Propitious places to move to & unusual living situations for having 3 or 4 days a week free to work on personal project
November 19, 2009 9:39 PM   Subscribe

I'm working on a project that requires at least 3 or 4 full days attention each week. What are some places in the US or world I could move to, &/or unusual living situations, that would give me a good chance of doing this?

Other considerations:

• Part-time job terminating Jan 1, and definitely want to move elsewhere (currently live in Boston)
• Have $5000 savings. Will probably also be able to continue receiving unemployment (about $1,000 month) if I move out of state (but not country, obviously)

• Age 30. US Citizen.
• Languages: English, Russian
• Skills: Writing and editing, visual art, Russian translation (but no graduate-level degrees to show this)
• BA from Liberal Arts college + semester (2 terms) at Oxford

Any and all reasonable options considered.

• Preferred urban environment: vibrant arts scene, inspiring architecture, not overrun with college students or sports fanatics, ethnically and age-ally diverse
• 'Ideal' destinations: Montreal, France
• Hypothetical order of preference: 1. Montreal & France (tie) 2. EU, Scandinavia, & Turkey 3. Eastern Europe 4. USA & Canada 5. South America 6. Asia 7. Australia/New Zealand 8. other

• Preferred rural environment: the more (interesting) people around, the better

• "unusual living situations" = housesitting - caretaking - living in some cabin - (earnest) meditative community - collective farm - kibbutz - teaching abroad - or anything else

• If it's helpful to know— the project is of a literary nature (a novel and other writings)

Finally, what are the very best resources (books, websites, magazines, etc) that might be of help?
posted by cotesdurhone to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you considered building a small cabin of your own? A professor at my university lived in one for a few years.

It's going to be hard to find an urban environment with an arts scene that doesn't have college students or sports. Coming from Chicago, I can definitely endorse that as a comfortable location for literary projects, but you've got the Cubs...
posted by LSK at 11:03 PM on November 19, 2009

To clarify-- I don't mind college students or sports fans, per se, but would prefer a place where they blend in with other types of people and activities and aren't incredibly conspicuous
posted by cotesdurhone at 11:22 PM on November 19, 2009

Have you not already asked the very same question here several days ago?

Moving to a foreign country - practical considerations:
Considering you mentioned that you have only $5000 in savings (enough to pay for a plane ticket, visa, first two months' living expenses and deposit, and miscellaneous settling-in fees), I assume you need to do part-time work as well. You can't work on a tourist visa and it is quite hard to get work permits for some of the more-developed countries (especially EU countries). In conclusion, urban areas for most of these countries that you list would be most probably off-limits, unless you have another source of income you are not stating here.

Therefore, you might want to look at working holiday visas. According to this website, if you are a US citizen, you could get a temporary work/ working holiday visa without being a student in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and Singapore. So if you want to live in a city and work part-time, hello Dublin.

For rural environments: you could work on a farm (anywhere in the world) in exchange for food and a bed, which is actually illegal in some countries, though many people do it.

Or you could try applying to a writing retreat, which fits most of your criteria. But that usually needs a record of publications and/ or a degree in writing at Masters level or higher.
posted by moiraine at 4:39 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]

Move to Asheville NC! You could live cheaply in a rural setting, but still have access to a city with arts, music, food. Seriously, great place to be to work on projects. Especially in spring, summer this place is full of life and energy.
posted by Rocket26 at 8:15 AM on November 20, 2009

Yes, moiraine, I did post a similar question last week. However, it was not worded precisely, long-winded, and the style unfitting for the venue, and most people thought I was asking about general writing advice. Hopefully this one will elicit more relevant answers.
posted by cotesdurhone at 9:18 AM on November 20, 2009

this is exactly why I live in Montreal. it's a beautiful city, the cost of living is bizarrely low and there are a lot of artists here for precisely that reason.

some general caveats and advice:

1. if you don't speak French, you will have a hard time finding work here. but there are all manner of government programs in place to help you learn and pay you a living stipend while you do. tracking them down should be your first priority. (sorry I can't be more helpful than that, my google-fu is failing me.)

2. because of the conditions attached to the government funding that most Canadian publishers depend on, you would have a harder time getting your work into print here. at least until you were properly immigrated and a permanent resident.

mail me if you want to know more by way of details.
posted by spindle at 10:13 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

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