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2014-03-22

Where to settle down - Oslo, Berlin, Lisbon, Bali, Bucharest or Buenos Aires?

Here are some points I wrote down when I was living in Bali early in 2012, and considering where to settle down for good.

By then I had been living in Oslo, Bucharest, Berlin and Bali, and I wanted to weigh up pros and cons about each place. (At the time I hadn't been to Buenos Aires.)

As I write this it's March 2014 and I am also strongly considering Barcelona, but I hadn't thought about it in 2012, so it's not on the list. Maybe I will edit this blogpost and add it.

Here are my pros and cons, maybe they can help others also searching for a great place to settle down in.

Remember that all of this is from my personal view at the time - a 38-year old Norwegian freelancer and expat trying to avoid a regular job, and who lived in Oslo until he was 32.



Oslo


Pros:
- very familiar
- family and old friends live there
- I don't have to learn a new language
- lots of musicians to work with on my own music
- more work available for me since I am from there
- strong economy and very high wages
- civilized and functioning systems
- enough culture to be interesting
- warmer in the summer and the Oslo fjord
- could be the place I'll settle down in

Cons:
- cold in the winter
- feels too familiar and kinda boring
- not so easy to meet new people (especially around my age)
- very expensive - I would probably have to get a normal job (the horror!)
- night life ends at 03.30
- not that much food variation
- I don't really like the Norwegian self-centered mentality



Berlin


Pros:
- very cultural and artistic
- amazing music scene
- relatively friendly and social people
- tons of other expats in the same situation as me
- easier to learn German (coming from Norwegian)
- still the cheapest capital in western Europe
- lots of food variety
- very convenient
- very central in Europe
- very cheap flights
- close to lakes
- I will get many visitors from Norway and other places
- much freedom to develop creativity
- easy to visit Oslo if I need to
- 24-hour public transport
- civilized and functioning systems

Cons:
- cold in the winters
- inland



Lisbon


Pros:
- by the sea
- friendly people
- small and cute capital
- beautiful scenery
- great food
- nice light and architecture
- cultural with a rich history
- a warm country with beautiful nature
- tranquil culture and rhythm of life

Cons:
- harder to learn Portuguese
- not very cheap flights
- living is not that cheap
- bars in Bairro Alto close at 02.00 (though clubs go to 06.00)
- the sea water isn't that warm



Bali


Pros:
- very warm
- beautiful nature
- beaches and sea
- quiet surroundings
- feeling of complete freedom
- delicious food
- it's a great place to work on my self-discipline and self-development
- pretty cheap life
- easy to get around in South-East Asia and see other amazing things
- easy to learn Indonesian
- easy to meet Indonesians
- I already have some friends
- feels safe and not too boring
- I can probably get enough DJ-work

Cons:
- more expensive to rent than it should be
- no city culture
- very transient (people come and go)
- I'm not really interested in Asian culture
- long and expensive flights to Europe
- it feels more like a kind of extended vacation than "real life"
- slow and expensive Internet
- six hours ahead of European time



Bucharest


Pros:
- I know a lot of dynamic people there
- easy to meet new people
- the Romanians I meet are often intellectual and artistic
- new clubs and places are opening all the time
- many people are warm and friendly - and very attractive :)
- nice food

Cons:
- post-communism can be a bit negative
- more expensive than it should be - especially for the locals
- people can be a bit depressed because of capitalism and corruption
- a lot of traffic
- not that much international culture
- not that easy to learn Romanian



Buenos Aires


Pros:
- both European and South American feeling
- interesting culture
- warm people
- by the sea
- fairly easy to learn Spanish

Cons:
- long and expensive flights to Europe
- living is not that cheap


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