Back to mundane small town hell

Back to mundane small town hell

Around a year ago, my wife and I started looking for a new apartment in Berlin. We lived on 57m² (around 600 square feet), which included a small bedroom, a living room/kitchen, and a bathroom.

Both of us worked from home – and fitting two workspaces into an already overcrowded living room just opened our eyes. We needed space.

We weren't particularly picky. We wanted at least 75m², 3 rooms, a bathtub, and a balcony.

Sounds doable, right?

Berlin didn't think so. Even though we had a pretty good income, we never really found something that looked even slightly within our budget range of around €1000 per month. And we weren't even looking in the city centre of Berlin – we were fine with the outskirts and newly developed areas.

And then, one day, after lots of frustration, I randomly typed the URL of an Austrian real-estate website into my browser. I entered the same data. Selected a radius of 50km around the town my parents live in. And was shocked.

There it was. An apartment. 75m². 3 rooms. Bathtub. No balcony – but right across a beautiful park in the centre of a small town. And it was way below our budget.

Fast-forward to February 2024. We now live in this apartment for 8 months. We have a room that is fully dedicated to our work – an office. The window in our living room frames a picturesque, snowy mountain landscape.

The question I hear the most often nowadays: "Don't you miss the city? Don't you miss Berlin?".

No. Not a single second.

Our quality of life has skyrocketed.

We are not sitting in a stuffy apartment between concrete high-rises any more. We go out and enjoy the surrounding nature nearly every day.

We are not waiting forever to get an appointment with our doctor any more. We just walk across the street and tell her what's up.

We are not comparing 10 different grocery delivery services any more. We just walk down the little alley to the store.

Countryside life sounds scary when you live in a big city. But big city life sounds even scarier when you live on the countryside.

If I told that to 16 year-old Jannis, who just wanted to escape the mundane small town hell, he would have laughed in my face. And yet, here I am. Happily living in that exact small town hell that turned out to be charmingly calm and beautiful.