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Are you a frog, a monarch or a sloth?

Updated: Feb 14, 2023

No, we haven't gone crazy and we still have a no pet policy at our ESCAPE colivings.

We started to question, what are "the phases" a digital nomad goes through?

This is a very serious question, born from years of observing behaviors. Our own, as digital nomads, our residents' at Swiss and Greek Escape and our digital nomad friends' around the world. We have come to identify three stages with very specific characteristics that we have called the Digital Nomad Journey and that can be represented as a circle. Indeed it can be entered (and exited) at any point. There is no specific start or end. It all depends on who you are and what you are up to at the moment.


Ok, as we just said there is no official start. However we could not help but notice that the frog phase is where a lot of new digital nomads start.

It is usually triggered by the excitement of new found freedom, the will to explore it all.

Covid and the past few years have encouraged a lot of people to rethink the way they work and live and anyone lucky enough to become location independent has jumped on the DN bandwagon.

The frog phase is usually for these new nomads who are fully embracing the novelty and are prioritizing having exciting experiences in beautiful places rather than fulfilling work or a space to call their own. Frogs want to live to the fullest, tick the bucket list and the job is a means to an end. They tend to be less picky when it comes to where to stay and hostels and short term coliving are a great place for them to drop their (small) bags and off the go to meet new friends!

Where do they tend to stay? Hostels & short term coliving spaces

How long do they stay in one place? Anything from a week to a month

How long does that phase last? It all depends on the energy level and saving accounts of each individual but usually around one or two years on average. What triggers moving on to a new stage?

After a while, some people grow a bit tired of wondering where they are going to live next, who their friends are going to be, and the total lack of routine starts to take its toll.


Yes, we know, butterflies don't live long at all. That is why we specified Monarch butterflies. These live long enough to actually migrate according to the season.

That is what that phase is all about: seasonality and longer stays. These nomads are looking for more stability and tend to plan ahead much more. They are looking to create deeper connections and look for a sense of belonging to a community.

Professionally they start looking for more of a work/life balance and aspire to a more fulfilling job that can not only sustain their nomadic lifestyle but also bring a sense of meaning into their lives. That is also why we love the image of the butterfly, it is the phase in which a person will take all the learnings and start really growing personally and professionally.

Where do they tend to stay? They like finding like-minded nomads in long term coliving spaces as well as enjoy their privacy in Airbnb.

How long do they stay in one place? Around three months How long does that phase last? It is very personal. About 1-3 years. What triggers moving on to a new stage?

Falling in love with a particular place, culture or person is usually a good reason to move on to a new stage. As well the wish to start a family or invest in property.


It is then that the idea of Home Base comes into the life of the digital nomads. A place to call their own that they can always come back to.

At the Sloth stage people are looking to connect with locals and expats more than digital nomads, they start to create roots.

Of course the sloth does not stop traveling all together but it is in need of more stability.

It is then, that a journey that started pursuing freedom slows down to seek deeper human connections.

Where do they tend to stay? If they do not buy their own place, they usually look for long stay rentals or even residential coliving in search of a long term community.

How long do they stay in one place? Long! How long does that phase last? Anything between now and forever! What triggers moving on to a new stage?

The idea of the circle is that one can always keep hoping from one phase to another in no particular order. Being a sloth for years does not mean we won't want to start hopping around one day or that we won't go for a three month trip next year.

We would love to know what you think about this theory and also if you can identify in which particular phase you are currently in?


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