Bray People

| 10.6°C Dublin

'I did feel guilty leaving during a pandemic ... I did worry about what people would think'



Nicole Byrne moved to Tenerife during the pandemic

Nicole Byrne moved to Tenerife during the pandemic

Nicole Byrne moved to Tenerife during the pandemic


The dramatic increase in jobs that can be done remotely since the start of the pandemic has created a trend in so-called "digital nomads", a term used to describe tech workers who relocate from expensive cities like Dublin, London or San Francisco to cheaper places, often with lifestyle benefits, to work remotely.

Kyero, one of Europe's largest property agents, reported a 117pc annual increase in Irish people renting property in Europe in January and February this year compared to January and February 2020.

Martin Dell, founder of Kyero, said: 'There is little doubt that coronavirus and higher levels of remote working has driven up interest in property overseas as the dream of moving to Europe becomes a realistic possibility.'

Many countries who rely heavily on tourism, including Spain and Portugal, have been offering work-from-home visas in a bid to attract remote workers and help boost the economy while the tourism industry operates under heavy restrictions.

26-year-old Nicole Byrne from Co Wicklow moved to Tenerife during the Covid-19 pandemic but said she did feel guilty about leaving Ireland.

'I really found lockdown in Ireland, like many others, extremely difficult as I was living at home again for the first time since I was 18. I considered moving to Dublin or Galway, but as I am a recent graduate, I really couldn't justify spending such a large portion of my salary on a small room in an Irish city.

'I had just started an exciting new job in October and I felt like being trapped in a lockdown was the worst setup to start a new role.

'The idea to move to Tenerife came when I heard about other people doing it online. I saw countless TikTok videos of digital nomads moving to the sun to escape lockdowns.

'I began researching and found out that Tenerife was not in a strict lockdown, the country's cases were low, and that rental properties were of a high standard and fitted my budget. I was sold.

'I did feel guilty about leaving during a pandemic when so many of my family and friends were staying in level 5 lockdown and I did worry about what people would think.

'When I heard about other people doing it though and the fact that Ireland was allowing people to move to other countries, I thought "why not?".

'I got my test just before flying, I have no responsibilities or ties holding me back, and I felt like I was not living in Ireland.

'It's been great living here so far. The little things like the sun shining everyday and being able to meet up with people my own age has been invaluable.

'I really didn't realise how much I had missed myindependence over the last year until I landed here and saw how people were living.

'Staying in a nice apartment with my own space again has been great - having a separate work station outside of my bedroom has made me more productive. Unfortunately an extra office space would have been impossible to get if I had rented in Dublin.

'I've met lots of Irish people over here who are also working online or even using Tenerife as a base to work on their own companies.

'I think there are certain people who come here just to party but I think since the pandemic, the island has attracted a lot of young people who like to work hard during the week and spend their weekends exercising and socialising with other nomads.

'There is an 11pm curfew at the moment, that's when bars and restaurants shut. Gyms, hairdressers, beauticians, and pretty much every other business is open.

'People from Tenerife are very used to tourists as it makes up the majority of their economy and I think they're happy to see people enjoying their beautiful island as long as they respect the Covid-19 restrictions.

'I am wondering if more young Irish people will move abroad if lots of companies adopt a fully remote working policy. As huge tech companies, like Twitter and Spotify, adopt these models I think this could entice even more Irish to work online in the sun.

'It will be interesting to see if this trend continues after the pandemic.

'For me, the more I stay here, the more I think I'll find it difficult returning to Ireland.

'I would like to come back frequently to see my teammates for meeting and of course visit my family and friends - but I do think the freedom of living abroad while still working on the career of your choice is a massive pull.'