Digital Nomads

Meet Dubrovnik's Digital Nomads-in-Residence: Ron Tardiff from USA in Budapest

By 11 April 2021

April 11, 2021 - The 10 winners of the innovative Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence (DNiR) competition have been announced. Meet them one by one. Next up Ron Tardiff from the USA, but currently in Budapest.

The DNiR programme, which has been designed by Saltwater Nomads, in partnership with Total Croatia News, the CIty of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board (and financed by the latter two), is an innovative direction for the Pearl of the Adriatic, as it looks to diversify its tourism strategy away from overtourism and in the wake of the pandemic. 


1. You are a DN-i-R winner. Congratulations! How do you feel?

I’m ecstatic and honored to participate in this groundbreaking program! I’m also just really humbled to have the opportunity to work with such an iconic city. 

2. How did you hear about the competition, and why did you decide to apply?

Well, there’s a bit of a back story here. After things fell through trying to get a digital nomad visa to relocate to Portugal (in part because of Covid, in part because of bureaucratic indifference), I ended up stuck in the US with no way to get back to Europe. Having spent most of the last 5 years in Europe, I was pretty desperate to get back. I stumbled upon Total Croatia News and the travel Viber group back in July explaining how Americans could get back into Europe through Croatia. After two weeks in Zadar, I moved on to Budapest where I basically got a digital nomad residency and ended up meeting my girlfriend who will be joining me on this adventure. So, cheers to you, TCN. 

While checking out TCN one day, I read about Jan de Jong’s letter to the government and I’ve been following him on LinkedIn ever since. So, that’s how I found out about the program. Apart from the fairly drab Budapest winter, made more dull by persistent lock-down conditions, I was motivated to apply for a few reasons. 

  1. I have been routinely frustrated by antiquated bureaucracy that makes life hard for digital nomads for no reason. I actually have a Master’s degree from Greece, but there’s no practical way for me to stay there and contribute to the economy as a digital nomad. Nonsense. So basically, I’m on board with anything that helps illustrate the value of digital nomads.
  2. Having travelled extensively, and usually slowly (for weeks or months in one place at a time) I find the whole notion of short-duration, shallow tourism to be pretty silly. And as a marine ecologist, I understand the myriad environmental problems that stem from this kind of mass tourism. It seems the pandemic has given cities like Dubrovnik and Venice a chance to stop, take a breath, and realize that embracing the future of work could be a better path forward for both locals and travelers. I’m also eager to research and write about how rethinking tourism is frankly essential for meeting key sustainability goals like the EU Blue Growth Strategy.
  3. Plus, who could resist a month stay in the city where Game of Thrones was filmed??

3. Which particular skills and ideas will you be bringing to the party?

I’ve been fortunate enough to live, work and study in 10 countries, so I bring a wealth of multi-cultural experience and international perspective. Having dedicated my life to understanding and improving how humans interact with our marine environments, I’m also excited to contribute the sustainability/ecology angle to our co-creation with the city.


4. What are you must looking forward to about DNIR?

I’m most looking forward to exploring this unique model with a really eclectic group of people. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to experience what Croatia has to offer as my new office and sharing that with the world. I hope at the end of this first iteration, that Dubrovnik and other cities around the world will embrace the potential of hosting Digital Nomads-in-Residence and leveraging the highly diverse skillset they often bring.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that I can’t wait to be exploring the many sights southern Croatia has to offer! Oh, and as I discovered during my first visit to Croatia, the wine there is phenomenal and I’m already anticipating my first glass by the sea.

5. Let's get you involved in the Dubrovnik community. Who or what would you like to connect with?

I’d love to connect with anyone engaged in Croatia's blue economy. That includes those in marine conservation, research, the aquaculture industry, fishing, etc. I also have an interest in innovation and youth engagement in sustainability, so meeting anyone working along those lines would be fantastic!

Here is Ron's application video:

You can learn more about the programme here

Saltwater Nomads' Tanja Polegubic on Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence Programme

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic on Digital Nomads, US Flights, 2021 Season

For the latest digital nomad news from Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.

The winner announcement video: