Updated: Apr 5
Have you ever arrived in a new place and instantly felt at home? Well, I have and it’s an amazing
feeling that I recommend chasing until you find it for yourself. For me that place is Dubrovnik.
I’m a city gal and as idyllic as it sounds, I never thought I’d be the type of person who loves living by the water, surrounded by tree covered hills. But here I am, sitting in my studio apartment with views of both, eagerly awaiting the approval of my Croatian Digital Nomad Visa. Cross your fingers and toes for me!
After my visa to the UK expired, having spent most of it in lockdown, I hopped, skipped, and jumped over to Madrid for two weeks followed by a month in Tenerife. My plan was to use tourist visas to bounce around Europe until I decided what I wanted to do or I managed to secure an elusive ticket home to Australia. Thanks Covid! Croatia allows Australians to stay for 90 days in a 180-day period without a visa, so I came for a ten day “taste test” to see if I liked it. Little did I know that my life was about to change. I know, I know, total cliché!
There were two moments on my first day in Dubrovnik that had me falling head over heels in love.
The first happened on the drive from the airport. Talk about love at first sight! My taxi rounded a corner on the main road and I was met by the coast line - clear blue water, islands not too far in the distance, and as we drove a little further along I was gifted my first glimpse of the Old Town – a medieval city bathed in gold from the sun that was on its way down for the day. I was in awe and
couldn’t wait to explore.
I didn’t have to wait too long for the second moment. It was during my first walk along the promenade in Lapad a couple of hours later. Deciding to stretch my legs before dinner I wandered up the meandering footpath. There I found turquoise water so clear you can see straight to the bottom, steps down to flat rocks under trees for you to sunbathe on or relax with a book while drying off from your
swim and I found peace, a feeling of home. I hastily returned the next day and found my perfect spot. With snacks packed and a book to devour, I spent the whole day lounging under a tree between dips in the Adriatic Sea. Absolute heaven!
Those ten days went by so quickly and before I knew it, I was flying to Scotland to sell off the rest of my things before going to Berlin for a month. It was great to explore Berlin, but really, I was counting down the days until my flight back to Dubrovnik. This time I was staying for nine weeks, and I was so excited.
It was even better than the first time. Friendships were formed and the people I met convinced me to apply for the Digital Nomad Visa. This wasn’t something I had considered before but the whole
process for Croatia was so simple and cost effective that it was an easy decision to make. There is a great little, but growing, community of Digital Nomads and Expats here in Dubrovnik and everyone is so welcoming.
While the above might read like someone having a love affair with Dubrovnik, it hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows. There have been moments of fear and doubt with stress about finding long term accommodation that won’t send me broke during the tourist season thrown in the mix.
Frustration for not knowing the language and even though most people speak English, things can get lost in translation sometimes. There’s been a medical issue that appeared out of nowhere that resulted in a visit to the private hospital, and I’ve had days where I just haven’t wanted to get out of bed. Loneliness creeps in every now and then but as I am still adjusting and trying to find my way in a foreign city, that’s all completely normal! When days like that rear their dirty little head, I don’t put any pressure on myself to do anything. I try and get a good sleep and see what the next day brings. I’ve had to step out of my comfort zone and ask for help a couple of times and have found nothing but open arms and a willingness to assist from the people in Digital Nomad and Expat community. These little challenges along the way have taught me to trust in myself and to accept help when I need it. If you had of told me 6, 12, 24 months ago that I would be wanting to call Dubrovnik home, I would have thought you were delusional. My plan was to move to Scotland and marry a sexy Highlander. You’ve seen Outlander, right? I thought I would be falling in love with a man. Instead, I have fallen in love with a city and swapped haggis for cevapi. So, if you have made it to the end of the first blog I have ever written – firstly, thank you for persevering and secondly, I hope this is the something you have been looking for to convince you to move to Croatia or any country that offers a Digital Nomad Visa. Trust in yourself, embark on the
adventure of a lifetime and get ready to fall in love. Sx