This 35-year-old left the U.S. for Croatia: ‘I reside on $47 a day — right here’s a take a look at how I spend my time’
Earlier than Covid hit in March final yr, I used to be making a good earnings of about $4,000 per 30 days as a contract video producer. However because the pandemic intensified, these gig earnings shortly dwindled to $700.
On account of all of the uncertainty in regards to 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 will begin providing a one-year residence allow to digital nomads (anybody exterior 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 a number of prep work between April and December earlier than getting accepted for the allow.
The applying processing payment was $100, and to qualify, I wanted to have a month-to-month earnings of no less than $2,750. So all through the next months, I aggressively constructed a recurring earnings stream from freelance gigs (video producing and copywriting) by way 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 barely spent my earnings. So with the $76,000 I had in my financial savings account, I felt financially safe sufficient to reside overseas.
Along with the earnings requirement, I wanted to point out proof of worldwide medical insurance (which I bought by way of a U.S.-based journey insurance coverage firm referred to as Seven Corners), receive an FBI background verify and supply an deal with I would be staying at.
I spend a lot much less in Croatia than within the U.S.
I at the moment reside in Cut up, Croatia’s second-largest metropolis, positioned on the jap 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 common lease for a one-bedroom in Jersey Metropolis, for instance, is $2,779 (not together with utilities), in line with rental itemizing web site RentCafe.
I reside on my own in a 650-square-foot condo, which I discovered by way of a Fb group for expats in Croatia. I am renting straight from the proprietor for $540 (together with utilities) per 30 days.
I spend a median of $47 a day. Here is a breakdown (as of June 2021):
- Lease and utilities: $540
- Medical health insurance: $65
- Meals (groceries, consuming out and drinks): $608
- Subscriptions: $14
- Cellphone: $12
- Leisure journey: $185
How I spend my days
As quickly as my alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m., I am going to make some Turkish espresso and have a easy breakfast — often some eggs, greens, cheese and toasted bread.
Then I dive straight into my freelance initiatives. 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 am going to schedule work calls on Japanese or Pacific Commonplace Time.
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 sometimes full of meat or cheese ($2 to $3).
A pleasant dinner on the coast will embrace a lot of seafood dishes like tuna, octopus and squid ink risotto ($18 to $30, together with drinks and tip).
I am a fairly social individual, and I’ve met a number of nice individuals in Cut up — each locals and different expats. On weekends, I might spend hours having significant conversations with pals over $2 espressos.
From my condo, I am a three-minute stroll to the famed ruins of Diocletian’s Palace. Constructed on the flip of the fourth century and regarded the center of town, the streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Web site have been worn clean by pedestrians.
I am additionally six minutes from the Riva, a waterfront promenade full of cafés, bars eating places and retailers.
At 35, touring has at all times been a necessary a part of my life. Since arriving in Croatia, I’ve taken quite a lot of journeys to see extra of this endlessly stunning 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 just lately, I took a two-hour bus journey ($28 for a spherical journey) to Zaton.
The tempo of life in Croatia is dramatically totally different — and far more my pace — than in New Jersey. If you mix that with the affordability, pleasant individuals, 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 dwelling sooner or later.
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 wherever and chart your individual course is a bit addictive, and the spontaneity of it’s a huge a part of what brings me pleasure.
Steve Tsentserensky is a video producer, photographer and author. He at the moment lives in Croatia by way of a digital nomad residence allow. Observe him on Instagram.
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