Short story about looking for a new place to live
I don’t like writing a lot about technical things. If you are a smart developer, you will find a lot resources with solutions for your everyday tech problems. And I don’t feel like I want to build another one. Instead today, I would like to share my knowledge, experiences and lessons learned from just trying not be bored in my life. This is not so common to read about. This post is about why I moved to Berlin from Wroclaw and why I am not attending a scuba diving course on Malta.
They say that laziness is the mother of invention. I can say for me the boredom is mother of changes. I think, if you feel like every day in your life looks the same, then something is wrong. We need to continually grow and learn new stuff, especially if we are developers. That’s why this job is so fun, isn’t it?
Winter in Poland
It was November 2011, beginning of winter in Poland. It was cold and grey. How am I supposed to be creative if all I see outside is grey? I always wanted to live on a tropical island, to have my work/life balance more interesting. So I started my research. After a few days of reading and studying a map, I found Malta. Perfect place for one year “holiday” without need to change my profession. I mean, there are some web development companies there. And this is not so common for a tropical island that live mostly from tourism.
Other advantages of Malta are:
- temperature in the coldest month – January – ranges from 12 to 20°C,
- direct flight connection from my city Wroclaw, Poland,
- one of the best diving areas in Europe,
- Malta is part of EU, no visa or stay permit for EU citizens (means no paperwork which I hate).
It sounded easy: pack my suitcase, get a flight and go swimming in the Mediterranean Sea during lunch breaks.
Regarding life of a simple computer programmer, IT companies in Malta are often operating in online gaming, as the law encourages that kind of business. But what I found out further is that there are mainly enterprise level companies. And I prefer startup style of work and new technologies. I just didn’t want to work with Java or C#, and be a cog in the machine, does anyone understand me?
I was looking for a job by sending direct messages to interesting looking companies I found in Google and I also got in touch with one job agency there. They proposed me a very interesting job: TV set-top-box app development in HTML5 and Coffeescript. I thought: “Yeah, perfect!” But fast forward: that didn’t work out. It was a new project for that company and they couldn’t make up their mind when to start it. I was angry and disappointed with Malta. I had my plans, I almost paid a deposit for an apartment there, thought about getting a car (best and almost only way of solid transport there, obligatory with AC), I was going to start diving course and more.
By The Way: local “eBay” in Malta is called MaltaPark.com and you can find a lot of interesting things there.
Researching, getting contacts, Skype interviews, and all Malta related things took a few months, so it was beginning of summer in Poland. In Malta summer might be hard with temperature reaching 40°C. All in all, I decided to change my destination to Berlin. As all of you should already know, Berlin is a hip place for startups right now. It’s a place for freelancers, developers, wannabe entrepreneurs etc. It is even called European’s Silicon Valley. Sounds perfect place for a guy like me. And it is so close to Wroclaw (around 350km). Finding a job there wasn’t a big deal, a lot easier than finding accommodation, which is another story.
But as you can imagine, Malta and Berlin are two completely different places. On Malta you can enjoy your “holidays”, just take your time and relax. Unplug from fast-moving world and sail your boat. In Berlin you can develop yourself, wider your network (meet new people), attend almost every day another dev/social-media/mobile/startup/entrepreneur meeting/conference/event. You cannot be bored. And here I mention only tech/startup scene. There is also a rich nightlife with many music clubs, Tempelhof park to do some sport and Görlitzer park for chill out. But to tell you the truth, the summer was rather shitty here.
Everything is possible
So you know a bit about possibilities for developers on Malta and in Berlin. But what is more important for me, is to tell you that it wasn’t hard to go that way. You need to do some research, go forward step by step, be agile and just keep trying.
I once heard this here: „Are you doing what you love right now? No? So start”. Each of us can find a better place and better opportunities to live and, as you can see, nothing is perfect (and nothing lasts forever). The decision is yours. But make that decision and be proud of it. There are no excuses.
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