Let me take you back to one of the most challenging days of my life.

It just so happens that it was also my first day as a digital nomad.

After completing the second leg of a 19-hour journey, I exited the airport with a taxi driver I emailed during my layover in Frankfurt. Booking the taxi ahead of time was probably the only smart decision I made during this trip.

As we made our way from the airport to my soon-to-be temporary home, I only felt a small amount of culture shock. After all, I had traveled many times before. That said, it was my first time traveling alone.

I had chosen Croatia as my first destination for a few reasons. One was that it was a major hub for digital nomads. The second was that it was quite cheap (at the time). And finally, I chose it because I knew Italy quite well, and on paper, I figured Croatia was similar enough to Italy. How bad could it possibly be?

As it turned out, none of these things helped me. And as I rolled up to the drab socialist-era apartment block that I was to call home for the next few months, I started to realize the answer to my earlier question, the one regarding “how bad things could possibly be”. Glimpses of the gorgeous blue Adriatic Sea gave me comfort, but my immediate surroundings did not.

I stuffed myself into my apartment’s building’s tiny elevator along with my suitcase. I had forgotten how tiny things were in Europe. My apartment was only tinier. I can suffer 1 minute in a cramped elevator, but several weeks in a cramped apartment? Well, I survived, but I had a lot to learn about picking accommodations.

During booking, I looked through the photos of my Airbnb with that same old question ringing through my head. “How bad can it be?” Pictures might be worth a thousand words, but the ones I saw didn’t mention that the apartment was infested with some mysterious species of flying ants. Nor did they mention that the bedroom window didn’t close 100% shut, which I would only come to realize when the temperatures dropped in October.

A picture of the mysterious flying ants, who crawled through the floorboards
The mysterious flying ants, who crawled through the floorboards

Thankfully, I laugh at these things now. I was very naive. If you’re like me, you probably want to know everything about a place before you visit it. But even with all the planning I did in the month leading up to my departure, I still had no idea what was in store for me. I didn’t know anybody in the city when I got there. And as it turned out, Split, Croatia, wasn’t really for me anyway.

I believe most people would have simply returned home a month or two after an experience like mine. It’s fear of the unknown that holds most people back from digital nomading. But when you get there, you truly realize what it means to balance work, sightseeing, and dealing with the daily surprises that come with moving to a new country. It’s enough to make some of you give up on your dreams of working remotely from around the world.

Over time, things got a bit easier with every new country I moved to. That’s usually how it is for new nomads. Eventually, you meet new people, pick up some tricks from nomads and locals, and improve your travel instincts in general.

But if you want to speed up the process, reading this blog and staying up to date with my newsletters is the best way. I’ll help you get acquainted with the lifestyle, learn a few insider tricks, and get in-depth insight into all kinds of digital nomad destinations.

Join me, and we can conquer this world together.

  • Big Nomad Nic

Feel free to get in touch with me via email too, it’s nicolas[at]bignomads.com

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