A DigitalNomad’s Trip to Croatia
s an entrepreneurwho works entirely online, I have always felt I should take moreadvantage of the inherent freedom that my line of work provides. Ican work from anywhere in the world as long as I have an internetconnection and in theory there’s no reason for me to return homeuntil I choose to.
Like most peoplethough, I have a life and a family and I’m a little too attached tomy creature comforts to ever spend too long living in another countryand living without cups of tea or freshly washed clothes. When afellow online entrepreneur, Bob, invited me to have a ‘workingweek’ in Croatia then, it seemed like the perfect compromise.
Rather than head tothe tourist hotspot and capital Dubrovnik, my friend and I decided toinstead head to the lesser known Zadar. Zadar is a smaller town withpleasant cobbled streets, traces of a nightlife and some historicalruins. Upon landing the weather was beautiful even as it turned todusk and the views were incredible.
Bob is something ofa more authentic ‘digital nomad’ than I and spends very little ofhis time in one country. I let him take care of flights andaccommodation which meant we got everything incredibly cheaply(thanks Skyscanner!).
It also meant thatunfortunately, we weren’t actually staying in Zadar but rather inTuranj. Turanj is on the coast, so that was nice but it’s notexactly a center of commerce.
Bob had booked usinto ‘Taranj House’ and after being laughed at by a taxi driver,we took two buses to get there. Using expensive 3G, we managed totrack down the rough location to do some searching. The complete lackof lampposts or any kind of artificial lighting was perfect forrevealing a dense blanket of beautiful stars but not so conducive tolocating an enigmatic hotel. Happening across a single local, Tomapproached to ask for directions with his mouth full – and promptlyscared them away.
When we eventuallyfound the ‘hotel’, we realized that we had only missed it upuntil now because it looked like every other house. This hotel was infact an old ladies basement – and while waiting for us she hadfallen asleep in our bed. After attempting to communicate and failingmiserably for ten minutes, we were shown how to lock the door bypushing an unplugged fridge in front of it and were then left to ourdevices.
I was forced to workusing 3G again and realized that I’d already spent more on datathan I had on coming out here.
Awakening in ourmoist single bed, Tom and I were greeted by our host – who we haddubbed ‘Mrs Brown’ (owing to her resemblance to the TV character– facial hair and all). She was holding a bottle of spirits andshouting ‘Camaraderie!’. We joined in and took our shots, hopingthis wouldn’t be a daily occurrence.
From there, we threwaway the moldy grapes on the table, killed a few cockroaches and tooka cold shower before heading to Turanj to see what was on offer. Thisis what you get when you spend 10EUR a night folks!
What we found was apleasant beach with some stunning views and a strip of bars andrestaurants that were aimed very much at locals. This meant cheapprices and an amazing atmosphere. We found one bar that would becomeour local and sat drinking coffee and working on our tiny laptops.The bar amazingly had WiFi and after 8pm we started ordering beerswhile working. Earning money while drinking beer on the beach with afriend and watching the world go by, it was hard not to feel asthough this was ‘living the dream’. Until we had to go back toMrs Brown anyway, who had made us bolognaise.
Day 3 we headed intoZadar and explored some of the local ruins and scenery. Among theattractions here is an awesome ‘sea organ’ – a structure thatplays tunes created by the sea, a bell tower and a bar called TheGarden located right on top of old town walls. This was another greatplace to work and with free WiFi to boot!
Later we moved intoa bar that was completely empty for more drinks and work. Anincredible atmosphere was only improved upon by my first everexposure to the artist ‘Schiller’ that was playing all night.Again, it was one of the most atmospheric and laid back ways to earnmoney I’ve ever experienced.
Day 4 we hired a carand ventured farther afield to Krka National Park and the tranquiltown of Krka itself. After parking up, spotting a turtle and beingchased by some swans while trying to picnic by an incredible lake, wetrekked on foot to the waterfall itself before going for a climb anda swim.
There were tourstaking people to the waterfall but the satisfaction that came fromdiscovering it ourselves was more than worth the walk. It also meantwe could stay there as long as we wanted, sitting on top of a rockyoutcrop while working in full view of the insanely beautifulwaterfall. Schiller was pretty atmospheric but this took the biscuit.And believe it or not ‘Croatia Free WiFi’ was available evenright at the top of the mountain!
Over the next coupleof nights we found a new place to stay in the heart of Zadar (greatgoing Tom) and went for a few drives around the country.
Croatia it wouldseem is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a greatexperience, some beautiful scenery and maybe a quiet spot to do somework. It’s perfect for traveling on a budget, just don’t expectfirst class accommodation!
In general though,this type of travel is something that’s available to everyone andthat everybody should try. And if you can work on the move, there’snothing to stop you experiencing some other countries in an authenticfashion without necessarily having to change your whole lifestyle.