Trying to decide where to live around the world for a month at a time has been very difficult. There are too many great options! We wanted mild weather, good infrastructure, and a low cost of living. That’s almost anywhere compared to Lubbock, Texas.
It took about seven months to pick our first location from the time we decided we wanted to go on a nomadic adventure, and we’re finally ready to reveal location #1.
Tallinn suits our travel goals and needs well, especially for our first location (as long as Russia stays in its place). Let me share with you why we’ve chosen Estonia.
Europe (Generally) Is Familiar
Don’t hear me say that Europe is homogenous. We know it’s extremely diverse and that neighboring countries can be quite different. Still, there’s this air of familiarity that comes with a progressive European nation that we think will help us transition to our nomadic lifestyle more easily.
Most younger Estonians speak English, most wear similar clothes, share familiar values, and blogs about how to get around in Europe are on every corner of the Internet block. Sure, moving there for a month won’t be easy, but it won’t be difficult to find what we need and meet locals.
We absolutely want to go to some more foreign places (Argentina, Morocco, Taiwan), but starting someplace where the toilets don’t require you to squat seems like a good idea.
The Climate Will Be Right
We really wanted to go somewhere far North before the snow and ice cover the region. August is still a mild time of year in Estonia, and thanks to the proximity to the sea, we expect a steady 55 to 70 degrees Ferhenhight and some gentle rain.
Beyond the weather, they say you’re never more than 30 minutes from a forest or lake in Estonia. We’re really hoping to spend a lot more time amongst nature, since Lubbock, Texas isn’t exactly a hub for much of it.
Tallinn Is A Small Metro
With just over 500,000 residents, Tallinn is Europe’s smallest capital city. We’re not too big into megacities, but we do like reliable and forgiving infrastructure, so Tallinn seems just right.
Though Estonian culture derives primarily from Scandinavia – particularly Finland – it still shows signs of Russian and Baltic German influence. It’ll be incredible to see how the cultures interact if we can ever learn to see the differences.
There’s a variety of foods, a strong city infrastructure, and the cost of living is lower than it is in Lubbock. We’ll be able to find cafes to work from, grocery stores to shop at, and a church to visit – all just a short walk or train ride away.
Tallinn is a short ferry ride away from Helsinki, the capital of Finland, which we would very much like to see.
I personally, however, am far more excited about visiting St. Petersburg, Russia. The complexity and darkness of Russian history has always fascinated me, and I cannot wait to visit museums (lame, I know) and walk the streets of the Western city. It’s a six-hour train ride from Tallinn, but there will be free Wi-Fi and comfortable seats. Plus, we’ll get to see a lot of the countryside.
Also within side-trip distance are Tartu, Estonia, a college town with a lively but comfortable vibe and Riga, Latvia. We probably won’t visit those two, however. Gotta get work done at some point!
I imagine we won’t be picking all of our destinations seven months in advance. That kills some of the nomadic fun. But we’re new at this, so to help with the nerves (we’re both planners at heart), we’re already looking into locations to plant down for a second month.
Croatia? Romania? Bulgaria? Eastern Europe is our target currently. Low cost of living but high value per dollar. Any ideas where we should go second? Leave a comment below!