Tell us about you and your work.
I was born in Japan and I grew up as a Japanese Expat kid in Hawaii. I went back and forth twice and had to learn Japanese and English twice. My parents realized my personality wasn’t fit for life in Japan and decided to stay in Hawaii. I went to college in Los Angeles and New Orleans and settled in Los Angeles until 2017. I’ve worked as an actress, then a commercial real estate agent until I founded my sunglasses brand MEGUMI-O. MEGUMI-O drop ships from California. In February 2016, I flew to Milan to attend Mido, an optical expo and I fell in love with Milan. I moved to Milan in April 2017 and traveled all over Europe.
How did you choose Croatia and specifically Opatija?
In summer 2019, I did my bus tour of Croatia starting from Dubrovnik finishing up north in Pula. As soon as I saw Opatija, I fell in love with it and decided to spend the month of January 2020 in Opatija to see if I would still like it during the coldest month. Having a dog that’s too big to fly in the cabin, Opatija is convenient since I can take a train from Milan to Trieste and have a driver pick me up there. I loved Opatija last January so I booked a month from July to August. The Covid situation is far worse in Milan and I was having such a great time with my new friends I ended up staying. I bought an apartment from an Albanian man who I communicate with in Italian. Being one of two Asians and one of two Americans in Opatija, I’ve become a bit of a local celebrity. I was discovered by FoodyTV a streaming service in the US on Instagram and I started filming my travel series “According To Megumi.”
Pros and cons of working remotely?
Pro, I can shoot “According To Megumi,” invest in real estate, and promote MEGUMI-O from anywhere in the world. Pro, the cost of living in Croatia is cheap. Another reason beyond Covid that keeps me from rushing back to Milan, is the US Dollar is low now and the Kuna is much cheaper than Euro. Con, Opatija and Europe outside of Spain and France are not exactly entertainment industry countries so I can’t just call a friend to shoot and edit me. A camera person or editor who doesn’t speak English as a first language doesn’t understand my humor and timing. Pro, I could dropbox my videos to my friends in the future to make the edits tighter.
What’s important for a destination to offer to be compatible with a digital nomad lifestyle, apart from good WiFi?
A community of English speaking people and Amazon. Without Amazon, I have had to live without many things. Mall.hr is NOT Amazon. If you’re ethnic like me, it would be best to be in a city where you can find decent ethnic cuisine. While I will always summer in Opatija, I Google sunnier winter locations constantly to see if they have an Asian population. As soon as I’m vaccinated, I will fly to Budapest to eat Escargot at the French Institute and Pho. Brussels also has great Vietnamese food and a Michelin star sushi place.
What’s your view on the future of remote work?
Covid has made the world super friendly for remote work. A classmate who saw According To Megumi is trying to move to Opatija. He’s now based in London with a Japanese corporation and he’s trying to get them to agree to let him leave London since he’s just been working from home for the last year. If you can make money in a high currency and live in a country with a low currency, you can live very well without grinding so much.
Do you have any advice for people looking to make the transition to digital nomad life?
Save money before making the move. Be flexible and learn at least a second language. I communicate with a lot of people in Italian in Opatija. The owner of a fast-food restaurant I frequent is a Spanish man married to a Croatian woman and he speaks Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and German. Off-season, you can find yourself in situations where the workers of a certain restaurant or store are no longer the young ones off from school who spoke English. Before making the move, search Google in the country where you’re considering the move, to see if you can buy things you MUST have. Even if a country has Amazon, Amazon and eBay don’t offer the same things throughout the world.
You can follow Megumi Hosogai’s adventures on her official website.
Are you a digital nomad in Croatia who would like to be featured in this series? Please contact us on [email protected] Subject Nomad
Read more: Meet Melissa Paul, Owner of Croatia’s First Digital Nomad Visa.