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Something is missing but I don't know what

Paul David

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As the title of the post suggests I'm struggling at the moment with a hole in my life.

Although I'm not financially wealthy by any means my family is relatively comfortable however my Wife works and I still work on growing my company. I can do whatever I want each day so I have freedom in that sense but it's not enough.

I have two young children so our lifestyle is reminiscent of most families in that situation. School runs, living for weekends etc.

My frustration stems I suppose from our location. We live in Liverpool, UK and although it's a relatively vibrant city the weather is dreadful. I absolutely detest the winters and I've im honest the summers are not much better. Might get two barbecue weekends a year.

I really love to travel but the most holidays we can afford outside of school term is usually 3-4 weeks worth.

Living here I can't think of anything I'd like to do of a weekend than drink or eat in restaurants etc. It's usually raining or something so spending much time outdoors is nothing to get excited about for me. If I had more money I still couldn't think of anything I'd like to do living here which worries me.

For a long time I've been excited of moving abroad to a better climate. Maybe Spain. That would mean uprooting us all away from friends and family. A somewhat scary thought. I'm currently working to generate enough money to spend every school holiday out of the country in a sunnier climate. That will cost £20,000 a year however and its only around 10 out the 52 weeks in a year.

My business is 100% online and I've got 3 staff. I generally work from home most of the week so I very rarely meet anybody.

Another side of me thinks is it something else that's missing rather than the location. If we all moved to a new country would that fill the void?

Is there such a place where I would just be happy waking up?



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HugoMoreno

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Double down on what works..if hotter climates work to make you feel better then make the push to move

Experiment to see which things make you happy on your day to day living and when you find
things that work...do more of "that"
 

SparksCW

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I feel very similar, I'm in the UK too (south). Wife and one child under 2. I have an online business that keeps me free, and work for the family business which keeps me tied. The weather must be a bit better down here as the summers aren't too bad!

I'm working to be "financially free" so I can "do whatever I want" but to be honest I'm not sure what I'd actually do! I think I'd need a serious amount of money before I'd fully give up working.

Could I take my family half way around the world to live? no probably not (the wife wouldn't have it!).

I think you need to work on more holidays, and go find things to do, there is plenty of good things to do in the UK if you have money and look for it. Indoor and outdoor.
 

MJ DeMarco

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As the title of the post suggests I'm struggling at the moment with a hole in my life.

Although I'm not financially wealthy by any means my family is relatively comfortable however my Wife works and I still work on growing my company. I can do whatever I want each day so I have freedom in that sense but it's not enough.

I have two young children so our lifestyle is reminiscent of most families in that situation. School runs, living for weekends etc.

My frustration stems I suppose from our location. We live in Liverpool, UK and although it's a relatively vibrant city the weather is dreadful. I absolutely detest the winters and I've im honest the summers are not much better. Might get two barbecue weekends a year.

I really love to travel but the most holidays we can afford outside of school term is usually 3-4 weeks worth.

Living here I can't think of anything I'd like to do of a weekend than drink or eat in restaurants etc. It's usually raining or something so spending much time outdoors is nothing to get excited about for me. If I had more money I still couldn't think of anything I'd like to do living here which worries me.

For a long time I've been excited of moving abroad to a better climate. Maybe Spain. That would mean uprooting us all away from friends and family. A somewhat scary thought. I'm currently working to generate enough money to spend every school holiday out of the country in a sunnier climate. That will cost £20,000 a year however and its only around 10 out the 52 weeks in a year.

My business is 100% online and I've got 3 staff. I generally work from home most of the week so I very rarely meet anybody.

If we all moved to a new country would that fill the void?

Is there such a place where I would just be happy waking up?

I feel your pain. The location shift was the best thing I ever did in my life. I can't tell you how things are so much better knowing that 95% of my days will be greeted by bright sunshine and warm weather, sometimes sweltering, which I've come to love. If you've identified your location as an obstacle, it might be your "motivational Lambo" to work for a change. Just the idea of not being able to BBQ might seem trivial, but that's the kind of stuff you can't put a price on.

What's your Lambo?
https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/whats-your-lambo-what-are-you-working-for.65876/

For you, it sounds like a move to brighter days.

Another side of me thinks is it something else that's missing rather than the location.

You might want to meditate on this. Go to a quiet place, alone. Picture yourself already in the location and moved in. Can you still feel that element that is lacking? This tiny little thing might be worth identifying before making any major decisions.

Good luck. :)
 
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Paul David

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Thanks for the responses everyone. I had a discussion with my Wife about this last night and we've decided that the first step either way is to ensure my business generates enough income for both of us and we've cleared a couple of loans we're current paying off. That's my 'Lambo' as @MJ DeMarco described in the post above.

In the meantime i think i also need to take @SparksCW & @HugoMoreno advice and look at other ways to spend days/weekends when not working. Holiday wise we already have at least abroad a year as a family and usually a weekend in Spain with friends. That's the current limit!
 

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Holiday wise we already have at least abroad a year as a family and usually a weekend in Spain with friends. That's the current limit!

(Also in the UK) Next time you're in Spain, find out where the local ex-pats hang out and spend some time meeting and chatting to some British ex-pats there, particularly those with kids of school age. Find out what they love and hate, play with the idea of joining them?
 
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arukomp

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I'm living in Manchester, UK. Spent the last two and a half years here.
Before that, I spent two years in Liverpool!

Not much is different in Manchester, the weather can be dreadful most of the days. Even now, as I'm writing this post, there's no sign of sun, it's all cloudy, rainy and moody.

That's why I've got a few trips abroad planned for the next couple of months. My goal is to explore the world and see where I fit best, where I feel the happiest, and then set it my goal to move my life over there.

I've been to Stockholm, a few of U.S. cities, Amsterdam, and so far they all seemed like much more lively places to be! I don't know why, maybe because it's just different, refreshing. Maybe because it's not England. Maybe I was just lucky to have visited those places on great, sunny days!

Nevertheless, I think you should travel for a while before actually committing to move all of your family abroad. Test the waters, as they say. Go for a weekend in Spain, talk to the people there. Go to other countries as well. It's best if you can bring your whole family on the trip. That way they'll get super excited too about this opportunity and might support your choice to move.

I found that it's not too expensive to travel around Europe, and I'm sure there are TONS of great places there. So just explore and see where you feel best!
 

IGP

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Go to Spain for a month to work and not vacation. Take the family and see how it goes. See if that fills the void.

It's amazing the impact your environment can have on you. Do it now before your kids get older, as it will only get harder once they establish roots as well.
 

tigerscent

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I think you've hit on an interesting point here:

Another side of me thinks is it something else that's missing rather than the location. If we all moved to a new country would that fill the void?

I can share my perspective, having lived in the UK for most of my life, but recently returned from a long stint in Singapore. There were many fabulous things about living in Singapore and certainly, having wall to wall sunshine most days was a vast improvement on the terrible British weather! However, you're right, location is not a sticking plaster for any other areas of dissatisfaction in life, so it's worth giving some thought to what those areas might be.

Once we had kids, it put a different spin on things being so far from home. The long flight and the jet-lag were horrible; we just stopped doing long-haul travel as it was too painful. Also, not having family nearby for support - if you need a babysitter etc. (although we were very lucky to have a live-in helper in Singapore and I'm really missing that now!). Putting it into perspective though, Spain is only spitting distance from the UK and you can probably fly back quicker than most people commute to work in the morning.

One danger is looking at things with your "tourist sunglasses" on - living in a place is not the same as going on holiday there. From major differences (in my experience, the job market and setting up a business were quite different to the UK) to minor niggles (trying to buy decent bread in the supermarket, I kid you not!), you can expect to go through culture shock - and be aware that your kids will feel it even more than you do. So as OP have said, test the waters and try to get as much info from other expats as possible.

Ultimately you're right though - income gives you options. Power to decide. You could spend all or just part of the year overseas. In Singapore I met someone who travelled the world, living in different countries for a few weeks at a time while running an online jewellery business. Hell, why not!
 

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I stumbled into an idea I've been playing with recently, suggested in multiple books I've read but funny enough is always a side mention and rarely actually discussed in the productivity articles and communities like this.

The idea is no more complicated than adding novelty to your life.

Basically it goes like this: most people's lives are 'day in, day out', 'same old, same old' ad nauseam. You may be psychically well rested and getting 9 hours of sleep a night but your brain is bored to hell and metaphorically becoming a useless pile of mush. To keep it interested and operating at it's best you should go try to experience something completely new and novel to your life. Give your brain something it's never chewed on before.

I've noticed that whenever I do something so completely outside of my daily routine it causes me to feel hyper productive and focused in a relatively lasting way. Like when I joined the gym for the first time ever. New sights, new sounds, new people, new environment, new muscles being worked I never knew I had, new soreness, learning new exercise techniques and form and starting to think about diet and health, etc... just this one action (the gym) sent my brain into novelty overdrive and flooded my system with "new". When I went back to work on my boring grind it felt less boring. I felt more creative. I felt better about my situation and life and started seeing things from new angles.

Or the time I started waking up at 5am on purpose (Thank you "Miracle Morning", you've been one of the most useful books in my life to date). I still do this every day but it's another opportunity to read a new book, or meditate, or actually enjoy my coffee (when was the last time you sat down in quiet and thought about the taste of a damn good coffee you are drinking? It's awesome). Again - my brain gets a new perspective on life, new experiences, new books, new thoughts, peace and quiet that was sorely missing from my life, time to think, etc...

My plan for this entire year, and my wife is happily on board with this, is to not only have more date nights, but to make sure every date night is a new experience. And here's the important part - we don't care if it's something we think we'll enjoy. If we've never done it, but think we'll hate it, it's on the table. We used to just go to a favorite restaurant, have a few drinks, a meal, and call it a night. Relatively unsatisfying neurologically speaking. Next date night we're going to consider zip lining, or one of those paint nights they have at bars (I hate painting but I'm kind of excited to give it a real try), or an opera (never been), or a stage play (I've only seen like 2 ever but damn were they fun), or any number of things. I heard there's an ice hotel a few hours away where you stay the night in a room made of ice. How f*cking cool is that? I bet my brain would be chomping on that one for a while. At the end of the year, instead of looking back and saying "where did the the time go?" (The daily grind) we can look back and say "Holy shit, did we really do all this in just a year?" We'll have filled our lives with new experiences instead of monotony. We'll be people doing things and going places and trying new things and building life stories instead of the couple struggling to find something to talk about over a beer and a shitty steak.

It's been working for me. I've never felt so good about where I am in life since implementing these small ideas. And the funny thing is no matter how unrelated to business they are, it really does feel like I'm supercharging my ability to operate in them. I've never been so focused or dedicated to improvement in my life.

I mean, moving someplace warm is a GREAT idea. I live in Canada - I get it. But until that becomes financially possible. Maybe try throwing a dart at a list of activities you've never considered doing and try one out. See how your brain feels after reading a book on gardening. Or trying yoga. Or doing a cartwheel (when was the last time you tried a cartwheel? It's free and you'll probably get a huge rush from it, or a sore a$$, but better a sore a$$ from a failed cartwheel than an office chair you sit depressed in).
 

MTF

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@Paul David, I know exactly what you mean because I'm in a pretty similar position (except for the family part). Excuse me for writing such a ridiculously long post, but I've been thinking about it (and looking for a solution) for a few years already, so perhaps you'll find my thoughts interesting.

In my country, winters are a bitch. Over the past few years they've been getting better (less snow, fewer days with super low temperature like -15 degrees Celsius), but I still find about a half of the year (from October until April) a very bad period for me well-being-wise.

I absolutely hate snow and cold temperatures, and during winter it's usually so cold that you can't spend more than perhaps an hour outside, and even that isn't that particularly pleasant. Sometimes a week goes by without any sunshine at all. And don't get me started about the snow, especially when that shit keeps piling up and you know it will take two weeks to melt and it still won't change shit because you won't be able to do much outside due to the low temperatures...

Needless to say, as a person who loves sun, high temperatures and outdoor activities I consider wintertime (and by that I mean the six-month period) a period of survival, a bad dream that ends each April or so when I can resume living again. During winter, I shift to indoor activities and try to spend as much time as possible not thinking about the weather outside, but obviously it still bothers me. I can more or less manage it, but it's a sub-optimal way of living - I totally get your feeling.

Now, when it comes to summer (a period from about April to September), it's usually okay to great (especially during the summer proper - June, July, August). My lifestyle is at its peak then. However, I still find myself each morning stressed out about the weather. Even if I'm super tired or just not really in the mood to go outside, I still do it just because I'm worried I'll lose a day of sunshine and later on regret it. I'm not alone in this. My friends also exhibit the same behavior knowing that sunny, warm days are limited in our climate so you should take the most out of them even if you're so exhausted you can barely walk. And even if you do spend as much time outside as possible during summer, during winter you'll still regret you didn't spend more time outside. It's madness.

To sum up, even if summers here are better, I still know what you feel. I always have this thought in the back of my mind that sooner or later it will be cold again and I'll be back to my "survival" mode. Something is not right in my life if each year for six months I can't enjoy what I love the most, and if for the remaining six months I'm still worried about what's going to come soon. Don't get me wrong, though - I'm happy almost all the time because I've created an enjoyable daily routine, but I'm MUCH, MUCH happier and healthier during summer.

"If you hate the wintertime so much, why are you still here?", an intelligent person can ask. I'm still here because I've experienced on my own that permanently moving to a foreign country won't necessarily solve this problem. Such a solution involves a trade-off you've already mentioned in your post - namely, leaving your friends and family - and this one is a MUCH bigger challenge than most people think.

So many people dream about living the life of travel, but few of them would be actually able to withstand it due to your social life pretty much dying (and no, I don't consider people you meet on the road for a few days true friends). It IS possible to build a new life in a new country, but you'll most likely still miss your family and old friends.

A few years ago I moved for a few months to Mexico. While it was -20 degrees Celsius in my country, the weather was pretty much the same almost every single day of my stay in Mexico - 30 degrees Celsius, full sunshine with no clouds at all. I won't deny it - it feels incredible to wake up each day not being stressed out about the weather. You could spend an entire day indoors and you still wouldn't feel bad about it because you'd know the next morning the weather would be perfect again.

Why did I return, then? Because as much as I enjoyed the weather there, I felt like the "real" life was passing me by. All of my friends and family were still in my country, living their lives there while I sat alone on the beach in Mexico and wished they were with me to share the joy.

True, I made some new friends, but - let me be blunt here - they were nothing when compared to my old childhood buddies with whom I shared so much. I also missed some of the spots in my city, activities with my friends, things in the supermarket not available there as well as the neighborhood in which I lived and so on - little things that you can usually only appreciate when you miss them.

When I came back, I realized that for the time being I wasn't ready to move to a foreign country. I told myself that I would spend time working on my business so I can have enough money, time, and obviously location independence to be able to travel to escape winter whenever I want.

Last year I had a breakthrough in my business. Consequently, this year I started acting on this resolution. A few days ago I came back from a short trip to Spain. I could immediately feel a difference in my well-being while being there.

Even just a few days of sunshine and relatively warm temperatures (plus MUCH happier people around - and who wouldn't be happier without freezing winters?) made me feel so much better. You can actually tell from the pictures from this trip that I looked like a reborn, healthy guy. Here during winter? Not so much. I have less energy and low quality sleep no matter what I do - and I have a very healthy lifestyle.

And then I came back from sunny Spain to my frigid country and realized there are at least two months left before the weather becomes bearable...

Which leads me to my current best solution. Since I don't want to lose my friendships and be far away from my family for the entire year, I decided to start traveling more during the winter. If I can go on a week-long or so trip each winter month (or at least once every eight weeks or so), I'll be - more or less - able to bear the winter here. That's my short-term plan that isn't that optimal for people with families since you can't just take your kids with you on each trip. However, technically you could take advantage of any school breaks they have and organize such a trip every other month or so.

My ultimate goal to be completed in the next two years or so - that might be helpful to you - is to buy a second house in a warm, easy to access place (possibly Spain, too) so I can go there whenever I want and only pay for the flights and nothing else. Then I'll be able to get the best of both worlds - live close to my friends and family, but at the same time be able to leave at the moment's notice and bask in the sun and heat for a week or two (or longer) in my second home - ideally with a girlfriend or some friends with me. And as an additional benefit, I could rent out this house on Airbnb while I'm not there and make some money @GlobalWealth style.

Questions for you:

How deep are your relationships with your friends and family? Can you really picture your life without them? Skype will NOT fill this hole. Usually you won't be able to answer this question honestly until you actually move for at least a few weeks. Your idea to spend 10 weeks each year in Spain makes sense since it should be enough as a trial run whether you can do it permanently or not.

And let's not forget about your kids. If they already have some good friends or are close with your family members, how will moving to a foreign country affect them? Won't it ruin their social lives and make them unhappy?

Last but not least, are you able to adapt to a new culture and master a new language? Moving from the UK to Spain is NOT like moving from, say, Chicago, IL to Phoenix, AZ. It's an entirely different country with an entirely different culture, language, architecture, landscape, etc. Even things in the supermarket are different - and trust me, it can get annoying if you have to pay 5-10x more for the things you're used to eat just because they were common back in the UK and are not in Spain.

Can you hang out with expats and ignore becoming a part of the local community? You can. Does it make sense if you want to live there permanently? Not really.

Perhaps your idea to live 10 weeks in a warmer country will be sufficient to make you feel better - you should definitely try it. Perhaps it won't be sufficient - but then you have to consider if you're ready to uproot yourself and your family. Alternatively, consider buying a second house in a warm place so you can go there whenever you want - even for a weekend - to recharge.

Whatever you do, start small - trial runs will help you make a better decision.

As a side note, analyze your life in Liverpool. Do you have any hobbies you can practice indoors to forget about the weather outside for a few hours? Perhaps it would be a good idea to, say, learn how to play tennis, try indoor climbing, maybe get better at swimming or call up a few buddies and play basketball. If your daily routine is boring, moving to a foreign country won't necessarily fix it - the problems might be inside you, and not in the world around you. Weather does affect one's mood, but if you have a fun daily routine, bearing it gets easier.
 

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tigerscent

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MTF makes excellent points and puts it more eloquently than I did. In particular, the issue of distance from family, which we felt more keenly when kids came on the scene, drove our return to the UK. If it was all about money or pure lifestyle, we'd have stayed in Singapore, but the balance had tipped towards family issues. I wanted my kids to get to know their family beyond once-a-year visits from Grandma and occasional Skype chats.

With kids, life is less flexible. There are big emotional issues (on returning to the UK we literally had nine months of "I want to go back to Singapore!" from our eldest). Also, there are practical issues with schooling (waiting lists, catchment areas, differing educational standards/expectations/school calendars/curriculum/qualifications. Trying to dovetail educational systems around the world is not easy; it completely shifts your decision-making criteria). We also concluded that the ideal solution is to get a place in the sun while maintaining routine in our home country.
 

Paul David

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Some excellent and valid points everyone thank you.

@MTF post could have been written by myself it was that close to the mark. You put into words exactly how I feel. I know exactly what you mean about "surviving" in winter.

I'm definitely siding with creating a lifestyle of going on holiday whenever there are school holidays and see if that's enough. The kids are off next week and you've got no idea how frustrated I am that we can't go away because my wife has no time off work. I'm going to use this frustration as a source of motivation to work even harder.

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I moved from the UK to Toronto last year with the help of a professional mover http://www.armmove.com/en/services_canada_usa_moves.php who provides support for overseas moving to Toronto. Usually, I’ve heard that moving overseas is always a worrying and difficult task to execute. But they helped me to get the papers cleared and give all the support for my moving. It would have been a great headache if I did it at my own risk.
 

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Thanks for the responses everyone. I had a discussion with my Wife about this last night and we've decided that the first step either way is to ensure my business generates enough income for both of us and we've cleared a couple of loans we're current paying off. That's my 'Lambo' as @MJ DeMarco described in the post above.

In the meantime i think i also need to take @SparksCW & @HugoMoreno advice and look at other ways to spend days/weekends when not working. Holiday wise we already have at least abroad a year as a family and usually a weekend in Spain with friends. That's the current limit!

Let me know whenever you visit Madrid!
 

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Hey @Paul David, I just remembered this thread and wanted to ask - how are things going for you now? Are you still considering moving to another country or did you deal with the problem?
 

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How did I miss this thread before?

10 years ago, I moved away from home. I had friends living in Devon and when I went to visit, I loved it there. Up and left straight from my parents' house in London and rented a shabby converted flat inside a 17th century cottage in Devon. I was broke, so that's all I could afford at the time.

The place was absolutely freezing, and the landlord controlled the utilities. The moment you got out of bed in the winter, you'd be shivering. I had only a motorbike for transport, and lived in a village with no buses. And then my boss at the time was also really tight with the heating. Add to that, the first winter I was down there, it was the coldest winter in 30+ years.

Getting out of bed was unbearably cold.

Riding to work was cold, and a frustrating nightmare because the carburettors on my ancient bike used to freeze up in the subzero temperatures and I'd stall at every traffic light. Sometimes I had to ski into the ungritted car park and get my colleagues to hold the bike while I got off. And then it was freezing inside all day. Every day from November onwards, I used to count another day off the calendar until April came around. And then life was awesome for six months.

Thankfully I managed never to crash the bike in the ice or snow. One night I remember coming home from the pub at 3am in February and there was a burst water main on the only road home. So I had to ride over 100 metres of sheet ice. No way I'd do anything that crazy nowadays.

Finally left the UK in July, after 10 years of "wanting to". I met a German e-commerce guy the other week. He's been here 18 months or so and is soon moving to Cyprus because he finds Malta too busy and claustrophobic. I mentioned I went back to the UK for a weekend recently and found it instantly gloomy and depressing, from the moment I got off the plane to the moment I came back.

It wasn't just the weather, either. In fact, it was unusually mild and warm enough to sit outside in October. Even in affluent areas, it felt much like MJ's description of frozen Chicago mornings - a horde of self-absorbed, lifeless zombies marching brainlessly to their next appointment.

The German guy said something along the lines of, "don't take this the wrong way dude, but the UK IS depressing". Maybe he had a point. I went to Belgium recently and loved it, despite the freezing weather.

I'm much happier living in Malta, and I don't envisage returning to the UK - ever. BUT, as @MTF says, it's not all sunshine and roses either. We didn't come here intending to stay in an expat bubble. We (intentionally) don't live in a typical expat area. I've made the effort to learn some Maltese, even though English is also an official language, everybody speaks it and it's the written language of choice.

Yet, virtually all of our friends and acquaintances are expats. This is a tiny country, the Maltese are very family-oriented, traditional people and most of them have had the same circle of friends their entire lives. The adventurous and ambitious ones typically upped sticks and left already - to the UK (ha), US or - most popularly - Australia. For the most part, they're friendly - but they don't need or want to be your friend.

I have met some very cool, like-minded expats here, from all over the world. Being a semi-tax haven, Malta tends to attract entrepreneurs, freelancers and libertarians. So that's been fun. There's also a lot of those perpetually depressed expat types around that are trying in vein to run from their demons.

In many ways, life is exactly the same as it was in the UK. I'm still in front of my computer most of the time. I talk to the same people and do the same work as I did before.

Sometimes it feels meaningless for me to be here. There's tons of awesome stuff to do here - the nightlife is amazing, there's always something happening, and summer is eight months long. But I spend most of my time at my computer working, and my work has nothing to do with Malta. I'm not connected to any of it. So why am I here?

I know why I'm here: weather and taxes. Taxes are the main reason we came to Malta instead of somewhere like Spain. That directly serves my Fastlane purpose in a very real way. But it still feels aimless at times - maybe a yearning for a close-knit community we have yet to build?

It's also worth nothing that coming to Southern Europe won't solve ALL your weather-related problems. The weather IS incredible eight months a year, but winter still exists. It's not what you would call winter up north, but nothing is built for the cold here. It's 16C/61F today (summer in Liverpool?), and I'm sitting here wearing a fleece with the electric heater running. The buildings have no insulation and central heating doesn't exist. It'll be cold inside from now until at least mid-March, even on days when you can comfortably wear a t-shirt outside.

Things are done differently in the Mediterranean. We've had nine powercuts in five months. I've had to get them out to replace the internet cabling after a thunderstorm shorted it out - twice. When it rains, it pours, and there's no drainage system so the roads turn into rivers. Normal driving behaviour for taxi drivers would get you a prison sentence and a spot on the national news back home. Bad customer service is the norm. Derelict buildings and abandoned construction are frequently seen right next door to luxury apartments and five star hotels. It feels like an odd mix between a rich country and a poor one, often on the same street.

Grocery shopping in the UK is a few clicks and a convenient home delivery away. Here, it's strapping on backpacks and spending Saturday morning traipsing down to Lidl, the butchers, the fishmongers, and various other shops because noone ever has exactly what you need. (And needing a shower as soon as you get home because it's 45C and 90% humidity outside)

There's no Amazon and no eBay. I ordered all my office furniture from Amazon UK and paid a freight company to ship it, because anything I could buy locally was 300% the price and half the quality. Our apartment is entirely furnished from IKEA in Italy - our landlords rented a truck and went on a road trip to get everything.

When the novelty wears off and you want to talk to an old friend, they're thousands of miles away.

But for all its faults, I still love it. I love that I could wear shorts and t-shirt 24 hours a day right up until late October. Even now, the nights are warmer than most mid-summer nights in the UK. I love that the sky is bright blue most every single day. The buildings are bright white and yellow instead of dull, depressing grey. I love that political BS doesn't affect me anymore, and that my future isn't dependent on the fortunes of any country or insanity of any government. I don't have to hand over half of my life's work to the state. I get to choose the place - and the life - that works best for me, rather than being stuck with wherever I happened to be born. There's so much to do here and nothing is more than a 30 minute drive away. And when I need to get out for a weekend, the airport is only down the road.

The question in expatting, as with anything else, IMO is - are you willing to pay the price for what you'll get in return?

@Paul David , if you're still considering moving, you might want to look at Malta. There's no language barrier if your wife still needs to work for the time being, and if you're in e-commerce, you should be able to live pretty much tax-free. Taxes aside, it is much more expensive than Spain though, and it's one of those places people tend to either love or hate. But maybe worth a look.
 
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MTF

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@Contrarian, thanks for such a detailed post describing your experience. How was it for you when you left and had to make new local friends? Did you move with your spouse/girlfriend or alone?

I met a German e-commerce guy the other week. He's been here 18 months or so and is soon moving to Cyprus because he finds Malta too busy and claustrophobic.

I haven't been to Malta, but have been to Cyprus and I was surprised how spacious it was (wide roads, plenty of unpopulated areas). I'm talking about Cyprus proper, not Northern Cyprus which was cramped and generally unpleasant.

The weather IS incredible eight months a year, but winter still exists. It's not what you would call winter up north, but nothing is built for the cold here. It's 16C/61F today (summer in Liverpool?), and I'm sitting here wearing a fleece with the electric heater running. The buildings have no insulation and central heating doesn't exist. It'll be cold inside from now until at least mid-March, even on days when you can comfortably wear a t-shirt outside.

Pretty much the only place in Europe where winters are still fine are the Canary Islands and to a lesser degree, Maidera (though it's too wet for my liking). I've been a couple of times to the continental Spain in winter and while daytime temperatures in places close to the sea are okay (not incredible, just okay), I don't have fond memories of sitting by an electric heater. The Canary Islands (or rather, Tenerife, as I haven't been to other islands) are pleasant throughout the year, though at night it might still get a bit cold.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), Europe is not the best place for people who would like to live in a climate with endless summer.

Things are done differently in the Mediterranean. We've had nine powercuts in five months. I've had to get them out to replace the internet cabling after a thunderstorm shorted it out - twice. When it rains, it pours, and there's no drainage system so the roads turn into rivers. Normal driving behaviour for taxi drivers would get you a prison sentence and a spot on the national news back home. Bad customer service is the norm. Derelict buildings and abandoned construction are frequently seen right next door to luxury apartments and five star hotels. It feels like an odd mix between a rich country and a poor one, often on the same street.

That's what I've heard about Malta, too (comparisons to the third world countries). I wouldn't say it's the same for every Mediterranean country/area, though.
 

Contrarian

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@Contrarian, thanks for such a detailed post describing your experience. How was it for you when you left and had to make new local friends? Did you move with your spouse/girlfriend or alone?

You're welcome.

I moved with my girlfriend. I haven't really put a lot of focus on meeting people since I've been so busy with business, work etc. (to my detriment to some degree). She had some real trouble settling in for a while too. But, I go to a Meetup every couple of weeks, my girlfriend has a job here and she's met some people through that and other avenues so we do have an active a social life as I can afford right now. Sometimes in the most random of places. We went to volunteer to walk dogs for the local animal shelter and the woman who interviewed us there invited us out for dinner. Her husband is here setting up his own wealth management firm, still in his 20s. So we get on really well.

As with anything, the more you put in, the more you get out!

MTF said:
I haven't been to Malta, but have been to Cyprus and I was surprised how spacious it was (wide roads, plenty of unpopulated areas). I'm talking about Cyprus proper, not Northern Cyprus which was cramped and generally unpleasant.

Cyprus is next on the list if we ever get sick of Malta. ;)

MTF said:
Pretty much the only place in Europe where winters are still fine are the Canary Islands and to a lesser degree, Maidera (though it's too wet for my liking). I've been a couple of times to the continental Spain in winter and while daytime temperatures in places close to the sea are okay (not incredible, just okay), I don't have fond memories of sitting by an electric heater. The Canary Islands (or rather, Tenerife, as I haven't been to other islands) are pleasant throughout the year, though at night it might still get a bit cold.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), Europe is not the best place for people who would like to live in a climate with endless summer.

That's what I've heard about Malta, too (comparisons to the third world countries). I wouldn't say it's the same for every Mediterranean country/area, though.

It's interesting if that's the case; Malta is much wealthier than the rest of Southern Europe and has a booming economy right now (although I think it's a bubble). We pay 50% more rent here than we did in the UK. But, there's kind of a fly-by-night mentality here. A few times I've commented to tradespeople about things that weren't working properly (like my internet cables hanging loose over the side of the roof) and they've said "ah, that's because you're in Malta!".

On the other hand, one of the things I really hated about the UK was the obsession with rules, regulations, laws and conformist busybodies in general. Here you can basically do what you want and nobody cares. Which is refreshing. Perhaps you can't have Germanic efficiency and a culture of freedom at the same time. Maybe you have to pick one or the other.
 

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Perhaps you can't have Germanic efficiency and a culture of freedom at the same time. Maybe you have to pick one or the other.

Perhaps, and when choosing, you need to understand what each choice entails. Efficiency means restrictions and frustration when you need to ask for permission to do anything, while a culture of freedom means you can do whatever you want to do, but you can't expect that things will work properly pretty much all of the time.
 

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Hey @Paul David, I just remembered this thread and wanted to ask - how are things going for you now? Are you still considering moving to another country or did you deal with the problem?

I'm currently still in same situation location wise, but i'm actively working on my business to enable the freedom and financial security to make it possible to relocate. The low temperatures and dark nights are now here in the UK and it's usually this time my seasonal depression starts to kick in. I'm just trying to keep busy at the moment!
 

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MTF

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@Paul David, still thinking about Spain or somewhere else?
 

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@Paul David, still thinking about Spain or somewhere else?

Yes more than likely. The thing that’s playing on my mind is that the longer we leave it the more difficult it will be for my children to adapt. They’re 7 and 9 now so it’s not going to be easy.


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