As with everyone's plans for 2020, my plans changed as well and I never thought about living permanently in Croatia! However, from the minute landed I fell in love with the the country.
I left Argentina 3 years ago, lived in Australia for 2 years and then my plan was to travel around Asia and eventually apply for a visa in Germany. While the pandemic put the world on pause last summer I found myself in sunny Split after spending over 3 months stuck in Berlin. It was the first time I traveled to a new country without knowing anyone but it turned out to be the best decision I made in 2020.
Here are the reasons why I think you should move to Croatia.
The first Croatian I met was the owner of the hostel where I stayed. A very kind hearted woman that was a guide for my first steps in the country. After five months living here I can say that she wasn't unique and I was treated with respect and warmth by the locals. I never expected so many similarities to people from Latin countries! The food
The first time I had a burek made me happy but I realized I might sell my soul for octopus peka! From pastries, meat dishes and of course its amazing seafood, Croatia has incredible cuisine. Imagine a picnic by the sea with extra virgin olive oil, figs, cheese, sourdough, dry tomatoes and some local jam. Not to be missed!
One of my dreams has always been to live close to the sea. So when I left Buenos Aires, I looked for some nice spots with a beach nearby. I first found in Split the perfect mix of a beautiful, historic city with the closeness to a sea with the clearest water I've ever seen.
The 'Pomalo' lifestyle
Pomalo means "take it easy" in the local lingo. And it's a phrase they live by! It's easy to surrender yourself to the Pomalo lifestyle and be happy.
Dalmatia is famous for island hopping and it's so worth it. I'm from a big city, so island hopping sounded like something only available for rich people. Here it's the most common thing to do. Just pack a small bag and enjoy a quick trip to the nearby islands.
Croatia is safe. As an Argentinian I can't be more happy to live in a safe country. I've never felt unsafe on the streets walking at night.
Visas have always been an issue for Argentinians without an EU passport. I never thought it was going to even be possible to stay in Croatia for over 3 months. I knew about other options such as Working Holiday Visas in other European countries but because of COVID they were all suspended! Then I found out that there's quite a few ways to get a temporary residency in Croatia. To be honest, bureaucracy is crazy and not knowing the language makes things a bit harder. But with help, it's not impossible.
Today it seems so long ago that I started the year on the other side of the planet hopping from continent to continent trying to avoid the inevitable pandemic. Today, I've got my temporary residency in Croatia. Without a doubt this year was long and confusing, but I'm thankful that this country opened its doors to me and gave me opportunities that I had never dreamed of.
Thank you Croatia! Even if you seem a little rough from outside, once people get to know you, they will never want to leave!