Digital Nomad Decisions – Why Are We in Malta?

It’s been 3 months since we left the warmth of Barbados and the two adorable pooches that we were pet-sitting. During these past 3 months we’ve had incredible experiences and visited some very interesting countries – Turkey, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Italy.

And if you’ve been following our journey since we announced our travel plans, you’re probably wondering why we’re in Malta all of the sudden, a country which was never on the cards! I’ll explain a little further on…

The Balkans, and Italy, are amazing. Seriously, one of our favourite parts of the world! We navigated our way through the country of Albania by ourselves, which is one of the most wild countries we’ve been to. We gave our first talk at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul, and met some incredible bloggers.

travel to berat albania

We rented a car and made our way through the country of Macedonia and even went skiing at a National park. We fell in love with the city of Plovdiv in Bulgaria, and road-tripped through Montenegro and Croatia, while enjoying the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea.

Italy was a world of its own, with the most incredible cuisine, wonderful ruins and history, and an overall vibe that was both intoxicating, and hard to explain. We will be returning to Italy, that is for certain.

travel to italy

These travels were exciting and adventurous. It was exactly what we wanted and needed after staying put in Grenada and Barbados for 6 months. We were itching to travel, to move from place to place, and to be in cities rather than beach towns.

Europe was calling, and we answered.

We gave these past 3 months our all. We were fully committed to the backpacking experience. Each day we explored a new street, a neighbourhood or a new city. We sampled new foods, met friendly people and experienced festivals. We learned about the history of the region, got lost more than once, and drank local wines.

To us, this is what travel is all about.

Our trip was perfect, except for one thing. It was too hard to stay on top of our website and all that comes with it. Rather than wanting to be on our computers writing articles, replying to emails, or managing social media accounts, we wanted to be experiencing the destinations that we were in.

This isn’t to say that running a travel blog is too much work. We still only work around 3 hours / day on the blog, but during the past three months, we were lucky to get in 3 hours / week. Travel is just too much fun!

Who wants to be in their hostel room, on their computer, while they are in Rome?!

digital nomad travel to albania

We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again: finding the balance between being a travel blogger and a traveller can be a difficult task.

Read more: Digital Nomads and Travellers – Finding The Perfect Balance

The reason that we’ve been travelling slow for the past couple of years (3 months in Mexico (twice), 2 months in Guatemala, 1 month in Cuba, 5 months in Grenada (twice), 2 months in Barbados), is so we have ample time for both experiencing the destinations we visit, and working on our online business (which is what pays for these travels).

This past trip to the Balkans, Italy and Turkey wasn’t our usual style. We moved from place to place after just 5 nights. We were so excited to see all of the different sights and cities, that we went full speed practically every day.

travelling to split croatia

The reality of our travels set in: We were moving too fast, and this was not a sustainable situation. 

When planning this European adventure, we also had Slovenia, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine on the agenda.

With just a little over 2 months remaining before our house sitting commitment in the Caribbean, it’s simply not feasible to visit all of these countries and give them the time they deserve.

If you think about it, most people who are travelling go on a trip – whether it’s 1 week, 1 month, or 1 year – before returning to their home, complete with a comfortable bed, a couch with a big screen TV to watch movies on, a laundry machine, a kitchen with dining room and table, and a grocery store filled with familiar foods.

renting an apartment in split croatia

Because we are full-time travellers and are location independent, we don’t have a home to return to. Rather than having to go back to our previous jobs in our home country, we can work around the world from our laptop, while creating temporary homes along the way.

We do this by blogging. Read more: How To Start a Travel Blog

During those times when we’re at one of our “homes”, we (like everyone else) want to be comfortable.

This is our down time. Our time to reflect on the travels we’ve just embarked on. Our time for being productive on our website. Our time for relaxing when we feel like it. It’s also the time when we “nest” a little bit.

We unpack our backpacks and hang-up our clothing. We get to do laundry in a machine rather than by hand (yes!). We make the house a home with plants, potted herbs and flowers. We find a fruit and vegetable vendor whom we visit frequently. We find our favourite coffee shop, secluded beaches, and favourite sunset spots.

house sitting location independent

We need this time. I think everyone does. 

While we were in Venice, Italy, just 2 weeks ago, we made a (much-needed) decision:

We were going to travel to Malta and get an apartment for a couple of months.

The thought of this really excited us!

Why Malta? Well, it’s a country that I think not many people know much about (ourselves included), which means that we still get to be somewhere relatively off track – which is definitely our style 🙂

We’ve been travelling at a snail’s pace for the past couple of years, but for whatever reason, we thought that we could travel full speed through Europe. Maybe we wanted to prove to ourselves that we’re still “proper” travellers? Perhaps we were just overly excited to explore a new part of the map?

travel from montenegro to croatia

Who knows, but what is most important is that we’ve accepted our travel style, which is slow and steady.

We still plan to take off on adventurous trips here and there, or backpack around for a month at a time, but we now know that we definitely need to get apartments in between those trips, and need that down time in order to keep our business and our life of perpetual travel afloat.

Do we still consider ourselves travellers? 100%, yes! In fact, we feel that by staying longer than just 3 – 5 nights enables us to actually get under the skin of destinations and get a proper feel for them. This is the best way to find the off-the-beaten-path spots, and to forge real friendships with the local people…again, this is what travel is all about!

food in macedonia

Things may not be the same as they were back in 2008 when we embarked on our year-long backpacking trip through SE Asia and the Subcontinent, and we may not be waiting around for buses at 4:00am in Africa, or sleeping in yurts in Kyrgyzstan (for the time being!).

But you know what? We’re OK with that realization. Those trips had potential end dates, while the perpetual one we’re currently on does not…and to us, that’s a pretty easy compromise to make 🙂

So here we are. Enjoying a comfortable apartment in a beautiful country. Spending a few hours each morning on our laptops, working on some online projects, and adding to this online travel resource that we love so much. The rest of the time we’re out exploring!

The life of a digital nomad is a spontaneous one, and while we love to show you guys travel, adventure, and exotic destinations, we also need some down time, and we find it fun to dabble in a life of routine and normality once in a while.

This also gives us time to write guides, tips, budget hacks and info about the places we just visited.

We’re so excited to explore the beautiful country of Malta and show you more of this underrated European gem. Stay tuned 🙂

living in malta

Are you a digital nomad or a full-time traveller? If so, do you find it difficult to balance travel with work? For those of you who are travellers and return to your home in-between trips, do you think you could be location independent? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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Digital Nomad Decisions - Why Are We in Malta-

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Goats On The Road

The team at Goats On The Road have a combined 100+ years of travel experience between them and have been to nearly country in the world. This site is 100% human written. We write useful articles for travelers, by travelers, WHO HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN THERE.

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29 thoughts on “Digital Nomad Decisions – Why Are We in Malta?”

  1. Fabulous account of your journey, loved reading it! I am a slow and steady kind of traveller who gets back home in between. To be location independent or not is an interesting idea… I don’t think I would mind that, after all, ‘Home is where the heart is’ 🙂

  2. I totally understand why you made this decision. I feel very much the same nowadays, and while I still consider myself a ‘traveller’, I enjoy more and more being at home in Berlin! Malta looks like a great place to stay for a while. Looking forward to reading your impressions about the country!

  3. Malta seems like a nice place to settle down for a bit. Especially during the spring/ summer season.
    Also I must say I’m glad that you liked Balkans. It’s the region I live in and I really love with all of my heart. Also I recognized my hometown, Split, in one of your photos above. That’s nice 🙂

  4. I’m aiming to be location independent one day! We always rush right through our destinations, I’d love to settle down in a foreign place for a while and explore the local culture (I have to an extent-I’m Irish living in Australia). For the moment fast paced travel suits us, but you definitely have to cut things out sometimes just to fit everything in.

  5. I love reading your travel blog. My husband and I are currently living in Peru, working as English teachers. We have had the luxury of taking months off at a time to explore this huge and amazing country. When we talk about the future we discuss living in another country for a year at a time. Being “location independent” has never come up in our conversations. Is it difficult for you to retain your friendships and stay close with your families while living this alternative lifestyle? I find it very appealing but am apprehensive about some of the consequences.

  6. Thanks you goats for your thoughtful and truthful evaluation of your desired lifestyle. Yes you are most certainly still committed travelers. You choose to do do it “your way” and that is exactly what travel is all about. I am looking forward to hearing all about your home and lifestyle in Malta. Please be sure to let us know the prices of apartments, food and entertainment. Keep us posted and enjoy your time in Malta and together.

  7. Hi Megan,

    Thanks for your email. That’s amazing that you’re living in Peru! We really enjoyed our English teaching experience in China and I’m sure you guys are enjoying yours. We’re still close with our families thanks to FaceTime, Facebook and Skype. Plus, now that we’re full time abroad, they come out and see us for two weeks at a time. Which, in reality, is a better visit than just seeing them for a weekend at home. When we lived in Canada, we were about 8 hours away from our parents anyways, so it’s not like we were very close in terms of distance – we’d see them 2 or 3 times a year, for a weekend each time basically.

    We love being location independent and experiencing living in different countries 🙂 We make friends as we go, and those who are “solid” friends we’ve stayed in contact with for sure. We’ve made many on the road too.

    Happy travels!

  8. Hi Joan! Thank you so much for the positive and thoughtful comment 🙂 We will be posting more articles and videos about Malta shortly – we’re still getting caught up with Italy!

    Thanks again for following our journey.


  9. Yes, this post speaks to me. I completely understand your need to settle for a few months. My two months around Poland was fantastic but at each city I wanted to stay longer and really get to know the area but then I was off again to the next city. And of course I didn’t want to write/work either. I wanted to go see and eat and explore. Towards the end I was looking forward to my seasonal job in Alaska even more because I knew I could catch up on life.

  10. Hi guys – I really understand how you need to slow down a wee bit sometimes. Traveling is wonderful but the human nervous system has its own little tricks and needs and they show up eventually – don’t worry, we all still think you’re the genuine article!
    It’s been 40 years since I traveled the world with a back pack, have always thought those days are behind me but I’m beginning to wonder…hhhmmm. My partner Hilary and I have recently sold our apartment in North Queensland Australia, packed up our stuff (read one whole container load) and sent it and us (separately thank goodness) down to Tasmania where my daughter and her husband live. Have you ever been down here – wonderful part of the world!
    Our intention was to buy a modest place with trees and chickens and for me to get back into my painting and drawing plus a bit of digital illustration etc, Hilary is working on her book and is completing a life coaching course.
    The thing is we are slowly wondering if this is what we really need to do now….we have all this stuff which is in storage but blogs like yours just completely reorient the whole game.
    I’m starting to read your advice and am getting a bit excited about the possibilities. Currently we are doing a series of house sits and really enjoying it and can see huge potential in it. I need to start our blog for our travels and one for my art and design processes – link them to my Insta and Twitter account and maybe earn $ to help the whole thing along.
    Your exploits and blog info are hugely inspiring and I want to thank you both for just ‘being out there’ , doing it all and showing others the possibilities in life – there is sooo much to do all at once when I look into it all. I’m turning 60 soon and Hilary and I have realized that life is too short, opportunities should be grasped and the winds of this wonderful world harnessed. Maybe we can inspire others as well!

  11. I hope you’ll like Malta as much as we did. It’s a beautiful place. We look forward to more of your adventures. Miss you lots. Safe travels! Love, Nan and Charlie

  12. I hope you’ll like Malta as much as we did. It’s a beautiful place. We look forward to more of your adventures. Miss you lots. Safe travels! Love, Nan and Charlie

  13. It’s so hard to be working on the website when there are so many amazing things to do! And, if you only have 5 days or so in a city, you’ll want to spend each of those days exploring. Whereas, if you have a month, then it’s ok that you spend time inside, working away 🙂

    A month in Poland would be amazing. We were supposed to go there, but, no time this time around!

    Thanks for the comment 🙂


  14. Woah! Thank you so much for the amazing comment Ian! Very exciting that you and your wife have packed up your life and set off housesitting. There are many sits in Australia, and many abroad as well 😉

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that life is too short and opportunities should be grasped. We completely agree with this and want everyone to retire early to enjoy their health and life!

    It’s great that you and Hilary have projects and hobbies as well that you could potentially turn into money making opportunities, good for you both 🙂

    Thanks again for the kind words, happy trails!

  15. We are totally with you in terms of slowing it down. We are currently 2.5 months into our travels in SE Asia and the longest we have stayed anywhere so far is 7 nights so we are planning to take an apartment soon for at least a month. We also need to catch up on stuff, post videos etc and really kick start our travel blog.
    If we are heading back to Europe anytime soon I think Malta could be the place to base ourselves as we have mates there and the weather is sweet! Have fun Goats!!

  16. Thanks for the comment guys, glad you can relate 🙂 When you don’t have a website, it’s easy to travel fast and be on the go, but that’s not sustainable (unless you’re super rich), so stopping for a month or so gives you time to catch up on projects, and catch your breath – plus, you get to know a place better.

    Hope you’re enjoying SE Asia! Malta is awesome too!

  17. I have traveled full time with my family since April 2014 and we can totally relate to what you’re saying in this post! We’ve started to find affordable places where we can enjoy some downtime to catch up on work projects. We house sit as well and between assignments and our wanderlust things can get pretty hectic. Some of our favorite work places are Bucharest, Romania and Vera in southern Spain. We haven’t been to Malta yet but it’s on our list now.

  18. Hey Goats:

    Popping in to share the camaraderie. As a full-time bio-chemist running a lab and a Thai travel blogger, I am totally sympathizing with your points about work/life balance, although I am probably still on the other side: attempting to balance work with life rather than life with work.

    It’s good to throw these sentiments out to the community…kind of therapeutic. We all rally behind each other precisely because it’s not abstract understanding, but shared practical experiences and lifestyles. Rock on in Malta na kha!

  19. I also find it difficult to work and travel at the same time. I have been traveling all year mixing work and fun… I am working a a bespoke language agency and I wanted to experience my 4 destinations that I will offer with my business partner. I stayed 3 weeks in Malaga, 3 weeks in Barcelona, 4 weeks in London, and then went back home to my base Madrid for 2 weeks… (I am from Paris,France by the way). I am off again. I am in Tenerife now… I will stay here for 2 months… therefore I have time to work on my project as well. Long term travel is the best. You have time to visit the place, do some work and relax. I love the feeling of being in London for a 2 months and decide to stay at my airbnb and watch a movie just because I want to relax… when you travel for a short time… you feel you have to do everything… Long term travel allow you to take it step by step.

  20. I look forward to your writings about Malta. We have Australian BFF’s who are Maltese and are currently vacationing in Malta and learning all about their heritage. They have posted many great pics and great looking food pics.

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