Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Meet Dubrovnik's Digital Nomads-in-Residence: Kaisu Koskela from Finland in Las Palmas

April 14, 2021 - The 10 winners of the innovative Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence (DNiR) competition have been announced. Meet them one by one. Next up, Kaisu Koskela.

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

Content in my life choices that allow me to partake in such an interesting project, for one! Also excited about meeting my fellow DN-i-Rs and putting our heads together for the future of remote work, location independence and more sustainable forms of travel!

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

My friend Stan forwarded the call for applications to me. He has been working for another interesting publicly funded digital nomad project called Nomad City in Las Palmas, and knew I would be interested in being part of the discussion on the growing trends towards this lifestyle. I'm passionate about location independence and the global community of digital nomads that I very tangibly feel a part of, so this project was immediately something that I knew I would love to take part in. As soon as I read the call, I felt that the proposed project perfectly combined my first-hand experience of living a location-independent lifestyle and working remotely with my professional background in migration research. I thought the design of the project in a co-creation model between the DN-i-Rs and public entities like the city of Dubrovnik is exactly the type of hands-on move needed for locations to become active agents in their own right in developing a movement that is bound to happen, with or without their involvement.

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

Years, in fact decades, of lived experience as a (digital and non-digital) nomad, and all the every-day hands-on knowledge and networks that that has given me! Also, my PhD research was about skilled migrants and the formation of their communities and social identities. From the perspective of the scholarly "ivory tower", it will be interesting to see how these academic insights translate to practicalities with possible policy implications (such as the already existing digital nomad visa in Croatia!).  

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

Firstly, meeting the other 9 DN-i-Rs and working together with them combining all our personal insights, skills and experiences! Secondly, being back in the city of Dubrovnik itself in such unusual times: although I appreciate that the pandemic has been devastating for those relying on tourism for their livelihoods, I am eagerly waiting to see Dubrovnik without the herds of cruise ship passengers and mass tourism that has overcrowded the old town streets for years, slowly chipping away at the authenticity and the very reasons why the city became such a popular destination in the first place. In many ways, digital nomads are the complete opposite of the cruise tourists who take over the town for a matter of mere hours until they are bussed back to their boat. They stay longer and spend more locally, therefore contributing directly to the economy and, with time, also to cultural and ecological sustainability of travel. I am very happy that the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board are taking this initiative to address these issues and claim an active role in the direction of post-pandemic tourism in the region.

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

If there is anyone in the local academic community doing research on digital nomads or location-independent lifestyle and communities, I'd be very interested to get in touch with them. Also, I'm an active member of WIMA (Women's International Motorcycle Association), so maybe I'll reach out to see if we have any riding sisters in the region who could show me their best routes, as I am sure there are stunning opportunities for motorcycling in the Dubrovnik region!

Here is Kaisu'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

Marlee McCormick in Texas

Kelsey Kay Love from Texas in LA

Rob Schubert from the Netherlands in Estonia

Ron Tardiff from USA in Budapest

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Meet Dubrovnik's Digital Nomads-in-Residence: Dutchman Rob Schubert in Estonia

April 14, 2021 - The 10 winners of the innovative Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence (DNiR) competition have been announced. Meet them one by one. Next up, Rob Schubert.

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

I know it's not really a good habit to check my phone first thing in the morning. Anyway, I did check my phone with my still sleepy eyes and read that I am a DN-i-R winner! First thought was that I was still dreaming... Double-checking I was awake, I started to realize the dream became reality! Before I knew it I had a dance party on my bed! The party-buzz is still in me, I am beyond excited to meet the other interesting winners to exchange stories and ideas to make Dubrovnik digital nomad paradise.

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

I've been a while already in Estonia, a small northern country that has implemented a digital nomad visa as one of the firsts. To keep up to date with the developments in Estonia I follow a few pages on LinkedIn. I'm not exactly sure anymore how the journey went, but with a few clicks, I went from the digital Estonia pages to a post about Croatia exploring the potential to become a digital nomad hotspot. The potential is clear! Croatia is such a beautiful country and has been high on my list for a while. Therefore when I found out about the competition it was a no-brainer to apply. Quite surreal that I am going now.

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

I believe my start-up experience can be quite valuable. I implement the design thinking method on a daily basis and I am aware of the (European) start-up trends/needs. Besides that, I lived in a few and travelled to a bunch of countries. With this experience, I am able to communicate and emphasise different perspectives.

What are you most looking forward to about DNIR?

I foresee many people transforming into digital nomads in the not so distant future. I think Dubrovnik is taking a step in the right direction by thinking to host these interesting modern nomads. To me, it's very exciting and motivating to help a community prepare for this new wave. To discuss, listen and share my perspective about the future of a place with so much history feels like an honour! Besides all of this, I am looking forward to meeting the local and digital nomad community and explore the beautiful surroundings.

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

I would be interested to get in touch with the local startup community. It would be great to exchange experiences and stories with people who are on the "same boat". Also, if there are any communities that organise active stuff like hikes or cliff jumping I would love to meet them to feed my exploring appetite.

Here is Rob'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

Marlee McCormick in Texas

Ron Tardiff from USA in Budapest

Kelsey Kay Love from Texas in L.A.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

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

 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 Program

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.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Meet Dubrovnik's Digital Nomads-in-Residence: Albert Cañigueral in Barcelona

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, Albert Cañigueral from Barcelona.

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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Albert Cañigueral is a Barcelona-based member of the Ouishare network. He is an explorer of the future of work, workforces and workplaces. Well-seasoned traveller looking forward to this very special digital nomad experience.

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

I feel extremely fortunate and thankful for having been selected for DN-i-R ?? I am also very excited to be on the road again and to revisit Dubrovnik nearly 20 years after my first visit in 2003. 

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

As part of my ongoing research for a web-documentary about the future of work and the future of cities I set a number of google news filters about digital nomads. When I got the article about the DN-i-R proposal on TCN, I saw it as the best opportunity to learn firsthand about digital nomads by a) becoming one myself b) meeting well-seasoned nomads and c) helping to design a strategy for the city. I submitted my entry 12h before the deadline.

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

People say that my superpower is connecting people, ideas and projects. Through these connections I happen to know a lot of examples and ongoing projects around the world. I hope I will be able to apply this knowledge and connections to DN-i-R. I will also bridge to the Spanish-speaking part of the world.

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

Looking forward to the diverse people gathered around DNIR (participants, organizers, sponsors, etc.), and their stories. I am also looking forward to random encounters and events. As my friends from IAM Internet claim "in randomness we trust". Finally I am looking forward to helping craft a city policy regarding digital nomads while enjoying the Croatian culture.

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

I would love to connect with people to learn and experience more about water sports such as kitesurfing, paddle, sailing, etc. It's something pending on my todo list for way too long! Being surrounded by what should help, isn't it? ?

Here is Albert's application video:

You can learn more about the program 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:

Sunday, 11 April 2021

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

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. 

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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.

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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:

 

 

Saturday, 10 April 2021

More Room Needed in Šibenik's Trokut Center: Nomads Have Arrived

April 10, 2021 - The Trokut Center for New Technologies and Entrepreneurship in Šibenik has become a place that brings together young entrepreneurs from Croatia the world. 

Šibenski Portal reports that there are currently six digital nomads there, while there are 33 tenants in the coworking space. A total of 18 companies uses the premises. Trokut is worth 28 million kunas and was built and equipped with co-financing from the European Regional Development Fund. The City of Šibenik received 20 million kunas in grants.

The Trokut Center was recently nominated for the Association of Croatian Architects award, Viktor Kovacic, for the most achievement in all architectural creativity areas in 2020.

"The center currently employs three people, as our goal is to encourage students to get involved in the Trokut Center itself. Last week we released a call to students who have free time to help us with our daily work in the center", says Diana Mudrinic, Director of the incubator for new technologies, the Trokut Center. 

Currently, the Trokut Center's capacity is complete, and the free space around 90%. The company is striving to expand the reach currently built on two floors with a total area of ​​more than 2,000 square meters. The center has 28 flexible spaces of workshops, offices, and cabins.

"For now, our customers are mainly in the IT industry. We can offer them a comfortable environment, workplace, desk, and colleagues to help them develop their businesses. I would especially like to point out our entrepreneurial incubator. We released a public call where the goal is for two months, for enterprising beginners to learn absolutely everything they need for business and their products. In the end, judges will choose to award the top 3 ideas, where the first place gets 50, the second 30, and the third 20 thousand kunas", says Mudrinic. 

The Trokut Project, worth almost 28 million kunas, the city of Šibenik received 20 million kunas from the European regional development fund. European investment in Šibenik should also attract users from all over the world and be financially sustainable.

"Digital nomads are one direction in which the Trokut Center is heading towards, and we already have them now. Some of our guests are from Latvia, India, and the Netherlands. The Digital Nomad trend is slowly but surely moving, and our goal is to become one central place for digital nomads where we can help them apply for digital nomad visas. The goal is to be self-sustainable in 3 years, according to the project rule." 

The purpose of the project is to develop innovative entrepreneurial and business infrastructure for the provision of new and better services. The aim is to encourage the growth and development of small and medium enterprises and create new jobs in Šibenik-Knin County.

Ivana Juran Magdic, from the project office in shipbuilding Levant, has her workspace in Murter but still decided to use The Trokut Center's space. "It’s very comfortable. It’s close to everything, and everyone is thrilled, from business partners, clients, and so on. I was afraid of what a coworking area will look like as I've never done that, I've been alone in the office for 12 years, so this is a new experience. It encouraged me to keep the business going", said Magdic. 

Franka Bujas, the F5 graphic design services business owner, found The Trokut Center to be a comfortable place to work in. "At first, I was working from home, looking and thinking of a space like this. However, when the Trokut Center was made, I was unsure, but the decision was made when I came here and saw what everything looks like and what it has to offer. I was thrilled, so I decided to come here. It is fully equipped for all my needs, the meeting room that is important to me looks professional. I think this is ideal for all beginners and, more specifically, larger companies." 


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Franka Bujas founder of F5 via Trokut Šibenik - Inkubator za nove tehnologije Facebook

Franka found friends in the Trokut Center who are an additional plus to that space in the space itself and the working conditions. "The working atmosphere is great, and people are young, the atmosphere is motivating. The staff is great, and they are always available for whatever is needed." 

At the opening ceremony, Diana Mudrinic, Director of the incubator for new technologies, the Trokut Center, stated the Trokut Center is the home of new generation entrepreneurs and expressed hope that Šibenik would soon become the central place of the IT community in Croatia.

For more about made in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Meet Dubrovnik's Digital Nomads-in-Residence: Kelsey Kay Love from Texas in L.A.

April 10, 2021 - The 10 winners of the innovative Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence (DNiR) competition have been announced. Meet them one by one, starting with Kelsey Kay Love from Texas, but currently in Los Angeles.

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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My name is Kelsey Kay Love, and I am a Travel Writer and Brand Manager who believes in traveling randomly, moving frequently, spontaneous dance parties and daiquiris with a view.

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

Have I fainted? Did I fall in a manhole and wake up in a fantasy land?! Have I grown 6 inches and finally learned how to make carbonara?! Okay well no, but it does feel a lot like a travel fantasy come to life. I mean, it's been about a decade since I won so much as a free hot dog, so this is definitely a step up in life.

I am still a little in shock, and also obviously beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to not only live in Croatia for an entire month, but meet and work with a variety of fascinating folks to make Dubrovnik the next digital nomad hotspot.

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

While on lockdown in my very loud, very unfortunate-sized studio apartment in LA last year, I came across an article about Bermuda, Barbados and Estonia creating new visa opportunities for digital nomads. Shortly after, I found an article on LinkedIn about Jan de Jong, a Dutch entrepreneur, who was trying to make the same thing happen in Croatia. Croatia has been on my list for a long time, so I set up a Google alert with the words 'digital nomad visa Croatia', which eventually paid off by leading me directly to this competition via Total Croatia News. And now here we are! Wild stuff.

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

Since I've lived in a few different countries previously as a digital nomad, the most valuable skills I bring to the table are likely experience, perspective, and a way with words. Also cocktails. I make excellent cocktails. My years in digital marketing, branding, and travel writing should also come in handy. And southern hospitality and easy laughter go wherever I go, which are always welcome party guests at any party worth attending.

4. What are you most looking forward to about DN-i-R?

In every place I've lived, even after just a single month, I feel like I'm able to pick up on so much of what makes it a liveable destination, even if it's for someone that ultimately isn't me. I'm most looking forward to finding out what those things are in Dubrovnik, especially, as I normally show up in a country without the faintest clue as to which specific area I will end up. This time around, it will be a unique opportunity to put those skills to use in such a concentrated location of a country I've never been to. I'm also very excited to work with people from such different backgrounds and areas of expertise, as I'm sure we will all learn so much from each other.

And last but not least, I am ecstatic about the mere possibility of floating in the sunshine on the Adriatic Sea.

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

If there is a local marketing community, digital or otherwise, I'd love to meet them. I'd also love to meet those involved in the wine and spirits industry, food and beverage industry, and anything to do with dance, performing arts, and live music! And if the local catamaran community is currently accepting new friends, please also point me in their direction. Thank you!

Here is Kelsey'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.

Friday, 9 April 2021

10 Digital Nomads, 7 Countries: Dubrovnik DN-i-R Winners Announced (VIDEO)

April 9, 2021 - 10 digital nomads from 7 countries have been announced as the winners of the inaugural Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence in a video presentation at a press conference in the city. 

They originate from California, Texas, Japan, Finland, Spain, Hungary, the Netherlands, and the UK, but are currently located in several other locations. But they all have one thing in common - on April 23, they will all descend on Dubrovnik, to take up their positions in the world's first Digital Nomad-in-Residence programme (DN-I-R), set to take place in Croatia. 

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The DN-i-R 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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Given the global situation, it was perhaps fitting that the location of the press conference was just outside the UNESCO World Heritage Site and its famous old walls at Lazareti. Completely renovated in 2018, Lazareti is now a spectacular multi-purpose event location. Its origins are as the original quarantine station in Dubrovnik. The Dubrovnik Republic was the first state to introduce quarantine back in 1377. 

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The press conference was given by Deputy Mayor of Dubrovnik, Jelka Tepsic, Dubrovnik Tourist Board Director, Ana Hrnic, Saltwater Nomads CEO, Tanja Polegubic, and TCN CEO, Paul Bradbury. 

The lucky 10 digital nomads were chosen from a very international field of 115 applicants, from 27 countries. You can see who they are with this compilation video above, which was put together from the application video submissions. Over the coming days, TCN will be introducing them individually. They are:

Kelsey Kay Love from Texas (currently in Los Angeles)

Charlie Brown from UK (currently in Zagreb)

Ron Tardiff from USA (currently in Budapest)

Marlee McCormick from Texas

Albert Cañigueral from Spain

Zoltan Nagy from Hungary (currently in Tenerife)

Alyssa Isogawa from USA/Japan (currently in California)

Rob Schubert from the Netherlands (currently in Estonia)

Carolyn Zelikow from USA (currently on Hvar)

Kaisu Koskela from Finland (currently in Gran Canaria)

It was a high-quality field of applications, and there are several ways that other applicants can still be involved. TCN will shortly be announcing giveaways, virtual networking opportunities, and the chance to attend the final event in May. 

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The press conference over, it was down to the hard work. The excellent relationship between city, tourist board and Saltwater Nomads has already delivered the first digital nomad conference in Croatia, Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads in October, 2020. Jelka and Tanja have built up an excellent working relationship, and there is still plenty of organisation ahead, now that the selection process is over.  

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One of the gorgeous Lazareti rooms has been made available to the DN-i-R project as a coworking space, right on the water.  

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.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Dubrovnik Tourist Board Director Ana Hrnic on Digital Nomads, Tourism Reset

April 7, 2021 - Applications have now closed for the inaugural Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence competition. TCN caught up with Dubrovnik Tourist Board Director, Ana Hrnic, to talk nomads and the future of tourism in the Pearl of the Adriatic.

With just over 2 weeks to go to the start of the Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence programme, TCN sat down with Dubrovnik Tourism Board Director, Ana Hrnic, to cover a wide range of issues related to tourism in Croatia's most iconic city, including its future direction. 

The Dubrovnik  Digital Nomad-in-Residence programme is a joint initiative from the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads and TCN, funded by Dubrovnik. Saltwater Nomads CEO Tanja Polegubic recently gave an interview to TCN where she went into considerable detail about the programme. 

The judging panel of six has reached agreement, and the ten (VERY international) winners will be announced at a press conference at Lazareti in Dubrovnik on Friday, April 9 at 10:00. 

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I caught up with Ana Hrnic, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board director, to talk nomads, but also various other issues regarding tourism in the city and its future direction. 

Being a tourist board director during a pandemic must be extremely stressful. Tell us how 2020 was for tourism in Dubrovnik from your perspective.

I came on the position of Dubrovnik Tourist Board director in February 2020. This would be a professional challenge for me in normal times, not to mention how challenging it was in months that followed. I just managed to meet the team and get familiar with the processes, when the pandemic started. This was a big shock for everyone, and of course for me personally as well. 2020 was I think the most specific year ever. We have had war and many other crises that affected tourism in the past, but this kind of a global impact was something we have never faced before. The year 2020 was very difficult, especially for Dubrovnik as a destination very dependent on international flights.

International air traffic began in mid-June, and intensified in July, when flights began from the UK market, our traditional number one market. Unfortunately, very soon Croatia was included in the red lists of many countries due to the epidemiological situation, so the season was very short for us. The announcements for September were good, but the epidemiological situation prevented us from realizing it.

Until recently, Dubrovnik tourism was known increasingly for cruise ships and over-tourism. 2020 changed all that. How was the feeling last year a) as a resident, and b) as a tourism professional?

Due to the over-tourism effects, a few years ago, Dubrovnik was on the list of destinations to avoid, and our UNESCO status was endangered. And lately, thanks to the measures taken by the city administration through the Respect the City project, Dubrovnik is on the list of destinations that are successfully coping with the trend of over-tourism, which has not bypassed many other famous tourist cities.

Mass tourism is inevitable, even for nominally more exclusive destinations than Dubrovnik. This was certainly due to the fact that flights became quite affordable, so thousands of people were given the opportunity to travel around the world for relatively little money. And there is cruising tourism which is also financially acceptable and accessible to a larger number of people. It should not be seen as something negative, but it should be properly managed. That is why destination management is important, in order to make tourism sustainable in all aspects.

Tourists who came to Dubrovnik last summer had the opportunity to fully enjoy the city without crowds, and experience the destination in a unique way.

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Many see 2020 as an enforced opportunity for a complete reset. Is this the case for Dubrovnik tourism? More of the same of a complete reset? What is the vision?

We should focus primarily on quality and sustainability. I see Dubrovnik in the future as a destination of sustainable tourism, and as a destination of top-quality offer and excellence in all segments. I think it is very important to achieve a quality balance between satisfied visitors and satisfied citizens. There is no point in accumulating millions of overnights and arrivals, if our citizens are dissatisfied and if this affects negatively on the quality of our lives. 2020 definitely gave us the opportunity for a certain reset, and I believe we are on a good way.

In the years ahead, I think that nothing will look exactly the same as before and that we will be able to completely change the direction of tourism development towards sustainability. I believe that we will draw some lessons from all this that has happened and create clear visions for the future. We are convinced that the highest quality segments of the offer are the most resilient in crises and we need to work on raising quality in all segments.

Dubrovnik tourism should be tourism that respects above all the citizens of this city, which is sustainable and whose success is not measured solely by the number of overnights. The emphasis in the future must be placed on raising quality in all segments, in order to ultimately use this crisis to reposition Dubrovnik as a destination of excellence and sustainable tourism.

Dubrovnik has been a very early adaptor of the digital nomad opportunity in Croatia. Tell us why you believe it is such a good thing. And why should nomads choose Dubrovnik?

Speaking of digital nomads, in October last year the City of Dubrovnik hosted the event "Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads", and was the leader of this initiative in Croatia. Digital nomads are important for the destination where they live, because of the fact that they are good consumers, but also because of their activities which intensively promote the destination. It should also be emphasized that these are long stays, often in periods outside the main seasonal months. They become ambassadors of their new city, and in this way attract their friends, families and more and more digital nomads. In every aspect, Dubrovnik has the potential to become a prestigious and desirable destination for digital nomads. In order to attract them, it is necessary, in addition to an attractive destination and excellent internet connection, to provide them hospitality, show how safe in all aspects Dubrovnik is, to offer better long-term rental opportunities, greater engagement of the local community, and global promotion.

Dubrovnik has a reputation in some quarters as being expensive with not much to do after exploring the old town, which does not sound attractive to digital nomads, especially those on a budget. How would you answer those claims of being expensive and there being little to do?

The propaganda of Dubrovnik as a too expensive destination is, in my opinion, excessive, and such a sensationalist approach harms the destination. Lower quality destinations have the same prices as Dubrovnik. Coffee on Stradun and a kilo of top-quality fish in a luxury restaurant have their price, which is absolutely justified, and this should come as no surprise. From the prices in always the same restaurants, which are located in the most attractive locations within the city walls, the perception is created that the prices are the same everywhere. In the City, and even within the city walls, there are places with much more moderate prices and quality offer. I do not see Dubrovnik as a destination for sun and beach tourism, but as a destination for experiences. It is special at all times of the year, so it is not necessary to visit it in the months when prices are high. Dubrovnik and its surroundings have so much to offer during the whole year – from different events, festivals, gastronomy, active tourism… This can and will be improved in the future and Dubrovnik will be even more than now recognized as a whole year destination.

This is the first Digital Nomad-in-Residence partnership with a destination in the world as I understand. Tell us what you are expecting from this month, and how exactly will the tourist board and city participate?

We see this project as an excellent opportunity to promote Dubrovnik as a digital nomad-friendly destination. Through the project together with our partners and candidates, we will create a future strategy for positioning Dubrovnik as an attractive digital nomad destination, we will define areas for improvement and hopefully reach global promotion. Our candidates’ feedback on their one-month stay in Dubrovnik will be extremely useful for our future steps.

Tell us a little about the profile of the digital nomads you are hoping will apply. 

We are hoping to have a diverse range of candidates - different nationalities, occupations, skills, age groups, professional experiences… those who will help us promote the destination within the global digital nomad community, and whose experiences will help us develop future strategy.

How will you measure the success of the programme?

We will measure the success of the program by the number of digital nomads staying in Dubrovnik in future period, as well as global promotion and PR we are hoping to achieve. And of course, as I have already mentioned, our candidate’s feedback will be very valuable for us in the development of a future digital nomad-friendly destination strategy.

Applications for the Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence programme have now closed, but you can learn more about it here.

For more information about digital nomads in Croatia, visit the TC Digital Nomads in Croatia in a Page. Or follow the latest in the dedicated TCN section

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Just 6 Days Left to Apply: Meet the Dubrovnik DN-i-R Stunning Regional Tours

March 25, 2021 - With just 6 days left to apply for the Dubrovnik DN-i-R (Digital Nomads in Residence) competition, a look at some of the magic that awaits the 10 lucky winners.  

(This article is sponsored by the City of Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik Tourist Board.)

There are just six days to go until applications close for the Dubrovnik DN-i-R competition, the first of its kind in the world. Ten lucky winners, to be announced on TCN on April 5, will be guests of the city of Dubrovnik for four weeks from April 23. The Dubrovnik DN-i-R programme will be the first such cooperation between a destination and resident digital nomads, working together to develop the destination's strategy for its digital nomad offer. 

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The concept, developed and implemented by Saltwater Nomads, is a collaboration with the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, and the Croatian National Tourist Board, with media support from TCN. 

In addition to the free accommodation, specialised workshops and other activities, Dubrovnik's ten remote-working guests will be taken around the region to explore some of the magic of Dubrovnik, both inside - but especially outside - its city walls. 

I always find it amusing to hear tourists complaining that there is nothing to do in Dubrovnik once you have been around the old town. Nothing could be further from the truth! Add Dubrovnik, the city, to Dubrovnik, the region, and you have a quite sensational offer. And that is before you consider the gems right across international borders, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Mostar in Bosnia and Hercegovina and Kotor in Montenegro.

Considering applying but not yet convinced? Perhaps this official overview of the excursions will help persuade you. You can find out more about the application process here.  

1 - Tour of Dubrovnik Old Town

– sightseeing tour of the Old City of Dubrovnik and the city walls with the local guide – organized by Dubrovnik Tourist Board 

Learn more about Dubrovnik on the official Dubrovnik Tourism Board website.

2  - Korcula

 – a weekend trip to Korcula island (sightseeing tour of the Old City of Korcula – birthplace of Marco Polo; hiking /cycling from town Korcula to Lumbarda, winery visit; visiting other places on the island – Blato, Vela Luka…) – organized by Korcula Tourist Board

Korčula – this central Dalmatian island stretches out parallel to the nearby mainland in a west-east direction. The island is 46.8 km in length, with an average width of 5.3 to 7.8 kilometres and a surface area of 270 km2, making it the sixth-largest island in the Adriatic Sea. It is separated from the Pelješac peninsula by the Pelješac Channel, only 1270 m wide at its narrowest point. The island of Korčula is indented with a series of bays and coves. Exploring the island only adds to its natural beauty: every part of it is worth exploring. Near the city of Korčula is an archipelago of twenty uninhabited islands covered in dense macchia thickets and accessible coastline: on some, the smooth stone slabs along the shore are perfect for sunbathing. The island of Korčula has been inhabited since prehistoric times, with past traces of life being uncovered at many places on the island. The oldest finds were stone knives from the Neolithic age discovered on the islet of Badija near Korčula. The site with the richest Neolithic age finds is Vela spilja (Large Cave) at Vela Luka.

Learn more about the incredible island of Korcula.

 3 - Mljet

 -a weekend trip to Mljet island – one of the 8 national parks of Croatia (active tour of the island – cycling, hiking, kayaking, visit of the national park and 2 saltwater lakes, boatride to the Odysseus cave…) – organized by Mljet Tourist Board

Mljet – the first large island we come upon while sailing the from the southeast in Croatian waters. In historical times, the entire island was inhabited by the Illyrians. The Greeks, on their way to Lumbarda (island of Korčula) and other Adriatic settlements arrived there and stayed due to the water and bad weather. The island was also inhabited by the Romans, who left behind archaeological remnants, the most significant of which is the palace in Polače harbor, as well as the names of the island heights, hills and reefs, unquestionable proof of their residence on the island. Mljet is Croatia’s greenest island with lush Mediterranean vegetation, clear and clean sea, a gentle, sandy shoreline and a wealth of underwater sea life. This island is well known for its southern sorts of white and red wine, which receive a special flavour and aroma from the sun and the specific Mljet soil. The island is also well known for its goat’s cheese and honey which, in the past, was served in the emperor’s courts, and mostly for the warmness with which the islanders greet visitors to their island.

Learn more on the official Mljet Tourist Board website.

 4 - Konavle

– one-day excursion to Konavle area (sightseeing of the town Cavtat, museum in the village Cilipi, Old watermill in village Ljuta and some other sights and villages). – organized by Cavtat Konavle Tourist Board

Konavle is a region with particular natural beauties and contrasts: mountain and valley, green hills and naked stone, the blue and the green or, as called by the inhabitants of Konavle, "Gornja" and "Donja Banda". Fringed by the Konavle mountains in the North, bordered by the Adriatic Sea in the South, it reaches from the entry into the Bay of Kotor to the peninsula of Prevlaka in the East, and in the West, it inclines down to the cosy coves of Obod and Cavtat. The preserved natural, unique and exceptionally precious rural architecture, numerous monuments of the thousand-year-old history of this area, traditions that are hundreds of years old and have been kept through folklore, the distinctive traditional costumes of Konavle and the Konavle embroidery, the harmony of man's life and nature …all this renders Konavle unique and recognisable.

Learn more on the official Cavtat Konavle Tourist Board website.


5 - Primorje

 – one-day excursion to Dubrovnik Primorje area (visit of town Slano, the Rector’s palace, villages up the hills…) – organized by Dubrovacko Primorje Tourist Board

The Coast of Dubrovnik is a gentle region of olive groves and vineyards, with an indented shore and lavish vegetation... Slano is the biggest and most important small town and a community centre. Traditionally, the villages in the immediate hinterland are municipally linked to it, forming a constituent part of the Community of the Dubrovnik Coast. Slano is 30 kilometres from the centre of Dubrovnik. It is situated in a spacious and beautiful bay of the same name, which was a flooded valley, next to the walled shoreline, opposite the island of Šipan and divided by the Koločep Channel. Slano is attractive due to its numerous pebble beaches, lush vegetation and pleasant climate. 

The bay is protected from the wind, so that it is an ideal haven and anchorage for ships, boats and yachts. Its economy is based on tourism with accommodation provided by the hotels “Admiral” and “Osmine”, private pensions, apartments, campsites and other venues; also on agriculture (olives, vines, fruit), fishing and other marine activities.

Learn more on the official Slano Tourist Board website.

The final date for applications is March 31, so there is still time. It is going to be a fantastic 4 weeks in a dream destination. Full details on the competition, rules and application process on the Saltwater Nomads website.

Learn more about the programme in this in-depth interview with its creator, Saltwater Nomads CEO Tanja Polegubic

The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, has been heavily involved in the city's Dubrovnik digital nomad initiative from the start. Mayor Frankovic talks about this, as well as other tourist topics, in this recent TCN interview

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