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Winter In Albania: Not everything is butterflies and rainbows

Winter In Albania

The early morning sun peeks slightly through the red curtain that divides my office from the rest of the bedroom. I pull the blanket over my head. It’s cold so I don’t want to jump out of bed excited to start the day like I normally do in warmer weather. I can hear the cars passing by from the highway below. Winter in Albania is here, and I am struggling. This is so hard for me to admit because I pride myself on overcoming depression.

Frequently, I share my knowledge on how to live a life full of happiness. Yet, the days are long lately and my motivation is low. The feeling of winter blues in Albania is here.

A view from the girls’ bedroom window.

Dreaming Of Sunshine

Lately, I catch myself scrolling through flight deals on Skyscanner wishing I was in a better financial position so I could book tickets out of here to somewhere with more sun and more warmth. I was told by multiple people that winter in Albania is mild. The truth is that they are mild in comparison to a lot of Europe but they are still grey, rainy, and cold. Someone lied. lol

Things about albanians
Summer days in Tirana.

Although we signed a year lease here in Albania just two months ago, we are free to leave whenever we want. We just have to forfeit the deposit we put down. This is like deja vu to our time in Mexico when we also gave up the house we signed for and lost our deposit. You can read more about that by clicking here. These owners are making a killing off of my inability to stay put, and I should seriously consider sticking with Airbnb from now on.

Talk Me Off The Ledge

Next time you hear me talking about signing a lease, talk me off the ledge. This wandering heart of mine is not meant to stay put in one place. We do love so many things about Albania but we also have so much more of the world to explore. This is the longest we have been in one place in almost two years. December marks our sixth month here which is crazy to even think about. It doesn’t seem like we have been here that long.

I know it seems like I have disappeared. It has been a while since I have been active on social media and on this blog. I am still here, Y’all. Sometimes I just want to write like right now. I don’t want to think about how to make money or SEO. I just want the words to flow through me without having to analyze every single little detail.

Old VS New

Blogging used to be a place where people could go to share their thoughts. Now, the top blogging sites are those that have maximized SEO which is, for those of you that aren’t familiar with the term, Search Engine Optimization. It is basically how you rank in Google and what allows your blog to be found organically.

I hate it but it is necessary if you want your blog to also be your business.

I have my big winter jacket on as I write this post from my frigid living room. The heater is on but the apartments in Albania are not insulated well at all which is bad news for Albania in the winter. All the beautiful windows in my house are wonderful in the summer but in the winter they let in a lot of cold air. I shudder to think about what my electricity bill will be this month with our use of the heater. We do have a beautiful wood burning stove but I am not quite sure on how to get wood for it. I could benefit from a dummy guide on how to live in Albania as an expat. Still… I am so grateful for this home. It has its flaws that I was blinded to in the beginning due to my absolute desire to get this place but it is still a great home.

Our wood burning fireplace.

After traveling full-time for over a year and a half I have come to the conclusion that eventually I would love a home base somewhere in the world that we could travel from. Current finances don’t make having a home base very practical unless I go super cheap like some momma friends of mine do in Mexico. Their cute apartments are less than $200 a month.

Back To Slow Traveling

Us signing this lease has meant that we can’t travel nearly as much because of the expense of having to cover this place plus accommodations in the place we are traveling to. I could possibly do a home swap but I think the smartest thing for us to do is to go back to full-time slow traveling.

The point of us basing ourselves here in Albania was so that I could focus on building my business and brand. If you are constantly switching places it can be challenging to find the time to sit down and write. I am glad slowing it down here in Albania has given me the time to write a little more but I long for travel and adventure. I also long to escape Albania in the winter.

Albania in the winter
Eating pizza while holding on to the heater because I am freezing.

This is a journey. I certainly do not have all the answers but by sharing my story others out there can get an idea of what a life of traveling and living abroad really looks like. Not a lot of people talk about the downside. They show the perfect Instagram shots and talk about all the wonderful things but what about the challenging times?

Sometimes I Want To Quit

The truth is that there are a lot of good and bad times. The truth is that I think of returning back to the states at least every other month even though deep down inside I know I would absolutely hate it. We are just not ready to return.

In this post, I am sharing the struggles. Lately, I have had major guilt about not being able to give one of my daughters the opportunity to take real gymnastic classes. She is in a tumbling class here in Albania but it is not true gymnastics. She has this dream of being in the Olympics. I often wonder if I am holding her back from her dream. I  for supporting children with their passions. Does this go against that?

Recently, I was talking to another single momma friend of mine about this very thing. She as well is thinking about returning to the states to put her kids in activities. Opportunities in the states are endless as long as you have the money to back those dreams but at what price does that come? I am not sure

Considering All Options

I get it. I go back and forth in my mind about this all the time. Yes, I am giving my children this amazing opportunity of living abroad. They are learning how to be global citizens. They are no longer dealing with the consumerist mentality of the US and the bullying they experienced in school.

These are the things I hold onto when I consider returning back to the US. I also think about the fact that I am able to actually spend quality time with my three girls. I am not stuck with having to put my youngest in daycare all day. I had to do that with my two oldest girls, and I made a promise to myself that I would never have to do that with my youngest.

The Good And The Bad

There is good and bad with this lifestyle. I will be sharing more about it so that everyone is well informed before they make the decision to travel and live abroad. I truly believe this lifestyle is a game changer for single moms. I still encourage you to at least go abroad for a year. You can read more about moving abroad as a single mom by clicking here.

Sometimes, the girls and I look back through old photos and videos of these last two years. There were plenty of times when we were absolutely miserable but we can now smile and see all the good in those times.

The other day we were all cuddled up laughing at old videos. What we have managed to do over the last year in a half is absolutely amazing. Traveling was just a little old dream of mine that I manifested into reality by shifting my mindset.

I am glad I get to take you all on this crazy wild journey called life with us.


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