Digital nomads in residence in Dubrovnik, 6 months later: Marlee McCormick

Marlee McCormick interviewing Dubrovnik Deputy Mayor Jelka Tepsic live on her Dallas radio show

October 20, 2021 – In April of this year, 10 digital nomads from all over the world came together for Dubrovnik’s first Digital Nomads-in-Residence (DNIR) program. As part of European Freelance Week 2021, TCN is catching up with some of them 6 months later, starting with Marlee McCormick from Texas.

A year ago, the city of Dubrovnik organized the very first conference on digital nomads in Croatia – Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads – as part of the European Week of the Independents. The city has made great strides in advancing its DN credentials and strategy, in part thanks to the award-winning Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, which ran from April 23 to May 23.

The program was all the richer for the presence of Marlee McCormick, who broadcast her Dallas radio show every day from the Lazareti coworking space just outside the historic old walls of Dubrovnik. With her husband Jeff, Marlee spent a great month in the Pearl of the Adriatic. TCN met with Marlee 6 months later to get her current take on the program, Dubrovnik and the Croatian digital nomad’s journey.

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1. It has been 6 months since you arrived in Dubrovnik for the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. First of all, a brief review of this month. How did it go for you and how has it changed your perception of Dubrovnik as a nomadic destination?

Is it a cliché to say that being selected for the DNIR program was a life changing experience? … because that is really an accurate description. Being able to live and work in a wonderful and welcoming city like Dubrovnik has been an opportunity and an experience that will stay with me forever. My husband and I had wanted to try living abroad for a while, we just had to wait for the right opportunity and the children to grow up and leave the nest. The pandemic made that dream a possibility and the Dubrovnik Digital Nomad program made it a reality. Once I started working remotely from home, I tested the waters by taking my show on the road, a week here and there. These trips were more of a working vacation, but I learned how to make it work and with good WIFI I could work from anywhere in the world.

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It wasn’t until I got to Dubrovnik that I really got to experience what it would be like to live and work abroad. I was able to do a job that I love in the United States while living as a local in a beautiful European city. When you add the facts that I didn’t have to get up at 4am for work due to the jet lag, I took a 10 minute walk through the old town to the workspace Lazaretti instead of a long drive in traffic, and a picture postcard view of the Adriatic Sea … well, I would say the quality of life isn’t improving. My husband Jeff was also working from home and was able to join me for our digital nomadism test. Not only have we adapted quickly, we have thrived! Although the DNIR program only lasted 30 days, we can both see each other coming back for long periods of time and now, thanks to Croatia’s digital nomad visa, we will be able to do that.

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2. Did you keep in touch with other people in the project? Did you spend more time in Croatia?

We have kept in touch with the other nomads in our group despite the time differences and geographic constraints. Social media is a great way to stay connected. I consider these people to be a kind of extended family. We were all very different, but each brought something unique to the table and we all got along so well despite our differences in age and origin. There was talk of a meeting in the future. I really hope that will happen. Jeff and I have also befriended people outside of our home group and we can’t wait to meet them again.

3. It seems like a lot has happened on the DN stage in the last few months since the show. Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, Digital Nomad Valley Zagreb, the cross-border coworking conference in Budva, Croatia performed well in the Nomad List 2021 survey. What changes have you noticed since arriving in Dubrovnik in April?

In my opinion, Croatia’s and in particular Dubrovnik’s foresight to step out of their comfort zone of “seasonal tourism” and attract visitors all year round was smart planning for the future. There is so much more to this community than just a day trip to the Old Town for ice cream (although, full disclosure, I love ice cream in Dubrovnik) on a cruise ship stopover. I really hope that we, the DNIRs, have helped bring this to light. I know every situation is different, but compared to where we live in Dallas, Texas, we have found the cost of living in Dubrovnik to be very reasonable – options for all budgets and styles of living. life. Since returning home, I have followed events in Croatia through Total Croatia News. Croatia is gaining importance on the world stage away from tourism. Businesses are growing and moving there and I can’t wait to see what happens with the transition to the EU.

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4. Have you noticed a change in the way Croatia is talked about in the global DN groups you engage with online? How if so?

Without a doubt, the Dubrovnik Digital Nomad Program has caught the attention of the whole world. The DNIR roadmap is used by other countries as a template to launch their own digital nomad programs. I think all of us, including the City of Dubrovnik, the Tourist Board, TCN and of course our champion Tanja Polegubic at Saltwater Workspace, can all be proud of what we have achieved in leading the way. My time as a digital nomad has been brief and I am definitely a newbie, but my experience has allowed me to encourage others to take the plunge and even give advice to those who have already done so via a group. Facebook Dubrovnik Digital Nomad.

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5. What do you think are the key next steps for Dubrovnik on this journey, and for Croatia as a whole?

It is encouraging to see that the city has taken on board some of our suggestions and ideas to move the digital nomad agenda forward. I hope that when the pandemic is over and tourism returns fully, that Croatia as a whole will stick to the agenda to attract more DNS from all over the world. Word of mouth and information sharing is the best way to do it. Total Croatia News made a major contribution to this.

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6. What is your favorite memory / experience of DNIR, and when do you think Dubrovnik will see you next time?

There are so many great memories to choose from – a day on the Adriatic boat with the other DNIRs, a dinner in Peka at an amazing restaurant owned by two brothers on the island of Korcula, a cafe and people watching in the cafes of the Stradun. One of my favorite memories was interacting with Dubrovnik cats. I am a big animal lover and it is a lovely aspect of the old town. I left a little piece of my heart in Dubrovnik. We can’t wait to go back next spring and pick up where we left off.

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For more news and articles on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.

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