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Who are digital nomads?
By definition, digital nomads are individuals who embrace the technology-enabled and location-independent lifestyle. It allows them to travel and work remotely from anywhere in the world.
But I was never fond of putting actual persons in their societally assigned metaphorical boxes and calling it a day. For me, they are interesting people who are essentially the adventurers of our age: exploring and discovering new worlds and earning a living by doing something that cannot be easily defined by a glance in their direction in an internet café.
You look at a carpenter, a bank teller, or a singer doing their job and you get a relatively good general idea of what they do for a living. Digital nomads? They can do a variety of very different jobs, so you’d never know their profession at a first glance – you need to approach them and ask.
To introduce you to the interesting people behind the boring definition, I plan to do a series of future articles about Split’s digital nomads, so I sincerely hope you will follow me as we explore the explorers together!
What makes digital nomads choose the digital nomad lifestyle?
I’m sure everyone is interested in the answer to this question, however, it will never be answered in the same way because it depends on life experiences and goals each individual has. However, all the varied responses to this question have one thing in common for sure: happiness.
Digital nomads weren’t content with the life they used to live, or some important aspect of it, and were brave enough to change it and choose to live differently.
You should also keep in mind that, in terms of lifestyle, digital nomads differ greatly from tourists.
While they also might enjoy the two-week tourist period in a certain location, in terms of their needs and infrastructure that should support those needs, they are a completely different type of traveler.
Sometimes they might choose a more short-term stay oriented location designed primarily with tourists in mind, but choosing those all the time is unsustainable and sure to lead to travel burn-out. That’s why, even though they are travelers by nature, longevity does influence their choice on where to travel next.
Where do digital nomads travel?
Anywhere in the world, you’d probably say. And you’d be right – to a certain extent. While digital nomads do travel to a variety of places on the globe, there are things you might not have considered that influence their decision on where to go next.
Not to say there aren’t some of them that perhaps take the “throw the dart at a map” approach to choosing their next destination, but those people are in the minority.
Most digital nomads consider their next location well before setting plans in motion to move there.
Depending on their needs and preferences, they try to pick a location that will match them the best. Some of them have a set list of locations even before embarking on their digital nomad journey across the world.
Taking all of this into account, what makes a certain city a good destination for digital nomads? Well, these are the bare essentials: good internet connection, safe and affordable rentals, healthcare, easily navigated and transparent bureaucracy when it comes to visas and temporary residence permits, uncomplicated handling of taxes and finances, and easy access to information in English.
Of course, there are some other important points more subjective to each person’s preferences: weather, food, connectivity, local community, cultural and entertainment contents, etc. While at first glance it might seem like they just pick up their bags and go, there are things digital nomads have to carefully consider in choosing their travel destinations.
Why do digital nomads choose Split as their destination?
What’s not to like about “the most beautiful city in the world”?! That was a purely rhetorical question because, for all its minor faults that can be fixed with will and determination to change for the better, Split is a great place to live and digital nomads who choose it as one of their destinations are solid proof of that fact.
At the time of writing this article, Nomadlist ranked Split as 106th city in the world.
With a current overall score of 3,52/5, Split was ahead of more well-known cities like Seville, Calgary, Miami, Tokyo, Oslo, Frankfurt, Shanghai, Helsinki, Los Angeles, Rotterdam, Adelaide, Doha, Houston, etc.
Some positive traits of Split listed there were: safety, fast internet, nice weather and clean air, walkability of the city and good connectivity with other notable sights in the country, acceptable costs of living for nomads, high education level and good proficiency of English among the locals; giving Split an overall good quality of life score.
When it comes to their work, digital nomads will encounter some other positives here in Split. The local IT community has grown quite a lot in recent years. There are regular events like OpenCoffee Split organized by Split Tech City that are great for networking and connecting with the local techies. Co-working spaces are also popping up, considering the number of digital nomads in the city has been growing.
While these positives are great to acknowledge, especially about my hometown, there is always room for improvement. For example, Split Tech City will be working on a few: improving Split’s global visibility, easing the access to information in English about life here, and providing a good starting point for connections with the local IT community.
Some other improvements like Croatia’s digital nomad visa and the local start-up that is aiming to ease access to long-term rentals in a country mostly oriented towards tourism and renting properties on shorter periods of time are already in the works and we will bring you all the important news about them and any other upcoming developments that will surely greatly benefit digital nomad life in Croatia in the future.
What is the future of digital nomads in Split?
I would like to see digital nomads here year-round and as a constant part of our IT community. They can contribute a lot to the people they meet: from offering different points of view gained from their atypical lifestyle to giving fresh business ideas that were perhaps not considered by someone living and working in one place.
It would sadden me if, a few years down the line, digital nomads in our city become just another hype that was good while it lasted. But it takes the long-term dedication of us locals – government, companies, associations, and individuals alike – to make them feel truly welcome and accepted here for a longer period than just a few weeks or three months at most.
And while there are points we as a community still need to work on, we are committed to making those changes and improving life for digital nomads in our city. We at Split Tech City wish not only to welcome you here in our hometown and tech community but also be a dependable source of information about life in Split before you even step foot on the weathered stones of centuries-old Diocletian’s Palace looking for the nearest coffee place with tasty coffee and good internet connection.