Digital Nomad Life in Croatia: Christi Lyn Rice, from Florida to Split

Total Croatia News

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July 14, 2019 – As the number of digital nomads rises globally, some are choosing to spend some of their time in Croatia. A new TCN series meeting international digital nomads calling Croatia their temporary home. Meet Christi Lyn Rice from Florida.

As recently featured on TCN, the world is projected to have a billion digital nomads by 2035, people from all over the world doing all manner of jobs and business with one thing in common – a flexible, mobile workplace connected to the Internet. If even a fracture of that number becomes a reality, the economic opportunity for countries which can attract these wealth-generating individuals has the potential to dwarf Croatia’s current tourism revenues. And there are few countries better placed than Croatia to take advantage. Safe, beautiful, great gourmet scene, top tourist destination, English widely spoken, well connected to other destinations, and a superb lifestyle. 

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In order to look at the issue in more detail, we have decided to look at some of the digital nomads who have Croatia in their lifestyle plan, and to find out why Croatia, what Croatia offers, and what are the things that countries should be looking out for to take advantage of this economic opportunity. I am very grateful to Tanja Polegubic from Split’s waterfront co-working space, Saltwater in Split (see location below) for her help in connecting me to various digital nomads using her space. 

Our next digital nomad in Croatia is Christi Lyn Rice, who spent time in Split away from her native Florida.

You are one of a growing number of digital nomads. Tell us briefly who you are and what you do.

I am the Grants Manager for the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In this role I help secure private and public funding for general operations, capital projects and programming, which includes the largest free arts-in-education program in the United States. While most of the year I work out of our office in Fort Lauderdale and very much still consider that my home, I’m very fortunate that my organization has allowed me the opportunity to work remotely full-time during the summers – which in turn has given me the freedom to live in and experience some amazing places!

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Working from your laptop rather than in an office seems like the dream lifestyle. What are the main pros and cons?

In addition to the flexibility to travel almost anywhere, I love working in a co-working space environment, where every day brings something new and I have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world in a wide variety of industries. Being surrounded by like-minded creative, innovative and self-motivated professionals is inspiring and helps me think outside of the box when it comes to my own work. I also find I’m more productive when working on my own schedule and can maintain better focus on projects when I have fewer meetings, events, phone calls and emails in real-time, given the 5- to 6-hour time difference. Living abroad in general has been an invaluable learning experience and really helped shape my perspective on what is and isn’t important in life.

As far as the challenges go, you have to be very self-motivated. It can be difficult trying to balance a full workload with the desire to explore an exciting new city, learn about a new culture and meet new people, while at the same time also trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and not burn yourself out. Meaningful friendships can also be a challenge – meeting people while traveling is easy, but you have to get pretty good at saying goodbye. The biggest con for me, personally, is missing my dog, Lucy (although she is in great hands while I’m gone – thanks, Mom!)

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Laptop living gives you the freedom to travel and choose your place to live. Where are the global hot spots currently for digital nomads?

In addition to Split, I have lived in Lisbon, Barcelona and most recently Medellín, Colombia, all of which are definitely hot spots for digital nomads right now. Next up this summer are Tenerife, Budapest and then…?

You chose Croatia and specifically Split – why?

Split was the perfect home base for the month I spent in Croatia. It offers a unique balance of nature, nightlife, culture and great weather, is fairly compact and walkable and already has several established workspaces such as Saltwater Split (which was great not only for maintaining my  productivity but for finding a sense of community.) I can’t think of many places where I would have the opportunity to work in a setting as unique as Diocletian’s Palace, go for a hike in a park as beautiful as Marjan or a swim at the beach and then enjoy great restaurants and nightlife, all in the same day. I was also lucky enough to be in Split during the 2018 World Cup, which was such an unforgettable experience and a special introduction to the spirit of Croatia. At the same time, Split was conveniently located so that I could easily travel to Dubrovnik, Hvar Island, Plitviče Lakes and others parts of Croatia on the weekends, and I was able to see a lot of amazingly beautiful places in a short amount of time.

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What are the most important things a destination should offer to be most compatible for the digital nomad lifestyle, apart from that all-important good WiFi?

Affordable short-term housing, walkability and/or great public transportation, arts and culture, high-quality co-working spaces and a creative, entrepreneurial community that is welcoming to foreigners. High prevalence of English-speakers is also a plus.

What are the competitive advantages that Croatia has to attract more digital nomads?

In addition to its location, which makes it easy to travel to from the rest of Europe, I think Croatia’s amazing natural resources are some of its most competitive advantages in attracting both digital nomads and regular tourists – it truly is one of the most beautiful countries I have experienced. I hope that as the country continues to develop and attract tourists it also continues to make preservation of those natural resources a priority. Croatia is also currently a very affordable place to live for foreigners, which will always be one of the top priorities of a digital nomad.

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Anything else you want to add.

Being a “digital nomad” doesn’t have to be as difficult, expensive or intimidating as many people think. Throughout my travels I have met people of all different backgrounds, careers, ages, relationship statuses, etc., who identified living and working abroad as a personal goal for various reasons and were able to step out of their comfort zones to achieve it.

To learn more about Croatia for the digital nomad, check out the Total Croatia Digital Nomad guide

Are you a digital nomad in Croatia who would like to be featured in this series? Please contact us on [email protected]

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