From 20-25 September 2017, I was privileged to attend Nomad City Las Palmas, which is a conference for digital nomads held in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It was the first conference like this that I’ve attended, and was also my first speaking engagement since going into business for myself, so I was really excited to check it out.
The excellent team at Nomad City kindly set me up with a loft share with some of the other speakers. It was a perfect place to explore Las Palmas for a few days.
Overall it was an amazing experience, and it’s an event I will continue to follow and hope to be a part of again in future! I really can’t recommend attending an event like this highly enough. The networking opportunities were amazing and it was so much fun.
The organisers of Nomad City deserve a ton of credit for putting on such a high value and well-executed event. I’ve summarised my thoughts on the various components of the conference below.
Each day there were both daytime and evening meetups organised for attendees and speakers. Due to when I arrived, I only made it to the after-work meetup on Thursday, in the Mercado del Puerto for some drinks and tapas. The market has a cool vibe, with really good tapas and drinks at great prices. It was so much fun to socialise with the other attendees, and people were all super friendly. It ended up being a late night with some new friends!
The workshops were on Friday, at the INFECAR conference facilities in Las Palmas. First off, the facilities are really world class. They are sleek and modern and allowed for a nice collaborative atmosphere.
The workshops themselves were primarily 1 hour sessions with various experts, and were really informative. Of the ones I attended, I really got a lot of value from Sergio Sala’s session on how to attract better clients and earn more as a freelancer.
Another cool part of this day was getting professional headshots taken, which was set up as a drop-in session, open throughout the afternoon.
There were free beers flowing as well, which was much appreciated!
Saturday was the talks, one of which was mine! There were so many amazing sessions, it would be really difficult to pick a favourite. The talks ranged from the future of remote work, to AI, to lessons learned from sailing across the Atlantic, to coliving, to yours truly giving a brief overview of tax issues for digital nomads.
The only small tweak I might make to this format for next time, would be to give each speaker a bit more time, and perhaps to break this up over two days. By the time we got to the end of the day, it might’ve been a bit of information overload.
They used Slido for taking questions from the audience, which worked really well. It would’ve been nice to have a little more time for questions, though.
I got great value from all of the speakers here, and there was some chance for networking on the breaks between the talks.
I attended two social events in connection with the conference. First, on Friday evening there was a gathering for speakers and sponsors, at the rooftop of an amazing coliving space in Las Palmas (called, appropriately enough, The Roof).
This was a super fun evening with great food and drinks. And the coliving space itself looked unreal. It’s so well designed, with a huge wraparound rooftop and lots of nice, inviting spaces. Places like this will make Las Palmas especially interesting to digital nomads.
The second event was the wrap party on Sunday night. It was also our chance to bid bon voyage to those continuing on to the Nomad Cruise. It was on the rooftop of the Hotel Cantur in Las Palmas. Once again, this was a really fun event. There was a real festive atmosphere and it made me wish I was going on the cruise as well! I can guarantee those guys are having an amazing time right now.
If you’ve never been to Las Palmas, book a trip immediately! It’s in the Canary Islands, so of course the weather is amazing, and the beaches are top notch. But beyond that, there is a super friendly, relaxed atmosphere, plenty of great food, and really good value compared to much of the rest of Europe.
I’d seriously consider spending more time here, and I definitely don’t think 5 days was nearly enough! Las Palmas is positioning itself to become a major digital nomad hub, with coliving spaces like The Roof, and a surprising amount of choice in terms of coworking spaces.
I had perfect cell coverage and 4G/LTE data connection everywhere we went, and the city is really easy to navigate on foot, by bus, or even by reasonably-priced taxis. It goes without saying, but of course since the Canary Islands are part of Spain, they’re on the euro which makes life easy for those of us based in Europe.
I can see a lot of advantages to the Canary Islands, in particular Las Palmas and Gran Canaria. There’s ease of access to Europe, and the opportunity for a really great lifestyle on a reasonable budget.
I learned there are also certain advantages for residents of the Canary Islands, in terms of discounted travel to mainland Spain. I haven’t investigated this fully, and it might not be of much relevance to digital nomads, but nonetheless it’s an interesting feature.
As you can see, this was a great experience. I can’t thank the organisers, Nacho in particular, enough for this opportunity. I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone considering it. I’ll certainly be keeping my eyes peeled for future conferences like this, and hopefully attending Nomad City 2018!