These days everywhere from Tampa to Timbuktu is connected to the internet (literally, I sent emails from the middle of the Sahara when I visited several years back). Which means that any knowledge worker with a laptop and an adventurous spirit can work from just about anywhere. But great freedom can mean greatly complicated decision making -- if nearly the whole globe is open to you, where should you go?

You could choose by cost of living, speed of internet connection, or simple personal inclination, but thanks to expat community InterNations you can now also choose based on another important variable -- how easy it is to make friends in a given locale. One of the great pleasures of living abroad, after all, is seeing the world through the eyes of the locals you meet, and you can't do that if the locals aren't much up for meeting outsiders.

The expat site recently created an index that ranks countries on various variables, including their friendliness to outsiders, based on a survey of 14,000 of its users worldwide, which was helpfully reported the Independent. Here are the top ten nations when it comes to welcoming visitors with open arms:

  1. Taiwan
  2. Uganda
  3. Costa Rica
  4. Mexico
  5. Colombia
  6. Oman
  7. Philippines
  8. New Zealand
  9. Vietnam
  10. Portugal

From Asia to Africa to the Middle East and Latin America, every region is represented at the top of the ranking, so rest assured that whatever corner of the globe you're hoping to explore, there are locals happy to show you the sites and share their world with you.

But by the same token, most regions are also home to some folks who are a little more inward looking and insular. So be warned, these are the nations at the bottom of the list of 66 countries, where you'll have the hardest time rounding up a local circle of friends (from most friendly to least).

  1. Austria
  2. Russia
  3. Denmark
  4. Qatar
  5. Sweden
  6. Norway
  7. Switzerland
  8. Czech Republic
  9. Saudi Arabia
  10. Kuwait

Where does the U.S. rank? In the middle of the pack, at number 25, right below Cyprus, my current locale, which I can attest is a pretty tight knit place and not the easiest for foreigners to break into.

Which brings me to an important point: no one is claiming vast scientific rigor for this poll, so consider this list a jumping off point for discussion rather than the final statement on the topic. If you disagree with the placement of any country in the ranking (for example, Australia at 23!? Aussies are incredibly outgoing in my experience), feel free to disagree in the comments.

Published on: Sep 8, 2016