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A helping hand: digital nomads and their impact on the local community

Nikolina Kukoč

Nikolina Kukoč

21.12.2021.

A little bit more than a year has passed since a proposed Amendment to the Aliens Act was introduced to the Croatian Parliament for approval. The Amendment’s main purpose was the introduction of Croatia’s digital nomad residence permit to the country’s legislation.

The law has been in effect since January 1st of this year and digital nomads have been applying for this particular residence permit since then.

Throughout this whole process, we often heard mentions of all the economical benefits digital nomads can bring to a country. Some even published exact calculations of those benefits. However, we are not here to talk about that.

We are here to focus on something much more important and, we would dare say, much more valuable – the social impact.

We are all aware that living in isolation is impossible. As a society, we are all connected in some way, part of a mutual ecosystem. And while digital nomads live a nomadic lifestyle by moving from place to place, once they settle down for however long, they are a part of the community and as such can influence it and have a meaningful impact on it.

But how do we even measure ‘meaningful impact’? It is difficult because it is very subjective and depends on the cause, community, or person we are trying to impact. However, there is one commonality – this positive impact is always welcome, no matter its size and scope! Something small to you can mean the world to someone else.

That is the reason why even digital nomads can make meaningful contributions to local communities.

As the popularity of remote work, long-term travel, and the digital nomad lifestyle continue to grow, the local communities that digital nomads choose to visit on their digital nomad journeys can benefit greatly from their presence. Many nomads are travelling to experience different cultures and are very open to participating in the activities of the local community.

Some of them are also conscious of ‘positive impact travel‘ and try to make a helpful contribution to the communities they visit while traveling and working abroad. This can be done in various ways: by sharing their skills and knowledge with others, through volunteer work, and even social entrepreneurship – ensuring they ‘travel for good’.

Throughout our interactions with the digital nomad community this year, we have noticed that many of Split’s digital nomads are really ‘traveling for good’.

We have witnessed them volunteering in a variety of different activities: from planting trees around Split with “Boranka”, over cleaning the beaches with “Čisteći medvjedići”, to taking part in the recent charity flea market for the homeless “A di si ti?!”. They were also up for giving a helping hand to collecting funds for charity, as was evident from the attendance of our recent “Locals’n’Nomads” meetup that had a charitable purpose.

That is why we have decided to shine a light on the social impact digital nomads had on Split’s local community. An impact that has been overwhelmingly positive and means a lot – especially to those members of our local community it was aimed at.

Something tells us this might be of even greater importance than the often-mentioned economical benefits we hear about in the mainstream news.

Governments like to talk about numbers, but we prefer to talk about people.

And digital nomads are people who brought a lot of good to Split since the introduction of Croatia’s digital nomad visa, but even before that, too.

We are always happy when they share with us how much they love Split, but we are even happier when we witness that love through their acts of kindness that ensure they give back to our local community.

This just proves that someone’s contribution is never too small to make a change and that a person is never spending too short of a time somewhere to leave a positive mark on that community!

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About author:

Nikolina Kukoč

Researching is woven into my DNA, but I am a musician at heart. Interested in too many things and always curious. Forever in love with Split and enchanted by people who teach me new things. When I am not writing about Split's tech community, you will find me somewhere in nature, in the theater, or with my head stuck in a book. I do my best to live by the verse from the opera "Fedora" by Umberto Giordano: "Love forbids you not to love."

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