Where in the world should I live?
August 25, 2017 7:00 PM   Subscribe

Requirements: cheap cost of living (this is the most important factor!); no need to learn a language beyond English (also crucial!); warm weather (75-90˚F/23-30˚C); fast internet; safe. Thoughts and advice?

Things I don't care about: culture/activities/nightlife (I am not trying to assimilate into the culture. All I need is internet, a piano, and some good English-speaking friends); scenery.
posted by TheOptimizer to Travel & Transportation (21 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Pensacola, Florida.
posted by mccxxiii at 7:05 PM on August 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

What does low cost of living mean to you? Would somewhere like, say, Phoenix AZ be low enough? Maybe Belize?

Also, it might help if you provide a little more context on your points of reference and your immigration means. Just because somewhere is cheap doesn't mean one is necessarily allowed to live there. Do you have the means to purchase a house or otherwise make an investment if day-to-day cost of living is low?
posted by mosst at 7:09 PM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sorry, I should be more detailed.

Low cost of living = as cheap as possible, so long as it meets the other criteria I listed.
Therefore, doubtful this would be anywhere in the US, but I'm open to US suggestions.

25 years old male. PhD in music theory. Willing to work in another field instead if there are no music conservatories around (teaching English, etc).

Currently I have $100,000 Canadian in savings.

Citizenship: Canada, Finland
posted by TheOptimizer at 7:17 PM on August 25, 2017

Willing to work in another field instead

Yeah this is kind of the key point missing from your original post. If you were just someone with a large lump sum of money looking to stretch it indefinitely, then the answer is a small dying town in the American South or Southwest. But it sounds like you need a job -- and you need health insurance.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 7:36 PM on August 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

Check out the advanced search on this website. It lets you search by budget, temperature, and download speed.
posted by pinochiette at 7:37 PM on August 25, 2017 [9 favorites]

You could try asking this at /r/digitalnomads for more input.
posted by salvia at 7:55 PM on August 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

New England checks most of your boxes, but gets colder than you'd like it. Penty of music schools clustered around Boston, wider scene regionally- Tanglewood, etc.
posted by vrakatar at 8:11 PM on August 25, 2017

Bakersfield, California, hot climate, Cal State Bakersfield (teach music), Bakersfield College, (same,) active music scene. You wouldn't think, but frequently big bands just ready to tour, do their first shake out concert here, in a small venue. Palm trees, bougainvilla, crepe myrtle, mangoes, citrus, street vendors. Sierra Nevada, Sequoias nearby.
posted by Oyéah at 8:14 PM on August 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Were it me, I'd consider Malaysia (Sabah specifically) but I'm not sure what the work visa arrangement would be. Might need a sponsoring company.
posted by pompomtom at 8:42 PM on August 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding Bakersfield, although it does get significantly hotter than 90 in the summer.
posted by delight at 11:09 PM on August 25, 2017

Greece would be easy with EU citizenship. I stayed in central Athens and lived on 900 euros a month, but many people get by on less. Internet is not the fastest, a 10 mbps connection is pretty common, but it's okay for most people. It will get a bit colder in the winter and hotter in the summer than you'd like, but generally close to your temps. Plenty of English speakers. The job market is awful, but you can teach English online for $15-20/hr or maybe find some other kind of online work.

Other place I've lived that might fit the bill: Malaysia, as mentioned above, or Sri Lanka. Parts of eastern Europe like Serbia or Romania would be good too, but they do have real winters. However, staying long term will be more of a hassle in any of those places because you'd need a visa.
posted by horizons at 12:00 AM on August 26, 2017

Bali? Though note that although those temperatures exist the humidity makes it feel a lot warmer.
posted by jojobobo at 12:17 AM on August 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Cyprus or Malta? There are actually a lot of options in both places if you're willing to be away from the coast, do a scooter/bicycle instead of a car, and not travel off the islands too much. All will have non-English speakers but are way more English-speaking officially than the rest of the Mediterranean. Knowing your plumber or the internet dude speaks English will be something you don't need to waste time fretting over. Also zero visa hassles.

If you can compromise on the necessity for high English proficiency and can get by with just OK English and a lot of tourists/sunbirds/foreign students as friends and are happy to pick up a few words or phrases for daily life/grocery shopping, really any city in the post-crisis Mediterranean will do (think Thessaloniki rather than Barcelona). It was difficult to even try to use my tourist Greek in Heraklion and Chania on Crete last summer; Rethymno has a university.

The piano is a slight complication but I bet any city with a university will be able to sort you out and also have people who can tune/repair it. (Could you use a keyboard? This seems more portable but I am not a musician so have no idea if that would work.)

Also - I bet you could make quite a bit of money offering private English/piano lessons to local middle/upper-class people if you chose the right city. Look for universities, good connections with the outside world, major industries - you'll find upwardly-mobile post-crisis families and uni students looking for pathways to greater success. You could also copy-edit English-language academic papers.
posted by mdonley at 12:25 AM on August 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

Nthing Malta. Warm climate , English speaking, to my knowledge no problem to eu citizens moving there,
posted by 15L06 at 2:40 AM on August 26, 2017

North Coast of NSW. Lismore (nbn), Nimbin (nbn), Dorrigo (nbn), somewhere round there. Glorious country.
posted by flabdablet at 3:45 AM on August 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also - could you contact the symphony/philharmonic society in the cities you are looking at to ask them for contact info for their pianists? I'm not sure how you'd filter for piano information otherwise, really, until you settled on a place - and I imagine getting a piano into some rentals would be quite a mission in many older European buildings. Here's the one in Las Palmas in the Canary Islands.
posted by mdonley at 3:49 AM on August 26, 2017

Cook Islands? I'm pretty sure it fits everything but the internet, and given the offshore banking thing it probably has that too.
posted by LizardBreath at 5:48 AM on August 26, 2017

I would suggest Venice/Nokomis, Fl... small towns, close to beach, Sarasota and Tampa within an hour's drive ... but I have also heard good things about Malaysia.
posted by Crystal Fox at 11:35 AM on August 26, 2017

I grew up in Bakersfield. I cannot recommend it although it is cheap. It is hotter than your stated range in the summer and colder in the winter. It is also very socially and politically conservative and has terrible air quality (worst or second to the worst in the US).
posted by teamnap at 8:26 PM on August 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm Malaysian. I'm not sure there would be anywhere for you to work in Malaysia given how undervalued music is over there.

Are you looking to move permanently or be on a work visa?
posted by divabat at 12:45 AM on August 27, 2017

Pittsburgh has quite low cost of living by US standards, and while it isn't 90° all year, it gets that warm and often quite humid in the summer. There are two major universities with music programs (Carnegie Mellon, Pitt), plus CMU and Point Park have strong theatre programs (incl musical theatre and opera).

On a similar note, Oberlin, Ohio, about 45 minutes sw of Cleveland, has a major music conservatory, and is positively swampy in the (longer than many expect) summers. Cleveland itself too is quite warm during the summer but also tends to get hit pretty hard in the winter due to its position directly on Lake Erie.
posted by FlyingMonkey at 8:52 PM on August 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

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