Our Base Conundrum

In preparing to slow way down, we’re trying to figure out just where that will be. This has created a bit of a conundrum,  as you might imagine.

Tigger’s top 3 locations are Romania, Mexico, and Prague. Since I don’t foresee us being able to afford life in Edinburgh or Paris any time soon, my top preferences would most likely be Prague, Romania, and Krakow, Poland.

Our base conundrum

United States

There are plenty of things I’m not exactly fond of in my native country. However, it does have some pluses like familiarity, plenty of availability of ethnic foods, English-speaking teens for Tigger, and I don’t have to deal with visas.

Also, there are some groups for LGBT families. It’s always nice for your kid to be able to hang out with other children who have a similar family makeup.

We also already have friends in the US, including places we’re most interested in living (Washington state is the main focus right now).

We have house sits coming up in Florida, Texas, and Washington state, so that will give us an opportunity to really evaluate how we feel about being back in the US and if we’d really want to stay longer. Washington is a big attraction because of the quality of life, we already know people there, and it has mountains, ocean, and woods all within close distance of each other.

One definite downside is the cost of living and the general lack of good public transportation. Thankfully, some cities have a good system, but they tend to be the exception.

Our base conundrum

Prague

I absolute adore Prague. It stole my heart in a way I had not anticipated. I can’t find much to not love about the Czech Republic or this city.

An obvious downside would be friends for Tigger. We have a friend who has lived there for 3 years, and it has been next to impossible for her son to find English-speaking friends. We would certainly work at learning the language, but Czech is a hard language to learn.

Czech is in the Schengen Zone which really limits how long we can stay without a long-term visa. We would certainly try to obtain at least temporary residency, but that process isn’t without its own headaches. If we aren’t successful, then we can only stay for 3 months and would have to leave for 3 months before being able to return.

That obviously wouldn’t work as a base in that situation.

Big pros are the low cost of living, its geographic location which makes it a great travel base, great public transportation, and it’s a fairly international city.

Our base conundrum

Romania

We both absolutely fell in love with Romania. There is a lot to love there.

The country allows border runs, so it would be a bit less painful for a longer stay until visas were acquired. There are a couple of options which make acquiring long-term visas a much easier process. Having EU residency would certainly be a benefit for some travel purposes.

If we live in one of the larger cities, chances are higher that Tigger will be able to make local friends. Romanian is also easier to learn as it’s Latin based. I was able to pick up quite a bit during our last 3-month stay. It would be an easier language for Tigger to learn as well.

One big downside, however, is the Romanian attitude toward gays. Later this week I’ll be posting another interview but from someone who lives in the capital city. His experience hasn’t been much more encouraging than the one whose interview I shared recently.

I really don’t want to live in a place where I feel I have to be in the closet again. Been there, done that, have the T-shirt. I’m not interested in living like that again.

Oy!

So we have quite the conundrum. One possible workaround would be to go to Romania long enough to get residency and utilize EU residency to live in Czech, but I’d need to investigate that further. And that would also mean waiting for quite a bit to settle down. I’m tired, and I’m ready to slow our travels way down. I’m just not sure I want to play that game even if it is legal and feasible.

Our Washington house sit ends around mid January, and I aim to have a solid plan before then. We’re both ready to start this new phase. I just hope the answer is nice and clear when the times arrives.

How do you work out a conundrum?

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14 Comments

  1. I’m currently living in Prague, and I disagree with the statement that the locals are too depressing. In fact, most of the Czech people I meet are quick to smile and offer help (outside of those in law enforcement, but I feel like that’s the case everywhere) and I’ve made some very close Czech friends. Also, there are a lot of expats here, so finding other English speakers wouldn’t be a problem.
    But, Romania also sounds amazing, as does the possibility of not worrying about visas. So it is quite a conundrum.

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    • I agree. For the most part I’ve found Czech people to be very friendly and nice. They aren’t necessarily warm, but the culture is one where people kind of stick to their own business unless someone speaks to them.

      There are plenty of English-speaking adults, but not teenagers in Prague.

      Romania is absolutely wonderful, although I like Prague more. But Prague is more accepting of gays.

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  2. Enjoyable post… we have considerations in the direction of moving out of the US as well… I’m hoping it can work out for us to cross paths when you’re in the US this time. Blessings to you and Tigger as your opportunities and options unfold. 🙂

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  3. As you know we are also struggling with the same type of conundrum talon. Wait and see how you feel in the us, particularly Washington. I was completely against living in mainland USA but the benefits are eroding away all the cons at the moment. There is a lot to consider but the visa issue coupled with the fact that at the end of the day we feel like we will never fully belong in another country is pulling us to the us mainland. Our goal is to build a life with pets, gardens, friends so why not try that where our tribe already is?? Something to consider:). Plus if we are going to be there it’s a no brainer right?!

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    • That feeling of not belonging can be a big one. I’m definitely a bit tired of having to deal with visas, and I don’t enjoy the pressure of HAVING to go somewhere every few months just to renew a visa, etc. Then you have to worry about trying to reenter and having someone who is in a bad mood or whatever.

      As far as you guys being there, I’ll believe it when I see you stepping off a plane. LOL

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  4. Lots of options in the world! When we were in Prague last year, we encountered a group from the International School out for a romp in the old city. So I know there are international English speaks kids for Tigger there. Something to think on. Good luck with your decision.

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    • The problem is connecting with those kids and building friendships with them outside of school. This has been our friend’s challenge, and they’ve lived there for at least 3 years.

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  5. I can foresee myself having the same dilemma one day. Thankfully, I’m not ready to settle down yet and still have a long list of places I want to test out so my decision is far in the future. I’m sure you’ll figure out something that works for both of you. Good luck. 🙂

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  6. We are fighting with this same predicament at the moment. We are only in the US of A because of Zoe (our dog), but she is 12 and won’t be around forever. I don’t foresee us stay here after she passes. We will most likely home base out of Trinidad where my family is and the cost of living is a fraction of what it is here in the States.

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  7. As someone who spent 6 months living in the Czech Republic, I would say go elsewhere. While I loved my experience, loved Prague and a lot of the smaller towns etc, the locals are quite depressing and it can be hard to make a good circle of Czech friends. I think Romania sounds like a better option for you, the best out of any, and you can always visit Prague. Czech is very, very hard to learn and almost pointless to learn. I tried to learn some, but would constantly be replied to, especially in Prague, in English. How could I learn if no one would entertain my minor errors?

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    • We had a very different experience. I didn’t find Czechs to be depressing at all. And whenever I would use what little Czech I knew, they were always very happy and tried to help me correct a pronunciation or learn a new word.

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