When Things Go Bad, Become a Digital Nomad!

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I’ve decided, against all odds and common sense: this year we’ll give it try and test the waters to see how being a digital nomad feels like. We’ll start, sometime in August this year, to live for at least a couple of months in a different country here in Europe. Experience a new culture, see new people and places, stay away from home and see if this is really the thing that I actually want. Because I always said that I dream of becoming a digital nomad.

Why do I say that we’re taking this action “against all odds and common sense”? Well, if you’re a Romania Experience regular, you know it already: 2014 hasn’t been the best year so far and in early February I’ve been hit with a 50% drop in income and right now I am not earning anything close to the sum I consider to be enough for my family and I to live in a different European country. And even though the personal finance freak inside is yelling at me to stop, I want to jump head first into this and do it. First, because it’s a dream of mine and it’s better to make it happen sooner rather than later. And second, because I truly believe that with the temporary change of country, we’ll get a change of luck too and things will get better. I just feel that I need to stay away for a while from the place I call home right now and allow all the negative energy that built up around me dissipate.

So yes, we’ll do it! I will finally become a digital nomad (if nothing else goes terribly wrong, of course!)

It all started with me asking my wife: what if, instead of renting over the winter, we’ll go some country where it’s actually hot during the winter? We were pretty much set on doing that too, but then I had a change of heart: there are no places in Europe where winter is all “weather for going to the beach” anyway and the few places that are still generally sunny and nice, are flooded by people coming from the Northern countries for the same reasons. Read: “coming from the richer Northern countries”, resulting in increased costs because, apparently, everybody hates winter. Plus, as an European citizen I am only allowed to spend three months no questions asked in any European country and going for just three extra months would be too much of a hassle bureaucracy-wise and we might not even qualify for this with our low income.

So, then, why not experience some genuine nice weather during the summer/fall and rent over the winter in Romania as initially planned? So we’ll leave sometime in August for at least 2 months (and we’d extend that to three if it’s something we really want to do)! Yay!

But where to go on a budget in Europe without digging too deep into our economies? We found a few options:

Greece. A nice country that we’ve visited before, with very low prices. However, it’s not the most stable country in Europe and none of us speaks or reads any Greek.


Italy. Close and generally sunny, with a language that many say is “just like Romanian”. We know it’s not. Plus, Italians are said to be a bit unfriendly towards Romanians based on some bad reputation brought upon the entire nation by some of our nationals that indeed went there to steal and live off social help. Also, Italy would be the most expensive country on our list.
Portugal. I actually have some friends living in Portugal, willing to help and the cost of living there is really low. We don’t speak their language, though and they are way over 4 hours away from us, a flight that might be too long for Baby Romanian.
And our winner was Spain. I’ve learned Spanish (or, better said, I should’ve learned) in high school so I know the basics and the country is absolutely beautiful. Slightly more expensive that Greece and Portugal, but doable. It’s still pretty far from Romania, but it’s the best option.

Or so we thought until my attention was drawn to a tiny little country in Europe that’s just 2 hours away from Bucharest and has a similar cost of living: Malta. I’ve discovered this country thanks to kemkem over at Next Bite of Life and got to love it more and more as days passed by and I read more. With a size slightly bigger than our capital city, Bucharest and with 5 times less people living there, Malta seems to have everything we want: great weather, decent prices, beaches and water views all over the place… plus, their second official language in English, so we might do better than in any country language-wise.

The charming Malta
The charming Malta

So yes, I am extremely excited about this and we’re just starting to plan this out and we hope that it will work at least as good as I hope it will! I will certainly have more on this as soon as we start planning more, from April onwards because next week we have another important milestone in our lives: our son’s Christening party!

18 COMMENTS

  1. Hello “C”: I guess your trip to Venus is off, then? I’ve heard good things about Malta, too. It’s a lot easier for you as an “EU’er” to travel around. You don’t know how lucky you are! Naturally, I am envious. I am sure wife and toddler Romanian will enjoy the change of venue. You’ll be there for 3 months, or so? I am confused, though. Wouldn’t you want to go to sunny Malta when Romania is cold (winter)? In the US we call those folks, “snowbirds.” They fly to sunny Florida when it’s cold up north (winter), then return when the weather up north is nicer. Just curious and confused, I guess. Take care, ~Teil (USA)

    • Yes, Teil. Probably we’ll skip Venus this year 🙂 And we’ll go for an initial of two months and if all goes well, we’ll spend one extra month. I heard that Malta is rainy and windy during the winter and we’d like to get some nice weather, so that’s why we go slightly earlier 🙂

  2. I am just seeing this, and l say YEAH!!!!!!! Awesome! Absolutely awesome. First l was excited when l saw the boats in the picture..thenl l was puzzled when l saw that Spain won , then l was excited again when l saw Malta!!! I think you would like it here, plus you can go to the beach and get in the water till October , even November. Anything l can do on my end, l will be glad to. Thanks for the mention, and l am excited for you!!! So cool!!!!

  3. Good on you for doubling down, C! Fortune favors the bold, and I think your family will reap the rewards for making the move. This isn’t scientific at all, but each time I’ve moved to a new city, I did so without any job prospects, but my income increased dramatically when I did so. I’m hoping to move again soon, just to test the theory.

    I think there’s something about a new environment and the fear of financial failure that motivates us to work harder, think differently, and hustle…then we look up and things are better.

    Best of luck!

    • Thank you so much for your words! Indeed, I hope it to be something like that. Maybe it’s the air, maybe it’s just the feeling of a “new beginning”… Who knows? But it certainly has to be tried out!

  4. That seems pretty awesome. I would love to try out different countries over the summer. Actually, this would be he best time to do that.
    Good luck with your move.

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