It’s a curious question, isn’t it? Should I move to Malta, Cyprus, or Ireland? I wonder how many people ask themselves such a thing – probably not many – but it is a question I posed to myself very recently. And in an ideal world I would have answered it by booking a few flights and taking a short holiday to each country. A week exploring Ireland, a few days in the Maltese sun, a holiday to Cyprus… I would rent a car, drive around, and get a general feel for each country in question. What are the people like, how is the food, is it a pretty place to live? All the little things that contribute towards making a place enjoyable to live, as well as to visit.
Yes, that would be nice, but it wasn’t a reality I could pursue as it would be an expensive and time consuming endeavour, and I was in the process of converting a van which was taking a lot of both resources. I simply had to pick one country, based upon my research, and choose for that to be my home. There are places in the world that I have visited that I didn’t enjoy living. And there are places I have enjoyed living that I wouldn’t have enjoyed visiting. Yes, this conundrum is a tricky one when you have nothing but speculation, and I was hoping to ensure that this time I would be picking a place that could be enjoyable to live and visit.
Why Malta, Cyprus, or Ireland?
At this moment in time, our lives are often dictated by pieces of paper that permit where we can and cannot live, as well as who we can and cannot love. A visa that grants one the right to live and work in a country can be extremely difficult to obtain. I came to a decision, along with Leah (who gave up her life to be here), that we would like to live in Europe because I haven’t lived in Europe for many years, and she has never done so. We initially considered the UK, but with the Brexit conundrum and the cost of living, we decided elsewhere would be more favourable. After extensive research, only three countries really seemed like viable options in terms of satisfying paperwork – Malta, Cyprus, and Ireland. Thus the die was cast, beyond our control.
I have never taken a holiday to Cyprus or Malta – in fact, I knew nothing of either country, save for the fact that they are both popular tourist destinations for British holiday makers. I wouldn’t have even been able to place the countries on a map very accurately a few months ago. I have visited Ireland, briefly, once to install a play area for my dad and more recently, spending six days road tripping around the country – I found it to be very beautiful and wet, but expensive. In short, I liked it a lot, and thought that this is where I would live.
I then made a short list about what I wanted from the country I would move to, based upon accessibility and my day to day life. It was very, very simple, and went something like this:
- Reasonable immigration policy so that Leah can join me.
- Low cost of living so that I can afford a good quality of life.
- Good weather because sunshine makes me smile.
- Accessibility (cheap flights) to other countries so that I can continue doing trips.
At the time we made the decision, our initial choice (Ireland) lacked on three major issues – the weather is chilly and the cost of living is high, whilst immigration applications have skyrocketed (resulting in a year waiting time) since Brexit. We crossed this off the list, leaving us with only Malta and Cyprus – and I was excited. I would soon be travelling to a new country, knowing nothing of it, and be ready to call it my home. Both countries are reasonably priced and experience good weather for most of the year.
Cyprus was an exciting option – great weather, Mediterranean food, and an expanse of land to explore. It would have been an exciting place to live, but in the end we went for Malta. We’ll visit Cyprus one day, just for a holiday maybe, and reflect on what could have been, but for now our time will be spent on Malta. What tipped the scales was the immigration conditions and the mad, cheap flights from Malta to all over Europe, as well as its accessibility to Africa and the Middle East.
What do I think so far? Well, the weather is pretty good!
Here is a longer explanation of my decision to move to Malta…