Ramblings: Go nomad big, or go small

Santa Margherita Ligure

Should you be a digital nomad in a small town or big city?

When choosing a place to venture to with your new digital nomadic life, you need not be restricted to big cities. Maybe you feel like there are more employment opportunities in the big city, maybe it will be easier to pick up work.

Perhaps, this may be true. But you’re a digital nomad. Don’t overlook remote working and taking up the opportunity to stay in a small town instead. 

Big cities might have a lot to offer, but small towns can offer some things that you might even know you were looking for.

I’m going to walk you through a couple of benefits that we have living in a small coastal town in Italy – population circa 10k.

  • My neighbour brings my parcels upstairs to my door.
  • The courier knows who we are and will call us to find out where we are in town for drop offs –  no need to stay home all day for deliveries.
  • My son talks to all of our neighbours on the balcony – for the days you can’t be bothered going out to be social. You can always rely on one of your neighbours to be hanging out their washing!
  • You can walk everywhere!!
  • My neighbour caught my son running out of sight in town and entertained him until I arrived.
  • Kids get to trick-or-treat in all of the shops, no need to go door-knocking.
  • My son has an ‘arrangement’ with every cafe in town, whereby he gets something ‘gratuito‘ – a biscuit or something along those lines. While I do buy coffee we have established that this is not really necessary. He also has a similar ‘arrangement’ with the Panificio/Bakery.
  • My son has been to my neighbours apartment to have strawberries. Subsequently our own strawberries are now inferior and it is requested that be served “come Maria” – with lemon and sugar. 
  • I haven’t wrapped a gift in two years, the local toy stores does all of the wrapping free of charge. PS They’re doing a roaring trade!!

Sure, you will encounter some limitations – we have no real shopping available to us, save for pricier boutiques. But we’re only 30 minutes by train from a bigger city. To be honest our train trip from suburban Melbourne into the city was longer!! 

Regardless though, yes there are compromises. But in my opinion the benefits far outweigh the limitations.

It also really helps with being a minimalist if you have limited access to everything. You start to ask yourself if you really do need it. And with the ease of online shopping, it doesn’t really matter how far away from a store you are.

Ramblings: Children, the secret to expat life

I think back on the last two years, I congratulate myself on being a ‘successful expat‘ here in Italy. I’m here, I’m still here and I’m staying here. I don’t want to leave.

Then I stop to consider why the biggest threat to expat life, particularly in a smaller town, hasn’t yet struck me. I’m talking about loneliness. Sometimes expat life can get lonely, and the thing calling you home – your friends and family – that’s hard to replicate abroad. That sense of home, belonging and comfort.

So why aren’t I searching for that now. Two years later…

Continue reading “Ramblings: Children, the secret to expat life”

Ramblings: There’s no work/life balance, it’s just life

Once you’ve found your ‘La dolce vita’ – and no, it may not just be in Italy for everyone.

It’s now been almost two years of living in the remarkable little corner of the world that we stumbled on – by accident of course. It’s changed me, changed my path, changed my drivers and changed my rhythm.

Now when I travel, I dream of coming home – here to Santa Margherita. It’s a surreal place, Ligurian mountains nestled in the bay of Tigullio. You’ve got the Med on one side and a massive national park on the other. We’re a stone’s throw from the lustre of Portofino and the Instagramable Cinque Terre – although to be honest the whole Ligurian coast is Instagramable.

But it’s not these qualities that have resonated with my soul, it is the way of life. The Italian cultural embrace that we have found in this little niche paradise. Yes locals may tell you it’s a small town, with a small town mindset. But I am either oblivious to this, or as an outsider am unaffected.

I thought I was a city-girl, loved to be lost in the crowd. Anonymous.

Ramblings: Is a new series, where I will share my random musings from living my remarkable digital nomadic lifestyle on the Italian Riviera.

Continue reading “Ramblings: There’s no work/life balance, it’s just life”

Cleaning up Italy’s garbage

As a foreigner Italy’s garbage disposal procedure can be annoying, confronting and at times down-right stinky.

When confronted with the idea of having to walk my household garbage down the street to the nearest garbage bins I was immediately taken a back. The thought of parading my garbage across the piazza for all to see and assess was a little overwhelming. That was my feeling several years ago anyway, when I first moved to Florence. Continue reading “Cleaning up Italy’s garbage”