coder´s delight

Around the world from from Barcelona to Bali, Cambodia and Cyprus – Zentered’s Patrick Heneise uses e-Residency to code from anywhere

E-Residency has helped Patrick Heneise code from anywhere and grow his business while traveling around the world
E-Residency has helped Patrick Heneise grow his business while traveling around the world

This story begins like all great stories, with a motorcycle trip into the mountains. Patrick Heneise and his pal embarked on a 4,000-kilometer-trek that began in Barcelona and ended in Slovenia, where they planned to attend a music festival. The journey winded through exhilarating alpine passes and romantic mountain villages on the way east. With no planned route, they rode day and night, stopping at cafés, restaurants, and hotels whenever they wanted. Patrick took advantage of the fact you can code from anywhere and worked from his laptop along the way. To his surprise, even though it was scheduled as time off, he got a lot more work done than expected and it all went quite smoothly.

“Before the trip I was set on the idea of settling down,” he recalled of the experience. “While riding, I had one of those light bulb moments when I realized I didn’t need an office and a home, and I could be wherever I wanted.”

Patrick then made a decision to depart from his software agency in Barcelona and set up a new remote software engineering and consulting firm, which led him almost immediately to apply for Estonian e-Residency. Within weeks, he had applied, traveled to Madrid to pick up his identity card, and registered his own Estonian firm.

“I needed to set up a new company quickly and Estonia was the perfect fit,” said Patrick. “These days it takes 15 minutes to register a company. Back in 2017 it took about two days.” He was able to not only register his new firm, called Zentered, in Estonia, but also to electronically sign contracts with contractors and clients to continue business operations. Patrick noted that:

“Not a single sheet of paper was needed. It was super easy.”

Upon returning from his epic journey to Slovenia, Patrick told his wife about his thoughts of “going nomad”. It didn’t take much convincing. “We left Barcelona within two months.”

Their first destination was Bali and an Indonesian archipelago immediately east, called the Gili Islands. The travel bug took them to other places too. Patrick continued his code from anywhere experiment and ran Zentered from Cambodia and Thailand, before moving on to Cyprus, where they set up a small base in Europe.

All the while, he grew Zentered with a team of contractors. The company specializes in Cloud Native web solutions, software consulting and development. Occasionally they help with outsourcing, recruiting and training.

“We have a good reputation, especially in Silicon Valley,” said Patrick. “A lot of tech companies know us and we are getting good recommendations.”

Computers have always fascinated Patrick, who grew up in Germany. He started programming on an i386 microprocessor in the early 1990s, and by the mid-1990s was creating websites for friends, compiling mix CDs and hacking on Linux systems. “Everything was new and fascinating,” said Patrick. “It was a lot of fun.”

In secondary school, he started to learn BASIC and then picked up other programming languages. Before finishing school he started teaching web development classes. He studied computer science and founded a company already as a university student, where he gave online lectures on software development. Later, Patrick found himself in Barcelona, where he worked for half a decade before he embarked on his new life as a digital code from anywhere nomad, equipped with his Estonian e-Residency digital ID card.

But even being able to work from anywhere has its complexities. Finding the right time of the day to synchronize with the team and clients, figuring out flights, hotels, visa and immigration issues, and other problems can pile up on top of day-to-day work.

“For me, it was a mind-blowing idea I never thought I could do: to become a digital nomad, and an e-resident,” said Patrick,

“There are many challenges, but so much life to enjoy, when you have the whole world for your choosing.”

“Although, it is easy to get caught up in trying to find the perfect city, the perfect area,” he noted. “That was definitely an important lesson for us. We’re traveling at a much slower pace these days.

Travel also of course has its perks. “The way traveling opens your mind up to different peoples and cultures, new experiences and the sheer beauty of this planet keeps us moving,” he added. The flexibility allows you to be where you’re treated best and where you enjoy it the most,” said Patrick. “If you want, you can follow summer all year round.”

Learn the benefits of e-Residency for European digital nomads:

Patrick eventually went to Estonia in person, months before the pandemic hit, to attend the annual Latitude59 startup conference in Tallinn. “Having run the company for such a long time, and having had this amazing digital experience I was obviously passionate to see what Estonia looked like,” Patrick said.

As for the future, Patrick anticipates continuing to travel at a moderate pace. “I do want to visit 40 countries before I turn 40 next year,” he said. “So far I am at 38, with Latvia and Lithuania being recent additions, but I am sure I will make it to 40 by that time.”

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