Përshëndetje nga Tiranë. Justin is pictured to the left of a rounded (circular) version of the Albanian flag.

Përshëndetje nga Tiranë 🇦🇱

Përshëndetje nga Tiranë, or in Albanian, hello from Tirana! I am residing for a short time in Tiranë (pronounced Ti·ra·na), Albania. After a previous visit in June, I decided to make Tiranë my home for part of my remote work contract. I moved in this past week.

The most common reaction I received from friends and family in the United States is surprise and curiosity. Admittedly Tiranë is not a typical place for an American to end up. But I am no stranger to this city. I have a long history in Tiranë. I fell in love with the culture and the people, and made good friends that are still in my life today. Some even helped me relocate. (Thank you!) So while it may be unusual for an American to end up in Albania, it is not unusual for me to end up here.

But how did I make the jump? Or why leave the United States, especially while the world holds its collective breath amid a global pandemic? It was not an easy decision, so it will not have an easy explanation.

A visit to Tiranë in June.

In June 2021, I visited Tiranë with friends who had never visited Albania before. In the course of that trip, I did not realize I was being pulled back into a culture, city, and country that has stuck with me for many years. But I was.

Justin is pictured to the left of the Albanian flag, adjacent to his head. In the background, there is a small river surrounded by trees and small sand beaches.
Next to the Albanian flag. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, Justin W. Flory, June 2021.

Fate took my hand, and after a year of cloudy uncertainty, I knew a new part of my destiny. On a fateful flight flying westbound, my heart was resolved to return eastbound. And how hard must I bite my tongue to acknowledge this privilege bestowed unto me by my American passport? To leave the story unfinished was only a matter of resolve, thus I knew I must pursue the next chapter.

Fast forward… and I am here in Tiranë. I made my arrival quietly to give me time to settle. (Literally.) I only had a bed, fridge, microwave, and a sofa. Now it is feeling more like my home. I am eager to make rounds to my favorite places and saying përshëndetje to old friends again soon.

Four chess pieces sit atop a square, orange plate. The chess pieces are made with filament from a 3-D printer. Faded out in the background, there is the head of a 3-D printer, presumably what made the chess pieces. This photo was taken at Open Labs Hackerspace in Tiranë, Albania.
CC BY-SA 4.0, Justin W. Flory, April 2017.

Is the future in Stockholm? 🇸🇪

Part of my move is also motivated by my work team’s upcoming relocation. My team will relocate to Stockholm, Sweden over the next year. I am not sure where my fate will leave me. I love what I do and I feel privileged to be paid for it. So if I will continue forward on this same path, then I know I will go.

Yet I prefer to know by experience than to guess by speculation. So if I will go with my team, I would like to experience first-hand what would be my new home. Another fact is that plane tickets to Europe are cheaper from Europe. Cheaper than from the United States, even though Tiranë is a “premium” destination by European standards.

Eventually I hope to visit my new office and see it for myself. Again wondering how hard to bite my tongue if I acknowledge the unique privilege I have to casually shift my life in such a seismic way.

Here, for now.

If you are a friend and happen to be in Tiranë, drop me a note!


    1. JWF – United States – Justin W. Flory is a creative maker. He is best known as an Open Source contributor and Free Culture advocate originally from the United States. Justin has participated in numerous Open Source communities and led different initiatives to build sustainable software and communities for over ten years. Get to know Justin better from his website or blog below.
      Justin W. Flory says:

      Thanks Olivia! 🙂

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