After living in Jakarta from 2012 to 2018, we were exhausted, feeling irritated and caught anxieties very easily.
Our relationship as a married couple feels a bit weird and distant. We weren’t happy even though we have plenty of money. We could travel as often as we want. We could eat delicious food as often as we want, too. But we felt something was missing.
No, it wasn’t because of the absence of a child in our household. But it was more than that. It was a fundamental thing for us: being present and making moments together.
Step-by-Step on Actualising Our Slow Life Dream
We travelled to Europe at the end of 2017, visited Portugal, Tallinn, Tartu and Helsinki. Although it was very short, it was super memorable for us. That trip has been a hallmark of our new life—a slow and meaningful one. We carved a dream to live on European soil.
Around 6 months after that trip, we decided to sell all of the shares in Asep’s previous company (that he founded in 2021 with a friend), packed our bags and essential stuff and sent them to Denpasar (Bali). Yes, we moved there, and start a new life.
Not much money, no “jobs”, no child, two cats and two persons.
We were happy.
Bali; Our 1st Step in Learning How to Slow Down and Being Mindful
Bali was nice. It sure is slower than Jakarta. We could visit the pretty white and black sand beaches along the Southern coasts of Bali in less than an hour of a motorcycle trip. We could go to the mountains in 2-3 hours. It also has an international airport, just in case we wanted to travel abroad—Australia and New Zealand are like the backyard of Bali.
But 2019 is another hallmark in our life. Things weren’t going as smooth as we planned. We ran out of money, the investment isn’t going anywhere, and things went rough.
It’s a story for another day, I think.
Long story short, we learnt a lot in terms of our relationship as a married couple and as entrepreneurs.
Then, 2020 happened. You know what I mean. The COVID-19 global pandemic has risen from China at the end of 2019.
In March 2020, we moved to a new house in another location near Kuta beach. We want to be closer to the city and the airport, too. Just in case we have emergency calls from our family.
We still keep the candle lights of our dream on. But the global event is extended to 2021, and that, my friends, blowing a hard wind towards our candle. We don’t know how can we move to another country amidst the global pandemic. And we barely have money to do that. We were living paycheck to paycheck, as a freelancer and a software engineer in a small local startup.
In June, Asep got a new position in an Estonian tech startup—Jobbatical. It was a big upgrade for us, for real! Well, we didn’t really be hoping that they’d relocate us to Estonia since they’re a remote-first company. Correction: we did hope, but we didn’t get those up high.
One day, Asep asked his Head of People about the possibility of a relocation programme, what can be covered by the company, and how is the process of doing it.
Yes, they agreed to relocate us! 😍
I cried after hearing the news from my husband.
I mean, after all the hardships, the ups and downs (that led me to the brink of depression and almost-give-up-on-life) and the experiences of building several failed products and/or companies…it’s all paid off!
Ankara, The 2nd Step Before The Real Slow Life
In September, we had to leave Bali. We packed our bags (again), sorted our things and sent them to extended families. Our cats are also coming with us—separately. We sent our cats to the boarding house, and the day after, they’ll be delivered to Jakarta and waiting for their papers to be finished. We have to leave them for a while. 😿 This broke my heart, actually.
We met several of our family members and friends in Jakarta. We stayed there for 2 days before departing to Ankara. Some of them cried, we didn’t. We were too excited at the thought of leaving Indonesia! 🤭 🤣
We’ve said our goodbyes, and arrived at Ankara on September 26th 2021.
Ankara was super glowing with their clear blue Mediterranean skies, but it was also super dry!
I still cannot believe that we were able to move to another country—let alone take a flight when there were lockdowns everywhere!
We had to be in Ankara for two weeks to apply for a business visa (Schengen D-visa). Estonia doesn’t have any relationship with Indonesia, and it was impossible for us to get Schengen C-visa too.
We enjoy Ankara’s weather and chillness. It was chilly and dry, and…did I already say chilly? Yes, it was super chilly and dry, which made my skin super itchy.
But I got to say, the food there is superb! It was delicious, flavourful, big portions and a bit much different from Indonesian food. 😂
Asep didn’t take off days while we were there. What for? He can works day to noon, and we can enjoy being outdoor in the evening. Jobbatical allows him to have a healthy work-life balance, and that allows us to enjoy things that are not work-related.
There were so many stories while we were in Ankara.
We also met our ex-employee and his family too, there. Amar and his family were in the process of relocation to Lithuania. They also shared their stories in this blog. You should check them out.
And after 10 days, we got our visa! 🥰
I thought, “Well, it’s time to settle down in Estonia, shall we?”
Tallinn, The Final Step of Our Journey to a “Slow Life”-friendly Country
We arrived in Tallinn on October 9th 2021, accompanied by light rain from Istanbul to Tallinn. I didn’t mind. It was wet autumn, anyway.
We really enjoyed Ankara, but it was time to be in a place we’ve dreamt of since 2017.
The apartment was stocked up with new and artsy furniture, updated appliances, and first-class security. We didn’t even have to bring keys to get in. 🤣
Since Jobbatical is a tech company that moves aliens to Europe, it means that both of us would be dog-fed with their systems to make sure that our relocation process is as smooth and reliable as possible. And it sure was!
From visa application, choosing and making a residential contract with apartment’s owner, TRP (temporary residence permit) application, general practitioner’s appointment, to the smallest details like phone SIM card is handled very well. I’m not bluffing or over-praising them since my husband is their employee. But you have to give it a test if your company needs a relocation service.
Nope, this post is not sponsored by them, too. I wrote this honestly from my experience.
Remember that we still have our cats left in Indonesia because their papers are not finished yet when we have to flee to Ankara? Yes, we have to pick them up A.S.A.P before they forgot us! 😱 Now that we got an apartment with plenty of running spaces for them, and allow them to be in, it’s time to plan for another short trip that is still in this global COVID-19 pandemic event.
Wish us luck! 🤞🏽