Earlier than Covid hit in March final yr, I used to be making a good revenue of about $4,000 per 30 days as a contract video producer. However because the pandemic intensified, these gig earnings rapidly dwindled to $700.
On account of all of the uncertainty concerning the future, I discovered myself sleeping on a futon at my sister’s home in New Jersey. I felt stressed and missed all of the touring I used to do for work.
However just a few months later, my prayers have been answered: Croatia introduced that it might begin providing a one-year residence allow to digital nomads (anybody exterior of the European Union working remotely) in January 2021.
I had visited Croatia earlier than and was completely captivated by the nation, so I made a decision to use.
Getting Croatia’s digital nomad residence allow
I did plenty of prep work between April and December earlier than getting accepted for the allow.
The appliance processing charge was $100, and to qualify, I wanted to have a month-to-month revenue of at the least $2,750. So all through the next months, I aggressively constructed a recurring revenue stream from freelance gigs (video producing and copywriting) by Upwork.
By December, I used to be again to creating round $4,000 per 30 days. I used to be additionally an obsessive saver and infrequently spent my earnings. So with the $76,000 I had in my financial savings account, I felt financially safe sufficient to dwell overseas.
Along with the revenue requirement, I wanted to point out proof of worldwide medical insurance (which I acquired by a U.S.-based journey insurance coverage firm referred to as Seven Corners), acquire an FBI background examine and supply an handle I might be staying at.
I spend a lot much less in Croatia than within the U.S.
I at present dwell in Cut up, Croatia’s second-largest metropolis, positioned on the japanese shore of the Adriatic Sea.
The views are attractive, and the price of residing is less expensive in comparison with most main U.S. cities. The common hire for a one-bedroom in Jersey Metropolis, for instance, is $2,779 (not together with utilities), in response to rental itemizing web site RentCafe.
I dwell on my own in a 650-square-foot house, which I discovered by a Fb group for expats in Croatia. I am renting straight from the proprietor for $540 (together with utilities) per 30 days.
I spend a median of $47 a day. Here is a breakdown (as of June 2021):
- Hire and utilities: $540
- Medical health insurance: $65
- Meals (groceries, consuming out and drinks): $608
- Subscriptions: $14
- Telephone: $12
- Leisure journey: $185
How I spend my days
As quickly as my alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m., I will make some Turkish espresso and have a easy breakfast — often some eggs, greens, cheese and toasted bread.
Then I dive straight into my freelance tasks. I attempt to put in about eight hours of labor on weekdays. Since most of my shoppers are primarily based within the U.S., I will schedule work calls on Japanese or Pacific Commonplace Time.
If I really feel like consuming out for lunch ($10 to $14, together with tip), there are a number of locations inside strolling distance. I really like journeys to the bakery for a tasty burek, a savory pastry sometimes crammed with meat or cheese ($2 to $3).
A pleasant dinner on the coast will embrace a lot of seafood dishes like tuna, octopus and squid ink risotto ($18 to $30, together with drinks and tip).
I am a reasonably social individual, and I’ve met plenty of nice folks in Cut up — each locals and different expats. On weekends, I might spend hours having significant conversations with buddies over $2 espressos.
From my house, I am a three-minute stroll to the famed ruins of Diocletian’s Palace. Constructed on the flip of the fourth century and regarded the guts of the town, the streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Web site have been worn easy by pedestrians.
I am additionally six minutes from the Riva, a waterfront promenade crammed with cafés, bars eating places and outlets.
At 35, touring has at all times been an important a part of my life. Since arriving in Croatia, I’ve taken a variety of journeys to see extra of this endlessly stunning nation.
A number of locations I have been to: Zagreb (the place I lived for just a few months), Rijeka, Zadar, and the islands of Hvar and Brač. Most just lately, I took a two-hour bus experience ($28 for a spherical journey) to Zaton.
The tempo of life in Croatia is dramatically totally different — and far more my velocity — than in New Jersey. If you mix that with the affordability, pleasant folks, enjoyable actions and low crime charges, there is not a lot to complain about.
Persevering with the nomadic life
One of many downsides of working and residing overseas is lacking and being removed from my household and buddies, so I am hoping to make a journey again residence sooner or later.
Whereas Croatia will ceaselessly maintain a spot in my coronary heart, a number of different nations, together with Georgia and Portugal, additionally provide digital nomad visas. As soon as my allow right here expires in March 2022, I plan to take benefits of these alternatives and proceed the nomadic life for so long as I can.
The liberty to work from wherever and chart your individual course is a bit addictive, and the spontaneity of it’s a huge a part of what brings me pleasure.
Steve Tsentserensky is a video producer, photographer and author. He at present lives in Croatia by a digital nomad residence allow. Observe him on Instagram.
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