Submitted by Alex from Germany
I am from Germany and by 2024 I will have lived in eight countries in Europe.
Living abroad is amazing, and I recommend it to everyone who has an adventurous spirit.
But how do you continue to move across Europe without having to buy new furniture in every new city?
What if you don’t want to jump between Airbnb, and enjoy the familiarity of your own things, and own pillow?!
Here’s how I lived in 8 European cities with my own items.
How to Live in 8 European Cities with Your Own Items
The Plan: Live in Different European Countries
I work as a freelance developer, and this gives me the freedom to work from more or less wherever I want. As long as I have my laptop and an internet connection, I am free to roam.
I love to explore new places and made a promise to myself that I would see as much of Europe as I could before I hit 35 (one more year to go).
So far, I’ve been having the time of my life. I’ve met so many people, learned about so many different cultures, and seen so many beautiful sights.
It helps that European countries are so tightly packed together and it’s easy to move from one place to the next.
It’s still my goal to have spent at least a few months in each European country, although I’ve noticed the last couple of years it has been harder to uproot everything.
The List of Countries
So far I’ve lived and moved to the Netherlands (Amsterdam), Belgium (Antwerpen), France (Marseilles), and Spain (Barcelona).
The remaining ones are Portugal (Porto), Italy (Catania), Greece (Athens), and Austria (Vienna).
Visas used to be one of the biggest issues for digital nomads, because tourist visas were capped at 30 days, meaning your work routine was constantly disrupted.
But now more and more countries are enticing remote workers to stay for an extended period of time, and Europe has many countries that offer digital nomads generous long term visas.
I love the weather in the south of Europe, the food and how friendly the people are. But the cities of the Netherlands and Austria also had a lot of cultural and artistic attractions and were certainly more cycle friendly.
Generally, I prefer to explore cities on a bike, as you can cover a lot of ground, but still go at a nice slow pace if you want to, or take a few hours break at a nice restaurant or cafe.
How Can I Move So Often?
People often ask how I can just pack up everything and move to a new place so often? Of course, I am quite fortunate that I have a decent salary, but I do try to live very modestly.
Most of the time I cook for myself. I do not have a car.
I like to go out, but not every night, and not to expensive touristy places in the center, but rather to more local bars and restaurants.
I am also conscious of trying not to accumulate too many items, trying to be quite minimalistic.
When I was backpacking as a teenager, I could happily live out of a backpack, with just a few clothes and essentials, but now I have accumulated some furniture and various bits and pieces that make life a bit more enjoyable.
Things like a BBQ, bicycle, comfortable office chair and a big desk, nice sofa and coffee table for putting my feet up and watching films or gaming in the evening, and of course, a big fridge for beers!
But these purchases are usually one-off. My mantra is, buy quality, it will last, and maybe you won’t have to buy another one in the next 10 or 20 years. So far, that’s true.
So I don’t want to leave all my stuff behind or buy anew each time I move, but luckily there are European moving companies like Smoover. With just a few weeks’ notice, they relocate me each time to my new adventure.
They usually came with a small truck. This was sufficient because as I move a lot, I try to have just the bare essentials when it comes to furniture.
- 1 bed (160*200)
- 1 wardrobe (IKEA Pax)
- 1 standing desk (important!)
- 1 office chair
- 1 Large screen 27”
- 1 Macbook
- 1 small couch
- 1 Coffee table
- 1 TV (55”)
- BBQ grill
- 2 Bicycle (one for the city and one for racing)
- 30 moving boxes with books, clothes, and other miscellaneous items
Digital Nomad: Deluxe
Because I stay at least six months at every location and move with my own items from home to home, I consider this a new and upgraded version of a digital nomad lifestyle.
I enjoy the freedom of no permanent residence with the luxury of my own essential furniture and items. The classic digital nomad would just move around with his backpack and a Macbook.
Here, I can sleep in my own bed, make coffee with my favorite Aeropress, enjoy a relaxing evening ride on my Cannondale, and be super efficient when working with my 27” 4k Samsung screen.
Of Great Assistance: Smoover
Smoover was super helpful when there were challenges.
In my first stop in Amsterdam, the staircase was super small and very steep (as it is often the case in the Netherlands). They organized an outside elevator and lifted the furniture over the balcony.
In France, my neighbor and I organized a wild goodbye party in my apartment. It was definitely worth it, but when I moved from Marseilles to Barcelona the apartment owner wasn’t too amused and requested that I paint and clean the apartment to get the security deposit back.
Smoover actually had a cleaning and painting team. The apartment looked like new (they sent me pictures while I was already at the beach in Barcelona). I got back the security deposit shortly thereafter.
On my next stop, I’m moving from Barcelona to Porto. I’m taking a two-week vacation in Thailand in between, so my things are being put into storage. They will be delivered two days after I land in Porto.
I Dare You to Move
I can really recommend trying this out. Europe is so culture rich, there’s so many things to see.
Talk to your employer to move your work online, and embrace the slow travel lifestyle.
Use Smoover to take care of the moving, painting (or, just don’t throw wild parties), cleaning and storage.
Maybe we’ll be neighbors soon!