There’s an incredible source of freedom, when you make decisions that are free from obligations or responsibilities towards other people or societies.
I keep waiting to wake up from a good dream, and I’m still waiting I suppose.
Anyhoo, here’s how life has been as a digital nomad.
It’s been 3 weeks in Croatia.
I’ve been to one pole class in a very dodgy looking building. The security guard greeted me in Croatian, and asked me in English “dancing?”. This was an industrial park with hundreds of different businesses, all under one unit number – Radnicka Cesta 27. Yet he took one look at me, profiled me correctly and sent me down unmarked paths to find the pole dance studio. Surprisingly, I found it with no help from the non-existent signs. I’ve realized sometimes, when you just set an intention on something with no real pressure to find it, it finds you.
During class, the dance instructor went to great lengths to include me in the lesson. She taught in Croatian, but came up specially to me each time, to give me specific English instructions. I felt like she really cared that I had a meaningful class, and her effort made me enjoy the class so much I couldn’t help but smile widely to myself a couple of times. I’ve heard so many people say Croatians are hard to approach, but this was just one of the many times when I met really hospitable Croatians. They remind me of Singaporeans – guarded but full of heart, once you get to know them.
I haven’t settled the problem of a SIM card. So i walked out of the studio with no data on my phone. I approached the nearest person and asked her to direct me to the tram station. She walked with me for a little bit and we had a nice exchange about Zagreb, and I get to my tram station. There, I approached another girl, who recognized me from pole class. She missed her tram to accompany and lend me data, and we talked about me being a digital nomad. She’s been doing copywriting jobs in English (her second language) and dreams of having the job I have. I thought about having to work in Mandarin and I shuddered at that thought. It made me realize how much harder it is to work in a second language, and how lucky I am that my first language is English.
We exchange contact and make plans to meet again.
In the grocery stores, you have to weigh your vegetables and fruits. Unlike in Singapore, where they price every single item for you, here you follow the numbers on boards and weigh the fruits and vegetables according to the number. Unfortunately, the names are all in Croatian. And other than “Limun”, I don’t recognize anything else. So I usually play the guessing game, and see if the cashier spots my mistake. I might be paying celery prices for avocados.
Some Croatian words
Hi – Bok
Good evening – Dobra večer (veh-ceh)
Thank you – Hvala
Goodbye – Doviđenja (I still butcher this sometimes)
Life as a digital nomad isn’t as exciting as it was as a backpacker. But I enjoy that there’s a routine around my days now.
I get up about 7am and start checking emails.
8am to 12pm I have meetings with my colleagues in Singapore/Philippines
12pm I eat a little and let my brain rest a little
I work more till about 4.30pm
5pm I meet my friends (Marta from Italy and Nina from Belgium) and we do a workout together
7pm I start making some dinner/have a drink
8pm onwards I do whatever!
The days fly by and weekends come quickly. The good thing about weekends in Croatia is that you have options. We can choose to stay in Zagreb and host dinner parties for friends, go to bars, go to parks…..
Or we can choose to drive out to a mountain somewhere, or even 2 hours down to the coast, to be near the sea.
More updates next time! Ciao