Where would you go if you could live anywhere in the world? Anywhere?
That's the question Michael and I have pondered for the last few years. Where? At first, I dreamed of sandy beaches and lukewarm temperatures. Michael thought of cascading mountain streams and outdoor sports galore. We decided to make a list of everything we wanted/needed/would love in a place where we live.
If this is your first time reading my blog or haven't stopped by in a while, last week I announced that I'm moving abroad! I've dropped hints on Instagram and Snapchat. A LOT of you guessed Asia or Australia. But we knew we wanted Europe from the start.
A LOT went into deciding on a location. Here's how we broke it down:
– Europe. Why? We like the idea of traveling through Europe. There are so many places I want visit and/or revisit. I love Europe. I feel like I'm in another world there. I get teary eyed thinking about the five-week summers I spent abroad with my family in middle and high school. Europe also has an awesome music scene (yes, that was also a criteria). The ease of travel is a big plus. Which brings me to our next requirement…
– Easy traveling. We love Europe's amazing rail system and cheap flights. We will have the dogs with us (OF COURSE we are bringing the dogs), so the train system allows us to take our dogs along. We also wanted an opportunity to meander across the landscape.
– A little English speaking. Being in a country where people speak at least a little English would help. We looked hard at Prague and France but English isn't as common there.
– Strong economy. Since we're going to be living and working there, we wanted a destination with a stable economy.
– Centrally located. I LOVE Amsterdam and the Greek islands, but these aren't as convenient for exploring the rest of Europe, so we nixed those areas pretty quickly.
– Cost effective. We've tried to save a lot of money (see an idea of how much here, promise to go into a full post on this), but we didn't want to squander it all in one year by living in an extremely expensive area. The plan is to stay two or three years, depending. So Paris was out, as was Switzerland.
– Big city, but not too big. Both native Dallasites, now living in Nashville, we are used to relatively big cities, where we have easy access to entertainment, jobs, transportation and so on.
– Feels “European.” This may sound silly but we wanted to live in a place that feels like Europe. Something that offers a real living abroad experience. With all that in mind, we decided on a country pretty quickly; one with a strong European flair.
So we decided on……
Located in Southern Germany, very centrally located, Heidelberg has a great music scene, a great university, is only 20 minutes from Frankfurt (one of the largest airports in the world), and, since it escaped being bombed in World War II, it has maintained it's old world charm. It's still paved with cobblestone streets, has a beautiful castle and a river running through it. The word that springs to mind is picturesque. Take a look:
Hi, I'm moving here.
I am so excited I could cry. I cannot wait. And since Michael and I have both NEVER been to Germany, we'll have a lot to learn. Including German. We are currently enrolled in a German class, which is proving to be slightly overwhelming. We chose Germany for several aforementioned reasons, but also because Germany's freelance Visa program makes it a bit easier on Americans moving abroad. I will be writing about that process (still currently in progress). You wouldn't even believe how much has gone into this. Yeah, we've been busy. But a fun busy. Totally worth it.
We have SO much to do, it's insane. Before we move I am going to two weddings, to San Francisco and to Dallas. I'm working on a fun surprise I'll write about later this week.
So, what do you think?! Did you guess right? Have you been there? Tips, advice, anything? I'm all ears. We do not have a place to live yet. Life as we know it is about to get interesting …