Searching For Home – Where Is It?

Simply put, we feel that it’s time for a change.

Our lives, As We Travel.com, and our way of traveling – will be taking a new turn during the next 6 months.

back in 2009 – our first time in Budapest.

We’ve been traveling pretty much full-time for the last 2 years, to over 45 countries, and are starting to long for a place to ”call home”.

Not having anywhere to go back to, a base or a home is not what we ultimately want for ourselves, living like a nomad is fun for a while, but it also has limited us in so many ways.

The things we enjoy doing like skiing, surfing and mountain biking can’t really be done the same way when you’re always traveling – believe us, we tried.

So our plan is to base ourselves somewhere and rent an apartment for at least 6 months, and go on shorter (2 week) trips every second month.

The question is… where should we be based?

Where would we be willing to make a commitment to live for a longer period of time?

We have long been dreaming about the ”perfect place to live” –  a place where we could settle down but still travel when ever we wanted.

Everywhere we travel we always ask ourselves: “could we imagine settling down in this city?” – sadly most of the time, the answer has been no.

There are so many amazing cities out there around the world, which offer so much, but it is one thing to love visiting a country and travel there, another to make a commitment to actually live there…

We’ve been looking around websites for places to live on a long term basis, and have found many great options, but still haven’t decided yet which place is the best.

We only really have two criteria for a long term place:

  • Options for either skiing, surfing or mountain biking (or all three!)
  • Fairly close to an airport (i.e within 1-2 hours reach)

Here are 3 places that are at the top of our list at the moment:

  • Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

  • Zell Am See, Austria

  • Chiang Mai, Thailand

Oh it is hard to decide! :p

What do you think? Where would be your ultimate place to live be?

28 Responses to Searching For Home – Where Is It?

  1. Shawna November 24, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    My husband and I have settled down in Chiang Mai for the past 6 months, and after a trip to Spain and the States, we plan to come back here.  It’s so very wonderful, with so much to do …and it’s friendly on the pocket book.  We love it in Chiang Mai!

    • Sofia - As We Travel November 27, 2011 at 11:14 am #

      Thanks for your input and thoughts Shawna, Chiang Mai is a very nice place to be indeed, and when we stayed there for a month we felt that it was so easy to stay healthy and afford things you normally wouldn’t. 

      It will be hard making a decision between all these great places..!

  2. claudiochiangmai November 24, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    while reading the article and I was ready to write “Chiang Mai” when I saw it was already mentioned in the options :) .. I moved here three months back, because just like you I needed a place to call home after all my travels.. here it’s great, it covers all your needs, except snow maybe :) ..but you have mountains, you are close to several country borders, culture is nice, and it’s cheap! there is really a good life quality here! and more than that, several travel blogger based here! 

    • Sofia - As We Travel November 27, 2011 at 11:09 am #

      Haha I’ve understood it’s a popular place to base yourself in if you love traveling, glad to hear you recommend it.

      We never headed up in the mountains last time we were there, and we have yet to visit Myanmar so there are still many places to be explored over there for us.

  3. Missynicholls6 November 24, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    I would have to take chiang Mai Thailand, as I am moving there myself in 12 days.
    Still cheap enough to live, and be able to travel and explore whenever you want :)

    • Sofia - As We Travel November 27, 2011 at 10:36 am #

      Oh how fun! Hope you have a great time over there, the cheap prices makes it easy to indulge ;)

  4. Ramona November 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    Why not visit Romania again? You already got a taste of it, it’s a wonderful place to visit. Bucharest is right in between the Black Sea and the mountains (no more than three hours in each direction). The beauty of Romania is in the countryside, if you establish a base it will be easier to take short trips. It is also a good base to travel to many other countries.

    • Sofia - As We Travel November 27, 2011 at 10:20 am #

      We loved Romania, and would love to go back there again and see more of the country side. Thank for the tip about the apartment, looks nice :)

  5. Jarmo November 25, 2011 at 6:01 am #

    I took a break from my travels in Chiang Mai for a month, just left it about a month ago. It was great, would definitely recommend it. And as you can already see from the comments, it’s a very popular place to live in :) Cheap, good food, plenty of things to do, etc. No skiing thou ;) 

    • Sofia - As We Travel November 27, 2011 at 10:07 am #

      We spent about a month there in January this year and really liked it, especially the food ;)

      We thought that the skiing could be replaced by mountain biking instead. Heard they had some good MTB trails, but never tried them last time so…

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  7. Adventurous Kate November 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    I vote for Zell Am See.  Love, love, love Tirol.  So beautiful, so much stuff to do.

    I personally think Chiang Mai is overrated — it’s a great town, for sure, and great for digital nomads, but you’re really isolated.

    • Sofia - As We Travel November 27, 2011 at 10:00 am #

      Yeah, that would be a downside to Chiang Mai, the isolation. We love Austria as well, it seems like a good place to be during all seasons, which is a big bonus.

      Thanks for your input Kate.

  8. Victoria November 25, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    I personally think basing yourself in Europe has its advantages business-wise if you want to work with travel companies. If you based yourself in Germany or Austria you’d be able to get cheap flights to wherever you need to go. Living somewhere like Chiang Mai would have its advantages (sun and warmth!!!) but I think Europe is the place to be if you’re trying to take things to the next level. I lived in Bali for a year, and it was great from a make money/live cheap point of view, but I felt isolated really. But that’s just me.

    • Sofia - As We Travel November 27, 2011 at 8:32 am #

      That is a very good point, and something we will definitely take into consideration. 

      Thanks for sharing your experience Victoria, it’s always great to hear from someone who’s done something similar before.

  9. Pjsngh062 November 26, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    Personally i would like to go for Zell Am See Autria. I just love Austria, the peaceful environment, natural beauty is simple awesome.

    I am also looking for a long break from my office and guys your bolg helped me a lot in making my mind.

    • Sofia - As We Travel November 27, 2011 at 8:26 am #

      Yeah that’s the main reason why we’re thinking Austria as well, we’ve had so many great experiences there and it’s so beautiful.

      I’m glad we could help, if you have any questions or need some advice don’t hesitate to e-mail us.

  10. Chelstone November 26, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    Zell Am See, Austria, I think is the best choice, but you can choose Sibiu, are near the mountains, and city is very nice, is the most beautiful city from Romania, is cultural city, has international airport, you can go away by train (to Budapest or Munich), prices are very small.
     

    • Sofia - As We Travel November 27, 2011 at 8:23 am #

      Thanks for the tip! Sibiu seems like a really nice place, and whether we choose to live there or not, we will definitely make sure to visit. 
      I loves our visit to Transylvania (Sighisoara) and we’ve planned to return to see more.

  11. The Orange Backpack November 28, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    Before you even mentioned Thailand that was the first place that came to mind. You have options for both mountain biking and surfing in the south and if you were really hankering for some skiing in the winter there is nearby Japan or South Korea which has great places for that. Plus they are only a short 3 hour flight from Thailand. Or if you really wanted to do something awesome you could go to Dubai and do this http://www.skidubai.com/! Factoring what you could get for a nice place in Thailand vs your other options (moneywise) – it’s a no brainer!

  12. Jessica November 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    Oh I’ve heard really wonderful things about Garmisch! I’ve not been yet myself, but have talked to a couple of people who called it the Germany’s most beautiful small town, and there’s definitely lots of opportunity nearbby for mountain sports!

    • Sofia - As We Travel November 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

      Glad to hear that, it seems really beautiful and a fun place to be during winter.

  13. Adam Dudley November 28, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    The place I could park it for a couple years is Berlin, Germany. It’s got everything I love about Europe and metropolitan cities without the pretention. 

    PLUS, the prices in Berlin are still reasonable on the dollar. However, my wife Heather and I haven’t traveled nearly as much as you two.I’m curious about Garmisch-Partenkirchen…is that in the black forest area?

    • Sofia - As We Travel November 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

      Yeah, Berlin would be another good option as its not only fairly cheap but the airport is great, we always end up changing flights in Berlin – they all seem to stop over there!

      We were thinking of at least checking the city out a second time this winter around Christmas, have heard about the countless of Christmas markets they have over there..!

      Garmisch-Partkenkirchen is on the border to Austria, about an hour away from Munich. Not really in the balck-forest area, but we’ve heard it’s really beautiful.

      • Adam Dudley November 29, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

        My wife and I are both Florida natives, so a freezing Christmas in Berlin would be tough. :-)

        I have a great aunt and cousins that live in Freiburg, Germany, which IS in the black forest. Gorgeous and charming. Definitely worth a visit as well if you haven’t been. It’s also supposedly the “greenest” city on the planet if you’re in to that.

  14. Mulkeen December 3, 2011 at 2:03 am #

    Austria would be the leading candidate out of those 3, and Munich would be a good airport to be near, albeit Berlin might be a bit better. I had the same kind of “needs” when moving to Europe, and Amsterdam filled most of the holes, besides the skiing, but I can be on the slopes in a few hours. I wanted a major airport (can’t beat AMS) so I could see the rest of Europe easily.

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