During the last 15 years, I have lived in 6 different countries, often in amazing places like Munich, London, St. Petersburg, Salzburg and the Silicon Valley. And I traveled to at least 35 more countries to explore what the world has to offer.
But now some of my friends are wondering why I moved to a Bansko, a small mountain village in Bulgaria, of all places and I will share with you how I decided that Bansko is the best base for a location independent entrepreneur.
Can I work from anywhere? Yes, I can work wherever I travel, however long-term residency is different. I need to register my business, like an office, have real health insurance, store my stuff somewhere and don’t like to travel all the time. So a base is required and for me the following factors are important, let’s see how Bansko stacks up:
Visa / Residency / Legal:
Bulgaria is part of the EU, so no problem for EU citizens to reside here. And as part of the EU, running a business is totally above board, compared to a lot of nomad solutions like “perpetual traveler” or “flag theory”
Even though there are not a lot of local funds and grants, startups have access to a lot of European funding opportunities. This wasn’t a major aspect for me as my business OpenStrom is an Austrian company, but in the future I might want to explore funding for other ventures.
10% flat income tax (business & private) and capped social security contribution at max. €260 per month seem like a fair proposal to me. The infrastructure is a little bit less developed than in other European countries and you shouldn’t expect lots of social services, but more money in your pocket means more freedom.
Cost of living:
Compared to my last place of residence, Salzburg, everything here is about half of what I payed in Salzburg. With €500 you can live easily in Bansko, a €1000 gives you a very comfortable life style. A lunch menu starts at €2 and even in a more upscale restaurant I rarely spend more than €20 for dinner including drinks.
Apartments are available from €100 per month and you can even buy one starting around €10,000
Sofia is a 2 hour drive away and a major destination for Ryanair and Wizzair with lots of cheap flights throughout Europe starting from €10. Also Etihad has a lot of good deals towards SE Asia.
Bansko is very close to Greece, Turkey, Macedonia and other Balkan countries, so a good base for road trips. And honestly, I have barely covered the Balkan in past travels, so I am looking forward to learn more about this interesting region.
Coworking Space / Community: Matthias E Zeitler