Starting with a new theme for this 2018 chapter, we are returning to our roots. Many things can be observed through the lens of lifestyle design, which gives us leeway to explore different topic varieties without alienating portions of readers. The piece you are about to read glues together geographical mobility, arbitrage living, and one of the most underrated corners of the world.
With climate close to that of the Mediterranean, welcoming people, ridiculously low prices, colorful food and attractive nature sites aplenty, Macedonia sits in the center of the Balkan Peninsula.
It is confusing, however – while looking at the pictures – to come back to the realization that it was shielded, decades perhaps, from everybody’s view.
A predominantly mountainous region with colorful geography,Macedonia is home to over two million people. The census, however, like many other things in this country, is running late for about a decade – so take any numbers with a grain of salt.
Things are slowly catching up to west-European standards, but one should always keep expectations low.
Politicians, it seems, have their incentives skewed towards maintenance of the status quo, and when they try to move things in one direction or another, it usually backfires for the worse.
The cost of living in Macedonia
The first reason why I’m recommending Macedonia as a top arbitrage destination (explained bellow) is dollar logic. It takes a while to convert prices in your head, and get used to the numbers, but then you are even more confused by how affordable everything is.
The advantages, compared to the rest of the group, rest in democracy, respect of human rights, civil liberties, lack of violence, and similar basic qualities that make Macedonia part of the western civilization, as opposed to being part of the developing world.
The statistical view on education, given the description above, is surprisingly high, as is access to internet, and most goods and services one can enjoy in western nations.
You can easily move to Macedonia, and live a top 1% lifestyle with a below-than-average American salary. Even the lowest salary in the states can take you a long way towards living comfortably in the capital of Skopje and other cities (Ohrid,Bitola, Prilep,…)
For young adults who have yet to figure out the path they are going to walk in life, Macedonia can provide a lot of leeway while developing a certain craft, learning a set of skills, or simply figuring things out within and between heaps of spare time.
For freelancers or digital entrepreneurs, the math works out even better.
The lifestyle in Macedonia
Although unemployment is at its peak (near 30%), people are generally figuring things out via the unregulated economy. Some decide to work abroad for several months on end, supporting their families, while others pick up a craft and make a living under the regulative radar.
The fake news campaign that occupied headlines across the globe, is a testament to how resourceful Macedonians can be. Teenage boys from the city of Veles, effectively capitalized on American naiveté, by running clickbait content on Facebook, related to the Trump presidency campaign for months on end. As I’m writing this, they are preparing for the next round of elections.
Moving on, there is a huge number of people working in the public sector as well. And while many of them are professionals, a vast majority has adopted a more relaxed approach towards work, setting thus different standards from what you’d expect in the west.
Leisure time is usually had aplenty, and there is much to spend it on. The sun is shining 300 days throughout the year, so outdoor fun is almost guaranteed – welcoming parks, long running lanes and more nature sites than you can count.
Time goes by with good food and great wine, and the hospitality industry is offering quite a lot for the buck. If you enjoy dining out, this is the place where you want to be.
Entertainment and art are also readily accessible, from tickets to the movies costing two to three times less compared to US, to attending a concert of the philharmonic orchestra which is more than twice affordable, again, when compared to US prices. Art and music exhibits are happening left and right, and there is no shortage of good events to attend.
Macedonians are in a dire need for uniting under a sense of national pride, so it is easy to see why sport events enjoy so much popularity. When handball and basketball frenzy sweep over the nation, it is exciting to be around. Fun fact – Macedonians are pretty good at it!
But let delve even deeper, providing a guide of sorts.
As you can see, relocating shop to Macedonia warrants consideration. Young adults, people looking for a change or extended vacation, freelance workers, digital entrepreneurs, and location independent professionals… if any of these describe you even remotely, Macedonia fits the arbitrage living arrangement better than most countries you’ll find.
Sure, the winter season air pollution problem can be a real drag, and bureaucratic nightmares befitting an Easter European nation can make you wanna pull your hair off. And you have nice hair!
There is also the infrastructure problem that has a way of creating serious glitches within the traffic network, and while enduring many of them require the favor of a benevolent god, enough practice can get you around.
Additionally, investing in a business can bring serious unknowns in its wake, since Macedonian regulatory policies, and high-order financial laws tend to change quite often.
For those with a short term necessity to relocate and kick start a new set of skills, or even a craft; for those who are willing to trade many things over a hedonistic lifestyle; for those who are generally ok with materializing their ambitions over a loosely defined timeframe… Macedonia has much to offer. If you are into arbitrage living, look no further!