Eastern Europe

November 03, 2019

I find Eastern Europe fascinating. It’s an uncommon melting pot of rich cultures, and not just Slavic sub-cultures as one might think. Each country is vastly different, even if they share common traits.

As a digital nomad from France, it’s particularly advantageous.

Except for Russia, I do not need any visa to go there. The lack of administrative hassle is liberating. I can just book a ticket and stay in a given city for three months without having to ask anything.

Eastern European countries are still under-developed. It’s financially interesting, you can easily live under $1000 a month.

More importantly, unlike South-East Asia, it’s not filled with tourists. It’s not devoid of tourists, but you have to interact with locals all the time. Of course, depending on where you live, most of them don’t speak English so you have to immerse yourself in the culture. It’s incredible the number of things you can do by saying “Yes”, “No”, or “Thank you”.

One thing I adore is the opportunity for me to live incognito in a quiet environment. The way I look, people will assume I’m a local and won’t mind me. Try doing that in Asia. I get looks just by walking in the street.

I don’t see myself settling there, however. Conservatism is deeply ingrained. People are constantly hustling and young people dream of moving to wealthier countries. There is an entrepreneurial spirit, but it’s going away. Alcoholism is a huge issue too. The local economy is not particularly strong. Even though the unemployment rate is quite low compared to the rest of Europe, the local buying power is weak.

Living in Eastern Europe is humbling. It makes me aware that nothing should be taken for granted.