Ex-pat, Digital Nomad, Local…What Am I?

Marijana Čuvalo
2 min readAug 25, 2023


Over the last 10 months, I’ve been navigating an identity issue. One I’ve never had to navigate before. Nothing serious but interesting enough to make note of, at least here.

Am I an ex-pat? Am I a digital nomad? Am I a local?

I will just skim through these parts to keep things simple — this is not a thesis, just some musings.

I could be an ex-pat; I am a person who is not living in my native country.

I could be a digital nomad; a digital nomad is a person who earns a living working online in various locations of their choosing.

Over the last ten months, I have worked remotely in Croatia, Spain, and Bosna Hercegovina. Ideally, I would like to spend more time working in other European countries. Because why not?

I could be a local. I mean, I will never be a Makaranka. Those people were born here. But I do live in Makarska, and it has become home.

Since moving to Croatia, I have connected with ex-pats, digital nomads, locals, and tourists.

Each connection has been lovely, and each encounter has given me food for thought.

I wonder: Where do I fit in? Who are my people? Must I assign myself to one group? Can I have it all? (Yes, being dramatic here).

And have I figured it out?


Is it worth figuring out?

Probably not.

It might be interesting to do a deep dive into identity. Not necessarily mine, but identity in general. Maybe in another post. But that could turn into a thesis…

For now, what I do now is this:

I’m just a girl standing in front of…

Yeah, I went there. Cheesy 90’s rom-com reference. Mea culpa.

In all seriousness, for now, what I do now is that I made a not-so-bold decision to move to Croatia in December 2021.

Some days I feel like an ex-pat, others a digital nomad, and on rare occasions, I feel like a local. And for some reason, I smile the most when I feel like a local.


Originally published at https://www.marijanacuvalo.com on October 16, 2023.



Marijana Čuvalo

Canadian Croatian living in Croatia/Writing about My Adriatic Adventure/ Read more about my adventures here: https://www.marijanacuvalo.com/