Ranika follows her dreams: Captivated by Bansko at the Nomad Fest

Jul 17, 2023 No Comments by

Bansko: a quintessential small town in the heart of Bulgaria, It’s roughly 2 hours from the capital Sofia and has slowly captured my heart. 

What’s so special about it? It’s the home of the Pirin mountains and its landscapes are unparalleled to anywhere I’ve seen in Europe. It’s the perfect year round European destination and also happens to be the host to the Bansko Nomad Fest. A celebration of location independent people from around the world. I happen to be one of them. 

Hi, I’m Ranika, I’ve been a digital nomad for the past 3 years and am from San Antonio, Texas. I started my Bansko journey last year, and thought it was so random to head to Bulgaria but I decided let’s go for it! One of the best parts about the nomad lifestyle is not only encountering beautiful places around the world but meeting incredible people with inspiring stories, so I decided on a one way ticket from Cusco, Peru to Bansko, Bulgaria. I decided to stay for 2 weeks. It was my first time at a nomad festival and I was grateful to have company. My friend, Rachael Dyke, came with me from Peru. It’s easy convincing other like minded travelers to do something a little unconventional and travel halfway around the world for a nomad fest. We were surely jetlagged and were both working nights, myself till 2 am to combat the pacific time zone.

The conference was in its 3rd iteration bringing over 500 nomads. I learned so much from the speaker keynotes and got inspired to follow my dreams there. This slowly forged the path to creating Cloud Connections, a digital nomad company focused on cultural festivals and to most recently, parting ways from my corporate job! 

I attended Carnival in Rio back in April of last year and was taken back by the sights and sounds of Samba and Brazilian culture. It wasn’t until the energy and driven people I surrounded myself with at the Bansko nomad fest that I realized there was a way for digital nomads to experience cultural festivals and thus my idea was born. 

I experienced the Bansko charm. From the amazing hot springs to picturesque hikes, I explored the city’s natural delights and could not think of a better place to cultivate my idea into something more. 

I continued my nomad travels invigorated by the impact of Bansko and eventually went back to Carnival in Rio this past February for a soft launch of Cloud Connections where I had 7 seasoned and aspiring nomads come out to an experience of a lifetime. They loved it! My mission is to captivate nomads and immerse them in the culture of the location they set foot in. 

Oftentimes, it’s easy to get swept away into checking off boxes in a city and having a group of nomads to do that with. Immersing in the culture and its people can be overlooked. In Rio, I wanted the people that came with me to understand the Carioca, or local Rio culture. I met a talented samba instructor, Dionisio, to teach the history and dance to us before we went out on a couple nights on the town with him where we took part in the local drinks and even met with /several renowned samba dancers. He’s one of the top samba dancers in the city and performs for the school of Mangueira. 

A little history of carnival in Rio: Samba was invented in the Carioca town, Carioca people are the people of Rio. For carnival, there are 5 main performances and these are competitions for the samba schools, The lower tier schools compete on the first 2 days of carnival with a couple winners performing on the second set of two days along with the elite schools that Dionisio and Mangueria is a part of. There’s then 8 schools selected to perform at the Champion’s parade that closes down the Carnival season. We got to cheer Dionisio as he represented his school and compete for victory! This immersion into the Carioca people is something that I aim to have as Cloud Connections vision of assimilating nomads into the culture. 

We have our next celebration coming up at the end of November for the lantern festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand during November 23-December 2. You better believe it’s going to be immersive of Thai culture and capture your heart as you light a lantern in the sky and let go of all the negativity that no longer serves you. It’ll be focused on wellness with amazing Thai massages and getting close with the Thai monks with a meditation session and yoga along with plenty of other local adventures. 

I just came from the Bansko nomad festival this year which was bigger and more inspiring than the last year. There were over 700 people in attendance with a quarter of these people being from America! From last year of being jet lagged and a bit insecure, I crushed the conference this year by taking the stage and conquering my fears as a keynote speaker and even shared my path of leaving behind my 9-5 and how attendees could too. 

My topic: from hustle to automation: building a personal brand was packed! It was my first time speaking so you can imagine the butterflies were extra fluttery. I conveyed my topic and mentioned the launch of my affiliate program for Cloud Connections and it was so inspiring to see how the crowd resonated with it. 

The connections and confidence I gained from this conference this year has been of paramount value. I’m in a higher mental state and have learned to finally believe in myself and go after my dreams. The charming city of Bansko has captivated me and I can’t be more thankful for the memories and inspiration it gave not just during the conference but afterwards. 

Hey Bansko, I’ll be back next year and can’t wait to see how much growth is possible! To anyone looking to grow and feel at peace, I recommend a visit to Bansko, Bulgaria. Let this small town captivate you as it did to me!

Lance says

Thank you Ranika. Leaving behind the 9-5 is what I did and Bansko inspires others to do the same. The Bansko Nomad Fest provided inspiration and connections to me. It was also super to see that US resident visitors made up the largest single nationality to attend the Bansko Nomad Fest.

Events, Living

About the author

I enjoy tech, apps, entrepreneurship, podcasting and collaboration with others. I love travelling as well as skiing, hiking, MTB, paragliding, cooking and good food.
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