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This 35-year-old left the U.S. for Croatia: ‘I dwell on $47 a day — right here’s a have a look at how I spend my time’

Earlier than Covid hit in March final yr, I used to be making a good revenue of about $4,000 per 30 days as a contract video producer. However because the pandemic intensified, these gig earnings rapidly dwindled to $700.

Attributable to all of the uncertainty concerning the future, I discovered myself sleeping on a futon at my sister’s home in New Jersey. I felt stressed and missed all of the touring I used to do for work.

However a number of months later, my prayers had been answered: Croatia introduced that it could begin providing a one-year residence allow to digital nomads (anybody outdoors of the European Union working remotely) in January 2021.

I had visited Croatia earlier than and was completely captivated by the nation, so I made a decision to use.

Getting Croatia’s digital nomad residence allow

I did plenty of prep work between April and December earlier than getting authorised for the allow.

The appliance processing charge was $100, and to qualify, I wanted to have a month-to-month revenue of no less than $2,750. So all through the next months, I aggressively constructed a recurring revenue stream from freelance gigs (video producing and copywriting) by means of Upwork.

By December, I used to be again to creating round $4,000 per 30 days. I used to be additionally an obsessive saver and infrequently spent my earnings. So with the $76,000 I had in my financial savings account, I felt financially safe sufficient to dwell overseas.

An exquisite avenue within the coronary heart of downtown Cut up

Photograph: Steve Tsentserensky

Along with the revenue requirement, I wanted to indicate proof of worldwide medical health insurance (which I obtained by means of a U.S.-based journey insurance coverage firm known as Seven Corners), receive an FBI background test and supply an tackle I might be staying at.

I spend a lot much less in Croatia than within the U.S.

I presently dwell in Cut up, Croatia’s second-largest metropolis, positioned on the japanese shore of the Adriatic Sea.

The views are attractive, and the price of residing is less expensive in comparison with most main U.S. cities. The typical hire for a one-bedroom in Jersey Metropolis, for instance, is $2,779 (not together with utilities), in keeping with rental itemizing web site RentCafe.

Steve Tsentserensky’s common month-to-month spending

Gene Woo Kim | CNBC Make It

I dwell on my own in a 650-square-foot residence, which I discovered by means of a Fb group for expats in Croatia. I am renting straight from the proprietor for $540 (together with utilities) per 30 days.

Marmontova Ulica, a busy avenue in Cut up stuffed with a number of outlets and eating places. Pictured within the distance is the island of Brač.

Photograph: Steve Tsentserensky

I spend a mean of $47 a day. This is a month-to-month breakdown (as of June 2021):

  • Lease and utilities: $540
  • Medical insurance: $65
  • Meals (groceries, consuming out and drinks): $608
  • Subscriptions: $14
  • Cellphone: $12
  • Leisure journey: $185

Whole: $1,424

How I spend my days

As quickly as my alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m., I will make some Turkish espresso and have a easy breakfast — normally some eggs, greens, cheese and toasted bread.

Then I dive straight into my freelance tasks. I attempt to put in about eight hours of labor on weekdays. Since most of my shoppers are primarily based within the U.S., I will schedule work calls on Japanese or Pacific Commonplace Time.

“The liberty to work from anyplace and chart your individual course is a bit addictive,” says Steve Tsentserensky, a 35-year-old digital nomad. “And the spontaneity of it’s a massive a part of what brings me pleasure.”

Photograph: Bruno Dubravec | Cut up Tech Metropolis

If I really feel like consuming out for lunch ($10 to $14, together with tip), there are a number of locations inside strolling distance. I like journeys to the bakery for a tasty burek, a savory pastry usually stuffed with meat or cheese ($2 to $3).

A cheese burek and a double espresso at a café in Cut up prices round $5.

Photograph: Steve Tsentserensky

A pleasant dinner on the coast will embrace numerous seafood dishes like tuna, octopus and squid ink risotto ($18 to $30, together with drinks and tip).

Squid ink risotto and a beer from Dujkin Dvorlocal, an area restaurant in Cut up, for just below $18.

Photograph: Steve Tsentserensky

I am a reasonably social particular person, and I’ve met plenty of nice folks in Cut up — each locals and different expats. On weekends, I might spend hours having significant conversations with pals over $2 espressos.

From my residence, I am a three-minute stroll to the famed ruins of Diocletian’s Palace. Constructed on the flip of the fourth century and thought of the center of the town, the streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Web site have been worn clean by pedestrians.

The famed ruins of Diocletian’s Palace

Photograph: Steve Tsentserensky

I am additionally six minutes from the Riva, a waterfront promenade stuffed with cafés, bars eating places and outlets.

At 35, touring has all the time been an important a part of my life. Since arriving in Croatia, I’ve taken plenty of journeys to see extra of this endlessly lovely nation.

Just a few locations I have been to: Zagreb (the place I lived for a number of months), Rijeka, Zadar, and the islands of Hvar and Brač. Most not too long ago, I took a two-hour bus journey ($28 for a spherical journey) to Zaton.

A view of the Zagreb Cathedral, a Roman Catholic cathedral-church and the second tallest constructing in Croatia.

Photograph: Steve Tsentserensky

The tempo of life in Croatia is dramatically totally different — and way more my pace — than in New Jersey. While you mix that with the affordability, pleasant folks, enjoyable actions and low crime charges, there is not a lot to complain about.

Persevering with the nomadic life

One of many downsides of working and residing overseas is lacking and being removed from my household and pals, so I am hoping to make a journey again residence sooner or later.

One in all Cut up’s most iconic points of interest is the Cathedral of St. Domnius — stuffed with murals, carved altars and a steep bell tower.

Photograph: Steve Tsentserensky

Whereas Croatia will ceaselessly maintain a spot in my coronary heart, a number of different nations, together with Georgia and Portugal, additionally provide digital nomad visas. As soon as my allow right here expires in March 2022, I plan to take benefits of these alternatives and proceed the nomadic life for so long as I can.

The liberty to work from anyplace and chart your individual course is a bit addictive, and the spontaneity of it’s a massive a part of what brings me pleasure.

Steve Tsentserensky is a video producer, photographer and author. He presently lives in Croatia by means of a digital nomad residence allow. Comply with him on Instagram.

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