Digital Nomads

Meet Dubrovnik's Digital Nomads-in-Residence: Marlee McCormick from Texas

By 13 April 2021

 from April 13, 2021 - The 10 winners of the innovative Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence (DNiR) competition have been announced. Meet them one by one. Next up, Marlee McCormick.

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. 

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So how do we get older, higher-spending American (and other) digital nomads to explore Dubrovnik? The first thing we need to do is find out their needs, what Dubrovnik has to offer, and what Dubrovnik needs to work on. And who better than a lively Texan with her own award-winning radio show, working from a home studio?

Marlee McCormick - 20+ years award-winning Radio Chick, 4 generation Texan of Scottish ancestry, member of the Daughters of the American Revolution ( the Scottish ancestor that first arrived in America in 1768, served in the Continental Army in North Carolina), proud University of Texas Longhorn, and true Virgo by nature.  My personal motto "Life's too short not to be happy".

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

First of all, let me say Hvala lijepa for sponsoring this opportunity to live and work in Dubrovnik.  Is it a cliche to say it's a dream come true?  It might be, but it's the truth!  Since becoming empty-nesters a few years ago, my husband Jeff and I have taken advantage of a freer lifestyle.  With all the kids grown and out of college, we found we had more time and money, so we took up traveling.  We decided that it was better to see the world while we were still physically able to walk several flights of stairs or hike/walk several miles a day.  

On one of our trips, we started to imagine what it would be like if we could actually live in another country and truly experience a different culture as a local.  A desire we've had for "some day" and now thanks to DN-i-R that day is here!  We are so thrilled to get this sneak peak at an amazing opportunity to actually live in Dubrovnik.  During the pandemic, we learned that with good WIFI, we could honestly work from anywhere in the world.  I'm really excited about the fact that due to the time difference, I'll broadcast my morning radio show from 1p - 5p in Dubrovnik, instead of having to get up at 4am in Dallas.  Talk about improving your quality of life!

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

When restrictions started to ease last year, Jeff and I decided if we stayed smart about it, we could travel safely during the pandemic.  But where to go, who will take Americans?  One location kept coming up as our best opportunity - Croatia.  We knew nothing about the country or what to expect.  After a little research, we put together a trip to Dubrovnik, Hvar, Split, ending in Zagreb.  We fell in love the minute we landed in Dubrovnik!  Dinner our first night was at Restaurant 360 on the wall of the old city, between the view and the food, I was hooked!  The next day - yes I admit we took a Game of Thrones tour because we're fans - we had a lovely guide, Marina who told us about Croatia's plan to work toward a digital nomad visa.  She sent me a link to Total Croatia News as a resource for the future and I became an email subscriber.  TCN is really a wonderful source for information about Croatia, so that's how I already knew about the publication when I saw you were a sponsor of the contest.  

I also have to give a big thanks to a travel website - Travel Off Path.  I joined their Facebook group and also subscribe to their weekly emails.  Through Travel Off Path, I found out about Saltwater Nomads and the Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads Conference last October.  I signed on to the virtual conference and watched several of the speakers.  There was a lot of great information on how I could make it work to be a digital nomad.  When the announcement came about the Digital Nomad in Residence competition we jumped at the chance!

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

As a member of the media, I hope to help the program develop effective ways to reach the public about the future and opportunities of being a digital nomad.  I think the pandemic taught us all that life is precious and we shouldn't waste it stuck in a conventional work situation.  I feel I can bring that first-hand experience to the group. I started broadcasting from my home last July.  Took my show on the road during the pandemic, broadcasting a week from Dublin, Ireland and also in Cancun, Mexico.  I found out it can work and I can share that insight.  Since I speak for a living, so communication is also a skill I can bring to the progam.  I've acted as an emcee for various charity events both inside and outside of work.  I have a lot of experience in social service organizations as a member or leader of committees, meaning I know how to facilitate a meeting.       

Many companies have found that their employees are happier working from home - or even a beach if the infrastructure is there.  My husband Jeff is a prime example.  He's a digital content, web and social media manager for a Dallas news format radio station.  When his office first closed in March 2020, he was not happy about working from home, but here we are a year later and now he absolutely prefers it.  He's more relaxed, his blood pressure has gone down and if there's breaking news, he can quickly jump online and take care of it instead of having to go to the station's newsroom. 

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

So many things, even little things like learning how to shop for groceries and how to cook in a foreign country, how to get around without a car.  Mainly living as a local and becoming immersed in another culture's way of doing things.  This will be our first real experience living as digital nomads, so I think I'm most looking forward to getting to stay in one city for more than just a few days.  The group you put together for the DN-i-R program is so diverse with great individual stories and experiences.  I'm really looking forward to sharing those experiences and getting their different perspectives on the digital nomad lifestyle and of course their advice on what works and what doesn't.  I would be lying if I didn't add that I'm selfishly looking forward to 3 things - living by the water, which is my ultimate goal in life, going back to Gianni's in the old city for some of their lavender honey ice cream, and having a sunset cocktail at the famous Buza Bar - something we never got the chance to do on our trip last September.  It's time to go through that hole in the wall. 

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

For me, I would love to meet other members of the media.  I think in Europe the on-air personalities are called Presenters, it would be fun to meet some broadcast colleagues or even tour a local radio station.  Outside of work, I think I would like to help out with the street cats of Dubrovnik.  I loved seeing them happily roam all over the city and I understand the residents take care of them.  I'm a cat lover and would be interested in volunteering if there's an organization that helps out.

Here is Marlee'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:

Other winners featured so far:

Albert Cañigueral in Barcelona

Ron Tardiff from USA in Budapest

Kelsey Kay Love from Texas in L.A.

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