Lily Bruns, Draper Startup House

November 10, 2021 – Less than a month before Digital Nomad Week, the virtual edition with 10,000 nomads expected, and more than 100 speakers including TCN. Continuing our look at the keynote speakers, meet community creator Lily Bruns from Draper Startup House.

Lily is an international community builder and content marketer who helps startups tell their stories. She is Country Manager for Thailand at Draper Startup House and is a strong advocate for digital nomadic visas.

1. You are the keynote speaker at Digital Nomad Week in December. Tell us a bit about DNW, why you decided to get involved and what you are going to talk about.

Olumide and I have known each other for some time due to our mutual interest in championing digital nomadic visas. He knew me as a Community Connector through my work with Draper Startup House, hosting Clubhouse Communities, and he was on my panel at the Work + Travel Summit. When he asked me if I would like to lend a hand to Nomad Week and help shape its direction, I was delighted to participate as an organizer and moderator. Most of my sessions will focus on the policies, infrastructure and communities that enable digital nomads.

2. How do you think DNW ranks in the nomadic conference / festival calendar in terms of size / importance?

Many similar events have a strong focus on helping newbie nomads join the movement, and I think DN Week will do a great job with the wealth of workshops, but this conference is truly a who’s who of thought leaders in the world. movement. People who don’t just live the lifestyle, but are committed to shaping the future of the community, and it’s always exciting to feel that you are part of creating something rather than just log in to learn new tips and tricks.

As this is our first year, the jury still doesn’t know what the numbers will be, but I know it’s a guaranteed good time as many panels are made up of friends and colleagues having fun and having fun. together. I think the audience appreciates the authenticity and will appreciate it more than some of the events that are gaining hype and size.


3. The pandemic has placed more emphasis on the potential of remote working, but the trend has been strengthening for some time. Where do you think it will all be in 5 years?

I would never have believed it before the pandemic, but I think that the dream of a “nomadic passport” can really become a reality thanks to the adhesion of all countries to the trends of global mobility! We used to dream of just one country with a suitable visa for digital nomads, but now the idea that we can create a Schengen-esque system where an app gives you access to a network of remote working friendly countries. not only seems likely, but inevitable – and it will CHANGE THE GAME.

4. I would like to ask you a question about Croatia, because that is my main objective, and I understand that you recently visited Zagreb. Tell us a bit about your experience of Zagreb and Croatia as a DN destination.

I really enjoyed Zagreb! I wish I could have spent more time there. I love European cities for their history, their architecture and their pedestrian potential. Having already spent some time in Split, a visit to Zagreb impressed me with Croatia’s cultural diversity. There’s a lot going on in a relatively small country, which makes it a fun place to visit. Also, confusing as it could be, I loved that there are so few signs in English and I was constantly in awe of what was going on as I didn’t know a single word other than thank you. In Thailand where I live, because the visitors are often different from the locals, you are always spoken to in English. No one assumed they had to speak English to me in Croatia (except at the airport and hostel) which was pretty refreshing.


5. What is the perception of Croatia as a DN destination and has it changed in the last 12 months? If yes, how ?

When my mostly American friends were rushing to a bunker somewhere during the lockdown last year, I think Mexico and Croatia were basically the two options available to them, so I passed a lot of ‘friends. I think it really opened people’s eyes to the spectacular country that was there from the start, but was flying under the radar. Thanks to pro-nomadic policies, I think Croatia has a good chance of attracting such visitors for years to come, but little is known about the community yet.

6. You are a community builder. How do you rate the Croatian DN community at the moment. Can you give us some quick wins to make it stronger?

More coworking spaces please! And places in general where nomads can go to meet up. Coming from Thailand where we have a strong coffee culture and it is very normal to buy a coffee and park with your laptop somewhere for a few hours, I was surprised how difficult it was to find places like this in Zagreb. Although I noticed a lot of young people outside, if it hadn’t been for a hostel stay (thanks to Swanky Mint!), I wouldn’t have known where to find my people. The community grows and connects when you give it hubs to come together, so I would really increase the visibility and density of those, and work with businesses and local communities to maintain an active list of events.

Editor’s Note: The TCN guide and Zagreb co-working spaces map for future reference.


7. You are installed as Croatian Minister of Tourism. What are the next steps you would take to develop Croatia’s DN strategy?

Talk to the Ministers of Education and also of Science and Technology! Digital nomads are an attractive target group for tourism, but we are a community truly dedicated to giving back. The easier it is for us to integrate, the more we give back by teaching, training, building businesses and more. We are entrepreneurs and explorers, and we represent some of the most educated and professionally privileged people on the planet, so we have a lot to give.

We also want to learn and understand the places and cultures in which we travel. Therefore, creating experiences and opportunities outside of urban areas for digital nomads to immerse themselves in should also be a priority. When you travel a lot, many tourist spots start to look the same, and the amenities and amenities are nice, but you also want to have that sense of place and dig deeper to get the most out of the exploration. For me, it’s about exchanging culture, knowledge and opportunities, not just spending money on Instagram photos and likes – you know?

You can read more about Lily Bruns, as well as log in via its official website.

To get your ticket for Digital Nomad Week, visit the event website.

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

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