Wondering what life is like for digital nomads in Bansko, Bulgaria? Or what the cost of living is like? What is there to do? What exactly is Bulgaria like??? If you have these questions, well, I’ve got answers!
I spent 3 months at Coworking Bansko, from December to March. I really loved spending the colder months in a real “winter” destination (it is a ski resort, after all!), although it was an unseasonably warm year. In my head, snow would fall continuously as I looked out my balcony window. Inside, I would be cuddled up with a chunky knit blanket and a cup of tea while fairy lights twinkled and a fire roared in the fireplace.
But as you can imagine, that was not the case. My winter wonderland fantasy was unfortunately trumped (pun intended?) by unseasonably warm weather. Think temperatures in the 40’s F (like 4-8 C, finally starting to understand Celsius after being in Europe for over a year LOL) and sunny (an abomination) most of the time. Nor did my apartment have a fireplace.
Ah well, I still really enjoyed my time in Bansko! So much that I’m already planning to head back, possibly as early as summer!
I thought it might be fun to show what an average week might look like. And since Bansko is a little bit more affordable than other destinations in Western Europe, I decided to track my spending, too (I should probably be doing this anyway…).
To be honest, I probably I could have saved more but I was too busy having lots of fun with new friends…Ooops. But gotta live, ya know?
Ok, so you’ve read the posts and seen the videos and are SURE you want to become a digital nomad. For me, I had an extremely (un)healthy obsession with Europe. I’d wanted to visit ever since I was a kid, and knew I wanted to see more of it after putting my first foot on English soil during a study abroad program in university.
I really wanted to travel and experience different places for longer than the standard 2 weeks of vacation time in America (although I was one of the lucky ones because I had 3, lol). I desperately wanted to feel what it was like to live in various places on my favorite continent (the aforementioned Europe).
I wanted to spend the summer in Greece, swimming and eating Spanikopita from bakeries. I wanted to hunker down and live out a winter fantasy in the Arctic, watching the Northern lights from my porch. I wanted to bike through rural Ireland while volunteering on a farm.
And I wanted to meet all the European men – what IS IT about accents???
That said, keep in mind that working while you travel is VERY different from just traveling.
I traveled quite a bit in 2019 – I quit my job to become a digital nomad right at the beginning of the year, and thus was able to see a lot more than I did in 2018. Hence why I don’t really have a “favorite destinations of 2018” because I didn’t travel nearly as much!
A year ago I was living at home in California, prepping to start a new life as a #digital #nomad (lol trying to be the ultimate millennial here) at the end of January.
I was still working as the Education Programs Coordinator at an environmental nonprofit. For the most part, I loved it. I’ll go into why I ended up leaving that job below.
I was also in a relationship that was about to end because I was leaving. That was tough, as we both still cared about each other, but neither of us wanted to do long distance.
And now, I’m writing this from Bansko, Bulgaria, a place I hadn’t even heard about back then.
So, I thought it might be fun to do a little recap of each month in the past year. This is honestly mostly for my purposes as I’m nostalgic AF and love reviewing the past (probably a little too much?).
But ya know, I’m also posting in the hopes that by sharing about my journey it might help others as well.
I celebrated my 2 year blogiversary a few months ago (!!!!!) which was exciting but also like WHOA.
I’ve learned a lot and made a ton (like, a TON) of blogging mistakes along the way – most of them involve some sort of inaction or waiting too long. That’s a common theme I see in my life in general – I have something in my brain for way too long and just never end up doing it. So, I’m trying to take action quicker rather than mulling it over for ages, and just generally trying to work faster!!
I am also a notoriously slow worker because I just want to get everything RIGHT, and I honestly enjoy working slowly and HATE rushing haha, but it’s definitely something I’m trying to improve upon. But that’s a convo for another day…
I try to live with #noragrets (anyone?) but I do have some blogging tips and things I would advise someone else to do differently. Or tell myself if I was starting all over again.
There’s something so romantic about going off to a foreign country or place by yourself. Or at least I always thought so???
Cue movies/books like Under the Tuscan Sun, Eat Pray Love, Wild, and the like.
I am such a sucker for that shit. As a hopeless romantic, nostalgic-obsessed introvert/INFP, I eat. It. Up.
I took my first solo travel trip to Europe three years ago, when I was 23. I went to Greece, Ireland, and Belgium over the course of 1.5 months and ate my weight in crepes. I met a ton of other travelers by staying in hostels, which was perfect at the time, but these days I’m not as keen to share a room with 10 other travelers and pray that none of them snore.
I also purposely wanted solitude and reflection time during this trip (and hostels aren’t necessarily the BEST place for that LOL). My goal wasn’t to make a ton of friends and see ALL THE THINGS like it was before – I really just wanted to meet other digital nomads (in real life/online), work on myself, reinforce healthy habits like meditation and journaling, establish myself as an online English teacher, and get my shit together with this blog.
And so, I traded in people for pets and was house sitting in various locations around England from mid-June to mid-August. I spent 2 weeks in Welling (near London), 1 month in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, 1 week in Chichester, and 2 days in London.
My time alone was and wasn’t exactly what I thought. Here are my main takeaways:
So I never ever thought I’d make it to this point? Like being a ‘digital nomad’ has always been a kind of crazy dream of mine, but here we are (#living and #thriving, bby) and only having about one mental breakdown per day!!!!
Lol just kidding, although not gonna lie, anytime you go against the grain I think mental breakdowns are inevitable. Actually, I also had them when I was working a normal 9-5…so maybe that’s just #life?
But ANYWAYS. Curious about what being a traveling house sitter/online english teacher/rainbow unicorn is all about? Here’s what I do to keep busy every day (and FYI, it’s not sitting at the beach drinking margaritas all day and pretending to work! And while I am actually near the beach right now, it’s in England so it’s far from the tropical destination you’re probably picturing…)
Every day is different obviously (that’s kinda why I chose this life? I get bored real quick) but here’s a kind of typical hodgepodge type day:
Fair warning, this is going to be kind of a rambly post…Lots of thoughts bouncing around in my brain. I feel a little scrambled eggs-esque about having been in Europe for the last 3 months and now heading home. There’s just A LOT to process and I’m also going through major chocolate withdrawals (I WAY overdid it on German chocolate and I’m trying to cut out sugar for a bit – wish me luck) so excuse my brain at the moment.
Here’s where I’m at, and how I’ve changed, after 3 months of travel!
I ACTUALLY (KIND OF) MISS HAVING A HOME BASE
Our three months of travel was a little busier than I would have liked – we spent 2 days in London, then a week in Glasgow, a few days in Amsterdam, a week in Switzerland, a week in Prague, 2 weeks in Norway, and then the rest of our time in Germany (but we moved around pretty frequently while there).
When I first set out on my 3 month digital nomad/travel excursion we had just planned on staying in Germany for about 3 weeks, but that turned into 2 months! Whoops. And during that time I really fell in love with Germany – it’s such a lovely country!
I’d been before – to Berlin for a couple of days and then Starnberg and Munich for Oktoberfest. But this visit was the first time I’d really spent an extended amount of time in one country, and in one city no less!
We were in Hamburg the bulk of the time and Berlin for 10 days, but I was also able to squeeze in some day trips and visit the Saxony region for a weekend, too. Here’s what surprised me most about the country itself: