Becoming a Digital Nomad (Part 2 – Dubai)

The journey has begun! I have now embarked on a 6-month solo tour around the Far East to set up Based retreats for next year. I have tried to be as minimal as possible with regards to baggage, only a large duffle bag filled with a mixture of clothes tech and pharmaceuticals! Only time will tell if I packed too much or too little.

1st Stop Dubai (UAE)

Landed in Dubai 2 hours earlier than expected at 9pm local time. Bonus points to Emirates for that, although I must take some points away on the account they served me a scone and chicken tikka sandwich on the same plate. Honestly, what were they thinking!

Although dark, the temperature outside is a solid 33 degrees centigrade, a stark difference to the autumnal UK I had just left. It doesn’t take me log to understand why no one walks around here. I have never entered a fan assisted oven whilst operational before, but I suspect it feels something like this. No word of a lie I had to buy new shoes on my second day because the ones I were wearing melted after walking about 50 yards.

The day is Thursday which in Dubai is the start of their weekend; they head back to work on Sunday. I settle into my new accommodation which is nice albeit a bit remote and wait for sleep to come. The jet lag (although only 3 hours ahead of GMT) is present and mixed with the excitement it takes me several hours to fall asleep.

The next day I visited my cousin Adam who has lived and worked in Dubai for one year now. He, like most expats, lives in a skyscraper apartment which provides breathtaking views of the city and ocean. On a side note – Dubai is like living in the game Sim City, just towers everywhere! An amazing example of human engineering and architecture. Anywho, several months back Adam suggested going for brunch when I arrive, so I was expecting to go for some scrambled eggs and mashed avocado on sourdough bread. How wrong I was. Brunch over here is quite different. Essentially it is an all you can drink and eat piss-up! First lesson, Dubai is very contradictory and Brunch is the ultimate hypocrisy given it is an Islamic state. Dubai is a prime example of modern and effective capitalism, whereby with the right amount of money people can pretty much do anything (within reason). Rightly or wrongly this has certainly led to a fast-growing multi-cultural metropolis. Brunch was a great way to meet expats which are pretty much the only people who attend this organised carnage. There is a very strong and supportive expat community here and because everyone tends to go out to the same places, it easy to meet new friends.

In terms of living Budget – I set myself £510 for a week to include everything but flights. I stayed in a mid-range hotel on the outskirts of Dubai and went out for all meals and enjoyed one very boozy brunch. I have since learned my budget was wildly optimistic, not to say you couldn’t achieve it but you would definitely have to compromise on accommodation or alcohol. At the end of the trip, I was over budget by £280 so total spend £790. Dubai is certainly not a cheap place, especially if you like going out and drinking! Taxis and the metro are however very cheap and I would say most other costs are comparable with any other major city such as London.


There are several CoWorking facilities in Dubai and a government focus on promoting new innovation. Because of the relatively expensive incorporation costs to register a business in Dubai, entrepreneurs tend to be a more short-term guest of the city which makes it’s populous very transient. There are of course well know tax efficiencies for a business registered in Dubai, but of course to benefit from this a steady revenue stream needs to be generated which can be challenging for an early stage start-up.

The coworking space ‘1776’ tries to address this by supporting budding innovators. It is more of a business incubator dedicated to promoting innovation in Dubai. After working myself there for several days, I think it would be an ideal facility for future Based tours to work from and therefore I am proud to announce 1776 will be part of the Based partnership network and approved coworking facility for future Based tours.

1776 is situated in the luxurious Emirates Tower, Downtown Dubai. The space is well air-conditioned and open plan with exposed services and a mixture of different businesses. The internet speed is fast and reliable and easily capable of making VOIP calls. There is a mixture of desks and lounge areas, although not plentiful enough to easily accommodate the amount of workers on my visit. The space has a mature, professional atmosphere which allows you to get on with your work without distraction. They have fresh water drinking facilities, organised networking events and plenty of whiteboards!


Because 1776 is more of an incubator than general coworking, it mentors and develops the various businesses working within it. They have developed an online closed group called ‘union’ That essentially provides access to a worldwide database of different mentors and useful information about starting a new business. I think this is a great tool for start-ups who want to work more remotely as they don’t necessarily have to be grounded to a physical incubator. I am pleased to announce that all Based members who are a part of next year’s Dubai retreat will be able to purchase a virtual account and be part of this exclusive database.

Becoming a Digital Nomad video documentary (Dubai)

forgive the amateurishness, it is my first-time video editing, hopefully, my skills will improve 🙂


If you want to be part of the Based Dubai retreat next year, find out more by CLICKING HERE

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