From Mexico to the Adriatic with Mita Carriman

From Mexico to the Adriatic with Mita Carriman

Full Transcript

EP 7 - Mita Carriman

Curtis Duggan: Hey everybody. Welcome back to Remotely Sirius. This next episode is a conversation between me and Mita Carriman, the founder of Adventury and a digital nomad in her own right. She's someone that's traveled extensively to Mexico, to the Balkans. She's been a participant in digital nomad programs in some of the Balkan countries.

I followed her work as she talks about Central America, Grenada, Eastern Europe, and all the places she's been. I've been following her for a long time. Her company, adventury, is a venture that helps nomads acclimatize themselves to various destinations when they're arriving for a remote workation for the first time.

So we'll cover a lot of ground with her, and I'm really excited for you to jump right in.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Remotely Serious Podcast. I'm here with Mita Carriman and Mita. We were saying this just before we started turning the mics on and recording. I think it's over a year now since we first connected and we had a video call. I've been following some of your work and I know that your.

Company, your digital nomad and remote worker focused company has a focus on Mexico. And that's Ally. But I've seen you posting from some really interesting, exciting things from the Balkans, including at least Dubrovnik, if not other places. So I'm curious what you've been up to in. Or what's been the most exciting highlights.


Mita Carriman: you. Thanks for having me on the podcast. It's nice to reconnect with you. This past year has just been really amazing. Personally, professionally, travel wise. The summertime, I usually, now that we're out of, Covid travel restrictions safely. Before Covid, the summertime was usually when I would make my way out to Europe.

So I've just been enjoying my time. I was a part of the Dubrovnik Digital Nomad Ambassadors program that the folks that saw order nomads organized. So I spent some time in Dubrovnik also did some marketing, cross marketing with the village of posterior on the island of Brock and Croatia.

And I've just been making my way throughout Europe. I also did a very fast trip to the motherland. I went to, that was my first trip to Africa. Went to Cabo Verde and I'm currently in Portugal for a couple more weeks before I make my way back to the Americas. I.

Curtis Duggan: What part of Portugal are you in now? I am

Mita Carriman: in Steril, so Lisbon City Center I'm, I'm a New Yorker, so I just really appreciate being out here by the water and by the beach.

So I. Just I haven't even been to Lisbon City Center once since I've been here. I guess I'll probably take one trip because I probably should, but I'm just here by the beach chilling. This is me time I'm in me time before I go back to the Americas and whatever craziness is happening in the United States.

Curtis Duggan: We know that eventually, and for anybody that's listening we'll put eventually links in the show notes so you can check out Meet's Venture. But I just wanna chat a little bit about this concept of the Digital Nomad Ambassador programs that are happening. I've seen several of them in the Balkan countries, in the Adriatic countries.

And programs in Central Istria, a region of Croatia, the city of Dubrovnik. I think I've seen things in her sego as well and spoken with some people that have participated in programs there. I'm not sure what it is. I'm sure that there are programs like this in Western Europe and in Asia and Africa and other places, but it seems like a lot of them are popping up specifically around Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, that area.

What was it like participating in that program? What did you do?

Mita Carriman: Oh, it was wonderful and I think that the destinations that are trying to attract digital nomads are realizing that, a slick campaign marketing campaign and a beautiful ad is just not enough for. Remote work, digital nomad travel.

There needs to be this community aspect. And traditionally, digital nomads don't typically work with travel agents. What they typically do is see their friends who are nomads or influencers who are going to certain destinations and then that sort of ticks off the light bulb and they're kinda like, oh, I know.

And they ended up in this. Island and the Aio Sea, and they're working remotely there and they look like they had a great time. So I think that a lot of destinations in Europe, just across the board, are realizing that you have to really make this more of a personalized experience to connect the digital nommed experience to would be customers.

And that's basically what the Dubrovnik Digital Nomad Ambassador Program did. So Dubrovnik launched a really cool site recently that's called Dubrovnik Long And it's a project that the tourism board, along with the city and some other interesting organizations put together as a landing page for all of the remote worker travel information accommodation coworking space.

They created a card. It's this tourism card for month long nomads. And I got to experience it. I, they, I. Were very welcoming to me and, brief me on some of the best things to enjoy in Dubrovnik and I got to experience it and document my trip. And as part of the experience, you also host an in-person meetup and we hosted ours with adventure on the nearby island of Locum.

There's tons of islands in Croatia, and especially there on the Dalmatian coast. But Lore Island is about maybe a half hour, maybe slightly less ferry ride from Dubrovnik. And we went there for Earth Day and we got to plant two trees. The group that we organized was there. So I am very happy to return back to Lore Island to see the tree that I helped plant there, and that'll be there forever.

And just really get to see what Dubrovnik has to offer versus some of the other. Hotbed Nomad cities in Europe. One thing that I really appreciated about Dubrovnik for the time of life that I'm in right now is that it's a bit of a slower pace. Maybe I'm getting a little old, whatever it is what it is, yeah. I, I'm not at a bunch of bars in Lisbon city center. I'm chilling by the beach with, with a cafe, with a macchiato. That's the vibe I'm at right now, and I think that Nik is definitely for an older. Nomad that probably just wants a nice work life integration. They just want to eat healthy food.

They don't wanna feel like they're in the middle of a party all the time. In fact, there isn't much of a party scene in Dubrovnik. The one nightclub that stuck out in my mind, they, there's, I can't remember the name of it, but they have one that is lgbtq plus friendly that a lot of people just go to in general, just because it's a cool vibe.

But it's, they have a lot of bars so you can go to, but it's really just a cafe and restaurant culture. And I was fine with that, to be honest. I know that might seem a little boring, but I'm maybe I'm in my boring nomad stage and I'm embracing it. And then after we did that program I immediately went to the island of Brock.

So the island of Brac is a little bit closer to Split. That's also another maybe 20 minute half. No, actually it's about an hour. Ferry ride from split and I got to base myself in posterior the village of posterior which is a nice strategic place to stay. They want to encourage more digital nomads to come, and again, got to connect with the tourism board there and they helped guide me to experience the best.

Of what to experience in Brac and in posterior. And one thing that's really interesting about brach specifically is that's where some of the best olives and olive oil and olive, Croatia comes from. And I'm actually of the opinion right now that the best olive oil I've had period in Europe comes from Croatia.

So if it's the best in Croatia it is really top of the line. They have this giant. Olive Picking Festival that happens in October. So I think they're just trying to expand on all of the people that are coming there for the Olive Picking Festival and just, offer posterior as an option for Nomad to consider.

Aside from dub brunick and Split,

Curtis Duggan: I. I have been to some of the island. I'm getting more ideas for more islands to go to on the Dalmatian coast. I've been to Hvar and Korčula as well as Dubrovnik and Split. And I'm there's so much more Croatia for me to see. My, my impression and this is where you've, you were you had benefactors in this digital nomad ambassador program and they are, working with you to mutually promote the city to other nomads.

Maybe just a quick. I dunno, grand, not grand tour, but an overview of Dubrovnik, first of all, zooming way out, for anyone who's listening and is new to some of these places that we're mentioning, first of all, Croatia, if you if you're looking at the Italian Peninsula and then Greece on a map and you trace up the right side of Italy up the right side of the boot and then curl around and then come down the west side of the peninsula, Or the coast that eventually becomes Greece.

On your way down, you're gonna hit this Adriatic, and at first Dalmatian Coast, you're gonna hit countries like Croatia and Montenegro and eventually Albania and North Macedonia. And then as you get all the way down, you'll hit that Greek peninsula and the Peloponnesian Peninsula all the bottom in the Mediterranean Sea.

So you have this coast where, 30 years ago there was some war. And so it doesn't have this long of a history as Italy and Greece, since World War II boomers and people from that generation have seen Italy and Greece as a place to go, as a tourist destination for many decades, if not hundreds of years.

And so this part of the world more emerged in the two thousands as a place for tourists to go. Dubrovnik is an amazing city. One thing to call out is just that the structure of it is a very well-preserved old town that comes in the form of a fortress that has tall, multi, I don't know what it would be.

Maybe, is it 40 meter, 50 meter stone walls, 60 yard? I don't even know how to it's many, you have to climb up a. These stairs and it's very vertical, and you can walk around the stonewalls, so there's an old town full that, that's, the walls are around it, and then you have more modern, typical suburban areas.

So I'm just imagining when you talk about the bars and things, I know that I've been in there where the bars and the restaurants are open for tourists. And so that is to say I think painting this picture of this beautiful. Fortress city that people come to. One of the things I see is that one, it's gonna be like a lot of European destinations absolutely filled with tourists, maybe not digital limits workers, but tourists in the summer months and in the highest season for tourism in Europe and then in the winter months or the low season, these.

Tourism ministries the local tourism boards have this challenge of what do we do during the six months when people don't come here and the restaurants are quiet and everything's quiet and it's just, dead for six months. I'm oversimplifying a little bit, but dead for six months of the year versus crawling with tourists.

And I know that in my in some talks I had with local authorities in Dub and Croatia while visiting and exploring digital nomadism and remote work there. That was one of the things that they explored. So did you get into that kind of, how do we manage the two seasons and, there they're certainly not hurting for visitors in the summer season and then there, there's practically none during the winter.

Does that, is that a fair dynamic the way that I characterize it? I think you were

Mita Carriman: spot on in, in your characterization, but there's one thing that I noticed. And de I think in all of Croatia, I feel as if there's a culture in Croatia where they're okay with being satisfied with something. There's this culture of, okay, that's enough.

I'm fine. And and coming from America where America is just oh, let's just keep scaling. How do we optimize this? The capitalism? Yeah. Yeah. And what I got the feeling, and especially now because it's not just digital nomadism, that's. Caused the Niks tourism numbers to skyrocket.

It's the age of Instagram and TikTok and oh, and so they're, their numbers for the summertime is just, climbing. And I think that people are, I got the feeling that people are getting increasingly fatigued, the locals, by just how much there is. So I also got the feeling that it was a breath of relief to have that period of downtime.

Bit. I got that feeling. But I do think that for nomads, like one of the things that a lot of digital nomads of course, are. Thoughtful or about as their budget. And there are very different budgets to go to Dubrovnik in the off season versus the summertime. And it gets really hot there too.

So I got there in April and I think that's a perfect time because a lot of the restaurants and a lot of the hotels are starting to reopen for the tourist season to pray for. 'cause it doesn't really start till about maybe now June, I appreciated the cool weather that people were just starting to get back into the spirit.

It was not so packed. I could really enjoy the city to myself. And I think coming in the spring and the fall, would I, that's what I would recommend to most nomads because you'll enjoy the city better. It won't be so packed. It won't be so hot. You won't be dealing with hordes of tourists. And it might be a little bit more economically flexible for your budget.

So that was my thoughts on it.

Curtis Duggan: Maybe one, one more last point on Croatia and Dubrovnik. If someone were to come into Dubrovnik or split and that was their first month or their first two weeks or some kickoff to a Croatian or an a Mediterranean adventure or nomad stint, what next places or adjacent places do you think should be top of people's list?

In the area. If you say, let's say they were traveling by train to put some constraints on it, obviously you could just fly to London, you could fly to somewhere else, but if you're traveling by train and nearby, what are the best nearby places that you've encountered in that area of the world?

In the

Mita Carriman: Mediterranean,

Curtis Duggan: you're saying? Yeah. Anywhere in the Mediterranean, I would say. Are there other places? Have you yeah,

Mita Carriman: there, there's a couple. Very close by is Albania. And Montenegro. I felt, Montenegro is nice, but I spent some time in Couture a few year, a few years back, which is gorgeous, but it's a little bit slow.

So maybe checking out the vibe in Tara. And if you're somebody who likes that beach vibe outside of Toronto City Center is Dura, which is their. Beach area, and I thought that was a really nice place to go to. The, language is gonna be tough there. There's not, I didn't find a lot of English speakers this time around.

After I left split, there were a lot of inexpensive flights to get me to Italy. So I spent a month, I actually ended up going to Sicily after I left. I left Croatia, so definitely spending some time in Sicily. I really enjoyed my time in Katanya, so I went first to Palermo. And I was a little too overwhelmed at Palera.

It was, I had no I had this idea, I don't know if I got this from the Godfather, that they would just be all these like beautiful rolling hills in the countryside,

Curtis Duggan: and then you would walk through a field.

Mita Carriman: That's exactly what I thought. I'd see people holding hands on their

Curtis Duggan: way to their Sicilian wedding playing the tarantella as you just wander through and a wedding is happening and,

Mita Carriman: and it's like that, but Palermo it, it reminded me way more of Alphabet city in Manhattan than anything

Curtis Duggan: else. Yeah, I think that the, these capital cities, the mo, modern capital cities, whatever the history is there, whether it's San Jose, Costa Rica, or Palermo or Athens, whatever stereotypical culture, There is in a country that may be very attractive and whatever nature is there, there's still these, there's still the modern 20th century metropolis that kinda lays itself over everything.

And you gotta be aware that if you're flying into, I would say any central or South American capital I. Places like Palermo and Athens and things like that. You may need to do a little research Expectation setting. Yeah. Research and expectation setting about you might need to get a rental car and go somewhere else for, drive an hour to get out of the modern 20th century metropolis and get to this thing that you imagine in your head.

Yeah. Because,

Mita Carriman: I spent so much time researching the destinations that I work on, either with adventure or with the partnerships or the programs we're in, like with Nik, that I didn't plan anything for Cicely. I was like, oh, I'll just figure it out. But Palermo for real I stayed next door to this restaurant and the parties would go on like loud, raging till four 30 in the morning.

I'm like, oh my goodness, this is a lot. This is more crazier than Playa where, my nomad days. But Katani on the other side I thought was really great because you can easily do day trips to Tarina, which they have the White Lotus, which I've never actually seen. But, everybody goes there to take pictures of the white Lotus.

I guess TV

Curtis Duggan: shows images. Can I'll tell you a quick sidebar on that topic. So my brother got married in Maui. Ooh. Last month. Uhhuh at and so in Wale, which is a on Maui, there's this string of resorts. And so we were staying at a sort of a family friend's place in Maui nearby, but so next to the fancy resorts, but not in them.

And there was a break where basically one of these things where there's like wedding photos and then there's a two hour break and the wedding ceremony and then a break, and then we have a dinner. So essentially we had a two hour break and I was with my girlfriend and I said, she said, what are we gonna do to kill time?

'cause we just had to kill time and we were dressed up. And it was like, we're not gonna go back to the place and go to the beach. We're all dressed up. So we did the same thing and went to the Four Seasons, took, walked in the front door and did the white Lot of season one, which was at that location, and sat at the tables and looked at the bar.

And I, I took a selfie with the front desk and there, and I think they I thought the the front desk person would be totally expecting this. Of course, people must be coming every day to take White Lotus season one. Photo, this should be this, be something that they're inundated with people in my mind as a white Lotus fan.

And so I went to the front desk and I was like, can I get a selfie in the front desk? Person was like, with me, I was like no. Just with the desk shooing her out of the frame please. Like gimme a selfie with the desk. I just wanna do a quick sidebar and say, been down that road and maybe I should put the season two highlights on the bucket list for the next trip to.

Sicily or Italy. All I

Mita Carriman: heard when I was in Tarina were people talking. I've never seen White Load. I need to watch it, but that's all I heard. Like tour guide. Oh, this is the White Lotus. I tried to go to the Four Seasons for lunch and they were like, oh, we're only, I guess they're so inundated with people.

They're like, we're only allowing hotel guests right now to come in because there's so many people trying to go in. But it's really nice because I think this is like a little gripe that I have in the nomad scene, that sometimes you'll see people who are. I don't know. They're vocal in the nomad community and they tend to be based in one destination, and they start making these broad, sweeping generalizations about what's going on the other side of the world, and they're not necessarily going to the other side of the world.

So I really appreciate taking time away from the Caribbean, Latin America to come here and just see what's going on across to just give me better visibility and understanding of the whole circumference of nomadism currently.

Curtis Duggan: Maybe that's a good segue into a quick topic. I'm curious about, as I've followed adventure, your venture, you can probably pitch it better than me, but a digital me nomad meetup and a meetup package that occurs in various cities.

I've seen Mexico City Oaxaca apply Del Carmen. Is that still is that the right way or,


Mita Carriman: We, it's, we're basically like a coworking trip, but the thing is that we don't. Provide you with an in-person community manager. We don't provide you with the housing. So we basically take the best part of working remotely in a destination, which is having somebody organize it for you, what you need to do, where to go and connect you with people to experience it with.

So we'll give you the recommendations on where you should book. You'll have a remote community manager and we'll remotely organize. You and your group who are also in the program to go and take weekend excursions and, co-work together and so on and so forth. And that, that brings down the price significantly.

So that, that's, so instead of having, 'cause the thing is that a lot of these. Coworking trip sort of plans and just say the popular one, remote year and they do a great job, a lot of their housing that they offer is not necessarily aligned with the prices that are being charged because they have to make.

They have to make their profits. So with us, the extra money that you would've saved by not having a full-time in-person community manager and us not making a profit off of your housing is that you can get your own housing and put that towards a really nice budget for something

Curtis Duggan: private. So yeah, I can imagine there's a really big niche probably.

Larger market for people who want, they want the convenience of what you provide, but not be on a field trip, like the Workation model where it's here's exactly where you're living and here's what you're doing. I think there's a, there is a market for that. But if I look at, the next five or 10 years, the vast majority of people, and I'm starting to, as I talk to more people with spouses, partners and families and kids and things like that, that aren't simply.

Know, single, let's say or on their own for, in, in terms of their travels. The idea that, no I don't want to have six events planned for me. And to just be surprised by here's the accommodation we've chosen for you. Myself and my partner, or just myself, or myself and my kids.

We wanna choose our accommodation. We want things planned for ourselves, but we. We still want that kind of, that organization done as a light layer as opposed to this all inclusive, everything for you layer that is more expensive because they're looking to make a profit on on the whole thing.

And find ways to get corners and accommodations and that kind of thing. Yeah. And I

Mita Carriman: mean, I think especially because we tend to target people who are 35 plus. And once you get to your mid thirties, you want a little bit more privacy. You don't necessarily wanna have to stay in the same floor as everybody else, 24 7 being, you want a little separation of your time, your personal time, your private time, and then your time with the community.


Curtis Duggan: yeah, you focused on Mexico as you started, as you traveled in Europe for the future. Do you have any sense of. Where the next places you want to go? Are you like the Croatians where ah, you're just happy how it is. Mexico is a spot, or do you feel that American style desire for growth at any cost and expansion into 25 locations all around the world where do you sit on that philosophy of Of of growth for your, for eventually

Mita Carriman: somewhere in the middle of that?

I, we definitely wanna expand to more destinations, but one of the reasons why we picked Mexico and now Columbia, is because we are targeting US Nomads. And with the recent push for return to office or hybrid, a lot of people are dealing with. Management that wants people aligned on the same time zones and you have to bargain more.

So we're focusing for the most part on destinations that are. Aligned as much as possible with north American time zones. And, but that being said, we are looking at having a welcome meetup into Brunick next year. So that'll be our first four-way into Europe.

Curtis Duggan: Yeah, I think it's a good point about the time zones and the growth that places like Mexico and Columbia and Costa Rica, and maybe even Brazil at some point.

And Brazil, and Argentina at some point, will be able to attain in terms of the arbitrage of hosting and attracting remote workers. I know Buenos Aires was at. I was at running remote in Lisbon, a conference, and Buenos Iris the city had a department run by a few folks that were there that were promoting Buenos Iris as a remote work destination.

And obviously for a North American it is quite far away, but on the, from the time zone perspective, it's right there aligned mostly vertically with with the East coast and the West Coast, a few hours difference. Brazil is a bit of ahead too. Sa a Paulo time is a bit ahead too, but I actually think that's reasonable and that this will be a thing that many employers will support remote work, but insist on the same time zone.

I think without naming names, there are some remote work. Thought leaders out there who are quite, they're zealots. There's zealots about, if it's not full async work anywhere in the world, no restrictions, and you're a C E O that wants someone, wants your company to have people on the same time zone or to have.

Working hours where you sync up, then you're just a dinosaur that's on the wrong side of history and you should be async and you should do everything a certain way. And I actually think that's not true. I think some companies can be remote async, they the same companies come up again and again like GitLab or Doist.

That they're, really async and are able to do. But there's other companies like GitHub and other competitors and lots of tech companies that insist on certain things. So I think we'll see a mix. And I think that you're totally right that places like Mexico and in Central America and South America, they'll benefit from the time zone.

And I think it's likely not as popular or it's not as Promoted. There's still some development to do there, but I think that the same thing where there's an alignment between Europe and some emerging African nomad destinations. Between now and 10 years from now, we will also see some areas there.

I haven't been to Africa, but I've followed some African Web three Nomad remote work adjacent thought leaders there, and so there's definitely some interesting things. Going on there. And we'll see things like South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, and various places how much they want to they can emerge as a place for remote work talent, a, a place for people to visit, and all the kinds of things that Dubrovnik and Costa Rica and play Del Carmen are also looking to establish themselves.

And whether that same dynamic plays out between Europe and Africa as North America and Latin America. Anyway I think I think we're getting pretty close to wrapping up. Is there anything that, you're looking forward to in the next year in terms of your personal travels somewhere you, you haven't been yet or something that eventually is doing that you wanna promote here?

Mita Carriman: We do have some things in the work for eventually that we, we'll have some announcements coming later this year on that, but, I'll say on a personal level, I am planning to spend some time, I don't know if you know this, but I'm a dual citizen of Grenada Yes. In the Caribbean. And,

Curtis Duggan: I, I remember you reading about something where you're talking to someone in Spain or something about, it's not the old Andalusian Muslim capital of Granada from the Reconquista It's, or the era.

A different place.

Mita Carriman: Yes. Grenada, not Granada. Yeah. Yeah. So even though I got the passport in 2019, I actually haven't personally been back to Grenada since 2005. So I'm personally excited to go to Grenada later this year potentially for Christmas to spend some time there and just reconnect with my culture and.

My own passport country outside of the us so I'm excited for that.

Curtis Duggan: That's awesome. We'll put eventually in the show notes. We'll look forward to seeing if you make any content or produce any content from Grenada. I'm, I know very little about it except some of the history. But I definitely would love to see more about the culture and Qru Caribbean and culture in general.

And there, there's so many places when I think about North America, south Central America, south America, there's still the Caribbean and all these kinds of cultures and places. Especially a lot of the islands. You were the, one of the first. I don't wanna say promoters, but you were one of the first advocates and people talking about this when the Nomad Visas started coming out from Barbados in various places in the Caribbean.

I remember, I think that's when I first knew about you online was when you were talking about this stuff. So we'll look forward to that. And thanks for coming on the call. Thank you for having

Mita Carriman: me, Curtis. Thanks.

Curtis Duggan: It's been great.