Counterflows: Issue #78
A nomadic writer's guide to borderless living.
Hi folks 👋
So, I finally made it out of Europe.
I left a cold, miserable Heathrow Airport a few weeks ago and flew to San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador.
I was there primarily to catch up with a friend—the writer and activist John Dennehy—who founded a cryptocurrency education nonprofit called My First Bitcoin. Over 1,000 Salvadorians have attended his classes so far, and much like my own future-facing nonprofit, Plumia, things are moving a lot faster than anticipated.
Husband Jesse and I got stuck into an impromptu hackathon with John to work on some comms and media stuff for My First Bitcoin one Saturday afternoon. It was an interesting and productive exercise, but I’m starting to suspect the boys just wanted an excuse to deepen their eight-years-and-counting bromance 💘
El Salvador is a country in transition, and spending time there left me with high hopes for its future. The people have the energy of fierce, passionate builders, and the government embraces the “move fast and break stuff” mentality of a Silicon Valley tech company. Hence the recent legalization of Bitcoin as legal tender, and new regulations to support DAO and DeFi ecosystems currently in the works.
President Nayib Bukele has become a global Twitter star since taking office in 2019, and while critics like to call him “the millennial dictator,” the country’s rapid progress under his leadership is impressive—for example, El Salvador’s murder rate plummeted by a whopping 50% during his first year in office.
There’s no denying that Bukele is a provocative character, happy to pick public fights with institutions like the IMF and powerful countries like France and Canada, but he seems to care a lot more about his people and country than the Boris Johnsons of this world. As the old saying goes: “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks.”
Anyway, next up for me is two weeks in Mexico City, then a month or so in Playa Del Carmen. Hit reply if you have tips for either place, or if you’re there at the same time and fancy meeting up.
Another week, another nomad visa. Brazil is the latest country to launch a new visa program for digital nomads. The government hopes to boost long-stay tourism and the local spending that comes with it, as well as begin combatting the “virtual brain drain” Brazil is experiencing thanks to overseas companies hiring its citizens as remote workers. Applications are now officially open. (via ZDNet)
I interviewed TED speaker and global entrepreneur Karoli Hindriks about her work on the Estonian digital nomad visa in the latest Plumia Speaker Series session. Our live conversation covers a lot of fascinating ground, including what needs to happen for the world to move past the “statistical error” of a person’s birthplace and passport defining practically all of their life opportunities. (via Plumia)
Teams that play together work better together. So, how do you help workers build the dynamic relationships and fun yet productive spaces they need to thrive in the remote economy? Simple: you combine the best of online and offline tactics to create a smarter model—this post explores how, complete with tips from neuroscientists and other experts. (via The Async Review)
🎨🚀 The Secret to Making Consistently Great Work—Like Taylor Swift, Frank Ocean and Christopher Nolan
Whether it’s writing, music, art or something else entirely, the key to making stuff that matters is to see yourself as a craftsperson: someone whose job is to create the very best work possible, not just fulfil a client brief and collect the cash. Yet it’s not output that matters most to the craftsperson—it’s honing a personal process that generates increasingly good output over time. (via Julian Shapiro)
A Harvard professor with deep expertise in the communications field offers five actionable and straightforward guidelines for improving your presentations. In a nutshell: use fewer slides, ditch the bullet points, focus on vocal delivery, create “wow” moments, and don’t skip rehearsing. Not Zoom-era-specific, but still very useful. (via Harvard Business Review)
This self-paced course guides you through the phases of writing a non-fiction book for the first time. It’s free, practical and thorough, offering guidance on everything from scoping and planning to outlining and reaching the finish line. Worth a look—even if the instructor’s excitable “you can do it” tone gets a little grating by the end. (via Scribe Book School)