The start of the year brought an array of interesting people into my social life. Some of them I knew from before, but a large chunk of that group were fresh, new faces I have just met.
Tommy is a Japanese guy, very much into the AI. Mircea is a Romanian, doing something over the computer for an American company (an excellent explanation, if I say so myself), while Kendal the American is playing with his drones the entire day (another brilliant explanation).
Phillipa is from Australia, she is an editor and screenplay adaptations professional who turns books into movies and then pitches the ideas to production houses. Britney is an American and a consultant and arrived to Mokrin with John, a British Indonesian who is a videographer (today I actually have a clue of what a videographer does).
Cedric, an American I knew from before, I met again and had a really good catch-up chat. He is still very much into blockchain and crypto currencies, which essentially means we talked about everything else because what he does is still something that I don’t know very much about – to put this mildly.
Welsh guy Louis runs a YouTube channel, Sarah is from Morocco and is into promoting and development of social entrepreneurship in the North Africa and the Middle East.
Luca is an old friend; we see each other on a regular basis. This Italian Canadian who shares his time between London and Switzerland with occasional visits to Italy is a photographer and due to the nature of his work is constantly travelling. Speaking of Luca, I have to mention Aneta as well. She is a political science major and an entrepreneur, co-founder of an independent Belgrade theatrical production company “Reflektor Theater” that is shifting the spotlight onto sensitive social issues through engaging theatrical performances and is currently a Chevening scholar studying in London.
Pleasure is truly mine whenever I get a chance to sit down and have a conversation with Habib, a German with Montenegrin roots living in Berlin. These talks somehow always end up with me being mentally disassembled, span around and put together anew – a change I am always grateful for. The most recent conversation we had, was no exception to this rule. This was probably why he immediately clicked with Boris, a Croatian guy from Split that now resides in Zagreb whom I introduced to him last year. His business venture and himself will be the talk of the town very soon. Boris was also one of the people I spent some amazing time with in the past few months.
It is also very interesting listening to Uroš, a Belgradian who graduated with an LLM degree from Cambridge, after studying in Belgrade, Paris and the Hague who told me all about the reasons why he decided to leave his academic career at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Law and focus full time to his foodie touring startup Gastro Balkan. The same goes for Nataša, who most certainly makes the best pastries ever, combining the expertise of a top graduate from the infamous “Le Cordon Bleu” from Paris and specialty skills of an artisanal chocolatier educated in Belgium with authentic, one-of-a-kind creativity, while feeling that her heavenly delicacies are nothing special and quite ordinary. Lenka, a 25-year-old marketing manager and a Novi Sad native on a temporary work visit to Belgrade is also a person I enjoy talking to and receiving advice from – especially when I have to unfurl some serious life dilemmas.
The list of fascinating and interesting conversationalists doesn’t really end here – many will remain unnamed due to length restrictions of a blog post. You would think that these are the people that I met travelling around the world, but you would be wrong; I only ever came to Mokrin, a village in the north of Banat, sitting squarely on a cross-road between Serbia, Romania and Hungary. And all of these people were there already, coming and going. Some visited for a week or two, some longer than a month, while others popped-in for a brief moment. Some are there as we speak, while some others are still figuring the real duration of their stay.
A decade ago when I accepted a proposal by a young group of architects called “Autori” to rebuild a country estate in Mokrin in a modern way and turn it into an urban center in a rural environment I had no idea that “Mokrin House” will become what it is today. The global digital nomad movement started only a handful of years ago, spearheaded by freelancers who could work remotely and who utilized that to blend the passion of travel with a career. And a part of that cohort discovered Mokrin House and started visiting.
I consider it a privilege to be exposed to such a bunch of spirited individuals nowadays, something that, aside from all the obvious pros, allows me to identify certain trends I read and write about. And also, to try to comprehend and accept in an experience-beginner fashion that a generation gap exists, for real (insert a smiley emoji here).
But let’s leave aside the dilemmas and topics that consume me. The reason why this story came to be was to showcase another example of the consequences stemming from the IT revolution. It would be hard to imagine Mokrin House as a viable project only a few years prior to its start date. What trends made it possible in a three-bullet list are as follows:
- First, numbers of jobs that can be done remotely is increasing. The trend is on an upward curve, which means that the number of people who will want to work remotely while travelling will also increase;
- Second, the access to the internet as a global information network is nowadays practically a given, with capacities for data transfer and communication increasing exponentially. We are a step away from including a right to internet access as one of fundamental human rights;
- Third, the change in the media infrastructure used nowadays for communication has ensured that every individual with a smartphone has become a media channel.
From the Mokrin House project perspective, the first of the trends enabled creation of the relevant market, while the second trend kept the expansion of the market offers, as more and more locations started becoming available to provide services that the users required. Finally, the third trend enables relevant marketing communication through the “happy customer testimonials”, a classic direct marketing and TV sales stint.
This last trend was actually the key to success for Mokrin House as a digital nomad destination. This makes sense, as Mokrin House needs not to be something that everyone knows of. This is because the information is relevant for a particular circle, where appropriate experiences are shared among like-minded individuals who can connect and network within the infinite internet galaxy. As Seth Godin would say: “People like us do things like this!”
Roundabout two years ago, Mokrin House welcomed Sam, an English guy who also meddles with computers and works remotely. Digital nomadism was a way of life for Sam, so he travelled the world corner to corner. During one of our chats under the walnut tree, I asked him if he has plans to return to England. He gave me one of those “no-idea-what-you-are-talking-about” looks and asked: “England?” I tried to be more precise and asked: “When are you going back home?” He just simply replied: “I am a Mokriner, this is my home now.” At the time the words didn’t strike a chord properly, but now they ring true, because today I know that what Sam meant was: “I am a citizen of the world”.