🦘 Prison break, or solving life like a developer️

The origin story

I had a vague dream of “it would be cool to move to Europe for a year or two” for a while now. I lived in Australia for 4 years by then, and while it’s an incredible country to explore, my restless brain increasingly demanded some radical changes. Covid hit right when I started seriously planning prolonged 2–3 months trips there to fulfil the need the “easy” way and shattered any possible travel plans. After one and a half years of up and down restrictions, being more and more pissed with Australian politics and its response to the pandemic, and total inability to control my life anymore, the strictest months-long lockdown in Sydney hit us just when the rest of the world started opening up. That was the last straw. In order to capture the last evaporating bits of sanity, I needed to do something now.

The Relocation Project

So I approached it the way I would deal with a massive terrifying project at work: keep the big picture at the back of your mind, but stop thinking about it. Instead, start slicing it into smaller pieces until every one of them is independent and doable with minimal effort and time.

  • a reliable source of income for a year
  • a way to leave Australia

💸 A reliable source of income for a year

This step was the easiest for me: I am super lucky to work at a startup where the founders build it with the idea of a “company to serve us”, not the other way around. So when I had “the talk” with my boss it was something like this:

  • of course, no problem, what do you need?

🇪🇺 Legal right to live and work in Europe for a year

After some random mindless googling I discovered the game-changer. Did you know that there is a number of countries, including some European countries in the Schengen zone, that offer digital nomad visas? For real! They specifically target people that have a job already and can perform it remotely from another location. Mind-blowing sign from the universe. After some research, the choice was obvious: Malta and its Nomad Residence Permit program.

  • English is widely spoken, so no communication difficulties
  • it’s in the Schengen zone, which means unrestricted travel to 25 countries for a year
  • no double income taxes
  • looks to be a nice country with rich history, access to the Mediterranean sea and beautiful coastline

🐨 A way to leave Australia

Amazingly, this was the hardest part of the project. For context: in March 2020, when Covid hit, Australia closed its borders for everyone, in and out, including its own citizens. Initially for 3 months, to “flatten the curve” and prepare for Covid, but those 3 months turned into almost 2 years, and they still, in November 2021 are partially closed. At the time of The Project (around August 2021), I could only leave Australia if:

  • I am able to prove with documents why my reason is so valid
  • I apply for an exemption to the Department of Immigration and get it approved
  • describe things that I do to prove the seriousness of my intent (like selling my car, giving up my apartment, the fact that I got the visa for a year)
  • prove that I can financially support myself during that time (bank statement, employment letter with the salary, letter that I can work remotely)
  • declare that I understand the risks of travel and under no circumstances going to ask the government for help

The new beginning

After the MVP (minimal viable product) of the Relocation Project was done and successfully released, the rest was just a smooth sail of implementing new easy features 😅



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Nadia Makarevich

Nadia Makarevich

Frontend architect, coder. Love solving problems, fixing things and writing in-depth tech articles: https://www.developerway.com