Changing your life

Changing your life

Changing your life, is that something you would like to do? Today I want to talk about changing your life in general. This is a topic that I have been dealing with most of my life, and I have been wanting to cover it for some time now. So, here it is. 

I feel like a lot of people have problems with their lives, jobs, family etc. This can really become a problem over time, they care about this enough to tell people how they feel. But somehow not enough to do something about it. I think we all know this person at work or in the family that always complains about their job or the place they live in. And I do get it, giving up your job can be scary, I know all about it. In fact, that is what held me back.

Back when I still lived in Holland, I worked at a company where I made a good salary, but very long hours and a boss that nobody wants. I worked there for almost 10 years before I moved to Sweden. And in those 10 years, I heard my colleagues complain about the job and how they wished their lives would have been different. Some of them were divorced, some of them had debts, and some of them just didn’t enjoy their lives in general. 

 

Changing your life

 

Think about you…

Now, it’s not that I never complained myself. But, as an introvert, I have always been someone who likes to take a step back and think about a situation. See what my options are. And finally, solve the issue, BY MYSELF, I must add. Not because I think nobody could ever help me with it, but simply because I have always tried to figure things out by myself. It makes me feel comfortable. How about you?

So, all though I have complained about things myself in the past, I like to set myself apart from others in this situation. If there is one tip I would want to give everybody who is unhappy, and everybody reading my blog and this post in particular. It is that, whatever people say, whatever people think, and whatever you have been taught, it doesn’t matter. What you want is important.

I’m not saying, if you are married and have kids, that you should ignore that and do whatever you want. But how many times do we really think about ourselves? Not in a selfish way, but asking yourself the question; what do I want? 

 

Changing your life

 

Make up your mind

So here’s what I did, and what I think more people should do. I had been unhappy in Holland, with family members and friends that weren’t as loyal as I hoped, and my job. I was just generally unhappy. So one day, I gathered all my strength and asked myself the question; if nothing was holding me back, what would I do with my life? And without even thinking about it, the answer I heard in my head, was that I wanted to move far far away.

The rest of that day I dreamed about places I had always wanted to go. In this post, I tell all about how I left. But long story short, I sat down with my wife, we looked at locations. And within 3 months we had moved to Sweden. Now, of course, not everybody will do something drastic and impulsive as this. But life is too short to live like everybody else.

Finally, my quote of the day is: Take a step back and ask yourself; If I were old and on my death bed now, would I feel like I lived my life to the fullest?

So that’s all on changing your life. More information about getting started can be found in my introduction post.

Love to travel too? Plan it here.

Sleeping in the wilderness

Sleeping in the wilderness

Sleeping in the wilderness is not for everyone. But if you do like it, this article might be something for you! 

Back in the Netherlands, the word wilderness is as uncommon as snow in Australia. The closest “wild” nature from where I grew up, was East Germany or South France. So being young, bushcrafting was out of the question.

The last few years before I emigrated to Sweden, I loved to pack my bag and drive to the German woods. The only problem there was that you are not allowed to just camp anywhere, or sleep in nature for that matter. 

But all of that was about to change when I decided to move to Sweden. Sweden has something called “Allemansrätten”, which basically means that you can camp anywhere at any time. The only rule is that you respect nature, and leave your camping spot the way you found it. 

Sleeping in the wilderness

The Kebnekaise Mountains

 

Going into the wild

The mountains of Sweden, as seen in the picture above, are so untouched and the air smells amazing. From the first year we arrived in this country, I started going out to the mountains with my dog. Not in the winter though, as there can be 1 to 2 meters of snow in some areas. 

The highest mountain of Sweden is called the Kebnekaise. It is roughly 2100 meters or 6.800 feet high and located in the Norwegian border of North Sweden. Luckily for me, it is just half an hour driving from my house and I can see the mountains from my window every morning.

Ever since I arrived in Sweden I was dreaming of sleeping in the wilderness. In the winter it wasn’t possible as the snow was so high, I couldn’t walk through it. In the spring it was also difficult because when the snow melted, the amount of water everywhere was overwhelming. 

So when summertime came, I could finally get out there. The minute the warm sunbeams hit my face for the first time, I packed my bag and headed for the mountains. 

 

Sleeping in the wilderness

My camp

 

So what does it feel like, sleeping in the wilderness?

Here up north, it feels like freedom… I know what you’re thinking. Aren’t we all fee? Yes, but this is something different. When I am in the mountains, all worries and thoughts just float away in the wind. On this particular trip, I was camping with my dog. Sadly, he passed away 3 months after that… If there is one thing I admire about dogs and took away from the time I had spent with him; It’s that they don’t worry about yesterday, or tomorrow, they just enjoy the moment. That, is happiness…

 

So that’s how sleeping in the wilderness feels to me. More information about emigrating can be found in my introduction post.

Love to travel too? Plan it here.

What is it like to emigrate to Sweden

What is it like to emigrate to Sweden

What is it like to emigrate to Sweden? It can be quiet a life-changing experience to move to another country. Especially if the climate is totally different. Like from Holland to Sweden, or any other Scandinavian country for that matter. Not everybody will be able to adjust to such a change. This is something to think about.

Where I grew up, there wasn’t much nature. Not wild nature at least. In my birth city, there were parks and small forests, but these were built by men. And hardly big enough to play hide and seek in. Of course, as a child, you don’t know any better. But the older I got, the more I felt like I was craving for something more. I never really knew what it was. It felt like a light nervousness for exploration. For something that I could do by myself, in nature. 

 

What is it like to emigrate to Sweden

Nature

 

Pros and cons

I have to admit, although moving to Sweden was the best decision ever, I only saw the pros before we moved. Now the pros and cons that I will mention next, are of course opinions, this will vary per person.

Pros:

  • Lots and lots of nature
  • Very little stress
  • Places with very little inhabitants
  • A feeling of starting a new life
  • Super white winters
  • Wild animals everywhere
  • Very kind people
  • No tax on cars
  • Free health insurance
  • Long maternity leave (also for daddy 😉)
  • Allemansrätten (Meaning, you can camp anywhere in nature. Do anything you want, as long as you keep it clean and respect nature)

Cons:

  • Winters as cold as -45 (here up north at least). Which I personally don’t mind, but some people might have an issue with this.
  • Very high VAT tax (50%)
  • Driving from north to south takes about 14 hours

 

Conclusion

That’s what I have found in the short time that I have been living here so far. But above all, this country has everything you can possibly want as an adventurer, traveler, nature lover etc. Our journey has just started here, but we feel like living in paradise every day…

 

What is it like to emigrate to Sweden

“The Green Lady”

 

So that’s all on what is it like to emigrate to Sweden. More information about getting started can be found in my introduction post.

Love to travel too? Plan it here.

How does it feel to run away

How does it feel to run away

How does it feel to run away? This is a question that a lot of people might ask themselves. And in retrospect, I had always wondered what it would feel like too. If I would get homesick, what my family would think and if I would even make it at my new destination. 

No matter if you are moving away because you are unhappy, or because you just like traveling, it is exciting either way. But in some cases, it might be the only way out. 

My wife and I were happy together, but not happy in the place we lived. The city was stressful, our jobs were stressful. And frankly, we just had a hard time fitting into the life that most people seemed to lead. And it’s not like we didn’t try anything. Oh, we tried everything! We had a house near a big forest where we liked to walk to clear out minds. A dog that made us happy. We had family and friends. But somehow the rest was just overwhelming. So we started thinking about moving away. At first, we looked at small towns within Holland. But the problem in Holland is that big cities equal lot’s of jobs and small towns equal very little work opportunities. So we starting looking at countries all over the world. 

 

How does it feel to run away

A new place

Far far away…

 

Our first thoughts were a warm place. We considered Spain at first, but I had just been to Spain that summer and it was way too hot for us. Then we thought about California, as this seemed so appealing in movies. But after some research, we found out that there were more cons than pros for us. Then we really fell in love with Canada. To this day I still would have moved there if we had more time. But the problem with Canada was, as it is in North America, that we needed a visa. And of course, this is nothing new, but we had to decide fast. We did apply for a visa, but this turned out to become a very long trial and we wanted to move. And fast!

After some more eyeballing the world map, we came across Sweden. North Sweden to be exact. Now, I don’t want to insult anybody from either country, but as far our concern, North Sweden was the Canada of Europe. We were instantly excited and started looking for places. And after a whole day of strolling the internet, we knew where we wanted to go, Kiruna

We planned our move in September that year. Canceled every subscription, sold everything we owned except our clothes and computers, quit our jobs and planned our migration. The 1st of November we already moved. By car, with a cat and a dog and just the things that fit in the back of our Ford Mondeo.

 

Conclusion

We wanted to leave, and we wanted to leave fast. And it happened fast. Within two months we gave up almost everything we knew and escaped the stressful life for a destination that is until today the most magical please I have ever been. Running away has honestly been the best decision that I have ever made. My wife and I are happy now and enjoying every day in this paradise called Kiruna…

 

So that’s all on how does it feel to run away. More information about getting started can be found in my introduction post.

Love to travel too? Plan it here.

Leaving everything behind

Leaving everything behind

Leaving everything behind. how does that feel? And how do you do that? 

For some people, it might be the hardest thing they’ll ever do. For other people, it may be the best thing ever. Well, because of this, I can’t speak for everyone. But I will tell you how it was/is for me and what might help if you are hesitating. 

I for one, have always felt that I didn’t belong in the country I grew up in. You know, this feeling that you don’t fit in, no matter where you go. I had a good childhood and some really good friends. But it was the crowdedness and stressfulness of Holland that made me feel like I was of a different species. 

So how is it, leaving everything behind? Well, for me it wasn’t difficult. Not because I didn’t have family or friends, because that would be the biggest problem for some people. For me, that wasn’t an issue because, in my opinion, you don’t live for your family and friends, you live for yourself. And what is the point of making your friends and family happy, if that means that you won’t be happy? 

Leaving everything behind

Leaving everything behind

Bringing the news

So unless you are planning to disappear from the face of the earth, which a lot of people do these days. Like, living in the wild or just traveling the world without a plan. This was also something I thought about for a while, but I had too much to hold on to, like my wife and dog. But otherwise, you really want to tell your friends and family about your plans a good time before you decide to leave. Some people find it hard enough to let you go, hearing about it last second might really rub them the wrong way. 

Conclusion

So before leaving everything behind, you might want to think about your plans. If you are just moving to a new place to settle, let people know in advance that you are leaving. Are you planning to stay away without any contact with your old life, then keep it quiet until the moment you leave. Or in some cases, people don’t mention it at all. After all, the reason for disappearing is in that case to avoid the contact.

 

So that’s all on leaving everything behind. More information about getting started can be found in my introduction post.

Love to travel too? Plan it here.

How to export your car

How to export your car

How to export your car. In today’s post, I would like to talk about how to export your car. And how my wife and I did this. What you need to know and think about before you take this action.

So there’s a couple of things that are important to consider before you do this. As I found out when we were planning our move from Holland to Sweden, it isn’t as easy as it seems. This is mostly because of the gap of time between the moment you leave your home country, and the moment you arrive at your destination.

As an example, I will tell you what we had to face and what mistakes we made. But also the one things I (luckily) did very right.

 

How to export your car

 

The planning of how to export your car

When we still lived in Holland, we were driving  Toyota Auris. Which, at that point, was a really new car. We were very happy with the car, which made it the perfect car for moving. Right? Well, not as much as you might think. The two things we had to consider were; the environment/climate we would end up in. And two; the fact that it had to be imported into the new country too.

Point one will be different for everyone, depending on your destination. But to give you an idea of what you might run in to, we were moving to a place where, in the winter, temperatures can go as low as -45. And on top of that, there can be as much as 1 to 2 meters thick. All though Sweden has an amazing policy for cleaning roads, this was no place for a hybrid. So that was reason one for us to reconsider taking the Toyota.

For point two we had to do a little more research before we left. As I found out, importing a car in Sweden can get really expensive. And if the car isn’t in 100% good condition, you have to repair everything before you can import the car. Although our car was basically new, we didn’t want to risk having to pay a lot of money in our first week.

The tricky part

So after some brainstorming, I came up with the following solution for how to export your car. We sold our Toyota and bought the cheapest and biggest station wagon we could find. In our case, this was an old Ford Mondeo.  A car that could hold much of our suitcases.

We sold our car, bought the Ford, and went to the DMV to export the car. This isn’t free though. And your car has to be checked for the MOT. In retrospect, the Ford we bought JUST passed the MOT if you ask me. But we were happy to find a way to get out.

Now here comes the kicker. You have to be insured while you drive to your destination. But you can’t have a car insurance when you’re not a citizen. You want to have AA service, but nobody will cover you when you have emigrated. So how did I solve this? Well, I made a deal with both companies to sell me a short-term subscription for just 3 days. I had to pay about 150 euros for it, but that is well worth the coverage you get in case of problems.

Once in Sweden, we sold our Ford to an export company and bought local cars.

How to export your car

 

Conclusion

  • Think about your travel
  • Consider your destination
  • Don’t buy a car that will cost you much to import
  • You can always buy a new car in your new country

So that’s all on how to plan a migration. More information about getting started can be found in my introduction post.

How to plan a migration

How to plan a migration?

So how to plan a migration? Well to answer this question I should explain how my wife and I came to the idea of migrating. We used to live in Holland in a very small house in a big city. Both working hard, both very stressed. All though we were happy together, we didn’t have much money or much time. Therefor we had to choose wisely what we bought or did. Nevertheless, we had a dog and a cat that did cost some money, but it was all worth it.

So to get to the point, happy as we were, we were stressed. Not from our minimalist life, but from society and the every day stress of the government and money. Most of the people we knew were stressed and frankly, a lot of people admitted to be unhappy with they lives. Now I’m not saying that everybody who lives in a busy place, with little money, should be unhappy. But we were. We felt like we needed a place where money isn’t as important. A place where everything goes a but slower. Where people are happier. So we started looking.

How to plan a migration

 

Finding our place

So we asked ourselves, how to plan a migration? We decided to start looking for not so popular places around the world. As far away from home as possible, without needing a visa. Now the reason for the latter was, because our first idea was to move to Canada. Which we would need a visa for, as this was outside the EU. All though we didn’t make it to Canada, we ended up in a place much like Canada. After some searching and looking through google maps for hours and hours on hand, we found our place. Now, don’t get me wrong, it might sound easier than it actually was. We had to consider many things before we could make a final decision. Like if there was enough nature for us, for our dog. If the language was learn-able, and so on. But after much consideration, we ended up with a beautiful place called Kiruna.

Now it was time to start planning for our move. I remember some of my first thoughts to be, how do you cancel subscriptions within their contract time? What form of transport will we use? Do we register at our new country first, or sign out from Holland first? Well, to make sure this post won’t become too long, and make it easy for you, I will sum it up, step by step.

 

The steps we took and how to plan a migration

I will describe how we planned everything out, in a way that will be an easy to follow universal guide. Depending on where you move to, you might have to apply for a visa, but in this case, I will explain how to migrate without needing one. So here’s how to plan a migration.

  1. Start by finding any form of income at your new location. Followed by some kind of housing. If both of these are difficult, look into something like Workaway.
  2. Request information at the municipality of the city you want to move to.
  3. Then find out what your current municipality requires you to do before you migrate.
  4. Make a financial plan that will cover the hit you will take when quitting your current job, until the time you start your new job at your final destination.
  5. Contact all the companies you currently have a subscription with. Like mobile phone, gym etc. And explain to them that you are going to migrate. In theory, they should always allow you to cancel early. In some cases, you might have to buy your remaining subscription out though.

Don’t give up (things might get tough)

  1. The next step really depends on how you plan your transport. If you are flying. You will have to sell everything and find a way to get your pets to the new location. In our case, we didn’t have the money to fly our pets over. So we decided to go by car. In this case, buy a car that is big, but cheap. This is because a car is not always easy to import in the new country, we actually ended up throwing the car away once we arrived. Keep in mind, you will still have to export your car. I will write a separate article on how to do this.
  2. Talk to your family and friends. After all, you don’t want to leave anyone behind without letting them know where you went ;). But don’t let anyone talk you out of your decision if this is really what you want.
  3. Make sure your passport, ID, and driving license are up to date. Depending on how far you move away, you won’t be able to renew any of these very easily in the first few months. Take it from me, because I actually never bothered getting a passport, as we still live within the EU. However, it turned out, all though you are free to move around with just your ID, I needed my passport for many things.

 

How to plan a migration

 

Okay, you’re getting there! You almost know how to plan a migration!

Alright! Now if all this seems a little overwhelming, a great tip, and something we used, is to go to a Facebook. Find a group that focuses on the town, area or city you are moving to. From my experience, most people are more than willing to help you out. What I like to do is to make a small post in that group, where you tell your story and plans. Make it sound a little desperate so that people understand the time pressure, without making it seem like you’re hopeless. You’ll be surprised how many helping hands you will see. Remember, there is absolutely no shame in asking for a little help.

The final steps

So you made it this far, fantastic! Here is what you need to think of when you are closing into the last days:

  1. Are you moving far away? Whether you are flying or driving, chances are you won’t be able to take many belongings with you. Especially furniture. So put your furniture for sale way before you plan to move, but let buyers know that they can’t pick it up until the day before you migrate. After all, you don’t want to spend your last week without a fridge and washing machine.
  2. If your car of luggage is full, but you really need to take something with you that doesn’t fit. Consider sending it to the new location by mail. Chances are the mail won’t arrive before you do. And either way, you can always send it to the local postal office. Or if they’re crazy enough, let a friend or family member drive behind you with the remaining boxes ;).
  3. Make sure your car insurance covers you until the day you arrive at your new location! I can not stress this enough. Anything can happen on the way, and with a long trip, this could cause a lot of problems. What I did was buy a 3-day car insurance. They charged me 100 euro’s for it, but I figured it was well worth it.

 

So that’s all on how to plan a migration. More information about getting started can be found in my introduction post.

Introduction to my blog

Introduction to my blog

Welcome to the introduction to my blog New Place New life. I made this blog for several reasons. Most of my life I haven’t exactly felt like I was where I wanted to be. I mean this both as a place in my life and the place where I was actually living. I was born and raised in the Netherlands. This – if you aren’t familiar with it – is a country with 17 million inhabitants. Every place is very crowded, busy and noisy. All though Holland has many beautiful places, they weren’t made for me. If you are anything like me, then you might have had any of the feelings I’m about to describe at one point or another in your life.

I was born in a place called Uithoorn, Holland’s capital city, which is close to Amsterdam. Uithoorn was a busy place that had way too many people on one place. I lived with my mom, dad and 3 year older sister in a middle class house. My dad was a computer programmer and my mom was a housewife. Most of my childhood was stressful as my parents divorced when I was 7 years old. I’d like to say that we were kept out of everything that comes along with a divorce, but unfortunately I can’t.

My sister and I lived with my mom the first few years but after that we switched parents a couple of times. Later on my sister stayed with our mom and me with my dad. Now the reason I’m writing this is because I’d like to think that that last decision was the base reason why my sister and I turned out with such different personalities.

Introduction to my blog

Reindeer we saw during our emigration trip through Sweden

Fast forward

Let me fast forward. From that point on, I started feeling less and less at home in my jobs, house and country. Looking back at those years, I don’t know why it never occurred to me that I could have changed my life. I’ve always “liked” the idea of running away from home or doing one of those crazy things like in the movie “Into the wild”. Which is one of my favorite movies by the way. However, I never seemed to change anything. So by the time I turned 27, I found the love of my life and everything was about to change.

We moved to a much calmer place in Holland, called Hilversum. Hilversum is a relatively big city, but with lots of nature. In those years I really changed more and more. My girlfriend – who is now my wife – had moved around in between different countries within Europe many times before. After three years of living together, we decided to move away. As a result of getting tired of the government, less and less nature and just the pressure of everyday life. We looked for a place as far as possible without needing a visa. So after some research on internet we decided to move to one of the most remote places in Sweden. A place called Kiruna.

In this blog I am going to explain exactly why we moved, what we had to go through to do this, how the move went and how it affected us after changing places. Since north Sweden is absolutely the opposite of Holland in many many ways, there were a lot of things we had to adept to. I want to describe all of this in my blog and hopefully be an inspiration to some of my readers. For the people who are inspired, thinking about a change, planning a change, or have failed changing places, I hope to create a community . As I am a big nature lover and I hike, photograph and write about nature with every chance I get.

 

Introduction to my blog