Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Djuro Lubura Talks Digital Nomads, 5G, Autonomous Vehicle Testing

May the 19th, 2021 - Croatian new tech expert Djuro Lubura believes that Croatia should make it possible for autonomous vehicle testing to take place within the country. He also touched on the topic of digital nomads and how Croatia should behave given its dire demographic picture.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, back at the beginning of the year, a new Law on Foreigners came into force in Croatia, according to which digital nomads can be granted a stay of one year. TCN has been actively involved in that process and more can be read in our dedicated section on it.

Among other things, the condition is that the person isn't a Croatian citizen, that they're performing work through telecommunication technologies, but not for an employer from Croatia, that they have health insurance and that they aren't a threat to the constitutional order. Court and new technologies expert Djuro Lubura commented on the topic of digital nomads, regulations and the introduction of 5G in a recent interview.

Digital nomads

''A person who wants to be a digital nomad and fulfills all the conditions, can submit their request for a temporary residence permit in the consular mission of Croatia in their country or at a competent police administration. The stay is limited in time probably because by law, the digital nomad is included among the other categories of temporary residence that already exist.

According to current interpretations, it won't be possible for them to extend their stay on that basis. I don’t believe anyone will decide on such a complication in life. In Croatia, with the demographics it has, everyone should be welcome, especially highly educated and professional people like digital nomads,'' believes Djuro Lubura.

As the coronavirus pandemic has confirmed, a large number of jobs can be done remotely, and Djuro Lubura expects that with the application of modern technologies and better infrastructure, we can expect further opening of new freedom for both employees and company owners/employers.

"The winners will be those countries that adapt and pass more liberal and flexible laws for digital nomads. Those who don't adapt will face additional depopulation. Croatia must not gamble on its chance here. One of the most important changes in the direction of enabling the development of new technologies and business models based on them is the liberalisation of the taxi market.

Prime Minister Plenkovic and Minister Butkovic proposed to the Parliament a law that was supported by as many as two thirds of MPs, and brought the arrival of Uber and then other platforms that enable cheaper and more accessible taxi transport to the country. The Croatian solution for the liberalisation of the taxi market is being copied by numerous European countries.

The law that liberalised the taxi market has led to significantly lower prices in taxi services and new employment, and today we have about 8,000 taxi vehicles operating throughout Croatia, twice as many as there were before this new law came into force,'' Lubura explained.

"When the state liberalised the taxi market, it sent out a signal that it was open to new technologies and business models, Glovo, Wolt and other platforms started operating in Croatia, which brought significant benefits to both residents and the economy in the food delivery market," he added.

Lubura believes that in the future, Croatia should enable the testing of autonomous vehicles on its roads and thus facilitate the development not only of Rimac Automobili, but also attract many other companies. Preparations are also underway for an auction of the radio frequency spectrum that will enable the introduction of 5G technology, and all telecom operators in Croatia - HT, A1 and Telemach - are currently testing out 5G.

The importance of mobile networks

"We expect even higher investments in both fixed and mobile networks. Croatia is already at the top of the list of countries with the best mobile communication networks in all of Europe, while when it comes to fixed networks we have some room for improvement, especially outside densely populated areas. Telemach's entry into the fixed communications market will lead to a better offer and lower service prices.

If the price of the spectrum is acceptable and if it's all well designed enough to encourage operators to invest, of which I have no doubt because HAKOM, which implements these frequencies, is seriously looking into how it can encourage development and thus provide the state with a greater benefit, much of Croatia will be covered by state-of-the-art fifth-generation mobile networks. This will make Croatia even more attractive to digital nomads, but also to numerous startups with new ideas,'' concluded Croatian tech expert Djuro Lubura.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Checking in with Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence – Charlie Brown Interview

May 17, 2021 – Our interviews with digital nomads in Dubrovnik continue with Charlie Brown, a freelance writer and wine expert from the UK. 

Charlie Brown comes from the UK and she is a freelance writer covering themes of wine, food, finance, and entrepreneurship. Her skills are many and interests diverse. Together with her husband Sam she used to own a wine shop and bar outside of London until the couple decided to sell the business and their house to dive into the life of digital nomads. They are no strangers to Croatia nor Dubrovnik, but it was the Digital Nomads-in Residence program that enabled them to come and live in the “Pearl of the Adriatic”. Charlie is always keen on exploring new places and local culture. She is especially interested in the traditional food and wine scene. This is why Croatia was always high on her travel list.

It was through Facebook groups that Charlie and Sam found out about the possibility of joining the program in Dubrovnik. She applied and it didn’t take long for the people in charge to decide a person with an intimate knowledge of wine and food is always a welcomed group member.

DNiR Program

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Saltwater Nomads created the Digital Nomads-in-Residence program in partnership with Total Croatia News. They found amazing partners in the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the City of Dubrovnik which support the project wholeheartedly. The program gathers ten digital nomads of different profiles whose experiences of living and working in Dubrovnik will be used to craft a strategic direction for the city. Dubrovnik is moving towards a more sustainable future and digital nomads might be a contributing factor in those efforts.

The Interview

Charlie is always hard at work and it is not easy to get her time. So we’ve made sure to keep the interview short and sweet. Through our chat she revealed her insights into the city and being a digital nomad in Dubrovnik:

“It’s been great weather which really helps. There’s plenty to do here as well and it’s really nice to meet the digital nomads here as well. So, so far it’s been a really great experience.“

"It’s a new thing here, digital nomads in Dubrovnik. So, aside from us ten and our partners, it would be great to be able to meet more people – if there are people – doing this here as well. So, anything like meetups and that sort of thing would be good as well."

She also had plenty of chosen words about her colleagues in the program and the beautiful co-working space in Dubrovnik’s Lazareti complex. Make sure to watch the full interview below.

 Learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.

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:

 

 

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Slobodna Dalmacija Features Dubrovnik's Digital Nomads-in-Residence

May 18, 2021 Slobodna Dalmacija brings a story about digital nomads from the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.

“We can work four hours, have coffee and make good money”

Croatia is one of the first countries in the world to have adopted the concept of a one-year digital nomad visa.

The City of Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik Tourist Board, in partnership with Saltwater Nomads and TCN, selected ten “official” digital nomads and gave them a rent-free month in Dubrovnik. In return, they expect useful advice on how to create a nomad-friendly atmosphere in the south of Croatia. This type of guest doesn’t crave travelling only in the summer months nor do they sit at home waiting for the pandemic to pass. The project is entitled “The Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program”.

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Game of Thrones

In the world of digital nomads, Croatia is renowned as one of the cheaper European countries for a longer stay. Participants in this program are housed in private apartments, some at Akademis "Academia" as well. They admit their knowledge of Dubrovnik was more or less reduced to the city being tied to the role of King’s Landing it played in the popular TV show Game of Thrones. However, Albert Canigueral, a Spanish teacher, writer and documentary filmmaker, visited Dubrovnik back in 2003.

“The city is today pretty empty because of the pandemic. Otherwise, it is visited by numerous tourists. Almost 20 years ago, communication with the local people was much harder than today when almost everybody communicates in English.” – Albert recalls.

His career has involved extensive travel across Europe, North and South America, but this program in Dubrovnik is his first formal digital nomad experience. At the moment, he is researching the issues around the future of work, the future of employment and new technologies in society. Therefore, digital nomadism is his research matter as well. As it turns out, flexibility affects productivity in a positive way.

Paid per project

“If someone takes a walk around the City Walls and has a cup of coffee after four hours of dedicated work, and then continues after taking a break, he is bound to be more effective than someone forcefully seated for eight hours straight in an office. Working from home and flexibility in managing work hours will be a more and more common occurrence. It is not all black and white. Not everyone will be able to work like that, there are jobs that demand the physical presence of the worker and strict hours, but more and more jobs will be organised on a per-project basis with deadlines defined. Also, more and more people will be paid on a “per project” basis than on a fixed salary. Innovation and changes are happening ever faster and the companies are looking for new talent and fresh workforce not on a fixed model, but on individual projects. The metaphor for that type of work is known as a “Hollywood model”. Part of the employees of the film studio are the ones with steady jobs, but for each movie new screenwriters, actors or make-up artists are employed. Imagine every movie had the same actors! For companies, this model works well and it is up to the individual governments to ensure an effective social system and adapt to the new paradigm. Instead of working in the same position for salaries our entire lives, we need to get accustomed to a fragmented system in which the income will have its ups and downs and the social system that will accommodate this.” – says Albert

Flexibility is Key

COVID-19 Pandemic proved to even the most conservative employees how working from home or some other alternative place is not necessarily a bad thing. When asked what advice would she give to a beginner digital nomad on how to build a sustainable career, Charlie Brown considers flexibility to be the keyword. Cyberspace offers indescribable options which she had no idea about until she sold her assets, home and wine shop near London and set out on the path of the nomad. Before Dubrovnik, Charlie was already in Croatia, in Zagreb and Split. For beginners with no work, she recommends the website upwork.com which is packed with offers for hundreds of thousands of work opportunities. Everything is possible, even running a radio show in Texas from Dubrovnik…

Ron Tardiff is a young scientist from the United States who studied in seven different countries, from Europe to China. He believes Dubrovnik to be a logical choice for “workcation”, a rising trend in companies that give employees the opportunity to work from whichever location they prefer for three months of the year.

“Moving for school or work, I have done so much bureaucracy and can therefore tell you it is refreshing to run across a country where you are being welcomed and barriers to entry are being lifted. Looking at it from the perspective of pre-pandemic times, the advantage of Croatia is accessibility, ferry connections to Italy and proximity of Balkan countries that are generating interest among digital nomads. It is wonderful to do some island hopping as well. I have to also admit Croatian roads are some of the best in Europe. If only the trains were equally as good.” – Ron commented

From Costa Rica to Croatia

Mr. Tardiff is in love with the idea that is being developed here and the effort in proving digital nomads can be more than just tourists. He is hopeful other cities will take on the Dubrovnik model. As a scientist, he is particularly interested in the development of the “blue economy”. Considering tourism is the second most important industry in the Mediterranean region and is taking over as the most important one, which is not always a good thing from the standpoint of environmental protection, Ron Tardiff is preoccupied with the issue of reducing the number of tourists or attracting the tourists that create a bigger value for the destination. Like digital nomads.

For the last five years, as the interest of Americans in Croatian tourist destinations grew, Texas-born Kelsey Kay Love put Croatia on her bucket list. She started her nomadic lifestyle eight years ago, travelling from Costa Rica, through Bali, New Zealand, Thailand…

“I’m attracted by situations that will get me out of my comfort zone, which is inherent in the digital nomad lifestyle. Having a stable job is a huge advantage” – Says Kelsey, a brand manaer for a luxury alcoholic beverage brand co-owned by Bruno Mars. She worked as a travel writer in the past for numerous travel websites and tour companies in Maui and Australia. Is she worried about her financial security?

“Oh yes! Luckily, I have been holding on to the same job for almost two years now, so I am pretty relaxed. One needs to be persistent, creative and willing to take an occasional risk. Do you know how to make website, write, or manage social media? There are many jobs you can do. It was easier for me in New Zealand where I had a work visa, compared to Asia. Now Croatia is offering digital nomad visas, which is great. I think one year is the right duration for the visa.” – says Kelsey.

Price of Accommodation

Ron Tardiff emphasizes nomads never spend all the money they make and they take great care that the costs of living in a country they’re residing are lower than those of the country their employer is from. This is a chance for Croatia which offers the possibilities of cheaper longer stays than many other countries. When asked about the most important considerations when choosing a destination in which to spend a month or more, our interviewees first emphasize the cost of accommodation. There are cities with a high cost for short stays, but the accommodation owners are willing to accept reasonable monthly rates. Furthermore, good internet connection ranks very high, as does affordable transportation, whether public transportation or rent-a-car, the proximity of an international airport, safety, nature, pleasant climate, and community of digital nomads or expats. They are trying to avoid overcrowded cities where tourism has a negative effect on the quality of life.

Internet Speed

Global nomad network nomadlist.com has 210 reviews for Dubrovnik. The average city score is 3,41. Digital nomads speak highly of the speed of the internet, workplaces, quality of life, safety and education levels. Negative comments usually have to do with nightlife, air-conditioning systems and smoking in public areas. There are mentions of difficulties in forming friendships and hostility towards women and members of the LGBT community. Out of all the above, nomads we’ve interviewed jokingly comment how the rental properties are obviously geared towards the summer rentals and cooling rather than heating. Those that have already been to Croatia say the locals are very kind people and they suffered no unpleasantness. They say the scores on websites like this have no great bearing on their decisions to travel to a certain destination, but they do check all the available information before their trip. When asked what about the main advantages to Dubrovnik and Croatia, they emphasize pleasant weather and a relaxed lifestyle.

“You have the Mediterranean lifestyle, access to great beaches especially in the summer, all going in your favour. Croatians are very gracious hosts! The most beautiful side to being a nomad is not having to base yourself in one spot. Therefore, you don’t have to select living in just one Croatian city. I can spend one month in Dubrovnik, the next one in Split, or in an undiscovered continental part of the country” – says Charlie Brown.

Split is Cheaper

Ron and Albert agree. According to them, one thing that makes life easier is the fact most people speak English well. Ron objects to the location of Dubrovnik. Although he would gladly return to it, cities in central Dalmatia seem like a more sensible choice for a digital nomad’s base. Split is somewhat larger and somewhat cheaper. Seeing how Croatia is at the top of his list of countries in which to live for years now, after Budapest, that will probably be his destination of choice.

Interesting to note is their stance on medical insurance. Before the pandemic, they mainly risked and had no insurance coverage, but COVID-19 made them more cautious. Charlie Brown says she is still upset about Brexit, but still holds a medical coverage card that is valid in EU countries. In situations when that kind of solution is not possible, digital nomads are partially reliant on travel insurance which, they argue, do not work always or everywhere. With the work visa in Australia and New Zealand, Kelsey was insured as any other employee, but this is rarely this simple. After her partner contracted denga fever in Thailand and spent 48 hours in the hospital having to do MRI and similar tests, travel insurance wasn’t going to cover his expenses, so they ended up paying USD4000. They still feel they got off lightly considering the prices in their homeland. Ron remembers having to do appendicitis surgery in Greece a year ago. His German travel insurance covered the cost.

“I’m at a Gain”

“I come from the United Stated of America, the country with the most expensive healthcare in the world, so even if I had to pay for a medical service out of my own pocket here, it would be cheaper than a medical insurance policy in USA. I don’t have dental insurance. The basic one I have at the moment doesn’t cover tooth breakage, but if I went to the dentist here, it would cost me 10 to 15 times less than in the USA. So, I am at a gain. People joke about this, but it is cheaper to fly here from America, get a cocktail, have your teeth fixed and fly back, then to do it back home.” – says Ron and adds: “I am not worried about health insurance because it cannot be more expensive than back home”

When asked where they would prefer to live, Ron chooses Greece, although he notes difficult bureaucracy as the main problem for someone coming from United States. Although he went to school in Greece, he can’t be employed there. Some of the most attractive countries for nomads also have the most barriers for staying there, but this rarely deters them.

“Before this program, I was torn between going to Portugal or Croatia, and now I am one hundred percent certain about coming here. Dubrovnik surroundings are peaceful with beautiful nature, and everything is more straightforward than in Portugal.” – says Kelsey Kay Love

Saltwater Nomads' Tanja Polegubic on the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence Program

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

Learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.

For the latest digital nomad news and features in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Monday, 17 May 2021

Checking In with Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence – Kaisu Koskela Interview

May 17, 2021 – Our digital nomads are paving the way for their future colleagues in Dubrovnik as a part of the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. We caught up with Kaisu Koskela to get her thoughts.

When it comes to being a digital nomad, Kaisu Koskela is the „real deal“. She has been embracing the life of a digital nomad since before the term existed. Originally from Finland, Kaisue feels at home anywhere she finds interesting. She holds a Ph.D. in social sciences from the University of Helsinki and an MSc in social anthropology from the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Her Ph.D. research dealt with skilled migrants, their communities, and social identities. All this makes her outstandingly qualified to take part in a project dealing with digital nomads in Dubrovnik.

DNiR Program

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The Digital Nomads-in-Residence program was created by Saltwater Nomads in partnership with Total Croatia News. With both the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the City of Dubrovnik supporting it and collaborating on it, the aim of the program is to create a strategic direction for the city. Through design thinking workshops the potential future of digital nomads in Dubrovnik will be described.

Kaisu found out about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program through a friend. She applied intrigued by the prospect of contributing to such an interesting project. Today, she is one of the ten nomads in residence in Dubrovnik.

The Interview

She shared some of her thoughts with us during a short interview. It was interesting to hear her opinions on living and working in Dubrovnik as a digital nomad. Also, Kaisu was clear about her personal likes and dislikes about the experience.

„I think the challenges are to do with the tourist season being so intense and the prices hiking up in that period. Because, as a nomad, you have the whole world to choose from. You have so many locations you can go to at any one time. Personally, for me, what is most important is to have nice sunny weather, which we have here currently and through much of the year. You get to experience really nice weather here, so that's great.“

She is also happy with the colleagues in the Dubrovnik DNiR program as well as the participation of the city and the local tourist board.

„...the fact that the Dubrovnik city and tourism authorities are a part of this I think is a really encouraging sign for digital nomadism in general. So, I am very happy to be a part of the whole program.„

Check out the full interview with Kaisu Kaskela below.

 

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

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

Here is Kaisu's application video:

Learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Checking in with Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence – Albert Cañigueral Interview

May 16, 2021 – We caught up with Albert Cañigueral, a digital nomad from Barcelona who is a consultant freelancer dedicated to exploring the future of work and the effects of digitization on the labour market and workplaces.

Albert Cañigueral is a man on a mission. This freelance consultant is out to learn about digital nomads by becoming one of them. He will use this knowledge later in his work that revolves around the impacts of digital technology in society, the future of work, and the collaborative economy. In his professional life, Albert is exploring the impacts of digital innovations on societies and traditional companies. He is currently working on a documentary on how the changes in the workforce and workplaces affect the cities. He is also a published author and a very interesting guy. Albert comes from Barcelona, one of the jewels of the Mediterranean.

After learning about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, he wasted no time applying. It was clear from the start, Albert is a great match for the program dealing with issues so familiar and important to him.

DNiR Program

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The Digital Nomads-in-Residence program will create a strategic direction for Dubrovnik in order to show the way for the city to adapt to digital nomads. Saltwater Nomads created the program in partnership with Total Croatia News. With collaboration from the City of Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik Tourist Board, design thinking process workshops are organized to facilitate the co-creation model the program is based on.

The Interview

We took Albert Cañigueral away from his work for a few minutes to ask him about his impressions of Dubrovnik and working with his fellow nomads. Through a short interview, he was able to tell us a lot. His views on the city and the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program are very interesting. As one of the main advantages of being a digital nomad versus being a tourist, he emphasizes time to explore and engage with the city.

“I like the sights of the city. I came here 15 years ago, more or less, so I’ve had a more touristic perspective, and now, being here almost more than 15-20 days already, you learn more about the other parts of the city. We are in Lapad, in Akademis. We’ve been enjoying all this area which is probably not so well known for someone who comes here for just one day or one weekend. As a digital nomad, you enjoy more of the city, the diversity, other beaches, other areas… more time to explore in a more relaxed pace.”

When it comes to working within the program he is very happy with the group. The initial meeting and introductions set the correct tone from the start.

“I think the landing was super smooth. I really enjoyed… the welcoming dinner. We met and that was very important. That social part, to create a group. From very early on, I’ve spent quality time and energy on that. Because it smooths the rest of the process. “

Below is the full interview with Albert. Make sure to watch it and find out more about his views on the program and living in Dubrovnik.

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

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

Here is Albert's application video:

Learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.

 

Friday, 14 May 2021

Checking in with Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence – Rob Schubert Interview

cToday’s interview is with Rob Schubert. Rob is a young entrepreneur and tech wizard from the Netherlands. After coming to Estonia to get his master’s degree in the area of digital health, Rob eventually started a healthcare startup VocDec. VocDec is a tool for early screening of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in newborns. Rob and his team won an award for the most impactful healthcare startup in Europe. After a success like that, it is clear to see why he exudes optimism and is looking forward to new challenges.

Through LinkedIn, he found out about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. Seeing how he wanted to visit Croatia, which he knew to be a beautiful country, Rob jumped at the possibility of applying. After a strict selection process, he ended up being one of the ten nomads selected for the program. Rob will undoubtedly bring a valuable perspective on working and living in Dubrovnik.

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The Digital Nomads-in-Residence program was created by Saltwater Nomads in partnership with Total Croatia News. It will utilise the collective experiences of ten digital nomads living and working in Dubrovnik. Using design thinking process workshops, a strategic direction for the city will be created. Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the City of Dubrovnik both support and collaborate on the program. It represents a push towards the diversification and sustainability of Dubrovnik as a destination.

Paul caught up with Rob recently to ask him a few questions and get his impressions on living in Dubrovnik and being a part of the Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. Particularly interesting were his views on Dubrovnik as a destination prior to the program:

“Before, I knew that this was a highly touristy destination. Mainly, people were visiting for Game of Thrones sights.”

Having spent some time living and working in Dubrovnik, his views of the city as a travel destination have changed:

“ …I see that there are way more opportunities for other types of tourism…”

“I think the city can also communicate something different than being this Old Town… and the set of Game of Thrones.”

In the short video, Rob shares his experiences of working alongside his fellow nomads in a unique Dubrovnik co-working space. Check out the full interview below.

Learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.

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

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

The winner announcement video:

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

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Digital Nomads in Dubrovnik Get Acquainted with City's Development Agency

May 12, 2021 - Dubrovnik's Development Agency held a presentation today as a part of the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. Digital nomads in Dubrovnik enjoyed an informative presentation and an interesting look into the work of this important local organisation.

Dubrovnik's Development Agency (DURA) presented its work today as a part of the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence (DNiR) program. Lazareti complex, right next to the digital nomads' co-working space, was a perfect setting for the presentation.

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DURA is well known in Dubrovnik. It is a local non-profit organisation helping the development of Dubrovnik's business sector. Helping startups, small and medium-sized companies is the most popular of the many activities done by the agency. Aside from regular business workshops, DURA started the first „business incubator“ in this part of the country. Through this program, new companies in Dubrovnik get a chance to rent offices in the heart of the city for a fraction of the market price.

Local Companies Presented

With digital nomads in the auditorium, DURA representatives talked about the agency's programs and the Smart City concept. A big part of the presentation was the introduction of two businesses using DURA services. The first one was Event Lab. This local PR and event company owned by two sisters made some of its first business steps with the help of DURA. Today, they are very much established in their field, even expanding into fields of wine marketing and promotion. Answering questions from the audience the owners of EventLab, Andela and Ksenija Matic spoke about the work they do. They also talked about the challenges they are facing running a company in a sector badly affected by the global COVID19 pandemic.

The final chapter of this interesting presentation was another business introduction. This one very new, but with a bright future ahead. Mirna Saric owns a nutritional consulting business called Nutrigurman. She started it recently with help from DURA and the agency's programs. This young and talented nutrition expert and chef went through a long but exciting process of education and training. Today she is a rising star in her field and will undoubtedly become another positive story to come out of DURA.

Questions posed by digital nomads during the presentation were especially interesting. In the end, they commented how they rarely get a chance to learn about what is happening behind the scenes of the city's business sector. The presentation was an interesting learning experience and all who attended now have a slightly better understanding of Dubrovnik's small business scene.

Learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.

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.

 

 

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Checking in with Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence – Alyssa Isogawa Interview

May 12, 2021 – The Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence (DNiR) program is in full swing. Today we are catching up with Alyssa Isogawa to get her view of the program and living in Dubrovnik.

What ties a young Californian of Japanese descent to Croatia? Well, water polo, of course. Alyssa Isogawa is anything but typical. This charming Californian from Huntington Beach spends her days working on her e-commerce brand Deep End she started at the age of 19. Her brand sells clothing, among other things, for water polo players. She also enjoys playing her guitar, dancing, and revelling in all things tied to the sea and water. She is a proud vegan and loves to meet new people.

Why did Alyssa Apply?

An interesting detail about Alyssa's introduction video is her love of water polo. Many think of this sport as exotic or uncommon. Not Croatians and certainly Dubrovnik locals. Water polo is a beautiful, albeit physically demanding sport enjoyed by many around the world. It is especially popular around the Mediterranean and in some central European countries. Croatia is one of the most successful countries in the history of the sport and Dubrovnik is one of the most important European water polo centres. It comes as no surprise Alyssa knew about Dubrovnik way before the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. As an aspiring digital nomad, she wasted no time applying to the program. After the initial selection process, Alyssa Isogawa is now enjoying her time in Dubrovnik, exploring the city and learning about local culture.

Her experiences will be a valuable asset to the program as DNiR is all about envisioning ways in which Dubrovnik could improve its offer for people like her. It was designed by Saltwater Nomads in partnership with Total Croatia News. The program is a collaboration between the City of Dubrovnik and the global digital nomad community it hosts, all done with great help from the Dubrovnik Tourist Board as well. The DNiR program is bound to produce interesting and valuable results that could have a real impact on the local community.

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This is one of the things high on Alyssa’s list as well. She enjoys the connection with the new culture and is looking forward to making new friends. In our interview below she states:

“Everyone here has been super friendly. I just walk down the street and people want to talk to me, which is so weird coming from LA…”

“Everyone here is just so willing to help you, wants to talk to you… and make sure to let you know that Croatia is an amazing place.”

Of course, not everything is perfect. There are areas that need improvement.

“I love Croatia so much, I love the people, and the only thing that has been super difficult is being a vegan here. Yeah, I would have to say I’ve had to ease up on my vegan-ness…”

Check out our video interview below and find out what Alyssa likes and dislikes about her Dubrovnik experience.

Learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.

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:

Saturday, 8 May 2021

New Destination for Digital Nomads in Split: SPAlato Spa

May 8, 2021 - Digital nomads in Split can now work at SPAlato Spa in the Radisson Blu Hotel, with free Wi-Fi and a relaxation zone. You may also want to book a treatment to destress your mind and body while you’re there…

The digital nomad lifestyle can sometimes be rough on my posture and my brainwaves. I live on a computer and some days it feels like I’m becoming a piece of the furniture, hunched over a keyboard with a never-ending to-do list. Recently, I had enough. I desperately needed a massage to release my tight muscles and clear my head. I decided to check out the spa at the Radisson Blu hotel near my apartment. I went there last year just before the pandemic shut things down and I enjoyed a terrific treatment with a stunning view of the Adriatic Sea.

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SPAlato Spa opened in a completely renovated space on May 1, including treatment rooms, pools, a sundeck, relaxation zone, fitness center, and a yoga studio.

Cool vibe

A year ago the spa was under renovation and this time I was glad to see the new space. I went on a Sunday morning and the first thing I noticed was the cool ambiance with jazz music and a lounge vibe. I loved it immediately. It reminded me of places I used to go back home to settle in and relax with the Sunday New York Times and a pot of coffee.

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A lounge area includes a retail display for purchasing organic products used during treatments.

I scheduled a facial and a massage and I arrived early to swim and sweat in the sauna before my treatments. The spa was airy and light, which I like, and the design was minimal yet elegant. I was delighted to find several different “zones” where I could hang out, including comfy couches near the pool and an outdoor sunbathing terrace. Later I found out that the designated Relaxation Zone has Wi-Fi, is kid-free, and it’s where I can set-up and work for a day. Wait a minute, what?

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Digital nomads can set up shop in the Relaxation Zone, Wi-Fi included, and alternate between work and spa amenities.

No more WFH (work from home)

The concept was mind-blowing. The SPAlato (a cute name playing up Spa with the old Italian name for Split) could replace my dining table office and allow me to take breaks from the computer in any number of spots:  indoor and outdoor pools, gym, sauna, steam room, whirlpool, cold and hot plunge pools, or a yoga studio. And there’s another bonus for this spa and wellness devotee—I could tackle the enticing list of treatments.

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Brand new saunas are fresh and let you build up heat before jumping in the pool.

TCM (traditional Chinese massage) with a certified Chinese therapist; Power of the Sea—a combination of marine salt scrub, aromatherapy with local essential oils, a bath, full body massage, body wrap, and finisher with local immortelle oil; and other treatments promised to restore my body and mind energies.

It seems decadent, and perhaps dangerous in regard to keeping work deadlines, but my body would be so grateful and my mind would be so happy.

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The indoor pool is surrounded by glass, giving a sense of being outdoors and close to nature.

Treatments

My therapist Doris asked what kind of massage I like and I said sports or deep-tissue. Every therapist I’ve ever said that to has interpreted it differently. For all the good massages, I’ve also endured being rubbed with inexperienced, weak hands and pounded with killer claws. Not this time. Doris not only had the right touch, she knew how to apply pressure in the correct way to get my muscles flowing. Yesss!

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Treatment rooms are comfortable and calming, an ideal environment to relax.

She also did my facial and explained the steps and the products used, including my particular skin type needs. Small details in both treatments made all the difference, starting with the bowl of water and eucalyptus oil she held under my nose before we began. Oh my, I inhaled deeply. I’ve had enough treatments over the years to know that every place is different and charming in its own way. That also sets a benchmark for quality and this place rates high on my list.

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Thalgo and Elemis spa products are organic and made with marine ingredients for maximum effectiveness.

Mediterranean experience

I spent the rest of my time on the upper dining terrace, looking over the sea and eating a fresh salad. It couldn’t have been nicer. I can’t believe I’m contemplating my future workspace in a spa; how cool would it be to be the first digital nomad to claim a co-working seat at SPAlato.

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An upstairs dining terrace offers Mediterranean food and drinks in a casual, elegant atmosphere.

Learn more about SPAlato on Radisson Blu’s website.

Learn more at TCN’s Digital Nomads channel.

Story and photographs ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt. https://photo-diaries.com

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Checking In with Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence – Kelsey Kay Love Interview

May 8, 2021 - Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program is well underway with our digital nomads seriously getting to work on ideas and suggestions on how to improve the local nomad offer. We caught up with Kelsey Kay Love to get her opinion of living and working in Dubrovnik.

Digital nomads in residence are creating and sharing their vision of a nomad-friendly Dubrovnik. They are paving the way for their colleagues who will follow after them. We are catching up with them and chatting about their impressions so far. Today, we are talking to Kelsey Kay Love.

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It is hard to imagine a group of people that wouldn't want Kelsey as one of their members. This Dallas Texas born digital marketing expert, travel writer and brand manager lives life to the fullest. She is a world traveller with a gift of contagious positivity. Kelsey is currently busy working as a brand manager for SelvaRey Rum Company, co-owned by Bruno Mars. That didn't stop her from applying to Dubrovnik Nomads in Residence program.

After searching for digital nomad options around the world she realised there was a possible option for applying to a program in Dubrovnik. Croatia was already high on her bucket list as a destination so she decided to apply. And the rest is history.

Living in Dubrovnik

Although she works full time Kelsey manages to enjoy Dubrovnik. She spends her days getting to know the local culture of living and local people. She enjoys activities and tours done with her fellow nomads in residence and is rapidly building a good understanding of what it's like to live and work in southern Croatia. Being a lover of boats, Kelsey is right at home in this ancient seafaring community.

In a short interview below Kelsey reveals her likes and dislikes when it comes to being a digital nomad in Dubrovnik. She also chimes in as to what the next steps for the local community need to be. Her varied list of interests helps her enjoy the width of the Dubrovnik experience and some of the things the area offers outside of the beaten path. Check out the interview below and pick up some of that Kelsey Kay Love positivity.

You can learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program here

Here is Kelsey's application video.

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.

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