November 8, 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 a nomad who gives back – Tarek Kholoussy.
Tarek is a social entrepreneur with a BSBA from Georgetown and an MBA with honors from New York University. He is the founder of a social enterprise called Nomads Giving Back! with the vision to inform you, inspire you and empower you to give back to the communities you call “home away from home”. Its goal is to help solve the “I would like to give back, but I don’t know how” problem and to serve as a bridge between outsiders and local communities through social causes. Tarek and our global tribe invite all who believe in our vision of inspiring social impact to get involved and join the movement!
(Sharing language skills in Colombia, 2020)
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.
Olúmidé, the founder of Digital Nomad Week, is a good friend of mine. We met over two years ago; and from the moment we met, we realized that we share similar values and visions for the nomadic movement. We both value community, sharing skills and making a positive difference in the local communities in which we live.
I will be talking about the topic of digital inclusion and I am delighted to share what my team and I are doing at Nomads Giving Back & Nomads Skillshare to help improve local communities through professional training programs and foster greater inclusion through to scholarships for the less fortunate financial situations. We strive to empower global citizens and local communities to acquire the skills they want to live the lives they envision.
2. How do you think DNW ranks in the nomadic conference / festival calendar in terms of size / importance?
DNW is one of the most popular and well-known nomadic conferences. This is a wonderful opportunity to share our impact mission and inspire the nomadic movement to share their skills and give back to local communities. Our team and I are delighted to see that many of the movement’s leading voices come together for this special conference!
3. You have a big project called Nomads Giving Back / Nomad Skillshare. Tell us a bit about that, including some real-life success stories.
At Nomads Giving Back, we are a community of socially aware global citizens who inspire you to give back to the communities you call home away from home. We do this through various advocacy, fundraising and volunteering programs.
At Nomads Skillshare, we are a community of nomads, telecommuters and global citizens who empower you to acquire the skills to live the life you have imagined!
Our growing team of over 100 global citizens has already led over 120 events, roundtables, masterminds, impact trips, language skills sharing, masterclasses, workshops and courses with thousands of participants. And we are actively growing our online communities of thousands more at www.nomadsgivingback.com and www.nomadsskillshare.com where socially aware global citizens around the world can connect and learn!
Recently, we launched our courses where students learn professional skills to secure jobs online while providing scholarships for those less fortunate. We are proud that our recent one-month course, sponsored by our scholarship fund, on ‘How to Get Your Dream Online Job’ has provided our Indonesian students with the necessary skills and knowledge. to get better jobs! And this month, we’re launching two new courses on “How to Become a Social Media Manager” and “How to Become a Virtual Assistant”.
(Bali Impact Adventure, 2019)
4. 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 have had the opportunity to work remotely for over a dozen years in my 20-year career – both as a business leader and as a nomad for social entrepreneurship. Since starting my nomadic journey almost a decade ago, I believed that the nomadic movement was going to grow rapidly. And now we all know that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of remote working, resulting in rapid exponential growth.
The two macroeconomic forces that have kept this movement from growing faster have been governments and big business. Nowadays we are witnessing a drastic change in the perspective of both. Now governments are welcoming more and more foreigners to work remotely and even compete for talent. Over the past two years, more than 25 countries have introduced new types of visas for remote workers. And now large companies are more openly welcoming the new dynamics of working outside the office. Some large employers are now saying, “There is no office to come back to! So with these two macro forces supporting remote working more than ever, I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of remote workers living overseas will multiply by 50 over the next five to ten years!
(Bali Impact Adventure, Language Skills Sharing – 2021)
5. Tell us about your DN experience in Croatia. What was good and what does Croatia need to focus on in order to improve?
I visited Croatia several times in 2009 in Hvar and in 2017 in Zagreb and Dubrovnik, and really enjoyed both trips. I have had the opportunity to explore over 100 countries, and I can honestly say Croatia is one of the most beautiful countries I have seen!
Nomads tend to gravitate to geographic locations that provide a better quality of life for a lower cost of living. And Croatia certainly meets these major criteria, with so much to offer. Nomads also like places where it is easy to work, outlets such as coworking centers working in friendly cafes, as well as an attractive calendar and events where it is easy to meet people.
I am optimistic that Croatia will continue to grow in number and popularity as a nomadic destination. I can’t wait to visit Croatia again, hopefully soon to experience more of the special culture and amazing people of this country!
6. You are installed as Croatian Minister of Tourism. What are the next steps you would take to develop Croatia’s DN strategy?
If I were to become Croatian Minister of Tourism, I would make recommendations similar to those I made to Argentine government officials who also aim to attract digital nomads.
Recently, I was invited to speak at a large conference called “Nomads BA” in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is the very first specialized conference on digital nomads sponsored by the local government. And even though I can’t join, I’m very excited to see this new trend emerging from governments endorsing the nomadic movement and welcoming foreigners to live and work remotely in their countries.
For Croatia, I would encourage the adoption of a simple visa process that accommodates digital nomads. From what I understand, a new type of visa has been introduced recently, but it seems that it has some limiting aspects compared to what other countries offer. The more flexible the conditions and the simpler the process, the more nomads will be attracted to come and live longer in Croatia.
(Župa Dubrovačka, Croatia – 2017)
Other means that the government could take into account in its strategy would be to sponsor a large conference similar to Argentina’s. I would also recommend forging collaborations with pioneers of the movement who already lead nomadic communities or whose network and influence are strong.
The easier it is for a foreigner to obtain residency and establish a business legally, the more likely they are to stay for years or make it a regular home base. It could also help Croatia by creating more local jobs and greater tax revenues.
Well coordinated programs and benefits would be attractive, which could be supported through local coworking centers and cohabitation accommodation.
Of course, a well-designed public relations outreach effort would help. Connect with influential media, nomadic bloggers and community leaders for mutually beneficial cross-promotion opportunities.
And what is most important to me, in line with our mission at Nomads Giving Back and Nomads Skillshare, is to advocate for nomads to connect more with Croats, share their skills and give back to local Croatian communities. The stronger the nomad’s local relationships, the deeper the nomad’s roots. And everyone benefits – nomads and Croats.
To learn more about Nomads Giving Back, visit the official website. You can connect with Tarek Kholossy through LinkedIn.
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.