Up and Coming Destinations (And Digital Nomad Hotspot): Bulgaria with Mitko
What traveler doesn't love to talk about new destinations that we may want. Visit maybe you've already been to today's featured up and coming destination Bulgaria there are so many beautiful an incredible destinations to visit in that country and experiences to be had. And you're gonna hear all about them from our guest today who was born in Bulgaria, and he's going to give you the lowdown on why this is an up and coming destination. Also, how Bulgaria can allow you to double your legal. Stay in Europe. Yes, you heard that right and loads more tapping next. Plus, I'm gonna share one of my top. I would say my top up and coming destination that I still have yet to visit. In addition to the one we're talking about today. Stick around for that and much more tap right now. Welcome to zero to travel podcast, my friend. Yours in two zero to travel podcast where we explore exciting travel based work lifestyle and business opportunities, helping you to achieve your wildest genius. Now, your host world wonder and travel junkie Jason Moore. Hey there it's Jason with zero to travel dot com. Welcome to the show, my friend. Thank you so kindly for hanging out letting me bring a little travel into your ears today. This is the show to help you travel the world on your terms to fill your life with as much travels. You desire. No matter what your situation experienced. I'm not talking destinations. We haven't done it on the podcast in a while. And we have a feature destination today. One might say an upcoming not only travel destination, but digital no man hotspot a place where it's duper affordable. You can get good wifi, and you can base for an extended period of time. And that's something we're gonna talk about today. Bit of the remote work lifestyle mixed with travel destinations all that good stuff that you love here in zero to travel podcast, and I've got a shoutout as well. To one of you lovely souls out there in the listening community does your travel caravan, and it's a little de. Nation based as well. And we're gonna have that at the end of the show after the interview stick around for that before we get into it. I gotta tell you. You've heard me mention this on the show before the number one thing that you could add to your pre trip checklist. If you haven't done it, if you're going to a new destination is learning some of the local language, it is hugely important, and it impacts your trip and ways, you can't even match just by being able to chat a few sentences with the locals, and if you're flew in, of course, that opens up a whole bunch of other doors, but if you go to zero trauma dot com slash easy. What you'll find is the easiest best way to learn her language, and this is the way that I love to brush up on my Norwegian and also practice new languages when I'm going to a new destination, and this is Pim's ler. This is the same audio program. That's used by organizations like the FBI and the State Department. It's no joke. It's audio based. So you can learn on the go they have a mobile app and just like you do when you listen to podcasts. And you wanna learn and consume information you can do that. But with language and then that benefits your travels perpetually. So if you decide to learn Spanish, any Spanish, speaking country, go to now, even if you can just learn few words, you're going to open up a whole new set of experiences that you wouldn't have had if he didn't speak the local language. So if you've been putting this off go to trauma dot com slash easy checkout this offer if you're based in the states, you can get a free seven-day trial to their monthly subscription service. So this works just like Spotify or net flicks. Where you pay one small monthly fee, and you get access to hundreds of dollars worth of language lessons in any language. You wanna learn, but you can try for free for seven days. So you really have nothing to lose. If you go to travel dot com slash easy. Just commit to trying it for seven days for free and see how it goes. What do you have to lose? If you do decide to continue on because you loved the courses, and I know you will. But if you decide to continue on you also be supporting this show, I want to thank them for supporting the show as well. And we'll leave those links in the show notes. But seriously if you're putting. Off. Don't put it off any longer. Give it a try thanks to pillar for supporting this podcast. And since we're talking remote work today. One thing I got a mention anytime you talk about slow traveling or extended long-term travel at some point you do have to figure out the money situation. Right. You've got to figure out. How can I keep travelling? How can I make this sustainable? One thing. You can do to set yourself up for a long-term travel lifestyle is start working on something on the side while you're working fulltime job. And we've got a free guide for you as part of the paradise pack this year, if we go to zero to travel dot com slash side-hustle that's zero to travel dot com slash side-hustle. Got a free guide with three super important strategies that you can implement to start working on a location independent business on the side, while you're working fulltime job in this guys, totally free and part of the paradise pack this year, which launches April twenty thirty to the twenty ninth two thousand nineteen check it out grab that free guide and just wanted to mention that. So you didn't miss it. Now. Now, let slip and slide into today's show. I'm excited to bring you this conversation with my buddy Mikko, who's actually been helping us out with the paradise pack this year so shout out to him and listen in checkout Bulgaria take virtual trip there with us today. And I will see you on the other side where I will also be giving a shout out and sharing my other destination that I'm dying to visit another up and coming destination that is on the top of my list next to Bulgaria, I would say which I'm trying to get too soon. Please enjoy listening on my chat with Mikko. And I will see you on the other side of my friends. My guest today is the founder of that remote life dot com. His mission is to better understand what makes remote workers in companies successful. And when he can work remotely the next question becomes we're in the world, should you go. He's here to share with you why he thinks his home country of Bulgaria is not only the next big digital nomad hotspot. But also an amazing place to travel to Mikko carshow f- ski welcome to zero to travel podcast, my friend. Thanks, man. It's great to be here excited. That was the third time. I read that intro, by the way, and we're friends, thankfully. So you kind of sat through it but doing well. Thank you. Yeah. I'm I I don't know. It's amateur hour over here. But no, man, we just got to meet up and Denver in person, which was awesome. Because the first time we interacted I think and I love to get these emails. I had said on on one of my previous podcasts that I had. Had a part of my travel wishlist was to sail to do a sailing trip through the Caribbean or something like that where you live on the boat, and you're sailing around. I know nothing about sailing usually get sea sick. So I don't know why that that is something. But I want to wake up to crystal clear, blue water and just have that experience and live on a boat. And then I got an Email from you saying, hey, I can help you make your sailing dreams. Come true. And I'm like, whoa. Who is this guy? Talked to me about what you did. Because that was just a cool story the wholesaling trip you did on your own. Yes. So like when you mentioned that I was like, oh, man. So I did that when I was in college. I was part of the sailing team in college, which was a I'm not the best sailor. But it was fun group of people say hang out with. But what we did one year for our spring break was we actually so I went to school in Oxford, Ohio, and we drove down to Miami, Florida where we rent. Wanted to catamaran's. So there were like twelve or fourteen of us and the rented two catamarans and sail them from Miami Florida to be mini in the Bahamas. So is basically like a week and a half of a bunch of college kids hanging out on some boats just sailing around the Caribbean. I came back looking like Robinson Crusoe like I had my beard out and everything it was an absolute blast. And. Yeah. So when you talked about, you know, having that dream, my dad also has a similar dream because he's kind of the experts sailor in the family, and when I came back, and I told him about that trip. He was like man, I want to do it. So when you message me, I was like, hey, man. We can do it like you say when and let's go on the boat. So believe me, it's still on my list. And I still have you top of mind for that one. I couldn't get over there. You don't hear the bull Gehring accent? I guess people might be wondering what do you mean home country Bulgaria, but you grew up in Bulgaria until you were ten years old is that right? Yeah. That's right. Yeah. Move to the United States in two thousand and three. Okay. So what do you remember from your childhood there? I always talk about how kind of feels like a completely different world. You know, it feels like two different lives because they're just so distinctly separated into different. So that's time Bulgaria was sort of just coming out of, you know, post communism. I mean, I remember fun times. But I also remember there were a lot of struggles and stuff like that going on bef-, you know, before we laughed so it was it things have definitely gotten better there since we left, but it was a fully, you know, post communist era country at the time. But a really great place. Was it hard for your parents to get into the states? How did that work? Do you? Remember, the whole process, and like how did you react when they told you that you were moving out of the country grew up in. Yeah. So we actually won a green card, which a lot of people don't know is kind of like a lottery system. So you put. Put your name in. And basically, if you're lucky you, you know, draw golden ticket and come to the United States. And I was actually the person who found the letter. So I knew English, and I remember finding the lead with my grandma, and she can read the letter, and I read it, and I called my parents all side. Holy crap. Like, we got like a green car. Look, we need to go through the self. So I was really excited because you know, the United States is the land of opportunity, and I'd always dreamed about moving here, and it was definitely hard because you're leaving behind family. But I remember being really really excited. So yeah. And then when you got here, and all of a sudden, there's the reality of there's the idea of hates land of opportunity, I'm going there, and you know, Hollywood movies and all these things in your kid. But then you get there. And you're seeing it in an American school. And it's all new what was that? Like that transition. Yeah. The transition was definitely tough. I mean, I always say that I didn't have any sort of like a special experience. But I did have like the immigrant experience. You know, like every immigrant has a story about the first day of that. I parliament's sitting around, you know, on the floor because you didn't have money to buy furniture. And you know, that's every immigrant has that story. And then that way my story is not special. But it's definitely I don't like surreal. And like you're kind of you're almost like you're building. You're like my mom kept saying, we're like rebuilding our lives. You know, like how often do you ever find yourself in a situation where you're literally starting from ground zero. You know, if you're born in your around with where you live where your family's out like you, always you always start from somewhere, and it's really completely different to actually start from ground zero. So it was that was definitely kind of weird and difficult at the beginning, you spoke English, but your parents did not is that. No. So both my parents, spoke English. Okay. What did you guys do? I mean, what was the did your parents start a business? Did they get a job? And what was kind of the the first thing. So very first thing was my dad. Actually got a job as a janitor in the museum center in Cincinnati where we moved to and that was really tough for him. I know that because he kinda held up pretty high position in Bulgaria. He had his own business. He was well recognized and well known in our city, and to sort of go from that to that being, you know, a janitor working night shifts was really difficult for him. My mom became a grocery clerk or like a sword working at like a grocery store and eventually they both kind of like built up from there. My mom was an accountant Bulgaria. So she quickly sort of got the education, and sort of like things that she needed to do that in the United States. My dad, you know, kind of jumped from job to job until he started his own business, and he's a personal trainer. Now. He also works remotely, which is awesome. I been pushing into that for a long time. So you know, you just kind of start from the. The bottom what you build up, and you get to where you want to go. It can be easy for your ego to be tied into what you do. Or just you know, what you do defining who you are in some way or giving you a sense of confidence. I should say would be the right thing. So to take a step like that for your dad, and your mom must have been really tough. Like, you said they're used to a certain quality of life a certain way of working, I guess and then going to a completely different job. That's a that's a tough transition. And this is like you said, I mean, this is the common immigrants story. It seems right because you're coming to a new society you have to learn how it works. You have to get the certifications to be an accountant, for example, or certain things that you can't they don't cross over. So that must be interesting for you to see that process in to watch them, go through that. I mean, did you have an awareness around? What was going on? I mean that it was a tough time starting up or is it just more like ham kid, and I'm just you know, I just. Just roll with it. Yeah. I mean, I definitely saw how hard my parents were working, and I was definitely very aware of that. And that's why from very early. He's like I've always said like one day, I want to be able to take care of my parents, you know, because I saw all the sacrifices that they made largely for me. It was all about giving me a better quality of life, hopefully one day. So I was definitely very aware of what was going on at the same time. You know, I didn't know English. But I was also struggling in school because I knew some English like I knew how to ask you to the bathroom or whatever. But I didn't have conversational English. And so that was also kind of weird in the struggle. You know, building that conversational English. So that I could make friends and stuff, right? So yeah. Definitely some awareness around that. Yeah. Okay. So why did you guys move to Cincinnati? That was the other question. I had for we get past this of all the places to go. Yeah. I get asked that question. So when you are moving to the United States, the immigration office or what? That government bodies called. They want you to go somewhere where you are baby. Not starting from zero but have a little bit of help. So they preferred we want you to go somewhere where you have family or friends or whatever. And so we had family friends of ours. Very good family friends of ours who lived in Cincinnati. And so that's why we went there. So I wasn't just like we put our finger down on the map randomly God. There was some planning behind it. Yeah. Okay. I didn't know if you were just like, oh, I heard they have really good truly there. So just gonna head over that, really. It's not. I love that skyline. Chili. I haven't had that. And so all of that stuff can or something that would be great can of skyline chili. Yeah. It probably costs like fifteen dollars to ship to to Norway or something. I wanna get into bogere area, of course, as a destination, and you are seemed to be pretty convinced that this is going to be a big hot spot for four people that are working remotely. But also for travelers, and it's funny because as we've gotten to know each other, and as you've told us more about this year at our location, indie meet up and Denver you're part of the community there. So you did a whole thing on Bulgaria, and I've known several people who have been through there and spend time there and gone skiing there, and I've started to hear about places there that I hadn't heard about before. And I think that's just because I know people that are starting to go there now. Whereas before it wasn't it was on the map, of course. It wasn't on the map in terms of travel. I don't think as much so give us a little background on Bogaert area. I mean, tell tell us about your home country, and why it's a place that that you love and whites place. People should visit Bulgaria is north of Greece and just south of Romania. So it's sort of on the eastern edge of the Balkans. It's on the Black Sea. So we have a really beautiful coastline. You know? A lot of times you hear about the Balkans and eastern Europe, and you immediately think like Chernobyl or something like that. And that's not at all what it looks like it's you know, I was so like picture Greece in your much close to where Bogue areas that in terms of what it feels like what it looks like. So we are sort of like, I also sometimes compare it's California in terms that we have a lot of mountains and also a long coastline. So you're never far away from either. So it's really nice the food is a mix of. Like, Mediterranean, an Arabic. So you have influences from the Middle East, which as we all know have delicious cuisine. There's also a lot of Italian influences and Greek influences, so you know, when you hear eastern bloc times, you're thinking that sort of central European northern European cuisine. That's not at all what it's like uh. So the food is delicious one of the really great things about it as well is that it's really cheap. It's very very affordable. If you're making a western salary, you can live very well in Bulgaria. It's a country. That's been coming up a lot. It's a grun- a lot in the last couple of years and some really wonderful place. I think to visit. And I think a lot more people are finding it now because of that can you give us a little example of what am I cost to set up? Their say say you're gonna spend a month or two months there, and you want to rent a place, and you're going to work every day. Maybe go to co working space going to see some of the sites. I know this is very general. But when you say things are cheap that can be subjective. Depending on who you are. So can you give us some general price ranges on on different things? People can get an idea of like how much a beer cost or coffee or timing a co working space. How's the internet and all that good stuff? Yes. So okay. Let's start with the currency first. Because I think that's a good thing to understand. So the currency is called the lev-, which you can think about it being about half a dollar. So for every laugh, you, you know, it's fifty cents US. And so, for example, a coffee will cost you depending on where you go, you know, can cost you from one left to left. So that's you know, you're going fifty cents to a dollar. We're also in Bulgaria, I've never really seen these anywhere else. But in bogere these coffee machines or super famous you'll see him on every corner. They actually brew really good Cup of coffee, but it just like automated, and you drop like forty bogere Ian sense, which is like a quarter US, and you get a delicious LIPA coffee be. Dear is very cheap. You know for to love, you can get a two liter bottle of beer. So, you know, this isn't leaders your anything yet to them, and like, you know, like the big coke bottles. Okay. So you know, you can take that down to the beach food. You know, you're looking at a three course meal for let's say like ten fifteen left depending on where you go. So that would be like the cost of like one meal in the US. So that's about what would have cost foodwise now in terms of if you're going to be getting a place to stay. It's really important to think about where you're going, and when you're going, so if you're going to be going to Varna, which is where I'm from which is on the Black Sea coast that is a tourist place. So if you're going during sort of high season does get a little more expensive. We had friends who got a place for just under a month for seven hundred dollars. But that was through Airbnb as well. So if you're not go. To be going during tourist season, the prices do drop if you're going to be staying there for more long-term. That's when you're going to make the real savings, my girlfriend, I found an apartment with a panoramic Seaview for two hundred years a month, which is insane. But how does that? So when you're walking around town, you'll see a lot of like like postings where their advertising apartments, and I mean, you can literally just be walking around town and you'll stop and you'll see the ads on the streets. And you have a lot of diversity there. You can also find online there's websites that you can check. So do you think it's better to this can be a conundrum for a lot of people? Should I book a place on Airbnb, which might be more expensive? Or should. I just show up. Maybe have a place to stay for a few nights. And then use those first three or four nights to hunt around and look for these postings or look for these places where you're on the grounds, and you can see okay, you can meet people and probably find something cheaper. It depends on how long you're planning on staying, right? So a lot of these prices that are super cheap that I mentioned are for long term rentals. So if you're going to be staying there for a month that's not really possible unless you found somebody to a from. But that's not really established yet in Bulgaria like, for example, if you go to Budapest, and you're in any of those digital nomad groups, there's always apartments that are popping up that you can pick up that you can get a lot of savings on because they're technically a long-term lease that they're just getting passed around from person to person in Bulgaria because it hasn't yet become that popular that's not really an option. So I always say Airbnb is your I bet and your best bet what I'm working on. Currently it's to sort of find those listings that are cheaper that are not on Airbnb, but are still short term because there are there are a lot of those. But the issue is that they're in Bulgaria. And so if you don't speak Bulgarian, you don't know how to search for that. Then it's tough to find them, right? Got it. So if you need help with that reach out to Mikko. We go. Yeah. Let's talk about the vibes of the different cities. You've got the capital city of Sofia. Am I pronouncing it correctly? It's software actually soft. The everybody says so soft via and then Varna, which is a place that you mentioned along the coast. And then you have another place. I've been hearing about bonds SCO, am I pronouncing that correctly? Yeah. Baen SCO bonds go which is a ski area, which really intrigued me because I'm I've been researching a lot lately these cheaper ski destinations in Europe because well, it's very expensive to ski in the US. And I'm also I live in Europe now. So I'm thinking, okay. Well, where can I I love skiing mean where can I go around here that is in you know, the Swiss Alps with the four star hotels and all that. And then I heard about this place, and I was I was pretty excited. So it's definitely on the radar. So yeah. Can you just talk about I guess, those are some the three main place? Is that you highlight in an article you published on zero to travel, which we're actually going to link to in the show notes. You can just talk about the vibes of those places. And why did you pick those three? Yes. So Sophia is basically your regular, you know, European capital? I mean, it is a metropolitan kind of city. That's where a lot of the businesses happening. It's a city that's grown a lot in the last couple of years. So if you're a sort of new to travelling in eastern Europe, that's going to be very comfortable place for you to hang out. You're gonna find a lot of similarities between that and other European capitals that being said, it's definitely eastern Europe. And it's very very old. It's one of the oldest cities actually in Europe. I believe so you're constantly sort of seeing these like Roman remains all over the city, which is really cool like you'll take the subway and you'll get out of the subway. And all of a sudden, you're standing in like, you know, the bottom of like a castle or some. Sort of building from the medieval ages that has just sort of been like used as one of the walls and less aware something, so it's really really cool. So there's a lot of interesting things happening there and during the summer, actually, the rent is cheaper there than some of the coastal towns. But I mean in the summer, you know, you kind of want to be on the beach. So that's where Vaughn comes in one last thing to say about Sophia's that you do have a ton of corking spaces there. So if you're looking to do like more intense networking, or you're really into co working spaces Safia, we'll have plenty of opportunities for that Varna to me, which is you know, where I was born. So I do have a little bit of a personal connection with it. It is the biggest city on the coast, and it has miles of beaches. It does have a small startup community the air. So there are co working spaces popping up. We do have a Facebook group for digital nomads, which allows you to if you you know, when you get there, you can immediately get plugged into a community we have over three hundred members right now. So that's. Great. There's a little bit, you know, community growing their is that something that you started or I did. Yeah. I started last year, and that's grown pretty quickly, which is really wonderful. Because it shows a lot of people are interested in it. But what I love about Varna is that it is not exactly the sort of place that you go to sightsee. It will take you day to look around the city, and sort of see all the things that you need to see to as tourists say that you've been there. But what's really wanna bile Varna are just the vibes? Like, you said like it's just this like the beaches are wide. So there's a beach bar lining. Like, basically, every inch of the city beaches. You can go on hang out. You can go to these beach bars and have a coffee in the morning. You can stay in work there. A lot of them have WI fi. Then, you know, your friends gonna come at night, and you can share a beer, so it's just like really wonderful place to be where it's not about seeing, you know, statues or anything it's just about feeling like living in that. It's it's awesome. Like, that's why I go there every summer. More being in the rhythm of the daily life. They're exactly and it's it's much more real acts. Like, I always kind of say if you're from the US, and you go to Italy, you know, and all of a sudden everybody seems so relaxed and you're like when did these people work, you know, like they're always hanging out at coffee shops, or whatever you do have a little bit of that feeling environment. Which is just you know, it's wonderful. Yeah. That's so great to be around. Yeah. Absolutely. And now, it does have also, you know, a modern airport that does have a lot of Ryanair in and wizar- flights coming in there. As far as I know. So it's it's not difficult to get there. Basically. Now, the third place that we mentioned was bonds go and bonds coup is sort of very strange because it's a very small town. But it does have actually a growing digital nomad presence because of a co working space that was started there. I think he's just called co working bonds SCO, but that's a spot that's been growing. There's been attracting a lot of attention. They have a co working space and co living space, I believe so you can like rant apartments from them. Which makes it a lot easier to go there. But bonds going is definitely a wonderful ski location. But is just not the Alps you on. It doesn't have that sticker price with which is a perfect option for those who want to ski or snowboard for cheaper than you know, let's say in Australia or something while also having a really nice spot to work and have community of like minded people around them. Is it a mountain town vibe? Yeah. As far as the, you know, I always acquaint these smaller mountain towns to at least in the states to beach towns some beach towns in the state have the same sort of laid back vibe in a different way is bonds. Go kind of like that is sort of a sleepy town is one of those places that close everything closes at nine o'clock or something. It's just all about the nature, or what is what is it like? Yeah. So i'm. I'm not the biggest expert on bonds go. So I haven't like actually spent time there. I think I went there when I was really young. But that was before any of this stuff happened there. But it is a popular tourist location. There are tons of hotels and stuff like that. So I wouldn't say it's sleepy. I think that they do have plenty of activity there. But there is an old town. So you might have a little bit of a difference there from you know, sort of like where all the hotels are. And then we're the old town is, but I definitely wouldn't take my word as an expert on that specific location in Bulgaria. But there are tons of articles out there that you can get more of a feel for it. Okay. Cool and internet in Bulgaria. Have you ever had any issues as you know, being a remote worker, it's pretty critical. No. So in an in Bulgaria is actually pretty good and reliable. There was I wrote about this in the in the blog post. So I can't off top of my head exactly say the statistics were. But he said they were ranked twentieth in the world, and yeah, we it's pretty it's one. Yeah. It's twenty fifth or something like that. And it makes it very reliable. So as long as you can you're Airbnb, he's will always have wifi. I haven't had problems having good fi. Now, there are obviously some places where you might not have the best. What we did what my girlfriend. I did last summer was we actually got one of those like remote WI fi hotspot things if you know what I'm talking about. And that thing was amazing. Like we were on the train, and we have like perfect internet. Really you bring that states or no we got to imbo Gary. So you can sort of like by the little it's a little device that you buy and then the actual card with the internet for it is very cheap. So you do. Have to pay it's not super expensive. But you're going to be paying like fifty sixty euros for the actual device. And if you have one already than though problem, then you just get the card and plug it in there. But yeah, it was perfect. I mean, the number of times that we worked on the beach with perfect internet how? Yeah, I mean, the fact that you can just bring that with you anywhere. Totally eliminates the stress of having to find a cafe or you know, the worst is when you go to a coffee shop or a bar or wherever you're going to set up and you're all right. You know, got my coffee. I'm going to dig into my work. And then the WI fi doesn't work or it's down or you can't connect for some reason. It's like, yeah. Said if you're killing my productivity. Yeah. And that's why like I always talk about like when you go to a new place. Like one of the things that I do is. I take a couple of hours or a day to explore. I call it. My familiarity Zo like a half a mile around my place to find the good spots. So then I know like, okay, these three places have reliable internet. I've tested it, and I can go here and on days that I'm trying to be super productive. I'm not gonna go exploring for new a coffee shop or something. Yeah. I love that the the sort of the neighborhood ramble when you get there and just see what's around this neighbor. Okay. Yeah. That's a promising potential morning breakfast spot. I'll look over there looks like these and beer spot. It's it's fun. When you slow travel like that too. If you're talking about remote work, and you want to set up somewhere for a few weeks or a few months, then you really I mean, that's one of the big benefits. I think is you get to settle into a place and get into that rhythm and the daily life and experience it beyond just being tour. And seeing the sights like you talked about my intuition tells me I don't have any statistics on this. And I know you put it in the article, and I think the the Schengen zone is the area in Europe where you know, at least for people in the states and all these are different. You can only spend ninety days every hundred and eighty days Bulgaria is a part of that kind of but separate from the visa situation. Do you wanna explain that? Because I think a lot of people are coming to Bulgaria to because it's right next to that zone, and they can get out for their ninety days and still be in Europe. And then they can come back to western Europe. If they want and have a fresh visa, do you find that that's a thing? And how does that work? So there's two things you need to understand about the European Union. Right. There's like the EU. And then there's the Schengen, and I'm not an expert, but I know enough to kind of like give you the gist of it. So the European Union is sort of like the the big the big. Thing. And then some countries part of what's called the Schengen zone. The easiest way it's kind of a member which countries are in the shangen zone as I always say like if you think about like what the cool European countries are Germany Spain, France the known ones. Yeah. Exactly. That's that's the Schengen. And then the European Union is a more broad sort of there's tons of other countries in it and the way that it works is the Schengen has its own visa laws as opposed to the European Union. And what you can do is actually they each allow ninety days. So you can be in the Schengen for ninety days, and then you can leave the Schengen zone and go to a still European Union country that is outside of the Schengen like Bulgaria like Romania Greece as well. I believe and actually that time does not count towards your shangen zone time. If that makes sense. So you can kind of like end up staying in Europe way longer. If you're flying to Bulgaria, you're going to get the stamp that tells you. You're leaving. And then you can come back essentially after nine days. Right. So might for example, is this is a perfect example. My girlfriend is not you know, she does not have European citizenship. So what we did last year was we actually wanted to spend about four months in Europe. So what we did was we spent some time in Bulgaria, and then we spent some time traveling abroad, and that basically like that time added up we shouldn't have been able to stay that long in Europe. But because we spread out her time over both Schengen and non-schengen we were able to stay longer. Yeah. That's great. And something that keep in mind. If you want to spend more time in Europe and other reason to go to Gary, but don't just use Bulgaria to get as a place to scape- because it's it's a destination in and of itself. Of course, that's the point of this podcast. Why do you think this is the next big hotspot for digital nomads remote workers, or at least one of them? Yeah. So I mean when I first started getting into an I'm sorry seems to be a helicopter flying over me. And that's how we do that every now and again, they do. So when I first started wanting to become part of like I wanted to become a digital nomad. I sorta hearing about chain Milo, right? Like that's kind of like what happened to all of us as we hear about Chang. My and the thing was that when I was reading about Chang might it just sounded so familiar like so many of the things that people talked about liking about doing my Thailand. General I thought applied to Bulgaria right? It's cheap to live there. You can have a really great lifestyle. There is an ex Pat community so on and so forth. And because of that, I think the Bulgaria draws a lot of nomads and a lot of ex-pats the other really great thing about it is that it is super close to Europe. So let's say you wanna spend your summer in Europe. But you don't want to break the Bank, right? You can set up a home base in Bulgaria, whether it's Varna Sofia bonds, but it doesn't matter. Right. You can. Set up a you know, your little homes on there. And then pop over to western Europe, whenever you want to and do that for a very long time without breaking the Bank. So because of that, I think that it's I'm hoping to and I think it will attract a lot of nomads who want to be in Europe during the summer, but still have those benefits that they get from being in south East Asia. How did you get into the remote work movement? Like where did you first hear the term digital nomad? And what was it that grabbed you? So I always wanted to be a digital Noman. I just didn't know that. I did I kind of had this idea of what I wanted to do what I wanted my life to look like, but I didn't have a definition for it. So actually, the sort of starts when I went to college. So I went to college to study by technology and about like two three days to studying it. I realized I didn't want to do that for the rest of my life. I knew that I wanted to have sort of freedom to travel. I wanted to you know, have ownership over my time. And I was really confused about what I wanted to do. I took had like six different majors and finally after my sophomore year of college I dropped out. And my idea was that I was going to have a startup because that was the closest thing that I knew to sort of being a digital nomad. You know, I knew that I had to be an entrepreneur that I had to have a start up to have some sort of ownership over my time and over my sort of the way that I spend my days I spent about two years sort of in the startup community in Cincinnati and always kind of looking for that digital nomad THEO. And eventually I heard the term digiorno mad probably on a podcast or something like that. And that's where you know, sort of like the glass shattered, and you know, when you get that term, and you type it into Google and just all the answers appear. So I don't know where I heard it specifically probably on a podcast or a blog that I read or something like that. And then the moment that I had that goal. And I knew what to call it a new would it look like I just knew that. That's what I was going to do. Yeah. The shift more around taking the lifestyle I and then building what you want around that dropping out of college. I want to talk about that. Because I get emails from people. And that's a question. I think you know, some people even listening to this right now, and this could apply for people that are in careers as well. I just want to hear from your personal experience. It's a big decision. You know, how did you? How did you come to that decision that that was the right one? And that, you know, I think some people struggle with okay? If I'm going to drop out of college and just travel is this me, just, you know, not knowing what I wanna do and just kind of doing something else randomly. I think there's a lot of internal struggles that go along with this. And it makes it a very difficult decision because it is sort of a it's a cut and dry thing. Right. You're like, I'm dropping out of college. And then that's it. You're you're moving on. You can always go back, of course. But I think that makes it a little extra difficult as opposed to just saying, hey, I'm taking a break or whatever. Which is another thing. So I think a lot of people take breaks, and they know they're not gonna come back. So he to just give your from your personal situation your advice on how you kind of came to that decision. Why white felt right for you? Yeah. So college to me didn't feel right. I just didn't fit in very well. I felt very like like hell down, and I felt very like, I don't know almost claustrophobic. Wow. Is there? So I just after two years I needed to get out. And actually, I didn't immediately decided to drop out. I decided to take a year off at least. That's what I told my parents. You know, I think that I always knew that I probably wasn't going to go back. But you know, it was like. Yeah. I knew that. I was probably not coming back. But that's not what I told my parents. So I think one of the things that helped me, and definitely my parents understand what I was doing is that I had a plan. Right. So I didn't just drop out saying like I dunno. I'll figure it out. You know, I had a plan and the plan was hey, mom and dad I'm going to drop out for a year. I want to you know, try to do this whole entrepreneurship startup thing. Try to figure it out a little bit more. And so that's what I did. I I never ended up going back, but I had a plan. And so I think that you need to think about what you wanna do with your life. Like if you wanna be a doctor or a lawyer up out, it's probably not the best idea. But if you want to, you know, have your business, you can learn a lot more by not going to college and just go get a job at a start up. And you're gonna learn way more in way, less time. And nowadays like also have noticed like unless you're in one of those. Careers that need a degree. Like, I said like a doctor a lawyer. Nobody cares. Like, I've never had. Anyone asked me what your degree in never out? And so I think that a lot of people are realizing that college is not necessarily the best way to learn. And as long as you're a hard worker, and you know, you know, in your quick learner than you know, you can do it is the remote work lifestyle. What you imagined or a lot different than you. Actually, the reality of it is a lot different than what you imagined it to be or is it lining up. I mean. Yes, or no, I think that when you dream about something you're always going to skip over the things that are difficult. So yes is getting to travel around the world while working amazing. Yeah. Absolutely. Like, yeah. I'm currently in Spain. It's. November. It's freezing cold in Cincinnati. And I'm in Spain outside it's sunny, and it's sixty five. I can't complain too much. But there's definitely difficulties. You know, you're in uncharted ground stone in many ways, you know, you're not I see a lot of my friends that are in solid careers, and there's a path lined out for them. The remote workspace is still kind of like the wild wild west. We're still shaping it. Which is really exciting. If you have that's what sounded like myself. But again, definitely be stressful. You know, so financial stress is always something to think about you know, especially when you're starting out. So it is what I imagined it to be in a lot of ways like my girlfriend. I talk a lot about that. Where we like holy crap. Can you believe that two years ago? We're talking about this everybody thought we were crazy now we're doing it, you know. But it definitely does have difficulties that you sort of don't think about when you're starting out. And I think that that's actually a good thing. Because if you knew how difficult it was you might not want to do, you know, like a lot of people say that about starting a business. Well in the short answer is yes. And no. You figure it out in real time. We'll part of Spain are you in? I'm in Alicante. So it's about like an hour to south of Valencia. Nice. Okay. Yeah. It looks and sounds pretty rough yet. It's a hard. It's a hard before. I let you go. You want to say thanks for for being a member of our community location Indian. I just wanted to ask you about the importance of whether it's community like that. Or just like you said you were getting into the startup community when you were in Cincinnati trying to do that. How important is it to get around other people doing this? I mean, you mentioned the Facebook groups for digital amazes different things and getting connected and plugged in in that way. How important has that been to your success? I think that's everything. I mean, one of the biggest struggles about working remotely is that you do lack some of that community. You know, you don't get to go out and hang out with your co workers every day, for example. So getting around a community of like minded people who are doing the same things that you're doing who will have you know, the same sort of mindset is huge. And it's crazy to think how far I've gone because I've been a part of like L I now for a year, and you know, the relationships that you make and the friendships that you form can definitely be very helpful. And so I think that's the most important thing. Like, whether it's location indie, or it's a Facebook group, or whatever it's really important to get involved in to get in front of an around other people who have the same dreams and goals yourself. Yeah. I think it's also especially when you're starting out it saying to yourself that you're you're taking your dream seriously. You're taking. This. This whole thing is not just a dream. But it's a reality. And I'm going to get around other people that are doing this in real life and just make it happen. And you certainly have done that congratulations on. Thank you. Thank you everything. I mean from dropping out of college, and, you know, having your plan is one thing, but then actually executing it and getting to a point where okay now, you're working you're in Spain. You're hanging out. I'm hoping we cross paths again. Because like I said we got to meet up in Denver. I'm still holding you to that sailing trip or some kind of I want to hang out with you in Bulgaria, man. That's like one of my goals. I wanna I wanna get over there while you're there and just kick it because I think that will do it. Do it. I'm putting together a bit of a trip there in September. I'll come on over. Let's do it. Yeah. Do you wanna talk about that really quick? It's a friend of mine has a company that puts together these like paid trip. So they're the goal is to for for them to be guided, but still feel personal right? Like, if you go on a lot of these tours and stuff, I there was twenty thirty people with you. And you lack a lot of that personal feel that you have. And so he actually came to visit me to somewhere Bulgaria, and he absolutely fell in love with it. He had liked the best was life. You was like posting pictures all the time. Just like couldn't believe the things are you seeing? So he kind of called me up a couple weeks after he came back. And he's like, hey, man. Like you wanna like come join the company and put together a trip in Bulgaria. So I lo- showing people around let's do it. So we are going to be putting together a trip in the end of August in two thousand nine. Nineteen that if anybody's interested in and wants to join you can head over to that website is life. No, matting dot com. And you'll find that trip and you can sign up. Nice cool and your website that remote life dot com, and my missing anything. No, my website is that remote life dot com. Where I talk a lot about mastering remote work, and how to make the most of it. And then if you are interested in going to Varna or you wanna learn more about it. You can go to a nomad Varna dot com, which is the little like hub that I set up for the city the nomads there. So you can get more information find the best coffee shops with the best co working spaces, are you can get a lot of information there. So you can kinda hit the ground running nice man while you're representing your home country. Well, certainly chomping at the bit to get over there. I won't hold you back from enjoying Spain any longer. Thanks so much for stopping by. And let's do it again soon sometime. In person next time for sure man, and I did almost forget. But I do have a handout, so if anybody is interested in Varda, you can go over to my website that remote life dot com forward slash zero to travel, and I'll have a like a guide that anybody who's interested in can download and you'll learn a lot about Varnai and sort of with the best areas artists day, and it's sorta like Cheech t to give you a running start cool, man. Thanks so much for that. And yeah, cool. We'll we'll see you soon. Then. I'm going to leave that all right, buddy. All right. It's my pleasure. Yeah. There you have it. Thank you mitt go for sharing your love and knowledge for your home country of Bulgaria, which. Always gets me chomping at the bit to visit these places anytime, I talked destinations with other travelers especially people as knowledgeable as Mikko about say their home country or just a destination. They've lived for awhile. How do you not geek out on it? Right. There's so much to see out there in the world. This is what makes us crazy as travelers, right? And we wanna see at all. But also, we know we can't we gotta like, you know, kind of take it one step at a time. But it does get those juices flowing gets me really excited. So I am so excited to visit Bulgaria now, I hope you are to let me know what you think you can always get in touch with me Jason that zero to travel dot com. If you want more destination episodes, I know I don't do a ton. But I can I can do more for you. It's no problem. You just gotta let me know this is a community powered show. So if you reach out to me and just let me know what you want on the show who you want. What you want me to cover Jason that zero to travel dot com is my Email, you can drop me line anytime, and I do have a shoutout to give to somebody who drop me a line recently talking about a destination that they were in. I got a couple of emails from her actually. And I'm excited to share them with you in just a moment. I quickly one of think Pim's ller for sporting day shows your travel dot com slash easy. We'll take you to that freecell. Trial for the Pim's ler audio courses this is the same language learning tool used by organizations like the FBI and the State Department. This is no joke. And when I first went through a Pim's ler language program. It's all audio base. So I was driving. I could listen to it on the go just like you do with podcast, and they have some kind of magical formula. I don't know what it is. But just when you start forgetting words, they bring them back into the mix. And if you listen and just repeat after them, which is how it works. You start speaking the language right away. I'm talking within the first minutes of listening to the very first lesson. Whatever language you wanna learn so exciting, and it opens up all kinds of doors when you're traveling go to that link you can get a free seven-day trial for their monthly subscription service. Learn pickle language, you wanna learn and start learning it today. Don't put it off any longer if you do decide to continue on with that monthly trial, or if you by any of their courses, you'll also be supporting this show. So I thank you so much for that. I recommend them highly. Because this is the same thing. That I use. And I only recommend products that I know in love, you listen to the show, you know, that it's just really a few things that we talk about on the show, and this is one of them. So give it a go. Give it a go for free. Grab a free lesson. You've got nothing to lose. We think zero to travel dot com slash easy. Thanks to pinch ller for supporting this show. All right. I got a shout out to give to Julia. Who said, hey, Jason. I've been listening to your podcasts for over a year. Now, one of the first episodes I downloaded it was about your hitchhiking trip through Scotland. It's funny. She says that because that's an episode. I'm a little what maybe I'm self conscious about it. 'cause it was the first it was my first crack at doing a narrative type episode where I did this. If you don't know any new to this show. I did a hitchhiking race around Scotland with a bunch of people that were just in this Facebook group, and my buddy Gary organized, it he was a big hitchhiker. So I decided to go out, and we camped outside of town paired up in teams of two and had like I forget it was like eight or eleven check points to hit where to get our picture next to them. And it was a race. It was awesome. Totally no big prize or anything just totally for fun. And it was just such a blast. And you can hear about that experience in that show. Anyway, she goes on to say ever since that I've had an unexplainable desire to hitchhike myself. I'm happy to report that I finally did it I'm currently traveling Ireland had many great experiences. Hitching unexpectedly ended up singing along in a music session and in a game of thrones themed pub setting on the iron throne. You never know where you might end up. Thank you for the inspiration to try out new things on the road. Great work with your podcast. Jason keep it up best, which is and lots of love from Julia in Germany, but right now sitting on the beach in Ballycastle Northern Ireland. Thank you. Julia and Email from her again, recently, she listened to the technol- is technology ruining your travel experience. So we did recently and has decided to spend her honeymoon in Norway. So I hope you stopped by Oslo. And let me know when you're there. I'd love to meet up with you guys. And she said they're going to try to keep their phones turned off for two weeks, only using it maybe for navigation. So that's exciting. I love that Julia's kind of taking some ideas from the podcast and trying them out on the road. So big experiment. Right. And you want to change your travel experience up you want to do different things. It never hurts to try different things and see where that can take you and see if you like it and Julia you hit one of my bucket list things I'd really like to play guitar in an Irish trad like session. Like Atta pub, and somehow be able to keep up with the musicians there. That's a little bucket list item for me that I came up with recently. So really cool that you hitchhike and got to end up having these random experiences when you open yourself up to that you never know kinda random funding experiences. You're going to have when you travel thanks for writing. Julia. And if you haven't written again, please I encourage you this is a two way conversation again this community show. So it just means the world to me when I get either review or I get to hear from somebody and hear their story. It just means so much to open the Email and get those and I read them off. Sorry, if I haven't responded to you just know that I have read all of the emails, I've been travelling the last couple of months, as you know, if you listen to the show and totally backed up on Email, but I am reading them. So thank you. So very much everybody for checking in. Lastly before I let you go. I guess I have to tell you about my my top up and coming destination that I wanna see and you can learn more about it because I've done. A podcast about it. And that is the country of Georgia. I had my buddy Travis on the podcast a while back. He Bizet at Georgia, and I got the hiking bug since I've been out in Colorado, again really want to get out and lace up the boots and go to some random walk to some random places in the mountains and seems like there's a lot of that in the country, Georgia. So that is up there on my top up and coming destinations that I wanna visit and Bulgaria as well. Speaking of Travis every year partner up to do this awesome thing called the paradise pack. We've been doing it for the last five years is our six year doing it, and it is a bundle of educational resources to help you live work and travel anywhere in the world to help you do the location independent thing. So you can work from anywhere you can design a business based around your ideal lifestyle. And this is a special thing. Again, we do it once a year from April twenty third the twenty ninth only happens one time. And then it's gone forever. And we have an amazing bundle of products at ninety percent off for you this year. And if you want to check it out and learn more about it, you could just go to the homepage and sign up, but if you want to get a free guide and learn more about how you can run a side hustle work on the side while you're working your fulltime job and start building this location, independent lifestyle on the side. So you don't have to quit your job with nothing. You start building it up. Now make a plan to take off and travel, and if you go to zero to travel dot com slash side hustle. You can pick up that guide with three super key strategies to help you do that right away zero to travel dot com slash side-hustle leave that in the show notes as well just wanted to drop that since it is a free guide. And when you sign up, you'll also be getting some emails about the paradise pack. So you can learn more about that. So don't be afraid to hypothesis or sign up now because you don't want to miss this once a year thing, it's awesome. Anyway, that's it. It's all at Guthrie today. My friends, I hope you have a wonderful day wherever you are. It's a sunny. Day, you're in Colorado, and I'm gonna go enjoy right now getting ready for ski trip actually still recording in the garage. I'm going to be digging through my bins and finding all my ski crap to go skiing for a couple of days with some friends, and that's going to be nice. So I'm gonna do that. I'm gonna let you go. And do your thing have a wonderful day wherever you're at and thanks for your time. And I'll see you next time cures. This podcast has been brought to you by Zealand to travel dot com. Ideas and advice to make your travel dreams a yellow too.