that absolutely exploded. And then people, the more enterprising hosts were quick to act with figuring out pricing. I mean, Airbnb has a feature called dynamic pricing, which I think helped a lot of people figure some of this stuff out. And there's whole companies that will.

pull this data, pull aggregate pricing data, and provide recommendations and consultations to large property management organizations around effective pricing strategies.

Curtis Duggan (29:40.354)
And what is an example of that? What's dynamic pricing? Well, how would that look?

Chirs @ RemoteBase (29:44.538)
So dynamic pricing would be like, I'm trying to think of like a big US football stadium that I know the name of because I don't know the names of them. But let's say you have an apartment outside, yes, you own, Curtis owns a two bedroom apartment outside the Pepsi Cola Stadium and it's in a city that is, it's a medium sized city, not really much happening for most of the year.

Curtis Duggan (29:57.558)
We'll just make one up Pepsi Cola Stadium.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (30:13.326)
But for one weekend of the year, there's a huge festival or like there's a big sports thing happening at Pepsi Cola stadium, it's the national Pepsi Cola drinking championships at the national Pepsi Cola drinking stadium. And for that weekend, the demand rockets. It's kind of like, it's kind of the same way that Airbnb does search, Airbnb, that Uber would do search pricing. So then they look to understand demand.

and then they'll readjust the pricing based on the demand. So that's kind of how dynamic pricing works with a very crude example. But you would see this, like you would see this.

With less sharp changes, you would see prices change through like shoulder season, high season, back to shoulder season and off season. If a host wanted to just like walk away and never look at it, dynamic pricing would take care of some of that. Yeah, does that answer the question?

Curtis Duggan (31:16.11)
Mm hmm. Yeah, no, I just wanted to understand what it mean. I have a sense of it from what the words are, but I just wanted to get that's a good example with like a big event next to a large population center like near a stadium. Where are people going these days? Do you have a sense of the top five places in the world that are the most popular for nomads from what you see?

Chirs @ RemoteBase (31:28.747)
Mm.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (31:41.014)
Yeah, I think where people are going is an interesting one. Fundamentally, I think it comes down to where they're actually from. I meet way, way more. I'm way more likely to meet a US citizen or a Canadian in Latin America. And I'm much more likely to meet Europeans if I am in Southeast Asia. Or there's a bit more of a blur or a blend in Southeast Asia. And largely, it's down to time zones.

Alongside the kind of accommodation shift, we also had many more people able to work remotely and the remote work landscape, like the future of work changed as well through, through the pandemic. So a lot of people who had full-time jobs that were office-based and were now transitioning out and they, whilst they might have location freedom, they might not necessarily have time zone freedom. So they try to match their hours. And that's what pins people to, pins people to a time zone.

Curtis Duggan (32:21.1)
Yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (32:39.99)
not necessarily a country. Outside of that, outside of kind of more general terms, I think the top five places or maybe top six or seven, there's, you're probably looking at like Bali, Thailand in general, it's probably a split between like Bangkok and a city like Chiang Mai. And then if you move, if you move,

west of there and move across through Europe, you might see places like...

Chirs @ RemoteBase (33:17.262)
You might see places like Spain and Portugal. They're like the big ones and they've become, they're just, they seem to be like on a, on a roll. No one seems to be able to stop Spain or Portugal right now. And then once you get all the way over to Latin America, it's like Mexico City is the big one. Buenos Aires, Medellin, Colombia, like these are the places where people have really, really built big communities. There's huge nomad hubs there. It's almost like you can just,

Curtis Duggan (33:33.708)
Yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (33:46.058)
arrive and plug and play. I think there's locations that are bubbling away. I'm in Albania at the moment. I'm a big fan of it here. I meet a lot of US citizens here. If you're a US citizen and you come to Albania, you can get one year on arrival, which is extremely

Curtis Duggan (33:56.778)
What's the intel? What's coming?

Chirs @ RemoteBase (34:15.642)
extremely attractive. It's also non-Shengan, so people can come here and kind of bounce in and out of Shengan countries.

Curtis Duggan (34:23.534)
And just to explain for the listeners, most might know what Schengen is, but that's the European zone. It's not quite exactly the EU. I think it's many of the same countries. But it's where you can only stay for a certain amount of time before you have to leave. But if you want to kind of quote unquote, stay in Europe, not necessarily go all the way back to North America or wherever you're from, you can pop out to Montenegro or

I guess, Switzerland is that one of them? I don't want to speak up. Maybe that's in the Schengen, but you can go to Montenegro or Albania. Now I'm learning and then come back and then you've gone in and out of the Schengen zone in Europe. And then you can renew, um, 90 days or 120 days or whatever the case may be. So, sorry, sorry. I just wanted to define that. Yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (35:08.01)
No, no, I think that's super valid addition. Like I'm coming from a world and a life where like everybody knows what that means, but that's not the case at all. So yeah, like this is a really.

Curtis Duggan (35:16.907)
Yeah.

Curtis Duggan (35:21.006)
What about Albania is attractive and have you been to some of its neighbors like Montenegro and Croatia? Do you have anything to compare it to?

Chirs @ RemoteBase (35:30.294)
Yeah, I did. I'm originally from the UK and the UK left the European Union. And so I went from a world where I had freedom of movement within the EU. And when that ended, I realized, OK, now I have to start counting how many days I spend in Schengen countries. And I didn't really like that. So I made a big effort last year to explore as many of the Balkan countries as I could.

Um, without, you know, going at like breakneck speed through, uh, through the, all of these countries. Um, and so I was out, I was able to visit quite a few places. So we, uh, we went to Croatia. We spent a month in Croatia. That was really nice. Um, we went to Bosnia, we went to Montenegro. We came to Albania. We also went to visit Bulgaria for the first time last year. So. Yeah, we, we managed to, uh,

kind of visit a lot of these places for the first time. And I think I like Albania the most, not the most, but the thing that I like most about it here is the proximity, like the geographic proximity has so much variance. So you can be in the capital city and in 40 minutes you can be at the beach. And then in another two hours, you can be in a place.

called Semil, which is nicknamed the Maldives of Europe with like beautiful beaches. So really it's not out of the realms of possibility to wake up one day in an apartment in a capital city and within three hours be on like a paradise beach, which is really...

Curtis Duggan (37:03.874)
Mm-hmm.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (37:22.778)
quite rare. Like I don't know how many places that you can really do that in. Um, so that was the thing that stood out to me. And also it was a country that I didn't have huge amounts of knowledge about before I came here for the first time. And so when I arrived, I was kind of expecting some version, some sub flavor of Eastern Europe. I was expecting things to be a bit gray or like for people to be a bit stern.

And there is a little bit of that, but like I got to the capital city and I'm in Toronto and there's a huge park with a lake and it was, it was really not what I expected it to be. So I think that, that fueled my desire to pick away and like, see what, like peel back one more layer and see what's behind that. And, and I liked that. So I peeled back one more layer and, and so on and so on. So much so that we, like, this is why we came back here this year. Now we're, we're here for.

two months and we have this apartment somewhere in the middle of the country, like not quite near the capital, not quite near the beaches in the South. And this city is called Vlora and the apartment is almost on the beach. But it's got a proper, what I would describe as like a proper city. So there's lots of, there's a high...

higher population than like a beach town where nothing really happens. Stuff is happening and that's what I need. I need that. Oh, I need that, but I like the beach. So it's nice to have the combination.

Curtis Duggan (38:59.81)
The closest thing I can think of that it reminds me of when you say that everything is close together in kind of a shrunk proximity where a beach is half an hour from a capital city and the mountains are two hours away is Costa Rica where it almost feels like a microcosm of a country. There's a mountainous central region. There's a big capital city or big relative to the rest of the villages and towns.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (39:17.164)
Mmm.

Curtis Duggan (39:24.67)
There's a Pacific coast, there's an Atlantic Caribbean coast. But we're talking a couple hours to get each of these places from any place, rather than, you know, a trip across Europe or a trip across America. So it reminds me of that in Costa Rica, where it felt like they've shrunk a map down to a palatable, convenient size. And yet it has all the wonders and diversity and biodiversity and cultural diversity of a much larger country, just with convenient travel times, which is, which is great.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (39:52.366)
Mm.

Curtis Duggan (39:55.444)
I'm curious, do you think that obviously you've created remote base and digital nomad trip reports where you see a gap in the market from a media education information community perspective? What other do you see any other gaps in the culture gaps in the market for nomads and remote workers? Things that you wish existed that don't?

Are you always running into the same problems and you wish someone would solve it? What's it like out there?

Chirs @ RemoteBase (40:26.318)
Um, you mean specifically in Albania or just more broadly?

Curtis Duggan (40:30.814)
No, no, just in global nomad travel, does it feel like the industry's matured and you have everything you need? Or do you still feel like I'm not catered to? I don't, there's certain things like I wish I had that I don't or that kind of thing.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (40:33.507)
Mm.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (40:45.582)
It's so interesting that you say that. Like when I talked earlier about there being more resources, more voices to listen to online or more platforms that you can log into and search for and stuff. That's all great, but it kind of makes it easier. It makes it easier to find stuff, but it makes it much harder to know what resources you should listen to and which resources you can trust. So.

I try, I mean, with the projects that I have with remote base, like one of the ways that I explain this to people is like a trusted independent voice on Nomad Accommodation, like be a voice of authority on Nomad Accommodation. And that's something that I feel we can do because we don't own or manage the property ourselves. So we can objectively review and curate. But I do think that there's something missing. I actually think that there's something missing around

Like all of the logistical stuff, the practical stuff, you can probably get from somewhere. But I think there's something fundamental that's missing, which is about integration. So when you, like, this is not like a hint of something that I'm doing. I'm not working in this space. I think I'll leave this problem for somebody else to tackle. But I think that.

It has famously been said that digital nomads move between community, from community to community, not place to place. And that's cool. And that's correct.

Curtis Duggan (42:27.734)
That sounds like a Gonzalo Hall special, but I don't know if he said it. Yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (42:30.966)
Ding ding ding, 10 points for you. Yeah, absolutely. So.

That's true. And that's good.

But there's an aspect of this lifestyle that goes beyond traveling with other people who are just like you. Like, if I just wanted to hang around with other people from my hometown who'd chosen to move away, that would be great. And obviously that's not the case. Like, I get to meet people from different countries. But when I go to a place, I kind of want to know what that place is like. I don't come to Albania to find out what Germany's like.

If I wanted to know what Germany was like, I go to Germany. So I think the, the way a community moves around and the way that a community grows and flourishes in a place that you can plug into is really, really good for like landing there, but I think there's something missing, which is around. Community integration, Nomad to local and local to Nomad. Um, and I think that's something that's a lot more difficult to fix. Um, there's in fact, there's often.

in those popular, really, really popular places that we talked about, like Lisbon in Portugal or in Mexico City. Like I hear, you never know what to trust. This is a classic example of like not knowing what resources or what sources you can trust, but you hear about protests in Lisbon about digital nomads. And you hear about signs in Mexico City in the street, like nomads go home. And there's a

Chirs @ RemoteBase (44:10.278)
One question there, which is like, is that correct? Are digital nomads pushing people out? Like probably it's more likely that it's the tourists, the traditional tourist is having a greater impact. And to go a little bit deeper on that, like to go a little bit deeper on that for people who might not be aware, the conversation that's happening there is that digital nomads will go to a place and boost gentrification or have a...

Curtis Duggan (44:24.458)
Yeah, I agree.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (44:39.378)
negative effects on the housing market in a location. Because, you know, hosts take properties off leasing to put it on short term. And there's a whole conversation and argument happening about that, but I think that's the kind of thing that makes it really difficult as a digital nomad to find local connection, like something that, something that we've always done when we've moved around is we kind of have like a local fixer in every place.

Curtis Duggan (45:05.163)
Yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (45:07.486)
And we're not putting a job ad out like, Hey, we need somebody to help us with this thing. We're just meeting somebody who's a local person and building a relationship with them, a friendship, just like you would if you weren't a digital nomad. And that becomes a person who then wants to help you and, and is there for you to ask questions to, and you know, they ask about, they ask us questions about getting their business on online or, uh, what it's like to travel to a certain place, or they ask you about your home country and it's a, it's a mutually.

beneficial relationship, right? It's an exchange, but I know that, for example, if I need to get a cab to some far off place, or if I need to visit, uh, try and think of an example, if I want to get art supplies, if I wake up one day and I have this sudden urge to paint, I know that I can go and ask somebody like, Hey, what's the Albanian version of

some arts and crafts shop that I have back home, like I wanna buy like a six by nine canvas, where do I buy that? They'll probably know the answer to that. And those are seemingly weird examples, but that's what happens sometimes. Like we came here and we bought a basketball. There's so many basketball courts along the beach. And I used to play basketball in high school. So I was like, let's get a ball. It's not something that I travel with.

Curtis Duggan (46:01.895)
Mm-hmm.

Curtis Duggan (46:20.51)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (46:29.994)
I was like, what are the sports stores here? They don't have the stores that the rest of Europe has. Like none of the brands, like they don't have Starbucks. They don't have McDonald's here. It's, it's, it's hard to know. So having a local relationship with somebody is great. I can, I probably find the answer to that stuff online. Sure. But is that, is it as fun? Like, is it as fulfilling and rewarding is like.

Curtis Duggan (46:36.511)
Yeah.

Yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (46:57.758)
engaging in conversation with somebody and being pointed in the right direction. Not really. So I think that's what's missing. It's a very long winded answer, but there you go.

Curtis Duggan (47:08.418)
How far out do you plan your travel? Do you know where you're traveling from between now till December?

Chirs @ RemoteBase (47:17.014)
Yeah. I plan.

Curtis Duggan (47:18.692)
You do. You plan ahead. Yeah. Do you book ahead? Do you book your accommodations well, well in advance?

Chirs @ RemoteBase (47:26.734)
Sometimes it depends where, like I've got stuff booked. I mean, we're gonna date the episode, but I've got, no, we don't have to date the episode. Let's say like some stuff I have booked is booked six months in advance, but there's a gap at like month four where something isn't booked. Just because, yeah, it varies, but it's like if it's a place that I know and I find a deal on my ass, a really good deal, we'll do it.

We know we're going to be going back to that city. We know the area. It's good. This year actually I'm doing a lot of...

I'm doing a lot of visiting to the popular digital nomad conferences. So they're all set dates, which that makes it easy to kind of semi plan around. Um, and then outside of that, there's like life events happening. So like friends are getting married in certain countries or stuff like that. And then before, you know, you've kind of got half, you've got half of the painting finished, you know, you just need to add some shade and there you go. Your year is almost.

Curtis Duggan (48:32.439)
Yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (48:36.658)
almost planned. But that's not always the case. That's just how it's looked this year.

Curtis Duggan (48:38.003)
Mm-hmm.

Curtis Duggan (48:44.79)
Yeah. Well, where can, for me, I would say no. So I have a home base in Canada now and have for a year or two. I came out, the pandemic shocked me out of New York City where I had just sold a company back in 2020. And so I was transient trying to kind of find places to

Chirs @ RemoteBase (48:47.374)
How about you?

Curtis Duggan (49:09.17)
hide out for a while during the first few years of the pandemic and was planning things ahead like that throughout 2021-2022. Nowadays I would say choosing a place far in advance but probably booking closer to two months one or two months before

I wouldn't say that I book that far in advance in case the plans change. But I have no idea if I'm doing it the right way. I mean, this is why I talk to people like you. I might find ways and read remotebased.co and get digital on my trip reports and sort of change my approach a bit if I see what deals are out there. Because frankly, we just kind of see what's out there, do it fairly close to when we're leaving and then go, which may not be ideal. You know, it might be,

Chirs @ RemoteBase (49:26.871)
Mmm.

Curtis Duggan (49:56.536)
know if you know you're going to Thailand nine months from now and you book now you save thousands of dollars I'm sure that's true in some cases so something for me to reflect on today after uh I you know close this down and start thinking about editing our interview um I'll be I'll be thinking about that whether I'm doing it right I might not be doing it right

Chirs @ RemoteBase (50:17.242)
I think a lot of people do that, like two to three months seems fairly, fairly typical. Um, like with the, with the remote based newsletter, when we're sharing stuff is it's mostly stuff that's available, certainly on the free newsletter, that's stuff that's available in three months time. So like you get an email in April, that's something that's available like towards the end of July. Um, just because that's, that seems to be when people start to think about booking. It's roughly three months.

Curtis Duggan (50:22.464)
Yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (50:48.398)
And yeah, like you have the power planners or the super last minute people, but I think you're somewhere in the middle. I don't know whether that's necessarily the right way to do it, but that's how most people do it. So don't feel don't be alarmed.

Curtis Duggan (50:59.884)
Yeah.

Curtis Duggan (51:03.922)
Yeah.

Well, maybe on that note, I'm going to reflect and I won't be alarmed. Um, but I was excited to have you on this, uh, this podcast. Um, we, we're not going to date the podcast. I can't remember. You said it halfway, you know, just a few minutes ago, I don't want to date the podcast now I'm thinking back, like, did I date the podcast when I started it? No. Okay. So we're there wherever you're listening in the future, you'll be listening. At some point, this will come out sometime. We're not dating it. And I'm sure, I'm sure all our listeners will enjoy, uh,

Chirs @ RemoteBase (51:21.902)
We didn't. It's gonna be a mystery.

Curtis Duggan (51:36.712)
to your insights, Chris. And yeah, that's another episode of remotely serious. Anything else you want to say about where people can find you on the internet or any of your ventures?

Chirs @ RemoteBase (51:49.398)
Yeah, sure. I am often found talking about Nomad life, Nomad accommodation, and all things Nomad on LinkedIn, surprisingly. A lot of the...

Curtis Duggan (52:02.872)
Mm-hmm. Oh, you don't have to apologize. You don't have to apologize. Don't worry, LinkedIn's cool. Yeah, yeah.

Chirs @ RemoteBase (52:07.598)
A lot of Nomads hanging out on LinkedIn. So come and find me over there. And all of my, and also do a little bit of sharing for the more visually inclined over on Instagram. And yeah, you can also just sign up to either of the newsletters. If you want like a direct line for me, grab either of the newsletters and you'll get the welcome email and just hit reply. And then you come directly to my inbox and I answer everything.

Curtis Duggan (52:33.142)
Well thanks Chris, I think that's the pod. That's the episode, and we'll leave it there.