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This 35-year-old left the U.S. for Croatia: ‘I stay 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 rapidly dwindled to $700.

Attributable to 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 have 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 totally captivated by the nation, so I made a decision to use.

Getting Croatia’s digital nomad residence allow

I did a variety 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 earnings of at the least $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 stay overseas.

A fantastic avenue within the coronary heart of downtown Break up

Picture: Steve Tsentserensky

Along with the earnings requirement, I wanted to indicate proof of worldwide medical health insurance (which I obtained by way of a U.S.-based journey insurance coverage firm referred to as Seven Corners), get hold of 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 at the moment stay in Break up, Croatia’s second-largest metropolis, positioned on the japanese shore of the Adriatic Sea.

The views are attractive, and the price of dwelling 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 accordance with rental itemizing web site RentCafe.

Steve Tsentserensky’s common month-to-month spending

Gene Woo Kim | CNBC Make It

I stay 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.

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

Picture: Steve Tsentserensky

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

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

Complete: $1,424

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 tasks. I attempt to put in about eight hours of labor on weekdays. Since most of my purchasers are primarily based within the U.S., I am going to schedule work calls on Jap or Pacific Customary 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 huge a part of what brings me pleasure.”

Picture: Bruno Dubravec | Break 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 really like journeys to the bakery for a tasty burek, a savory pastry sometimes crammed with meat or cheese ($2 to $3).

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

Picture: Steve Tsentserensky

A pleasant dinner on the coast will embody 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, a neighborhood restaurant in Break up, for just below $18.

Picture: Steve Tsentserensky

I am a fairly social particular person, and I’ve met a variety of nice individuals in Break up — each locals and different expats. On weekends, I may spend hours having significant conversations with mates 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 thought of the guts of the town, the streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Web site have been worn easy by pedestrians.

The famed ruins of Diocletian’s Palace

Picture: Steve Tsentserensky

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

At 35, touring has at all times been a necessary a part of my life. Since arriving in Croatia, I’ve taken various 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 lately, I took a two-hour bus trip ($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.

Picture: Steve Tsentserensky

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 dwelling overseas is lacking and being removed from my household and mates, so I am hoping to make a journey again residence in some unspecified time in the future.

Considered one of Break up’s most iconic points of interest is the Cathedral of St. Domnius — crammed with murals, carved altars and a steep bell tower.

Picture: Steve Tsentserensky

Whereas Croatia will eternally 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 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. Comply with him on Instagram.

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