Sunday, 3 July 2022

Zagreb Fastest Growing Remote Work Hub in Europe: NomadList 2022

July 3, 2022 - Zagreb's nomad credentials are enhanced once more, as the NomadList 2022 survey names the Croatian capital as the fastest-growing remote work hub in Europe over the last 5 years. 

Good things are happening in Zagreb, a city which is changing immensely and becoming seriously cool. 

I used to think that Zagreb was a pretty dull place (and 15 years ago, it certainly was less interesting than today), but the last decade has seen the Croatian capital transformed into one of the truly fab places under the radar in European tourism. But that discovery has started.

Having lived here for a year now, it has become probably my favourite place I have ever lived in the 10 countries I have called home on my travels over the years. The safety and the lifestyle are all that they have always been, but an increasingly cosmopolitan feel to th city, both in gastronomy and residents has given the city an extra something. It is a city that continues to surprise visitors, including digital nomads, whose expectations are normally exceeded by a visit to the city. As the self-proclaimed King of Digital Nomads, Israeli Dean Kuchel, commented after a week here last year: "Zagreb has everything one might need for digital nomads, except one thing - more digital nomads."

Those nomads are coming, and one of the most positive findings from this week's NomadList 2022 survey is how well Zagreb is evolving. Named in the top 5 most-liked cities globally in the survey, Zagreb is showing its nomad growth in other ways, being among the fastest-growing remote work hubs in the last five years in the world, and the fastest in all Europe.  


A large part of that growth came last year, the same year as the inaugural (and award-winning) Zagreb Digital Nomad Week. The 2022 edition of ZDNW will take place later this year - follow the official website for details


And, although the data is the same, Zagreb is also featured in the top growing remote work hubs with affordable real estate which foreigners can buy. Something for nomads who fall in love with the city and looking for an investment to consider.  


According to the NomadList data, which is extrapolated from real-time data from their users, the trends for Zagreb are looking very healthy indeed (this data is taken from their own registered users). 

Looking for somewhere to work when you come to Zagreb? Check out the TCN guide to Zagreb co-working spaces.

For more news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Learn more about this magnificent city in the Total Croatia Zagreb in a Page guide

Sunday, 3 July 2022

NomadList 2022: Croatia #1 in Europe, Zagreb, Split, Hvar, Zadar, Dubrovnik in Top 10s

July 3, 2022 - The NomadList 2022 State of Digital Nomads report is out - and there is lots of good news for Croatia.

It is hard to imagine that a little over 2 years ago, the term 'digital nomad' was almost unheard of in Croatia. An open letter to the Prime Minister from a Dutch entrepreneur in Split asking for a digital nomad visa changed all that, setting in motion a chain of events where the term 'digitalni nomadi' is now a widely recognised term in the Croatian language by the majority of the population. 

And the nomads are coming... and liking what they see. Award-winning events such as the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence programme and Zagreb Digital Nomad Week have helped to put Croatia on the remote work map, and Croatia is now featuring regularly in the top places to enjoy the remote work revolution. 

Getting accurate data about how many digital nomads there are, where they travel to, and what their preferences are, has been a challenge, however, as such data is not captured by traditional data collection methods. One of the most respected sources of data, collected in real time from actual registered nomads, comes from one of the leading websites catering to the digital nomad community - NomadList. 


Last year, NomadList released a major survey about the digital nomad lifestyle, extrapolating data from their members, and there was plenty of good news for Croatia. As TCN reported at the time, Croatia was placed second as the most liked country for nomads behind Japan, while Zagreb made it to the top 5 most-liked cities in the world (and the first in Europe).  You can read more analysis of last year's survey here.


The NomadList 2022 survey has just been released, and there is LOTS of good news for Croatia, as well as evidence that the remote work revolution is spreading around the country. In addition to Croatia being named as the most-liked country in Europe again (and globally number 2 behind Japan), no less than five Croatian destinations make it into one of the top 10 lists in the survey - Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, and Hvar. 


An explanation about the data for the NomadList 2022 survey from the website itself:

In this report, we try to figure out who these people are, what work do they do, and how they spend their life based on data from tens of thousands of Nomad List members. In this report, we try to figure out who these people are, what work do they do, and how they spend their life based on data from tens of thousands of Nomad List members. This page is built LIVE with data pulled straight from the database every day, so it's always up-to-date. Conclusions you can derive from this are always limited and merely indicative but possibly interesting. Nomad List is a paid membership community, which means there's a selection bias as people who do not or cannot pay are not in the dataset. On the other hand, free digital nomad communities, like on Facebook, require no commitment to join, therefore it's not clear if these people are merely aspirational or active nomads or not. On Nomad List we can confirm they are active based on their travel logs.


You can see the full report here

I won't pretend I fully understand the criteria behind what defines attractive men and women, but I include it as it shows that other destinations such as Hvar are now being discovered. There is a real buzz about Croatia at the moment, and several destinations are now joining the remote work revolution, and I would fully expect several more Croatian destinations to be part of the 2023 survey. 


One interesting list was that of Croatia's inclusion at number 5 in the destinations where female nomads go more than male nomads, a nod I think to the fact that Croatia is a very safe country in general, with many female travellers commenting on how safe it feels to travel around. 


Perhaps the most satisfying find of all, however, is the rise of Zagreb, Europe's fastest-growing remote work hub in the last 5 years, and the fourth fastest in the world. With much of that growth coming last year and coinciding with the inaugural Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, it is hoped that this year's ZDNW in October will continue that trend. 

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.  

Friday, 27 May 2022

Catering to Digital Nomads: Official Dubrovnik Long Stay Website Launched

May 28, 2022 - A destination long associated with short visits continues its journey of diversification aimed at the digital market and longer-stay tourist. Meet Dubrovnik Long Stay, a new official website. 

It has been a really interesting two years working with the City of Dubrovnik and tourist board since my first meeting with Dubrovnik Mayor, Mato Frankovic back in July 2020. His receptiveness to explore new tourism avenues was very refreshing, and we started working on some new digital nomad initiatives with Saltwater Nomads. With many destinations simply waiting for the pandemic to pass, Croatia (with its new digital nomad permit) and Dubrovnik were busy and prominent. Saltwater Nomads delivered the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia, Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads, which was followed by the award-winning Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence programme (DNIR) in April 2021, and recent Work. Place. Culture. conference which took place earlier this month. 

The DNIR project was particularly illuminating, and it was a pleasure to watch the city, tourist board, community and resident nomads co-creating a strategy for the city to become more attractive to remote workers in the future. One of the many recommendations from the resident nomads was that Dubrovnik was perceived as a 2-day destination, whereas many nomads on social media were looking to try a Croatian destination for 30 days or so. If there was no information or marketing about longer-term stays, then there was little chance that nomads would be heading in that direction. A suggestion to create a website called Dubrovnik Long Stay could promote a different image of the city, catering to the needs of those who were more interested in spending a longer period, perhaps with working remotely built into the plan.


One thing that has really impressed me with the cooperation with Dubrovnik has been how willing both the city and tourist board have been not only to implement recommendations, but to go even further. Making lasting change takes more than a couple of conferences and strategy exercises if the recommendations are not followed up. Changing the perception of a destination takes time, but there are already some encouraging results, as the two British newspaper headlines - one from 2017 and one from 2021 - show.  

Dubrovnik has responded well to the challenge, and the city has some pretty cool features for nomads. In addition to adding co-working (and soon co-living) spaces, the tourist board has reached out to local businesses to see who would like to support the digital nomad community in the form of discounts and special offers. There has been a great response, and the Dubrovnik Digital Nomad Card will soon be available. The tourist board has also established a digital nomad concierge service point at its main Pile Gate office, where digital nomads can register and receive a DN information pack. 

Nothing spreads faster than the spoken word or a hearty recommendation, and the latest collaboration between the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board and Saltwater Nomads has been the Dubrovnik Digital Nomad Ambassador program. Mandy Fransz (one of the top 10 LinkedIn voices on remote work), and Yvette Pelgrom, have done an excellent job and are now continuing their ambassadorship on Korcula. So what did they make of Dubrovnik as a nomad destination? Read more in The Ultimate Guide for Digital Nomads in Dubrovnik.

The latest addition to Dubrovnik's impressive digital nomad offer went live this week - the latest implemented recommendation from DNIR - the Dubrovnik Long Stay website - check it out here

Lots of practical information for longer-term renters, including accommodation options and co-working spaces, as well as the latest news and events. More details on the DN card will appear once it is launched, and if you are considering coming down to the southern coast of Croatia for an extended stay, a website to bookmark for sure. 

To learn more about Dubrovnik, check out the TC Dubrovnik in a Page guide

For more news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Lokrum, Dubrovnik's Island Conference Pearl for Work. Place. Culture.

May 17, 2022 - Continuing our look at the recent Work. Place. Culture. conference - and conference locations in Dubrovnik, a short trip on Day 3 to a conference destination which sets Dubrovnik apart - the idyllic island of Lokrum.

All the World's a Stage, said Shakespeare. But I wonder how The Bard would have rated Dubrovnik on that stage? 

Although I have visited the city many times, the Work. Place. Culture. conference earlier this month showcased the city in a new light for me, adding yet one more competitive advantage to this magical destination already blessed with extraordinary history, heritage, beauty and personality. The event design and venue selection by organiser Saltwater Nomads, brought an extra dimension to the conference. 


The conference (a collaboration between the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, Total Croatia News, Digital Nomad Association Croatia, and Dubrovacka Bastina), which brought together leading voices and destinations in the world of remote work, was based in the former quarantine quarters of Lazareti, conveniently located a few metres from the historic old town and Banje beach. But the dynamic and enterprising programme took advantage of the fabulous surroundings to showcase the magic and diversity, demonstrating that a Dubrovnik conference offers much more than the presentations between four walls. 


From the opening welcome at Sponza Palace (sponsored by the Croatian National Tourist Board) to a keynote speech on the UNSECO Old Town walls, panel at Banje beach, and pre-dinner cruise on a 16th-century wooden sailboat, the surroundings provided as much stimulation as the excellent speakers. But Day 3 promised to be even more special - workshops at one of the very finest places in all Croatia and a veritable jewel in Dubrovnik's tourism armoury - the island of Lokrum. 


As if Dubrovnik did not have it all already, a short 10-minute boat ride on a fully-renovated 50-year-old wooden boat took participants to what is the second most popular attraction after the historic walls. And yet it never seems to be overcrowded. 


Easily the cleanest island I have come across in Croatia (I have never seen any rubbish there), Lokrum is a haven for those escaping the crowds escaping the city (the trip was sponsored by Lokrum Nature Park), but with plenty to offer visitors, including the most peaceful and picturesque workshop locations, as Yvette Pelgrom of Lifebook discovered as we went to scour a location. Where else in the world could you hold a workshop in the cloister of a monastery turned Game of Thrones filming location, with strutting peacocks providing an audio backdrop just metres from an original GoT iron throne? I asked Yvette how it had been for her:


"I was really honoured to host a session on “How to Consciously Design Your Work & Life” on the dreamy island Lokrum. During this session, I guided them through a powerful framework which has been successfully proven to change lives of hundreds worldwide. This got them to unravel core beliefs that guide (and sabotage) their current choices and lifestyle, in order to craft their practical strategies on aspects like career and health. 


"It was really beautiful to experience their proactiveness and how participants, now still days after, are reflecting and acting on it. Mission accomplished! And what a memory altogether given this was hosted at Lokrum Island. Picture stunning botanical gardens, crystal clear water and peacocks around! The island definitely did its magic, too. Lokrum was one of many outstanding highlights for me and when you visit/stay here, the perfect getaway to retreat for walks, strolls, reading, swims and leisurely sunbathing."


There are no cars on Lokrum, no inhabitants (save two firemen from Lokrum Fire Brigade), and smoking and plastic are banned. The botanical gardens are a delight, and Dubrovnik schools often hold classes out in the open on Lokrum. As do - increasingly - conferences such as Work. Place. Culture. I asked Yvette how the conference had been for her. 


"Inspired! My impression in one word. I myself am highly conscious of how I design life and work, greatly as I was raised and worked across the globe. At the conference however I got to connect with many - who blew me away with inspirational examples within this realm of flexible working and living. I left excited having met peers in the same industry, connecting with other leaders who prioritise wellbeing and freedom while investing devotedly in their talent, - and all the way to connecting with millennials with a curious hunger to explore all corners of the world while making an impact. 


"Moreover, the talks gave valuable insights on new advancements around remote working, sustainability around travel and DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging). And… it was fun! A dynamic schedule from talks, sunset dinners, boat trip and being shown around in special Dubrovnik on the walls where Games of Thrones were filmed. Time flew!"

After lunch on the island, it was the turn of Mandy Fransz, one of LinkedIn's top 10 voices on remote work, to lead the afternoon session:


"After opening the Work. Place Culture. conference with my keynote "How To Work Remotely & Travel As A (Part-Time) Digital Nomad" I was honored to end the conference with the final session about "How To Build Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn" on beautiful Lokrum island -- a Game of Thrones venue! During this session, I shared my top tips about how to optimize your profile to truly showcase your authentic, online personal brand to attract your dream (remote) business opportunities. (pssst... download your free LinkedIn Banner Image template here to get started!).


"Lokrum is truly a magical place with a botanical garden surrounded by nothing but nature, the ocean, and the beautiful (and, loud!) peacocks. It'd definitely a must-visit when you're in Dubrovnik and a perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle -- it's been a fantastic experience hosting a session here!"

The session over, participants went off to explore the island before heading back to the city for a farewell dinner. And there is plenty of heritage to explore. Dubrovnik is the birthplace of quarantine, and the remnants of a large quarantine complex (100m x 100m) can still be visited today. It is also the island where King Richard the Lionheart took shelter from a savage storm, vowing to build a church at the location which saved him - the church he donated was the pre-cursor to the current Dubrovnik Cathedral.


Others headed for a swim at Lokrum's very own Dead Sea, once a cave but still very much part of the Adriatic Sea. Mandy also reflected on the last few days at Work. Place. Culture:

"I absolutely loved the overall conference -- from the stunning event venues including Lazareti (see photo below) and Lokrum island, the fun activities including a Karaka sunset tour and "Netwallking" the Dubrovnik Walls, and of course the world-class line-up of speakers full of interesting keynotes, workshops and panel discussions with topics ranging from wellbeing, sustainability, and DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging). It's been an honor to have been a part of this event and to finally meet many industry peers and (virtual) friends in-person -- I already can't wait for next year's event!"

While the conference has now finished, both Mandy and Yvette are still in Dubrovnik, currently enjoying the role of Digital Nomad Ambassadors for Dubrovnik and Korcula (a programme designed and run by Saltwater Nomads), a role they are clearly enjoying:


"I'm honored to spend the next couple of weeks exploring the digital nomad lifestyle in beautiful Dubrovnik and Korcula as an Ambassador," said Mandy. "I am currently writing this from our wonderful home office set-up at our big, sunny terrace with a breathtaking view across Old Town and Lokrum Island. We start our days doing a workout at sunrise, do a couple of deep-dive focus hours, and then we'll go for a dip in the sea or a walk outside during lunch break and after work.


(Mandy with conference organiser, Tanja Polegubic, CEO of Saltwater Nomads at Lazareti)

"For the next few weeks, we'll host a few events to bring together the digital nomad community and collaborate with co-working spaces such as Lazareti (yes, you can even work from there!) to help take the remote work lifestyle to the next level as I truly believe that Dubrovnik has the potential to become one of the most popular destinations for digital nomads and remote workers worldwide."

Yvette was also clearly excited, and with a little gift for anyone interested:

"It is such a gift to experience and contribute as Ambassador to the digital nomad scene in Dubrovnik and Korcula, sunny Croatia. We are making the most out of it, read: early wakeups, workouts with ocean view and the sun rising as it shines first on Old Town, power hours of working, sea dips to refresh, and candlelight dinners with the tasty catch of the day in the authentic alley streets in Old Town or overviewing the sea.

"And those around, stay tuned - we’re hosting events in the next ~3 weeks to connect digital nomads and locals, for leisure and business. My upcoming session on Work/Life Design will be this Friday, May 20th, at 15:00 PM. I’ll be passionately facilitating as Coach & Trainer with another aspect around Work/Life Design. Usually $1200+ but now as no-cost gift (YES!) as a humble way to contribute as Ambassador and bring together like-minded peers. I am being received with open arms so this is the least I can do! Limited spots though as it is interactive - please RSVP as soon as possible - connect on Instagram / LinkedIn / email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. That said, curious but not around?


"My door is open to share about digital nomad life, to connect deeper around things like Life/Leadership/Mindset Coaching or... to have you join one of the upcoming wellness & personal development retreats in 2022 in London/Amsterdam/Lisbon!"

So what do you say,  Mr. Shakespeare: if all the world is a stage, would Dubrovnik and Lokrum take centre stage? Learn more about idyllic Lokrum on my first visit a few years ago.


And there the Work. Place. Culture. conference might have ended, had the energy not been so positive. Energised by the Lokrum experience, conference speaker Dr. Irene Cop offered to hold an extra session the following day over brunch back in Dubrovnik. In Irene's own words:


"It was such a pleasure to lead a brunch workshop on SOS Tools for Success Over Stress at the Work. Place. Culture. Conference in Dubrovnik. You can’t beat transformation, great people and wonderful food for the the perfect recipe of an awesome day!

So many digital nomads and remote workers (and those who want to be part of the Great Resignation) are still feeling lonely, stressed and miserable.

Perhaps they’d thought that, if they could just make this switch to a freer lifestyle, then they’d be happy. 

The thing is that success, happiness, and freedom are inside jobs first.


You can’t be stressed and in success mode too.

So, the first crucial step that most people miss is to use fast, easy, powerful SOS tools to shift out of survival mode.

Only then can you think logically, come up with the creative solutions needed, and act on them to succeed.


Throughout our hands-on session, everyone learned several SOS tools to make them feel calm, cool, and collected in times of crisis.

It was the perfect complement to the other amazing sessions that showed the conference participants how to create a powerful vision of the life they wanted, and then practical ways to take action and make that vision reality.

I learned so much from attending the different sessions myself, and I was jazzed to be able to add value to such a phenomenal conference!"

For more information about Work. Place. Culture. in Dubrovnik, visit the official website.

For an overview of the opening from Sponza Palace.

Day 1: Dubrovnik Connects as Global Remote Workers Bond at Work. Place. Culture

Day 2: Dubrovnik Showcases Its Credentials, as Nomad Trails Head East in Europe 

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Friday, 13 May 2022

Dubrovnik Connects as Global Remote Workers Bond at Work. Place. Culture

May 13, 2022 - Continuing our look at last week's Work. Place. Culture. conference - and diverse conference locations - in Dubrovnik, with an overview of the first day, as global remote workers bond and network in the Pearl of the Adriatic. 

It is a little over 18 months since Dubrovnik publicly dipped its toes into the world of digital nomads with the Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads conference. The event, the first of its kind in Croatia, was the start of a new direction towards a more sustainable tourism direction for the city which has been plagued by overtourism in recent years. This was followed by the award-winning Digital Nomads-in-Residence program - the first of its kind in the world - where the city, community and 10 resident nomads co-created a roadmap to help Dubrovnik develop a strategy to meet the needs of the future of work for remote workers interested in spending time in the city. 


Both events attracted considerable international attention, and last week;'s Work. Place. Culture. conference demonstrated how much Dubrovnik is now part of this emerging story, as a number of top names in the world of remote work travelled to the city to attend the event, and Dubrovnik continues to pivot itself as a pioneering destination in the field. 

Work. Place. Culture. was a collaboration between the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, and Total Croatia News - as both earlier events had been - but with additional partnership this time with the Croatian National Tourist Board, Digital Nomad Association Croatia, and Dubrovnik Heritage. The unity of purpose of key stakeholders, especially the public and private partnership, has been a key element in Croatia's success.


As we reported previously, the welcome party in the spectacular Sponza Palace (sponsored by the Croatian National Tourist Board) in the heart of the UNESCO Old Town provided the perfect welcome. Sponza Palace was just one of several spectacular settings for the conference, and an example of how the backdrop of Dubrovnik, its beauty and its heritage, can significantly enhance the conference experience with its varied and flexible locations. In the second of this four-part look at the 4 days of the Work. Place. Culture. conference, we look at Day 1, which was mainly located in Lazareti, but with some fabulous outdoor extra locations as well. 


Having hosted both Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads and the Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, as well as the first co-working space in the city, Lazareti is the cultural home of the Dubrovnik digital nomad story. Its use as such is the latest in a long list of creative uses of the space which has quite a history and which recently underwent complete renovation.  Its original purpose had been a quarantine base for traders and travellers wanting to visit the city (Dubrovnik is credited as the birthplace of quarantine back in 1377). Today, in addition to conferences, its multiple waterfront spaces - both inside and out - are used for concerts, conferences, exhibitions and other events. The historic buildings just a few metres from the famous old town walls and Banje beach, are the ideal base for a conference with multiple components and locations to explore. 


And so to the rich list of speakers from all over the world, experts in the field of remote work. To give an indication of the quality of the lineup assembled by Saltwater Nomads, Mandy Fransz of Make the Leap Digital was one of 3 of the top 10 LinkedIn voices on remote work speaking at the conference. Fransz was the first keynote speaker on Day 1, charting her story of how she built up her remote work business after quitting her job at LinkedIn, and then offering her services and LinkedIn expertise to help others leverage their LinkedIn profiles to improve their businesses.

Her top piece of advice for remote workers: LinkedIn is the world's most powerful online network with more than 810 million users who you can tap into at the comfort of your own fingertips. If you're not investing in building your personal brand as a remote professional on LinkedIn, you're missing out on massive business potential.

(Please note that recordings of the individual presentations will be added to this article as they become available.)


One of the most eagerly-awaited keynote speeches at Work. Place. Culture. joining from Australia was Aaron McEwan, who as VP, Research & Advisory for Gartner’s HR Practice for Gartner a $4.1 billion company and member of the S&P 500, he provides strategic advice to some of the biggest companies on the planet about the future of work. Recently named as a Top 100 Global HR Influencer and one of 5 HR Leaders to Follow in 2022, Aaron is clearly a voice worth listening to on the subject of the future of work.

And for an overview of the radical shift in work and the need for a radically more flexible approach, McEwan's presentation was outstanding, as he showed how the way we relate to work has fundamentally changed. McEwan is advocating for radical flexibility as a major solution to the Great Resignation and one of the biggest movements of talent we have ever seen. He likened the pandemic to hybrid work revolution to a seismic change on the way we work on a level such as the invention of electricity to the industrial revolution, or the Internet to the digital revolution. The pandemic has changed the way we work and society, and people now want a different relationship to work. Competition for talent is at an unprecedented - and global - level, and across all sectors. In addition to this, there is also competition from lifestyles, priorities and alternative careers. Radical flexibility from employers - extending beyond merely from home - is needed, and research has shown that companies implementing radical flexibility strategies enjoy improved productivity. 


Sarah Hawley of Growmotely was the next to take the microphone, the second of three of the top 10 LinkedIn voices on remote work presenting in person. Sarah launched the Growmotely platform during the pandemic, with the goal of connecting professionals with their dream jobs at companies they love.

Her presentation, Conscious Culture, and Thriving Teams of the Future, focused on how remote work was the key that unlocked the door to a more conscious way of leading and doing business. She defined this conscious leadership approach as:

"The most important thing we can do as leaders is our inner work, and then bring that growth and transformation into our companies... creating a safe space for our team to do the same."

In what was probably my favourite moment of the conference after she opened her talk to questions, Ukrainian digital nomad Orest Zub asked if there was something that Growmotely could do to help the tens of thousands of Ukrainian freelancers who had become refugees overnight.


Without a second thought, Sarah agreed to develop a special section of Growmotely to help Ukrainians, a decision which was sealed with a photo of Orest and the Growmotely team. It was one of several examples of the outstanding collaboration between the various conference participants.  


The initial keynote speakers then handed over to the first of several panels, which wrapped up the morning's events before lunch: Remote and Cultural Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging, with Marty Lewis (ABC Travel Network - named as a Leading Voice in Travel by Skift), Julian Green (Headroom), Dr. Irene Cop, and Sarah Hawley (Growmotely), moderated by Carolyn Zelikow, one of last year's Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence. 

You can view the panel discussion above.


Work. Place. Culture., in association with Sun Gardens Dubrovnik, offered a free 7-day luxury workation competition, as guests of the luxury Sun Gardens resort. Applications came from all over the globe, with video travel app, Navi Savi, winning the trip. Despite being in business for over a year, most of the team had never met, so this was a first meeting for many. CEO Sally Bunnell expressed her gratitude, as well as talking about her new startup, during her Win a Workation presentation.  


The conference was a hybrid event, with attendees from all over the world, and one of the most thought-provoking sessions of the day brought some heavyweights together on the panel: Remote & Hybrid Policy and the Benefits Boom - Aaron McEwan (Gartner), Nadia Vatalidis (Remote), John Lee (Work from Anywhere), Matthew Parsons (Skift), Francisca Russo (Juno), moderated by Tanja Polegubic of Saltwater Nomads. 


18 months ago, Dubrovnik and digital nomads were rarely mentioned in the same sentence, and yet here were a number of destinations at various stages of their nomad journey, swapping experiences and learning from each other in Dubrovnik.  Global Stories: Early Phase, Emerging Phase and Established Digital Nomad Destinations featured three destinations at very different stages in their journeys. Scotland is now exploring how best to move into the sector, with a theme of food and drink, while Venywhere (Venice) is making significant progress to diversify away from overtourism much like Dubrovnik. And many destinations look for guidance to Estonia, who gave a great presentation on how they are pushing the boundaries of the remote work story. 

You can watch the three destination presentations in the video above. 


One of the initiatives launched at Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads in October 2020 was the Digital Nomad Association Croatia, the first of its kind in the world. DNA Croatia has played a pivotal role in coordinating stakeholders and initiatives over the last year, and it should be congratulated on the success of its efforts.

And it seems that those efforts are being closely followed elsewhere, with no less than four DNA associations now formed and presenting in the session Destinations - Digital Nomad Focused Associations & Initiatives - DNA Croatia, DNA USA, DNA Italy, and DNA Bulgaria. Check out the session in the panel above. 


Having a pretty destination for a conference is not much use if you are stuck in a conference hall all day, and it was time to explore the infamous and majestic old walls of Dubrovnik, a chance to stretch one's legs, take in the city's breathtaking beauty and history, while listening to the next presentation in an idyllic setting - on the very walls themselves - by the self-proclaimed King of Nomads, himself: NetWALLking - Dean Kuchel on the Power of Yes. 


And having explored the Dubrovnik Great Outdoors and the historic walls, the wrapup panel location before dinner was pretty hard to beat, with Banje Beach against a background of the island of Lokrum the setting for Happy Hour Panel: Business Growth, Burnout & Boundaries, with Sara Dyson (Expat in Croatia), Lona Alia (Safety Wing), Jan de Jong (DNA Croatia), Orest Zub, moderated by Rowena Hennigan. 


An intense and thought-provoking opening day, and rarely have I seen conference participants so engaged or networking so passionately. Many participants knew each other by reputation or online contact, but this was the first in-person meeting for many. The level of brainstorming only increased as the evening wore on, with the majority heading into the old town to continue discussions over a glass of wine over dinner. 


It is clear that the world of work is changing considerably, and that Croatia is very much at the forefront of that change. Exciting times in Dubrovnik. And this was just the first day. 


For more information about the conference visit the official website


For more news and features about Digital Nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section


Thursday, 12 May 2022

Sponza Palace, Spectacular Setting to Open Dubrovnik's Work. Place. Culture.

May 12, 2022 - Last week's Work. Place. Culture. conference combined animated discussions on the remote work revolution with Dubrovnik's stylish and versatile conference settings. The first in a 4-part series looking at 4 incredible and very productive days - the opening night at Sponza Palace.  

There are few cities that do it better than Dubrovnik when it comes to putting on a how of heritage, beauty and hospitality, and so it proved again last week for the latest step the Pearl of the Adriatic is taking in its digital nomad story. 


Having hosted the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia back in October 2020, Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads, followed by the award-winning Digital Nomads-in-Residence program in April last year, the City of Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik Tourist Board, continued its cooperation with Saltwater Nomads and Total Croatia News, with additional support from the Croatian National Tourist Board, Digital Nomad Association Croatia, and Dubrovnik Heritage, with the Work. Place. Culture. conference. 


(Sponza Palace, which hosted the opening night, sponsored by the Croatian National Tourist Board)

The 3-day event, which attracted a high-quality lineup of global speakers, including three of the top 10 LinkedIn voices on remote work, was chiefly held at Lazareti, but with other components dotted around the city, showcasing the beauty and magic of Croatia's most famous tourist destination, and allowing stimulating conversations to take place in relaxed environments. 

Having attended each day and watched attendees marvel at each setting, I thought an in-depth look not only at the conference but how the city's various locations and treasures can add to a conference appeal, was a topic worth exploring in depth. 


(From left to right: Lucijana Jerkovic, Tanja Polegubic, Ana Hrnic, and Jelka Tepsic)

And how better to start than with a stroll down Stradun to be greeted by traditional guards at the entrance to Sponza Palace? Built in the 16th century in a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles, the inner courtyard is one of the city's most picturesque meeting points. 

The Croatian National Tourist Board sponsored the welcome party, with Head of Global PR, Lucijana Jerkovic, joining Deputy Mayor Jelka Tepsic, Dubrovnik Tourist Board director, Ana Hrnic, Digital Nomad Association Croatia President, Jan de Jong, and Saltwater Nomads CEO, Tanja Polegubic, welcoming delegates to the conference to the soothing tunes of an accompanying saxophone. Check out the atmosphere in the opening night video by Hashtag Content Agency. 

Some photos from the opening night:


(Sally Bunnell, CEO of NaviSavi, who flew in from Nebraska, flanked by the marketing team from Sun Gardens Dubrovnik. NaviSavi won the 7-day Win a Workation competition at the luxury 5-star resort)


(Part of the sizable team from Albania, who came to learn and network, ahead of the inaugural Tirana Nomad Festival in September. The Estonian Tourist Board, considered European leaders in the digital nomad story, are behind to the right.)


(Dean Kuchel, self-proclaimed King of Digital Nomads, and a previous Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador, together with current Dubrovnik Digital Nomad Ambassadors, Yvette Pelgrom and Mandy Fransz)


(When NaviSavi met Saltwater Nomads)





A look at the first day of the conference, as well as more of Dubrovnik's picturesque conference settings, tomorrow. 

To learn more about the Work. Place. Culture. conference, visit the official website

For more news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Work. Place. Culture. Press Conference Held in Dubrovnik, Starts Tomorrow

 May 2, 2022 - Dubrovnik continues to establish its credentials as a remote work leader in Croatia, as Mayor Mato Franković is among those at this morning's press conference for the upcoming Work. Place. Culture. conference, which starts tomorrow evening. 

The ''Work. Place. Culture.'' conference, which will bring together around 100 participants from around the world, with distinguished lecturers and workshop leaders, aimed at telecommuting professionals and decision makers, destinations, companies and service providers in the sector, was announced this morning at Lazareti. It will be held from 5 to 7 May 2022 in Dubrovnik, organized and cooperated by the City of Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads and Total Croatia News, with the support of the Digital Nomad Croatia Association and Dubrovnik Heritage.

Today, the topic of digital nomads and the development of this type of tourism in Dubrovnik, ie the entire system of organization and offers for people working remotely, was addressed by Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković, Director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board Ana Hrnić, Head of the Global PR Department of the Croatian National Tourist Board Lucijana Jerković, and Tanja Polegubić on behalf of the Saltwater Nomads agency, which presented the conference program and some of the speakers.


Mayor Mato Franković reminded the audience that Dubrovnik started the story of digital nomads two years ago, as the first in Croatia, thanks to an initiative that recognized the opportunity to rethink Dubrovnik tourism in a new way and open it to those who want to live and work here temporarily. remote work, and at the same time contribute to tourism and the promotion of the city.

"Today, what once seemed like science fiction, is a reality that can be measured by the numbers and great interest in Dubrovnik, which is already on the world map among the top 10 cities that are desirable for executive digital nomads, according to Savills. We are still working to reach the first place in the ranking, which is primarily strengthening the infrastructure network, which we have already started with Hrvatski Telekom through the 93 million kuna project "Development of broadband infrastructure in Dubrovnik", which brings high speed Internet to every family home. We will continue to introduce the 5G network because this type of infrastructure is most important for their work. I am sure that all digital nomads who come to Dubrovnik on this occasion as part of the conference will talk about our city as a perfect place to live and work," said Mayor Franković.

The director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board Ana Hrnić announced a new website Dubrovnik long stay, intended for digital nomads, but also for those who plan a longer stay in Dubrovnik. The purpose of this station is to have all the information in one place such as where to find accommodation, how to get a visa and work permit, and other important paperwork and other procedures.


A Digital Nomad Check Point is planned at the Pile Gate office of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, where digital nomads would be able to purchase a special Digital Nomad Card by registering, which includes a number of benefits and all the information that can make it easier for them to find and organize a longer stay in Dubrovnik. Since last year, the Tourist Board has also been actively working to encourage stakeholders in the tourism sector to engage in projects related to digital nomads - from private accommodation to restaurants and shops, and transport, creating a register of offers for this specific group of visitors.

Head of the Global PR Department of the Croatian Tourist Board Lucijana Jerković pointed out that the national promotion of the project began with a change in the law that introduced long-term work permits, emphasizing that the goal is to launch activities, continue promotion through social networks and associations through which to offer various information that is closest to digital nomads.

"As far as trends in the world are concerned, the pandemic is waning, but we believe that this trend of virtual work and longer stays will continue and that people will start living and working in Dubrovnik," Jerkovic said. 

The aim of this conference is to further strengthen the position of Dubrovnik as a Digital Nomad Friendly destination and a direct promotional effect for the city of Dubrovnik and the whole of Croatia to attract more and more people working remotely and looking for new destinations to live and work.

Want to attend the conference? More details on th official website.

Friday, 29 April 2022

My Year in Paradise: An Ode to the Croatian Digital Nomad Permit - Hvala!

April 30, 2022 - One of the first recipients of the Croatian digital nomad permit, Steve Tsentserensky, is back in the States and reflecting on an incredible 15 months in Paradise. A really heartwarming read for lovers of Croatia. 

Croatia: a year in the life/life in a year (and more)

Waiting in the cold outside a restaurant on Tomićeva in Zagreb, a server approaches, “sorry for the wait, here’s a couple shots of rakija to warm you up”.

In Bol, on Brac off the coast of Split, I off-handedly mention I love ljuti ajvar in the morning. The next morning, a knock on the door and a delivery of freshly baked bread and a jar of ajvar.


In Zagreb, a quick stop at a wine shop on Vlaška while waiting for (excellent) Thai takeaway turns into a complimentary full-blown tasting.

There are more moments, endlessly occurring over 15 sensational months spent in Croatia. From candid, pleasant morning conversations in Rovinj about how tourism has changed over the decades to moving memories, distant yet viscerally present, recounted in Vukovar about what’s changed and what hasn’t to charity dinners in Zagreb that change the landscape for those in Africa.


If a country’s riches lie in its people, Croatia is among the wealthiest nations I know.

People who are equal parts generous, welcoming and hospitable with a certain tenacity and stubbornness all the same. Salt of the earth with a brand of often bone dry humor that’s well appreciated and always well-timed.

The impossibility of paying for a coffee when meeting someone for the first time or when visiting a friend in their town was frustratingly endearing.

A country that’s famed for its tourism is nothing without its people. The finest coast is just where the sea meets the shore without the warmth of the people who share it with you and regale you with its stories.

Oh is the seaside breathlessly beautiful though.

And I managed to pack in a lot of coast.

From the truffle and wine-soaked decadence of Istria down to the dramatic and rugged (and also wine-soaked) Dalmatian coast with the towering Dinaric Alps (well, towering by Croatian standards anyway) as the backdrop.


If Dubrovnik is the Pearl of the Adriatic, Rovinj is undoubtedly one of its brightest gems. Pula’s truly stunning Roman amphitheater – among the best preserved on earth – defied all expectations. In a world of “must-sees”, Pula Arena is truly one of them.

Opatija to Rijeka is a mere 13 km drive yet they felt like entirely separate worlds.


Driving any stretch of the coast – though infinitely more time-consuming – was a treat with infinite islands melting into the horizon on one side and a steady stream of roadside cheese and honey stands on the other.

Discovering the coast’s “lesser” treasures was a joy too. If Zadar or Sibenik felt too packed, a short drive to Sukosan or Zaton gave you breathing room and almost a vacation from the vacationers.


Split, somewhere I first visited by cruise ship in 2014 became home for 4 months, something I still pinch myself about. After a month or so and the return of cruise ships, I lamented their arrival as much as the next person but took solace in the fact that they were there largely during fjaka hours. The bad of over-tourism was outweighed by the joy of early morning strolls in an empty, magnificently preserved Diocletian’s Palace. A quiet dip on the backside of Marjan was always a welcome respite from the masses at Bacvice.

I discovered sand beaches were for amateurs and that Hvar is so much more than Hvar Town.

The shower of beer at a brimming Zvončac park as Croatia took Spain to extra time in the Euros to the euphoria and pandemonium of a packed house at Poljud Stadium to watch Vatreni qualify for the World Cup are permanently etched in my mind.


And finally, Dubrovnik, what is there to write about it that hasn’t been written before? No matter what I muster, I’ll never manage the brevity of George Bernard Shaw who said, “those who seek paradise on Earth should come and see Dubrovnik”. Nailed it.

I occasionally came across folks up and down the Adriatic that clamored for the Caribbean and while on the one hand, I get it, the grass is always greener and all of that, on the other, there’s simply no competition. The Adriatic is superior in every way to the Caribbean.

Natural beauty clearly knows no bounds in this country; Telašćica, Kornati, Plitvice Lakes, Krka, Kopački Rit and Medvednica just to name a handful of the nature parks and national parks strewn about the land that I had the chance to see.

Gotta say I really loved the guy selling rakija and kuhano vino 3/4ths of the way up Sljeme.

The place that made me fall for Croatia though has nothing to do with those crystal clear, shimmering waters or natural wonders though. It was Zagreb. Formerly renowned as the place you have to fly to in order to get to the coast…Zagreb is now a destination in its own right with digital nomads, expats and tourists alike discovering the charms and beauty of the underappreciated capital.


After 60-odd countries and hundreds of cities, Zagreb easily lands in my top 5 favorite places. The view from the lookout point atop Strossmayerovo šetalište remains the lock screen image on my phone, something I happily see a dozen or so times a day.

The lost in translation back and forths at the markets that dot the town, the scores of quality bars – the funky to the Swanky to the traditional – to lose yourself in conversation in, the seemingly perpetual events that bring a dozen people to the pub, thousands out to a nighttime race or hundreds of thousands out for Advent and the Festival of Lights. It’s a city for all seasons I found.

Will everyone agree? No. And that’s fine, that’s part of the charm in fact, but like a fine wine, Zagreb only gets better with time.

North, south, east and west, all corners of Croatia surprised me, none more so than what lies east of Zagreb. Not because it’s “better” but because it’s largely undiscovered.


Perhaps forgotten is a more appropriate way to describe Slavonia though.

People flock to the sea like moths to the flame but getting anyone out to the unexplored east seems akin to pulling teeth.

And that’s a shame because it’s a wholly different country. Forgotten yet resilient. History that's ever-present while also stretching back 3,000 BCE to early Indo-European civilization and home to, without a doubt, the nicest people in the country. A high bar in a country chock full of wonderful people, hordes of whom show their support for far-flung Vukovar yearly, in a somber, yet somehow uplifting procession.


There’s a quiet allure to the rolling hills and the patchwork of vineyards and farms out east. A certain beauty in the calm along the rivers that traverse Slavonia and Baranja. Awe at the unexpected cathedrals in Djakovo and Aljmas.

Complement that with rich, hearty cuisine to match the rich, hearty people in places like Baranjska kuća in Karanac or Etno kuća Stari Dud in Erdut and you’ve got a real experience.

No matter how many times I tried to order water at a lunch in Djakovo (three), I got wine.

Do I really need to mention the wine again? From Belje to Zmajevac to Ilok, the wines were nothing short of exceptional. The pairing with poderane gaće and cheese at Ilocki Podrumi being particularly special.

That said, it’s not all roses.


There’s a distinct sadness that you felt passing through the decaying towns outside of still vibrant Osijek and Vinkovci. The difficult to shake pall that continues to shroud Vukovar despite its gorgeous location on the Danube and passionate citizens.

Zagreb remains under construction from an earthquake that happened over 2 years ago. The “iconic” building on the corner Đorđićeva and Petrinjska street only being torn down days before I left and exactly 1 year and 363 days after it was rendered unlivable.

Petrinja remains essentially in ruins.

The infamous bureaucracy can turn the most basic of tasks into a multi-day ordeal.

Continued emigration means the country has shrunk by nearly 10% in the last decade. While the brain drain is real, the brains that stayed – and the brains that have immigrated – are at the forefront of creating something special.


Despite the difficulties, stubborn progress is progress no less and the entrepreneurs, creatives and forward-thinking people I had the pleasure of meeting over my time in Croatia, both homegrown and from abroad, were working miracles showing what’s possible in a country that doesn’t necessarily make it easy right now. From coffee roasters to gin distillers, drone equipment makers to email marketers, ideas are flourishing and success stories aren’t quite so rare. All of them, plus a unicorn in Vodnjan and a supercar maker in Sveta Nedelja, hopefully inspiring some in the next generation to stay and build at home.

In terms of the pandemic-induced turmoil of the last couple of years, I don’t think there was a better place on earth to be than Croatia. Reading news from the States and elsewhere, I felt like I was on another planet entirely over in Hrvatska. By comparison, life was…normal.


15 months of it.

Nearly 40 cities and towns.

Countless people along the way.

If life is meant to be truly lived, I found that Croatia is among the very best places to live it.

Looking forward to coming back and having a proper coffee. And a spot of travarica.


Join Steve on a tour of eastern Croatia in the video below.

How many places do you recognise?

For more news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Friday, 29 April 2022

Work. Place. Culture. Dubrovnik Conference Next Week: Full Programme

April 30, 2022 - A number of movers and shakers in the global remote work industry will be heading to Dubrovnik next week - meet the full programme.

It is almost exactly 18 months since the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia, Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads. The Pearl of the Adriatic followed this up with the award-winner Dubrovnik Nomads-in-Residence programme in April 2021. Dubrovnik's determination to establish itself as a digital nomad destination continues with the latest initiative bringing influential players and destinations in the remote work space to Dubrovnik for next week's Work. Place. Culture. conference, from May 5-7.  The conference is part of the continued collaboration between the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, Digital Nomad Association Croatia, and Total Croatia News. 

Some of the highlights:

  • There will be 50 presenters over 2 days, with over 20+ virtual, the rest in person.
  • Leading remote companies have been eager to join - including VP People at, CEO Butter and our keynote speakers (Gartner, RoRemote, Growmotely, Make The Leap Digital) and presenters from the ABC Travel Network, The Remote Life Podcast, Expat in Croatia, DNA Croatia and more.
  • 3 leaders in digital nomad hubs: Bansko, Estonia and Sun & Co Coliving Spain.
  • Initiatives from destinations looking to position themselves to the DN market - such as Scotland, Mostar, BiH, Venice, Central Istria, Croatia and Tirana, Albania.
  • The speakers includes on of last year's Dubrovnik Nomads-in-Residence (and baby DNIR) joining remotely from Hvar to moderate a panel. 

The full programme is now available and can be viewed below or on the official Work. Place. Culture. website. Some tickets are still available, and they can be obtained through the website. It promises to be a stimulating few days, and it is encouraging to see such global interest from individuals and destinations which are helping to define the future of work.





Looking to attend the Work. Place. Culture. conference? More details here.

To learn more about the destination, check out the Total Croatia Dubrovnik in a Page guide, and also visit the official Sun Gardens Dubrovnik website.  

For more news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Work & Play in Paradise: NaviSavi Wins Sun Gardens Dubrovnik Workation

April 28, 2022 - Imagine you worked in a global startup and had never met your colleagues but had worked together for over a year. And then you won a 7-day luxury workation in the Pearl of the Adriartic at Sun Gardens Dubrovnik. Congratulations NaviSavi! 

They are flying in from Nebraska, Costa Rica, Stockholm and Mumbai. Most have never met, even though they have been working intensely together for well over a year. And now, a 7-day luxury stay at the award-winning Sun Gardens Dubrovnik resort awaits. 

As part of next week's Work. Place. Culture. conference in Dubrovnik, Sun Gardens Dubrovnik generously agreed to host a 7-day workation package for the successful applicants of the conference 'Win a Workation' package. Travel app startup NaviSavi won the prize (you can see their video entry above).

CEO Sally Bunnell was more than happy to talk to TCN about what it means to finally meet some of her senior team in the flesh, as well as a fifth visit to Dubrovnik: 


1. Congratulations on winning the Sun Gardens Dubrovnik Workation competition. A week by the pool on the Adriatic coast. How did you hear about the competition, and why did you decide to apply?

I don’t know if the universe was listening, but I had just said to myself recently, "I need just one week (literally) to sit still at a pool or a beach, unwind, and preferably somewhere warm!"

I am part of a digital nomad group called the Wi-Fi Tribe and we have a very strong community in person and online. Someone from the Tribe posted about this opportunity in our Slack Channel and I thought, I would love to win that! I had it on my agenda to apply, but I’ve been so busy, I had completely forgotten. When I went back to check it out more, I noticed it was just an hour before the submission deadline! Since we were all spread out in time zones (and it was Friday evening!) I quickly applied on behalf of my entire team. So, I think this was the universe responding, when we found out we had been chosen! 


2. According to your application video, you have never met most of your colleagues, and your team is spread across the USA, Costa Rica, India, England and Stockholm. For those of us from older generations, take us through the process of starting a company remotely and working for over a year with colleagues you have never met?

Well, I never intended to start a remote company!  I have always worked ‘semi-remote’ and traveled for my professions in the music and entertainment industry, but it was all kind of by luck. I was supposed to release NaviSavi, April 1, 2020, and guess what hit just a few weeks previous…. The Pandemic! 

I wasn’t happy with the current development team and since we decided to not release the app during COVID, I thought it was time to look elsewhere for help. I called up an old music industry friend, David Pears, from the UK, who had recently transitioned into Tech, and asked him for some ‘advice.’ Before I knew it, he and his two developer friends from coding school in Edinburg, were building me a brand-new app from scratch. 

We were all a bit new to this app building process, but during lockdowns we had the time and technology, in which we could all connect, and build a strong founding team. I then began hiring interns via Zoom interviews for the 2020 Summer and had eight great candidates that helped me prepare research, social media and well, try out my own leadership skills. You’d be surprised, 20-year old’s can be quick intimidating when they all sit there with their mics off! 

From there, I expanded the next Fall/Springs Semester 2020/2021 intern teams and at one point we had nearly 40 people working on NaviSavi! I had only met ONE of them in person. I had ‘interns’ who were VPs at Capital One Bank, getting master’s in business, finance, marketing, all working on NaviSavi, as everyone was stuck at home! Some of those have even stayed on and complete our C-Level team!

We even met most of our content creators and influencers at virtual conferences, where we got them signed on to help us populate the app with video content. None of them were able to travel and yet were sitting on thousands of great videos from their past travels and their own cities. 

The pandemic was the best thing that happened to NaviSavi. I’m sure not many travel companies can say that. 

A year later, I finally got the chance for meet about 10 of the interns and a handful of creators in person, and yet, still many I’ve only seen from a screen. Everyone who works with us is forever a part of our NaviSavi family. NaviSavi was built by a community of people who gave their time, energy, and hearts because they too believed in the idea.


3. How do you encourage things such as teambuilding in such a remote environment?

I always lead with my ‘4H’s’ - Honestly, Humble, Hustle, Have Fun. 

You lead a team by being the example you want them to follow. 

Honesty - I always give it to them real. We are a startup, there is NO BUDGET for that. :) 

Humble - You are never too big or too small in this company. I may be the CEO, but I still will 'sweep the floors' so we can get a job done. Also, if you are in the wrong, acknowledge it and apologize. I do it all the time. 

Hustle - I always encourage my team to charge and take a chance, versus hesitate. It hard to find ‘drive’ and ‘dedication’ but when you do, you never want to stifle that ambition.

Have FUN - Don’t take ourselves too seriously. We are only a video travel app! It’s ok if something goes wrong. Also, it means, Happy Hours! Even on zoom call we play ’NaviSavi Bingo’ or “Caption This” parties in which we all come up with fun social media post captions. I keep doing random, crazy stuff that keeps the team wondering 'what is Rally Sally going to do next!' 


4. You have visited 96 countries so far. Do they include Croatia? What is your experience of Croatia and Dubrovnik so far?

I’ve been to Croatia six times! Four of those times I spent several nights each in Dubrovnik! It is one of my favorite cities in the world. Amazing history, a mix of cultures, and the FOOD! I’ve been sailing up and down the coasts, parties in Hvar, and even the beautiful Plitvice Lakes national Park!

It was an absolute dream to be welcomed back with this opportunity and to be able to now share this amazing country with my own team! 


5. Is this your first workcation? How do you envision the week from a work and play perspective? And how to get that balance right?

Technically, as a full-time digital nomad, I’m always on ‘workcation’ - but most people usually only really see it as one big vacation! 

I have spoken many times to my team about getting a ‘weeklong house’ where we can all work together somewhere amazing. This now just happens now to be the first honorary “NaviSavi Retreat Week” in Dubrovnik! What a way to start!  

I am a big work hard, play hard type of person, but I realize that can’t always apply to my team. The first time I meet a new group of my team members in person, I think it’s best over a casual drink. Break the ice a bit and people loosen up quick around each other. But, the next day, when I say we start at 10AM, I am all business and I expect the team to do the same. It’s a level of respect for everyone there. Have fun but show up ready to work. I know my team will great time this week; having some time to themselves, exploring, relaxing, but we walk away from the day of work, once we all feel accomplished. 

As for myself, I get a bit out of balance myself and just end up getting sick in a hotel for a few days, as there is no time to stop when I am jumping from work and events around the world. But as the CEO, I’m learning, taking care of myself is also taking care of my team in the long run. 


(The winning team will stay in 2 x 2 bedroom residences. Each bedroom has a kingsize bed and ensuite with shared living area.)

6. Tell us a little about your NaviSavi video app, and how it can be used to promote Croatian tourism. Do you have a Dubrovnik addition in your plans?

NaviSavi is simple — point, shoot, and upload, phone videos of experiences and places you love. The app is free and there are no photos, no reviews, and no bullsh*t. Just unedited and unfiltered videos, that show the exact experience in 30 seconds or less. 

We verify each clip for authenticity, so users feel like they are there in the destination with the person holding the camera. We also categorize each clip by location, price and interest so our users don’t have to do any additional research. Since there is no negativity of places, you only see the hidden gems and must do’s things people recommend. Now everyone can build and book travel itineraries with videos.

Our nomads, travel influencers, and even locals are uploading videos and building ‘playlists’ of their favorite places, so others can plan trips from their positive recommendations.

We currently have 25,000 approved videos on our app covering 144 countries, including Croatia. We even brought in one of our favorites, high profile creators, with our team to upload videos of all the must-see places, and the best hidden gems. (We need your suggestions!) In fact, the entire local community can upload and create playlists of their favorite spots, so we can help bring tourists to the small businesses in the area. 

This month we plan to officially launch Dubrovnik as our newest Featured City in our ‘Where 2 Next’ campaign for this summer, to help promote tourism and nomads to the city. 

 7. Tell us about the culture of the workation as a concept. Do you see it becoming mainstream?

There is a new generation of travelers coming, and they are coming with their laptops. The digital age of travel is here, and that means hotels, cities, and businesses need to rethink all the traditional ways of how travel and work used to be. The last two years has seen an absolute boom in digital nomads and remote workers, in additional to how the younger generation craves real experiences, slower travel, and is consuming short form video at an unprecedented rate. I think after this generation has gotten a taste of the work-cation; businesses are going to have a tough time ever getting people back into a traditional job setting. 


8. And finally, how do you plan your first evening at Sun Gardens Dubrovnik, finally meeting your team for the first time after all this time?

Well, it will start with big hugs. Even though we’ve never met some of the team in person, we have been together as a ‘work family’ through the ‘screen’ now almost two years! Then, if I know my crew well, you will see us all celebrating being together with some drinks, food, and I’m sure someone will end up in the pool! Oh, and don’t forget we will be shooting videos of the amazing hotel all night on our phones for NaviSavi! :)

Check out the magical Old Town and Sun Gardens Dubrovnik video teaser above - why would you take a workation anywhere else?

Looking to attend the Work. Place. Culture. conference? More details here.

To learn more about the destination, check out the Total Croatia Dubrovnik in a Page guide, and also visit the official Sun Gardens Dubrovnik website.  

For more news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

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