After two months at home that went by in the blink of an eye, I’m looking forward to spending July in Antwerp, Belgium, and August in Tallinn, Estonia. As usual when on the road, my schedule will be working from home during the day and exploring the city in the afternoon.
Both cities have been on my digital nomad bucket list for a while, but the final decision had a lot to do with weather. I feel miserable, sick and weak in heat and humidity. This means that my hometown Ljubljana is the last place I want to be in the summer. The weather gets close to 40 degrees C. I have difficulty focusing and then feel guilty because of wasted time.
Every year I have grand, romantic visions of summer living that never materialize due to excessive heat. Enjoying more time with friends, drinking iced matcha lattes, reading more books, signing up on Skillshare to improve my creative chops. What actually happens in summer is my friends leave for vacation, it’s too hot to go outside, and I have zero motivation to stretch my brain. I make huge iced matcha lattes at home though, so at least there’s that.
With predicted temperatures under 25 degrees C all July, Antwerp will be the perfect place to cool down. I’ve visited it twice before and fell in love. It’s a bit of an underdog compared to Brussels, but it’s so cool and vibrant that I can see it becoming a more popular tourist destination.
Because Antwerp is so compact, I thought I’d already seen everything there’s to see. This trip would be no pressure, just revisiting old favorites, taking photos, eating copious amounts of waffles (Dame Blanche for life) and admiring diverse architecture (no city does clashing architectural styles like Antwerp – see the above photo of the Port House by Zaha Hadid Architects, taken last year).
I then borrowed a great guide, The 500 Hidden Secrets of Antwerp, and my to-do list suddenly had 70 new entries. Now I’m pondering whether one month in Antwerp will be enough. Luckily there’s next year with new six months I’ll spend abroad. It’s amazing to have the freedom to do this on my own and not be reliant on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like Erasmus exchanges to live in other countries.
From Antwerp I also plan to take day trips to Ghent (never been) and Bruges (visited last year, want to do the fantastic boat ride again). Trains in Flanders seem fast and reliable, so unless there’s a strike this should be easy.
Tallinn, on the other hand, will be new territory. In the digital nomad community there’s a lot of talk about Estonia’s new digital nomad visa, which allows people to spend a year living in the country and working remotely. This visa is relevant for people from outside of the European Union, as EU passport holders can already live and work anywhere within the EU indefinitely (as I’ve been doing). But I’m interested in what a digitally progressive country looks like in practice.
The Tallinn travel guides I borrowed from the library are so old that they still list the kroon as the local currency (Estonia adopted the euro in 2011). I’m sure Tallinn has seen a lot of development since and there’s loads to see and do, not just the famous medieval old town. Budget permitting, I’d love to spend a weekend in Helsinki, a short ferry ride away from Tallinn.
I’ll be updating this blog weekly from Antwerp and Tallinn, so make sure you sign up for email updates. You can find the subscription form under this post and the system will deliver updates straight to your inbox. Wherever you are, have a great summer!