The German digital nomad who fell in love with Bulgaria
Matthias Zeitler is a location-independent entrepreneur working on a range of exciting projects.
His passion is community building and entrepreneurship. He is a partner at Coworking Bansko, a base for people that rather work together than alone in the amazing Pirin mountains. He is focused on creating a local ecosystem, building a 50-unit Co-living project in Bansko. And after that, he feels confident that there should be a 10,000m2 office park in Bansko to attract (foreign) companies to open an office in a location with zero local demand for office space.
Matthias regularly speaks and mentors at various tech, co-working and startup events. Once a year he organizes Bansko Nomad Fest, a week-long celebration of the location-independent lifestyle.
His academic background is in computer science and he holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, as well as a diploma in engineering from The Polytechnical University of Salzburg.
What % of the time do you work remotely?
I haven’t traveled since the Covid pandemic, but in the past, I would spend traveling 3-6 months every year.
Why not 100%?
I had periods in my life where I traveled pretty much all the time. While this can be fun for a while, having a ‘base camp’ is important for me. It makes me more productive to have some routine in my life and to be surrounded by like-minded friends.
What do you carry in your “remote backpack”?
I travel very light – just a small carry-on-sized backpack. After a while, you realize that you don’t need much stuff, and what’s missing can often be bought locally. I find it useful to bring an HDMI cable and a power bank that can also charge my computer.
What would you definitely leave behind?
Depends on the destination, but less is better.
Which is your Top destination for remote work?
Apart from Bansko, I really like Chiang Mai. However, I have found that my travel patterns changed. I now mostly travel for activities like scuba diving, taking part in adventures like a rickshaw rally or meeting other people at conferences, like Nomad Cruise.
After a while all cities feel more or less alike, so I like to find new experiences and new places. Often it is all about the people that you met in those places.
Anything new that you like to try while being away from the office?
I guess trying van life in the future. One annoyance when traveling fast is the constant search for accommodation and places to be productive. Maybe traveling with a van solves part of this as you can bring your own setup with you.
In your opinion, which are the challenges of working from anywhere?
Find a good productive environment to work from – Internet, comfortable chairs, other creative people around you. Even though there are many coffee shops and more and more co-working spaces, it always takes a while to find the right place in a new city.
What could make Bulgaria a more attractive destination for the digital nomads?
I think that Bulgaria is an amazing place for digital nomads. Most of our members at Coworking Bansko appreciate the 10% flat income tax, the low cost of living, that Bulgaria is in the EU but not in Schengen, the availability of very affordable real estate, the mountains, the climate, that it is easy to reach with low-cost airlines and much more.
Others enjoy the vibrant city life of Sofia or the beaches of Varna.
What is the most important thing in your life?
I strive for freedom and happiness – which I get from the freedom to do whatever I want. I also like to play board games, as this is an easy way to learn something about people.