Dragos is one of Romania’s leading internet and technology entrepreneurs. He currently spends most of his year in Bucharest whilst gradually building a new life in his chosen, new home of New Zealand. Read about his life and future aims below.
1. Where are you from originally?
I’m from Romania, a small town near the mountains, called Ramnicu-Valcea.
2. Where do you live now?
In Bucharest, 10 months / year, while I’m trying to spend 2 months in New Zealand.
3. What first attracted you to your new home? Did you try anywhere else on the way? Did you move for work or for lifestyle?
I loved the fact that is so remote in New Zealand. I intended to move for lifestyle and I am still very motivated to do so. Still have some personal stuff to solve for the next 2-3 years, but after that I definitely see myself as a part-time kiwi (at least).
4. What kind of property do you live in now? Will you stay here? What’s your ideal place to live in within your new country?
I live in a rented apartment downtown Bucharest. If you want to get the most of this city, having an apartment downtown is ideal. Prices are reasonably low (the economical crisis has some advantages, too) and public transportation is good. There are options for renting a cheap house in the suburbs but the infrastructure is still poor and public transportation is virtually inexistent, you will need a car if you want this type of lifestyle.
5. Are you speaking a new language? If so, how did you learn?
I speak English, I learned by myself, by reading online blogs and watching movies (we use subtitle in Romania for translation, so we can still hear the original score).
6. What do you do for a living? Where do you physically work from? Do you work with clients/customers back in your home country or your new one?
I have an online blog at http://dragosroua.com and I grew an ecosystem of products around it. I have written and published 6 ebooks, I have a few iPhone apps and I aso do business consulting. I’m shareholder in a few ventures, and in one of them I also have an active role, as it’s the case for WPSumo (http://wpsumo.com). The vast majority of clients for the products I created are English speaking, while for the consulting I still have mainly local (Romanian clients).
7. Do you work online? If so, what is the internet connectivity like? What software do you commonly use on day to day basis? What would be your top tip for online working from your new country?
I work only online and from coffee shops. As a digital nomad, I don’t use traditional offices. I code iOS apps in XCode, I write in MacJournal and I code PHP using Coda. I browse using Mozilla. The top tip is to always have an internet stick handy: Wi-Fi is usually extremely well, but sometimes you can get kicked out. Internet coverage is very good in Romania.
8. Are you paid in your new home currency or in pounds/dollars/euros? Do you exchange money often? If so, what service do you use?
I’m paid in both USD/EUR and local currency. When I have to exchange money I usually use online banking and do the conversion at my bank rate.
9. Do you have children? If so, how did they adapt to the move? How are their schools? Are they bi-lingual? Are their good future career opportunities within your new country?
I have two kids but I’m only close to the younger one, a girl. She is bi-lingual and I intend to open a path for her in New Zealand soon.
10. Did you bring any pets with you? Or leave any behind? How did this work out?
11. Is your life better than it was before? If so, how?
Best decision I took in ages. By leaving the role of a general manager of my own company, and becoming a digital nomad, my life shifted dramatically. I’m more balanced, more flexible, able to learn and experience new things faster. I also provide more value.
12. What are the best things about living in your new country? Has the move been good for the whole family?
Living in Romania as a digital nomad certainly has a few advantages. The country is relatively stable (from a political point of view), the Internet coverage is very good and there is big geographical diversity: you can go to the seaside, to mountains, do rafting, whatever you want. Romania is a member of EU, which means there is a certain degree of transparency and protection if you’re a foreigner. Almost everybody speaks (fluent) English. Food is diverse, wine excellent and it’s still cheaper than UK, for instance.
13. What are the most challenging things about moving to and living in your new country?
If we’re talking about New Zealand, the most challenging thing is to manage the relationship with my little daughter. I’m still trying to find a way for this one.
14. Are you here for good? If so, why? If no , why not?
I don’t plan to become a full time Kiwi, mostly 6 months per year there and 6 months per year in Romania (or traveling elsewhere).
15. Any partings word to people thinking of moving to your country?
If it’s about Romania, don’t take everything serious, because almost nobody takes it serious here. If it’s about New Zealand, prepare for awesomeness.
“Dragos created from scratch an online publishing company at the end of 90’s, financing it by the use of the three F: “family, friends and fools”. 10 years later he did a successful exit and decided to go entrepreneurial on other continents too. He owns a company in New Zealand and he shares his time between Romania and the other side of the world, considering himself a “digital nomad”.
When he doesn’t write code for the projects in which he’s involved, he writes about entrepreneurship, personal development and motivation on his blog (dragosroua.com). He wrote and self-published 6 self-improvement books, 2 of them being recently translated into Korean.
He’s a founding member of the Venture Connect board and a constant presence of the tech-entrepreneur landscape in Romania. He thinks his only two qualities are curiosity and stubbornness, qualities he finds compulsory for any entrepreneur.”