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Mathew Zein, Freelance Journalistic Writer, Founder and Chief Editor of "Life in Armenia for Digital Nomad Families."

Mathew Zein

January 16th, 2024

Mathew Zein

Freelance Journalistic Writer, Founder and Chief Editor of "Life in Armenia for Digital Nomad Families."

interviewed by David Garyan


DG: Let’s start from the beginning. While vacationing in Armenia you fell in love with the land and decided to relocate. Which places did you first visit and what were things that attracted you most about the country?

MZ: My wife “Lana” and I fell in love with Yerevan at first sight on our first week in the city. I still remember her words as we strolled down North Avenue in downtown Yerevan: "Could you imagine calling this place home?"

For me, relocation isn't solely about a country's appeal; it also involves tax regulations, residency permits, and banking accessibility. So, I dove into research, consulted experts for advice on local regulations and financial facilities, and discovered that Armenia is a haven for remote workers—shockingly, it just hasn't been discovered by many yet.

The Armenian residency permit rivals international digital nomad visa programs—it simply needs more publicity to reach remote workers worldwide.

But back to your question. We decided to relocate to Yerevan, never anticipating staying this long. It's been seven incredible years, and we're counting. While based in Yerevan, we've regularly ventured out to explore other Armenian cities, spending a few nights before returning to our rented apartment on Abovyan Street.

Beyond the good food, pleasant weather, and joyful people, there's a quality about Armenia that resonated with us: the balance it strikes between social conservatism and freedom, rooted in its unique blend of tradition and modernity. This harmony is what has kept us in Armenia and made us feel it's the perfect place to start a family after years of marriage.

DG: Through your extensive work, you’ve become familiar not only with the overall country, but also the specificities of its regions. Tell us about the experiences you’ve had—how do different places influence the projects you do?

MZ: When I launched "Life in Armenia for Digital Nomad Families" magazine, I aimed to shine a light beyond the capital city to showcase regions resonating with digital nomads. So, I revisited Armenian cities, but this time through the lens of a digital nomad, not a tourist. It's a crucial distinction: tourists sightsee, while nomads work and build lives in a place.

Stepanavan, Vanadzor, Dilijan, Ijevan, and others all cater to digital nomads by offering nature's accessibility alongside global connectivity. In 2023, I was invited to Ijevan to discuss its potential as a tech hub for remote workers, and it quickly grew on me. This year, we're planning a digital nomad program there to attract professionals worldwide and give them a taste of living in Armenia to the fullest.


Armenian regions have the potential to become digital nomad havens. Look at Bansko in Bulgaria; with the right PR, it transformed into a hub in no time, now hosting hundreds from around the globe. Numerous Eastern European towns have followed suit, attracting remote workers with programs tailored to their needs.

Affordability, pristine nature, adventure activities, co-working spaces, mouth-watering food and drinks, and, most importantly, friendly locals—these are all ingredients ripe for brewing Armenian regions into digital nomad hubs.


DG: Would you say your work-life balance is more or less similar to that of other digital nomads in Armenia, or are there perhaps some pronounced differences?

MZ: Finding that work-life balance is critical for anyone, but especially for creatives like me. In my role as a journalistic writer, quality work for my clients hinges on carving out precious time for family and close friends. For some, particularly freelancers, striking this balance can be elusive, leading them down a rabbit hole of endless workoften worse than even the traditional office grind.

The good news? Setting boundaries takes just a bit of initial effort, and the rewards are immense. And here's where Armenia truly shines: Accessible joy year-round; Armenia is like a microcosm on its own.

DG: Let’s talk about Armenian digital nomadism and remote working in general. How far along is the country in terms of development? What are some short-term and long-term targets that need to be met for the scene to attract even more skilled personnel such as yourself?

MZ: The digital nomad scene in Armenia is growing little by little! Co-working spaces are popping up nationwide, and venture cafes are fueling the startup ecosystem and attracting global experts. The internet? Excellent and pretty affordable compared to Europe or the US. No doubt, Armenia's on the right tracksooner or later, it'll be a prime destination for international remote workers.

But, like any promising venture, there's room to grow. Hosting conferences specifically for nomads would be a game-changer, showcasing Armenia's hidden gems for this specific niche. I keep saying it: Armenia has all the ingredients for a world-class nomad hubit just needs targeted publicity to attract them beyond the usual tourist crowd.

Another potential boost? Bridging the gap between remote nomads and local homeowners in remote regions. International platforms are great, but many locals haven't cracked their code. Creating user-friendly online platforms, perhaps even localized, could unlock many rental options for digital nomads.

DG: Digital nomadism and start-up ecosystems are very much branches of the same tree—the former influences the latter; however, the abundance (or lack) of institutions, networks, and investors also plays a large role in determining the level of success remote workers might attain. At this point, do you see Armenia as having essentially as symbiotic relationship between the two (or close to it), and if not, what needs to change?

MZ: Armenia's startup scene has captivated me over the past two years, especially lately. It's not just thriving; it's uniquely welcoming to foreigners like myself, forging a sense of community I haven't encountered elsewhere. But for your specific question, the connection isn't there yet.

Digital nomadism, while steadily rising in Armenia, hasn't reached its full potential. As I mentioned, Armenia possesses all the ingredientsa vibrant ecosystem, stunning nature, and friendly localsit just needs targeted promotion to grab the attention of remote workers worldwide. Once that wave arrives, they'll undoubtedly discover the magic of Armenia's startup scene and immerse themselves in its dynamism.

DG: Let’s transition to life in general. The expat experience isn’t for the faint of heart. More than seven years have passed since you arrived in Armenia. What are the challenges and rewards you expect going forward?

MZ: Now that I have a son, 1.8 years old, we're starting to think as parents and have to start doing many things as parents, from schooling to healthcare. Luckily, we've been here long enough to know our way around; however, having a child is a challenge, especially if you don't speak the language. Neither my wife nor I speak Armenian, and we have always used English with our friends here. However, this year, I made a decision to learn the language, not because I need to but because I want to. I want to be able to understand what my son is experiencing as he starts growing up a bit more in Armenia.

Rising prices in Yerevan and beyond over the past two years have impacted many, including our own lifestyle adjustments. However, these are the only hiccups I foresee on an otherwise fulfilling journey. We've truly embraced life here, so much so that our friends even joke we're "More Armenian than Armenians themselves!"

DG: Apart from your activities as a digital nomad, you’re also the founder and chief editor of the aforementioned magazine, Life in Armenia—it’s a platform that not only promotes Armenia’s talent but also serves as a space to showcase the country. How does the submission process work? Do you seek out the content/individuals you want to feature or can people freely pitch their ideas?

MZ: I started "Life in Armenia" magazine because I wanted to write about things I love, not just work for clients. It's a monthly magazine I launched in January 2023. It's grown a lot—now, over 11,000 people read it, and 70 writers from all over the world have shared their stories about Armenia in over 100 articles!

Each month, I plan the content and ask people who have lived in Armenia, Armenians or not, to write for the magazine. Everyone's happy to share their experiences, which is awesome. Sometimes, people email me with article ideas; if they fit, I'm happy to include them. I don't have strict writing rules because this magazine is for the people, by the people. You just need to love Armenia to contribute!

I choose topics based on questions I get from digital nomads, remote workers, and Armenians living abroad who might want to come back. So, the articles cover things like schools, safety, healthcare, fun things to do, nightlife, banking, laws, taxes, and more.

DG: What advice would you give someone wanting to make the same choice you made more than seven years ago?

MZ: Armenia needs just seven days to cast its spell, and before you know it, you'll be calling it “home away from home.”

DG: If you had to recommend some places and food to someone visiting Armenia for the first time, what would those be?

MZ: Don't make my mistake and get stuck in Yerevan! Embrace Armenia by venturing beyond the city and living in other provinces. Each has its own magic: Tavush with its mouthwatering meat, Lori with its fresh forest air; there's something for everyone.

Skip the international food and dive into local flavors. Trust me, you haven't truly lived in Armenia until you've tried Khash! And ditch the fancy supermarkets- local markets and Gum Market are the real deal, where you'll find treasures and connect with the locals.

Remember, you're not a tourist; you're an Armenian explorer. Embrace the culture, try the food, and soak up the unique vibe. That's how you discover the soul of this country.

Author Bio:

Matthew Zein is a freelance journalistic writer, founder, and chief editor of "Life in Armenia for Digital Nomad Families." He relocated to Armenia with his wife in 2017 after years of traveling and working remotely. He holds a bachelor's degree in information technology engineering and a diploma in English linguistics, and he is currently pursuing a diploma in internet journalism from the London School of Journalism. For more about the venture, visit


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