Meet our new members Euvie and Mike. Read the interview below.
Q: Hi Mike and Euvie! Please, present yourselves to our audience.
We are Mike and Euvie, we’re recently engaged and we’ve been traveling the world while working remotely on our online businesses from our laptops. We have a podcast together where we talk about the future, and we own a couple of ecommerce businesses where we sell jewelry and hydroponics equipment. We also offer consulting and content marketing services to businesses, brands, and startups at www.giantsupernova.com. Finally, we have a networking / meetup Facebook group for freelancers and internet marketers in Plovdiv at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1485468915085207.
Q: How long have you been travelling and where have you been?
We’ve been traveling nonstop for three years. We started in Thailand and progressed throughout most of Southeast Asia. We’ve lived in and visited Thailand, Vietnam, Bali, Malaysia, Burma, Singapore, Portugal, France, and now Bulgaria.
Q: Where do you prefer to work from - cafes or coworking spaces? Why?
We have worked mostly from cafes in Asia, but that is mostly because the coffee shop culture is quite developed there. Many students and entrepreneurs work and study in coffee shops, so shop owners are generally ok with long-term sitters - as long as you buy coffees regularly. Since coming to Bulgaria, we’ve enjoyed the use of Bizlabs coworking space. It’s nice to have a dedicated place to go to meet, brainstorm, and work for long periods of time without having to overdose on coffee. That said, every once in a while it’s nice to get distracted by people-watching in one of the cafes in Plovdiv.
Q: Do you have one standout highlight, achievement or a favourite destination?
From an experience perspective, riding motorbikes in Vietnam has been the most fun, scary, and memorable experience. Picture those giant schools of fish in nature documentaries, except the fish are riding motorbikes. That is what Saigon, Vietnam is like. Road rules don’t apply, and the horns are used like sonar. People often beep their horns just to let everyone know where are on the road.
My second favorite experience would be exploring the rice fields and traditional cultures in Bali. If you’ve ever seen the dancers with the crazy eyes in the movie Samsara, that’s what it’s like. The dancers in combination with the crazy atonal music makes for a very alien experience.
Finally, for two years in a row we have gone to seven-day silent meditation retreats in the mountains of Southern Thailand during the Christmas holidays. Those retreats have been a great way to “defragment the hard-drive” as I like to say. With all the chaos and noise in Asia it’s nice to take time to disappear into the mountains and meditate with monks. Weird, I know, but it’s an amazing experience.
Having settled now in Bulgaria, it’s nice to be back in a Western country while still having the option for rich cultural experiences when we’re ready to put away the laptops. We both appreciate the food, the art, the music, and the festivals here and believe Plovdiv could be a great European home base for other “digital nomads” like Euvie and I.
Q: What do you wish you had known before you started working remotely?
Comfort and routine are often are a rare luxury when you’re traveling and working remotely. You’ll need to learn how to put in your headphones and concentrate in any type of environment or you’ll find that your productivity plummets. When you finally get settled in one place, your visa will inevitably expire, and you’ll have to uproot to an entirely new country to start the process all over again. If I had known that at the beginning I would have packed less and researched coworking spaces before choosing a new destination.
Also, Uber is a fantastic experience for remote workers and travelers. If I had known about it earlier I never would have stepped foot in another taxi or tuk tuk ever again. There’s nothing more disruptive to your day than being stuck in a smelly tuk tuk in rush hour traffic in the middle of Bangkok. I think cities like Plovdiv would benefit greatly from allowing Uber to get started here because foreign travelers and investors would be able to travel in comfort instead of being worried about getting ripped off or being taken to the wrong destination by a taxi.
Q: Do you have any plans to stop travelling and settle down?
If the Bulgarian government wants to support us and make it easier for foreign business owners to get a visa and settle somewhere in the country, we could easily see ourselves staying in Plovdiv for the future. We also see a big opportunity for more digital nomads to make a home base here, and hope to convince our friends to join us. The cost of living, opportunities for hiring skilled labour, and the quality of life here are excellent.