This 35-year-old left the U.S. for Croatia: ‘I live on $47 a day — here’s a look at how I spend my time’


Earlier than Covid hit in March final yr, I used to be making a good earnings of about $4,000 monthly as a contract video producer. However because the pandemic intensified, these gig earnings rapidly dwindled to $700.

As a consequence of all of the uncertainty in regards to the future, I discovered myself sleeping on a futon at my sister’s home in New Jersey. I felt stressed and missed all of the touring I used to do for work.

However a number of months later, my prayers have been answered: Croatia introduced that it could begin providing a one-year residence allow to digital nomads (anybody exterior of the European Union working remotely) in January 2021.

I had visited Croatia earlier than and was totally captivated by the nation, so I made a decision to use.

Getting Croatia’s digital nomad residence allow

I did a variety of prep work between April and December earlier than getting accredited for the allow.

The appliance processing price was $100, and to qualify, I wanted to have a month-to-month earnings of at the least $2,750. So all through the next months, I aggressively constructed a recurring earnings stream from freelance gigs (video producing and copywriting) by way of Upwork.

By December, I used to be again to creating round $4,000 monthly. I used to be additionally an obsessive saver and barely spent my earnings. So with the $76,000 I had in my financial savings account, I felt financially safe sufficient to stay overseas.

A lovely road within the coronary heart of downtown Break up

Picture: Steve Tsentserensky

Along with the earnings requirement, I wanted to point out proof of worldwide medical insurance (which I received by way of a U.S.-based journey insurance coverage firm known as Seven Corners), receive an FBI background test and supply an handle I might be staying at.

I spend a lot much less in Croatia than within the U.S.

Steve Tsentserensky’s common month-to-month spending

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I stay on my own in a 650-square-foot residence, which I discovered by way of a Fb group for expats in Croatia. I am renting instantly from the proprietor for $540 (together with utilities) monthly.

Marmontova Ulica, a busy road in Break up stuffed with a number of retailers and eating places. Pictured within the distance is the island of Brač.

Picture: Steve Tsentserensky

I spend a mean of $47 a day. This is a breakdown (as of June 2021):

  • Hire and utilities: $540
  • Medical health insurance: $65
  • Meals (groceries, consuming out and drinks): $608
  • Subscriptions: $14
  • Telephone: $12
  • Leisure journey: $185

Complete: $1,424

How I spend my days

As quickly as my alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m., I am going to make some Turkish espresso and have a easy breakfast — often some eggs, greens, cheese and toasted bread.

Then I dive straight into my freelance initiatives. I attempt to put in about eight hours of labor on weekdays. Since most of my shoppers are based mostly within the U.S., I am going to schedule work calls on Japanese or Pacific Customary Time.

If I really feel like consuming out for lunch ($10 to $14, together with tip), there are a number of locations inside strolling distance. I like journeys to the bakery for a tasty burek, a savory pastry sometimes stuffed with meat or cheese ($2 to $3).

A cheese burek and a double espresso at a café in Break up prices round $5.

Picture: Steve Tsentserensky

A pleasant dinner on the coast will embrace plenty of seafood dishes like tuna, octopus and squid ink risotto ($18 to $30, together with drinks and tip).

Squid ink risotto and a beer from Dujkin Dvorlocal, a neighborhood restaurant in Break up, for slightly below $18.

Picture: Steve Tsentserensky

I am a fairly social particular person, and I’ve met a variety of nice individuals in Break up — each locals and different expats. On weekends, I might spend hours having significant conversations with pals over $2 espressos.

From my residence, I am a three-minute stroll to the famed ruins of Diocletian’s Palace. Constructed on the flip of the fourth century and regarded the center of the town, the streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Web site have been worn easy by pedestrians.

The famed ruins of Diocletian’s Palace

Picture: Steve Tsentserensky

I am additionally six minutes from the Riva, a waterfront promenade stuffed with cafés, bars eating places and retailers.

At 35, touring has all the time been an important a part of my life. Since arriving in Croatia, I’ve taken a variety of journeys to see extra of this endlessly lovely nation.

A couple of locations I have been to: Zagreb (the place I lived for a number of months), Rijeka, Zadar, and the islands of Hvar and Brač. Most lately, I took a two-hour bus journey ($28 for a spherical journey) to Zaton.

A view of the Zagreb Cathedral, a Roman Catholic cathedral-church and the second tallest constructing in Croatia.

Picture: Steve Tsentserensky

Persevering with the nomadic life

One of many downsides of working and dwelling overseas is lacking and being removed from my household and pals, so I am hoping to make a journey again residence in some unspecified time in the future.

Considered one of Break up’s most iconic points of interest is the Cathedral of St. Domnius — stuffed with murals, carved altars and a steep bell tower.

Picture: Steve Tsentserensky

Whereas Croatia will perpetually maintain a spot in my coronary heart, a number of different international locations, together with Georgia and Portugal, additionally provide digital nomad visas. As soon as my allow right here expires in March 2022, I plan to take benefits of these alternatives and proceed the nomadic life for so long as I can.

The liberty to work from wherever and chart your personal course is a bit addictive, and the spontaneity of it’s a massive a part of what brings me pleasure.

Steve Tsentserensky is a video producer, photographer and author. He presently lives in Croatia by way of a digital nomad residence allow. Observe him on Instagram.

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