How We Moved into Batumi, Georgia With Two Cats and only 72 kg of Luggage

Well, honestly moving in a different country is tough. You have to pick up everything you have, settle all the paper works, vaccine the pets, find a place to stay before you move into. Sounds big right? But it is definitely possible, even if you don’t have a big amount of money or a low budget, or doesn’t know the local language of the country you moved in, and there is just a few people knows English! Let me tell how was ours.

My boyfriend and I lived in Istanbul, for years. Personally, I’ve born in a small town in Turkey, as a half-Georgian, which is full of forced-immigrated Georgians called ‘Chveneburebi’ since 1878 for last 183 years; so I was familiar with Georgian living style, culture, music, and food as well. But my boyfriend has grown up in one of the most popular places called Baghdad Street, located in Bostancı, Kadıköy; therefore he never experienced to live in a small town, even outside of Istanbul either. And honestly we have always been looking for ways to leave the country, for many reasons, and even the idea to live in a different country was absolutely exciting for both of us for years. And found the way, right after a small trip to Kutaisi and Batumi in June 2016, in a way.

Batumi landscape

We stayed in both cities, which are both awesome, but we got really jealous of people who lives in Batumi, who are enjoying the fascinating nature, amazing beach and great food of the town, which is always been a kind of riviera for Caucasians and Russians for their all history.

Amazingly quite streets of Batumi

Batumi is a quite city, that 180.000 people live except summer season, which grows up to 3 million; and has a fluffy soul as well. It might not everyone’s cup of tea because here is almost nothing to do in winter time, but still adorably beautiful as like a fairytale.

But that was one of the main reasons for us to decide to move into. On the other hand, here are no shopping malls, no traffic, no chaos, no bars or clubs in winter, but a long beach covered by snow as like a pure white cake cream and still green trees around.

In fact, honestly, we would never live 10 minutes away to an astonishing beach, next to an old lake called Nurigeli, in one of the best streets of the city, in a 140 square meters flat, with great sea and mountain views on both side and huge balconies in Istanbul, never ever!

Even if you are rich or not, there is no chance to catch this circumstance in Istanbul, at least you have to drive away the city to be ‘closer’ to trees, not a forest!

We imagined that we are living in such a beautiful, silent town, that has a fluffy soul and cheap; if you are taking your money from another country, as like Turkey. So it was costing around half of our budget to live in Batumi, compared of Istanbul, as we basically calculated right after got back to Istanbul after our first trip.

Chemo Batumo

And an epic thing happened! The house owner of the flat that we were living in Sisli, Istanbul; told us that we should find another place to move in because they decided to re-build the building, so we did, for a while.

Old Soviet Blocks

As you might know about, Georgia is an old Soviet country that still developing financial growth and facing the same problems like all other post-Soviet countries has. The average salaries are around GEL 200, which makes around $80, even if you are highly skilled, have a profession, or multilingual, it doesn’t matter.

One of my favorite balconies of Batumi

Therefore all the Georgians are holding a second job as a second income, as like working as a taxi when they have time, to cover all needings of families, to survive.

The old ladies, children and old men are selling whatever is possible to sell, as like churcxelas, boiled corn, sunflower seeds, Georgian nuts and peanuts, slippers, cold drinks, swimming shoes, toys, fruits as well during the summer season in the beach.

Batumi Beach

If you curious about how people survive under this circumstances, the answer is easy, some do, some doesn’t unfortunately. All that overwhelming-looking houses and architecture that inspires you, are often hiding epic stories, a highly educated artist who is troubling with no income, or a pianist, who doesn’t have anything else but a piano in his 15 square meters shelter-home.

Most of the Georgians are working in different countries as immigrants to fix their home, which is given by the Soviet Union to all the citizens for free, in old-school huge Soviet blocks, but nowadays, unfortunately, they are almost ruined by the tough climate of Batumi, which is sub-tropical and truly a massive one!

Whatsoever, we both were working online, I am writing for different websites as a journalist and my boyfriend is a graphic designer as well. After years of working online, we were finally working at home, with track suits, sweat pants or whatever.

So the only primary thing we need was a high-speed internet, which Batumi has. After a while of looking for a new one, we accepted that the rents were really high in the area that we can live in, or they were 2 floors under the ground, which means dark, humid and claustrophobic, and dangerous for cats either.

Ureki Cemetery

We have complained about the many things about the flats we found online and compared everything with living in Batumi, and after all, Georgia put the flush royal on the table, as being a ‘cheaper’ country, got all the coins by its fabulous nature and beach; and we decided to move into Batumi, as soon as it is possible!

Makhinjauri Beach meets Batumi Botanical Garden

We planned a second trip into Batumi to investigate the details about prices, flats, areas, even the tiny details as like the speed of the internet, approximate costs of the bills etc. Got back to the Istanbul again as really sure about our decision. Easily scheduled anything.

Booked the tickets for the 16th October 2016,
put ‘our past’ in the boxes.

Stocked the picked ones in a shelter in my mom’s yard, vaccinated the cats, got their passports, booked flight tickets of them, farewelled friends and families; and packed only 72kg stuff to take with, and left the country, permanently; with only $800 in our pocket!

The trip was a kind of tough with all those much luggage and cats. Both of our cats seriously affected by low-pressure and terrified. We had to hug them on the plain and in the shuttle, as well; which took 4 hours from Kutaisi Airport, that we landed on, to Batumi.

After we check into the hotel room at 6am, which was one of the cheapest and wasn’t great at all, but fair enough. We let the cats eat something after 18 hours, pampered and left to find some cat litter, there was nowhere open that sells, so we took from the beach till we buy in daytime.

The first morning of us as a Batumi-based family

The process might sound complicated and hard to handle, but I could say that it is not as much as it sounds.

We stayed in a hotel in Batumi for a few days,
found a flat on the 3rd day, paid the rent for first two months, and moved in! It became real!

It all became real!

For the first days, we enjoyed the town, which was so quite right after the season, we both kept working online, took long walks on the beach, explored the city, found important spots to buy the weirdest things we need, like a pasta strainer, hairbrush, cat litter & food, local bazaar for fresh veggies and fruits, and the areas of different types of shops like ironmonger or whatever. In a few weeks, we got familiar with lifestyle, found a few favorite spots and; it’s been 1 year!

If you like to read more about what I have learned after one year living in Batumi, Georgia, keep checking online and see how possible to built a new life, in another country, with a low budget.


*See you!


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