Where in the World!?
So many things were considered when it came to figuring out just exactly where we were going to go first. Climate, average temperatures, languages, culture, landlocked or near a coast or a big lake, population, quality of life, education options, was it central for travel (so we could maybe base ourselves there for a while), internet speeds, inline/ice hockey, digital nomad/expat community, living costs and visa requirements.
It was a fun process looking into countries and cities and you just have to start somewhere right? Because i'm a visual person I started with google maps, for Dylan because he's logical, he started with online lists - in particular nomadlist.com. We felt it was important for us to go somewhere that was strong in culture, history and where English was not the primary language. With no interest in Asia or Africa that left us with Europe, Central and South America. In terms of the majority of our deciding factors to consider we came up with the following countries as potential options; Portugal, Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Mexico, and Colombia.
Due to visa requirements and annoying AF processes in obtaining necessary visas we decided to dismiss Europe for now and felt Mexico or Colombia would be better for us to start with as our first jump. The extra advantage for Spanish speaking countries is that I used to be able to have a conversation in Spanish so surely I'd be able to pick it up quickly. And how amazing would it be for me to live out a dream I once had growing up but as a young adult accepted it wasn't going to happen... To live in Spanish culture and become fluent in the language - that was definitely a high draw card.
Looking further into visas and which city it would be that we would live in consisted of reading lots of blogs. Medellin, Colombia stood out because it is currently one of the hottest cities for digital nomads. They also have two inline hockey clubs that I could find online! Cancun and La Puerta Vallera in Mexico also stood out to us due to being a popular location for expats and of course its coastal beaches. Contacting the consulates here in New Zealand was pretty dire.. in fact the email communications never went anywhere. We would send them an initial email requesting further information or further communication. We would eventually receive a brief formal email saying we should send our email to another email address with which no explanation was given. And as for calling their contact phone number... I always got their voice mail and they never returned my messages.
Luckily, one of my dearest friends on the planet who I talk with almost daily lives in Colombia and works as a lawyer. She called me one day and explained the visa process. Basically after that phone call we were 90% sure we were going to Medellin, Colombia! You can go there for 6 months without a visa and during that time if you decide to stay longer they won't kick you out if you notify them with the intent of staying longer and apply for a visa proving you meet all the requirements. With the visa hurdle addressed it was just a matter of researching our other points of consideration as I mentioned above.
For us, Medellin, Colombia was a clear winner! :D
In another post I will go into more detail about how Medellin, Colombia satisfies our needs and desires but for now I will just wait to experience it first-hand to be sure ;)