The journey of your favourite vagabond that began in 2009 with my move to London and last saw me move to Malta continues. I am on the move again after I had briefly returned to London for a few weeks. Even more so than previously, I find London unbearably loud, crowded, noisy, dirty, smelly, polluted, stupid and outrageously expensive. It’s high time to leave this hell hole of a city behind me.
After three years living on islands, first Britain and then Malta, I return to the mainland. I want to have the flexibility again of visiting neighbouring countries by spontaneously hopping on a train or a bus; and the insular mentality also showed in both the UK and Malta.
I have decided to remain in Europe for now and for two reasons: As an EU citizen, I don’t need any visa or residence permit to settle in another EU member state. Also, I find it saddening that in the course of my travels I have been to almost all continents of the world, but I still haven’t seen half of Europe. Most of these as yet unvisited countries are in Eastern and Northern Europe.
My choice fell on Lithuania. I will move to Vilnius on 1 July 2012.
I was drawn to Lithuania because I have never been to the Baltic states. Indeed, I have never even been to any of its neighbouring countries. I plan to visit Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia during my stay in the region. And yes, I will have enough time for all of that.
After living in a metropolis and on a barren rock (which had more charm than this description would make you believe), I was longing to return to a green country. Lithuania promises to be just that.
I am looking forward to going hiking, cycling, camping and just walking through endless forests. And I won’t need to miss the water either, both sweet and salty.
Lithuania should also be an interesting country for a history buff like me, both dating back back a millennium and the more recent history of the 20th century. Independent between the two world wars, then first occupied by the Soviet Union, then the German occupation in 1941, before it finally fell back under Soviet rule three years later and only regained freedom in 1990, Lithuania is a perfect case study for the European history of the last century. Under Nazi-occupation, Lithuania, once a major centre of European Judaism, also played an especially grim part in the Holocaust. The Nazis – and quite a few Lithuanian collaborators – murdered almost the entire Jewish population of Lithuania.
Lithuania even has so much sense of history to celebrate my birthday on 6 July as a public holiday. (Still looking for a present? See here.)
So, in two weeks I’ll be sitting here, reading a book and smoking a cigar:
Why don’t you come for a visit?
Wow, you’re very brave to be moving about from here to there to elsewhere. Cool! But…is it easy to do that? I mean…my experience moving from a city to another here in Brazil has been bad enough :P I can’t imagine all the amount of crap that moving to another country would be…sure, sure, it’s all inside the EU…but what do you do with all you furniture, for instance?? And the language….what language do they speak there – most importantly: do YOU speak it??
The trick is not to have much stuff.
When I first left Germany in 2009, I gave away all of my furniture and most of my belongings. I only kept a few clothes, books and a laptop.
Not owning that much is liberating, you are much more flexible.
With the language, you address my main point of concern. Lithuanian doesn’t look or sound easy to me. I hope I will be able to pick up some of it, but I don’t know if I have either the talent or the discipline.
Sorry about the late reply, but I couldn’t help responding. If you are looking to improve your Lithuanian language skills, “Lingua Lituanica” is the best place to do so. Highly professional staff and an awesome learning environment are just a couple of its advantages. (Hope I don’t sound like I was payed to advertise, haha.) But yes, you’re correct, Lithuanian is an ancient and difficult language, and you’d be brave to try and learn it. Best of luck!
have fun and goodluck. hope you won’t have any anonymous phone calls wanting you dead! and don’t forget…no cigars in forests….you might end up burning the last few natural forests in the EU! (you can have a heart attack while smoking and won[‘t have time to put off your cigar)
It will be quite a change to move from one of the most densely populated to one of the least densely populated countries in Europe.
Because of the language difficulty, it probably won’t be as easy as in Malta to weigh in on political debates. Which doesn’t mean I won’t try to.
they even have one in german
Bravo Andreas! I love the adventurous spirit. I don’t know much about Lithuania to be honest, aside from how it relates to Russia. But I do know several really cool Lithuanian people, if that means anything, haha. Can’t wait to hear more about it!
Found this post on G+, I do not know you or what you’re doing/researching.
1. Lithuanian language is one of the oldest and most conservative living Indo-European languages, meaning that it’s hard as hell, but time does it’s job.
2. There are some dangerous places for foreigner, mostly during during the night. So find local friends to help out or warn.
3. Older people speak mostly Russian, younger ones – English.
4. Lithuanian history of middle-ages are also interesting.
If you’ll be in Vilnius feel free to contact me if you need any help. Good luck.
I think it’s brilliant. I’ve “only” moved between Germany and the UK (London, Berkshire, Devon, now Scotland) a few times but am currently seriously considering moving to Italy in due course. Anything that fits into a Landrover would come along (inc dog and cat) – the rest would stay behind. I am going to learn the language first though, seems safer that way. I was talking to someone who just got back to Scotland from living in Thailand for many years. He said he lived like a king out there on considerably less than I make very part time just doing the odd oDesk translation in my spare time at the moment. Talking of which, Andreas, is it just me or has oDesk become weird (as far as the translation projects and their prices are concerned) over the past couple of months? People expecting to pay $ 50 for 20 000 word translations??? Preferably to be completed by yesterday? WTF????
Exactly my thinking: less monthly expenses => less time required to work => higher quality of life.
It’s true, the prices on oDesk are usually very low. I rarely find something good on there. Have you used PeoplePerHour.com? I get much more business through them and the prices are usually higher. – Now don’t you dare to compete against me on bids! :P
Hey, THANKS – I’ll have a look. :) Never heard of “PeoplePerHour” – going to have a look now! I’ll try not to bid against you there but will continue to do so on oDesk :D
It’s the work-life balance that draws me towards Italy. And the weather. And the food. And the people…..
What, are you snatching away all the jobs I am bidding for on oDesk?
Another advantage of Italy is the language. Not too hard to learn, especially if compared to Lithuanian.
“On paper” I should find it easy to learn Italian, having done 8 years of Latin at school…. “In reality” I have downloaded an app onto the iPad. It sits there, along with all the other apps I never use…. but sooner or later it will be winter in Scotland, and if 20 hour nights don’t motivate me I don’t know what will. At the moment we have 21 hour days so taking the dog for long walks in the dunes and on the beaches seems preferable. Are you going to teach yourself Lithuanian, or are you going to a school or are you employing a private tutor? I am half tempted to post a job on oDesk to find a local Italian in the approximate area I want to eventually be to do my preliminary research for me.
I’d offer advice, but it sounds like you’re getting the knack of this just fine on your own. I loved the year I moved to Beirut–and yes, even more so when skeptics declared “No one moves to Beirut for fun!” Looking forward to hearing of your adventures!
That is of course even more adventurous, respect! I am also looking forward already to my future moves out of Europe.
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Congratulations on moving to Lithuania. I sympathize with you on learning the language. I’ve traveled several times to Belarus and Ukraine and it has been difficult to learn much Russian.
I’ve known several people who have gone to the three Baltic republics and they all say there are so many beautiful women there.
Lithuanian is a hard language to learn. However, it’s possible. I know it from my own experience. However, I lived in LT for quite a long time, which helped :o). LT food is amazing, I am missing it now, after moving to New Zealand.
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“As an EU citizen, I don’t need any visa or residence permit to settle in another EU member state”
Completely wrong I am afraid.
If you tried to live in Estonia, which doesn’t even claim to observe half of EU laws, you would be arrested if they could prove you had lived there without a residence permit for more than 6 months, then thrown out of the country.
I dunno what that proves, as part of Schengen you could walk straight back over the border in Valka within minutes.
For a country that is within Schengen and not an island, that really doesn’t make much sense. Even in the UK, I had no problem after living there without any residence permit or residence card for 2 years. I was even registered to vote.
I wish more people would move around to show the absurdity of borders and the concept of nations.
Your exactly right, i wish americans would think like that
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Oh so green. You’ve just added another item on my to-visit list. But I’d get a map first :P
This reminds me of the saying ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’. In this case, it really is.
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Hey Andreas, I really enjoyed this–especially your description of London :) As a history buff myself, I’ve been considering doing something similar in terms of travel and freelancing in Europe. Not sure if you’ll see this, but I’m curious how you travel about in the cities you stay in. Do you just use public transportation, rent a car or moped, etc?
I’ve thought about shipping a car for my potential adventure (I’m in the US) and the cost seems pretty prohibitive. Based on what I can find from companies like this https://www.a1autotransport.com/ship-car-to-lithuania.php there’s also a lot of paperwork involved and I’m not sure if it’s worth it in terms of time or money. Still, I’d like to be able to travel around on my own. Am I crazy for trying to bring a car into Europe and travel around this way?
I like public transport or walking or cycling.
But if you want a car, don’t ship one! You’ll easily find a cheap car here for a few hundred bucks.
Kind of figured based on what I found …. thanks for advice.
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