The journey of your favourite vagabond that began in 2009 with my move to London and last saw me move to Malta continues. I am on the move again after I had briefly returned to London for a few weeks. Even more so than previously, I find London unbearably loud, crowded, noisy, dirty, smelly, polluted, stupid and outrageously expensive. It’s high time to leave this hell hole of a city behind me.
After three years living on islands, first Britain and then Malta, I return to the mainland. I want to have the flexibility again of visiting neighbouring countries by spontaneously hopping on a train or a bus; and the insular mentality also showed in both the UK and Malta.
I have decided to remain in Europe for now and for two reasons: As an EU citizen, I don’t need any visa or residence permit to settle in another EU member state. Also, I find it saddening that in the course of my travels I have been to almost all continents of the world, but I still haven’t seen half of Europe. Most of these as yet unvisited countries are in Eastern and Northern Europe.
My choice fell on Lithuania. I will move to Vilnius on 1 July 2012.
I was drawn to Lithuania because I have never been to the Baltic states. Indeed, I have never even been to any of its neighbouring countries. I plan to visit Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia during my stay in the region. And yes, I will have enough time for all of that.
After living in a metropolis and on a barren rock (which had more charm than this description would make you believe), I was longing to return to a green country. Lithuania promises to be just that.
I am looking forward to going hiking, cycling, camping and just walking through endless forests. And I won’t need to miss the water either, both sweet and salty.
Lithuania should also be an interesting country for a history buff like me, both dating back back a millennium and the more recent history of the 20th century. Independent between the two world wars, then first occupied by the Soviet Union, then the German occupation in 1941, before it finally fell back under Soviet rule three years later and only regained freedom in 1990, Lithuania is a perfect case study for the European history of the last century. Under Nazi-occupation, Lithuania, once a major centre of European Judaism, also played an especially grim part in the Holocaust. The Nazis – and quite a few Lithuanian collaborators – murdered almost the entire Jewish population of Lithuania.
So, in two weeks I’ll be sitting here, reading a book and smoking a cigar:
Why don’t you come for a visit?