Digital Nomad Life in Croatia: Norm Bour, from Orange County to Kastela

Total Croatia News

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July 8, 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 Norm Bour from Orange County.

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 Norm Bour, who enjoyed Dalmatian sunshine after arriving from Orange County, California.

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

I don’t fit the mold of the “typical” digital nomad, but instead call myself a Traveling Nomad. Since I use the digital network I am part of that crowd, but as a lifelong entrepreneur, and mostly retired at age 65, I travel for fun and work as I can and need to.

I left the US on February 17, 2019 and travel the world six weeks at a time, ie, we spend six weeks (or so) at our stops, then move on. I was a Californian for 40 years and visited Europe three years ago for the first time and was captivated by the quality and QUANTITY of life here. Being mindful  of the EU Schengen requirements of 90 days, Croatia was a happy exit from there and we have fallen in love with this country. I am a consultant and write in a specialized field but as I committed to “travelling like a Millennial” I now teach my demographics how to “Travel Younger.” The Millennial Generation travels affordably and with a great sense of fun and adventure, so I am committed to getting fellow Boomers out of their comfort zone and seeing the world with new younger eyes.

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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?


Spotty internet comes with the territory and can be frustrating, but in Croatia it has not been much of a problem. When you work for yourself it’s important to find time TO work, since there are so many fun things to do and amazing places to go.


I have defined myself as a “highly unemployable entrepreneur” and have been for forty years. Being self-employed means no security (not that a job offers much!) but we must use enough focus to do what must be done. See above re: FUN!

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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?

I have been researching worldwide options since last year when we spent six weeks in Spain and Portugal and concluded that we COULD live this nomadic lifestyle. Over the months my girlfriend and I got rid of almost everything we had, including old photos, books, clothes, furniture and cars. We left with two 28” suitcases, two backpacks and two large bags.

At our first stop, Valencia, Spain, we got rid of one suitcase filled with clothes and here in Croatia got rid of the other. To date we have jettisoned about 40 percent of what we started with and concluded it’s easier to buy winter clothes rather that cart them around all summer! The goal is to pare our needs down to two backpacks. We do plan to visit many of the typical digital nomad destinations in southeast Asia, like Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, and eventually to Central and South America. We are driven by one significant factor: the ideal 50 degree (Fahrenheit)/ 10 degrees Celsius temperature zone. The other goal is we must be near water, so many landlocked countries are not high on our list.

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At this time we are not looking for a final destination but instead are seeking a few different locations to bop in and out of. So far Croatia is #1 on that list! The plan is to live here for our allotted time, then either stay close in Albania or Montenegro for proximity, or head over to Portugal, which previously was our #1 destination. The plan is being reworked with each new spot and when asked “When will you return to the US?” the response is “We probably won’t.” We will travel as long as it’s fun and see as much as we can while we are able to do so.

  • You chose Croatia and specifically Split – why?

As a spiritual man I don’t believe in coincidences so landing in Split for six weeks was a blessing. We actually were in Kastel Kambelovac which was just a 20 minute bus ride to Split and about the same to Trogir. We were on the water with a great view and were immersed with LIVING in a seaside working village. The fishermen were up and working before sunrise and there were several local events which drew us in and made us feel part of the community. We were in Split city every few days and spent many hours wandering the streets, finding new food spots and supporting the vendors at their booths.

In hindsight and after going north to Zadar and south to Dubrovnik, I decided that the Split area was ideal. As a motorcycle rider we rented a bike for much of our time and got to experience the accessible coves and water north to Sibenik and the cliffs and majesty of the foliage and trees going south.

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

As a writer and teacher of demographic differences between Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials, each generation has their own drivers and motivators. I think pending expat Boomers should take a serious look at Croatia because of affordability and quality of life, and the Gen X-ers and Millennials for the same reasons. To compare prices between the US and Croatia, our overhead is about 50 percent of what we spent in our prior home area, Orange County, which is just south of Los Angeles. We can get a fantastic meal for two here about $25 US dollars and our lodging was less than half the rent I paid. That was not the case in Dubrovnik proper, which we found to be very overpriced, but outside the walls prices were more reasonable

I was not that familiar with Croatia until a friend took a tour a few years ago and visited here and several other countries. Like many, I thought that the former Eastern bloc countries were mired in the past, but found that not to be true here. English speakers are very common, most notably with the under 40 generation. What I especially loved was the freedom here in this country. Drivers are generally courteous, people don’t put on airs or try to be pretentious and everyone is just more REAL. Family life is important, which I admire and respect, plus the beauty of this country is off the chart!

I think Croatia should be investigated by ALL the generations since it has so much to offer.

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Norm Bour is a travel writer and blogger who teaches others how to “travel younger.” A Baby Boomer who permanently left the US in February 2019, Norm stays at different locations six weeks at a time, with no intention of stopping. He never traveled outside the US until 2016, but watched how the Millennials traveled affordably and with a great sense of adventure and fun.

At age 65, he and his girlfriend decided to learn from those that were doing it right and is committed to inspiring Baby Boomers of any age to live their dream. Follow their journey at his Facebook blog under Travel Younger.

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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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