Help me decide where to live, worldwide
January 2, 2008 11:05 AM   Subscribe

If you could move to any place in the world where would you go to and why?

I am getting a little bit bored of living where I do, and I have just managed to bag myself a job that is purely web-based. I have no co-dependents, no traditional career path lined up, a British passport, and I love travelling. I think I may take advantage of the nature of my new job and move to a foreign city, or even a series of foreign cities every few months or so. Just for a couple of years, or at least until the online work dries up. So I think I have an opportunity very few people get offered and I intend to make the most of it.

If you were in my shoes where would you move to and why?

I have an endless list of cities and countries I'd love to spend extended amounts of time in. I think I'll weigh them up against each other and factor in issues such as the quality and availability of Internet acess and so on, but in the meantime I'd love to hear from which cities and countries would be your first destination.

While I'm posting this, I may as well say if anyone has any other tips/encouragement/discouragement, feel free to comment.

posted by uk_giffo to Travel & Transportation (42 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Venice. Beauty, history, people-watching, food, proximity to other wonderful Italian cities.

Or any lovely tropical beach, though sand in your laptop might not be so good.
posted by runningwithscissors at 11:10 AM on January 2, 2008

I'm assuming that money isn't too much of an issue...

I live in NYC - it's truly an amazing place. I'm NOT one of those gung-ho "NEW YORK CITY IS THE GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD!" types, but there's no denying that it's an amazing place on many, many levels.

I always bring back a giant crush on whatever city I visited last. Latest objects of my geographic fancy have been Tokyo, KYOTO!!, Prague, and Jerusalem. I lived in Santa Fe for a year - if you haven't spent any time in the desert, I'd highly recommend it. And I've always been fascinated by Reykjavik.

That's my list...
posted by fingers_of_fire at 11:11 AM on January 2, 2008

I loved Australia when I visited it, and thought of moving there. Melbourne, specifically. This was a while ago, though, and I've been told by Australian friends that it's changed a lot (and not for the better) since then.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:13 AM on January 2, 2008

Someplace warm, I hate being cold.
posted by JujuB at 11:14 AM on January 2, 2008

Back home to Lake Tahoe (Nevada side). But if I were in your geographical shoes, I'd check out somewhere in Italy first.
posted by fleeba at 11:22 AM on January 2, 2008

You've got to go to a place that has constant and reliable electricity and internet, so that rules out a lot of great places. Those pesky Pacific island generators and authoritarian firewalls get ruled out. You also don't want to get sick from poor public health or bad food. Lack of war and crime is a good thing. Variety of foodstuffs is a plus if not a must. Mild climate, but not so mild that you get bored is a good thing too. An open culture is good so that you won't feel like an outcast all the time. Immigration laws have to be permissive to allow you to reside there without troubles. So, where does that leave you?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:27 AM on January 2, 2008

I was going to suggest London, but you already live there.
So, uh, stay where you are? </only partially joking>

Seriously though, moving abroad for a few years is a great idea, especially in your circumstances. I recommend it to everyone. The people who had bad experiences still came back with an increased appreciation of the place they had left from. For me, it's been a great experience that I do not regret for a moment.

As a more practical note, for a longer term commitment, I'd go for Europe. With an EU passport it's completely hassle-free. Places that require visas get trickier after 6 months or so. Scandinavia/Nordic Countries tend to be excellent for good/cheap internet connections and people tend to be very good when it comes to speaking English, but the winters are long and pretty intense.

Good luck!
posted by slimepuppy at 11:27 AM on January 2, 2008

Halifax, NS. Just big enough to be interesting yet small enough to be friendly and manageable. Wonderful history. Several colleges, so you get culture.

Baltimore, MD has been a lot more fun and interesting than I ever thought it could be. But, I really can't recommend the US these days.
posted by QIbHom at 11:29 AM on January 2, 2008

Live/travel in Asia: you can survive on next to nothing, even in the major cities (Shanghai is amazing, but will run you only about 5-7,000 quid a year, and that's four times the local salary). Just bank the excess, and save it all for when your web work finally dries up. Or, alternatively, invest in bonds or properties - so even when your work does run out, you may never need to work again.

That goes for Africa and Latin America as well, although web access might be a bit dodgier.

Toronto. Istanbul. NYC. Shanghai. Singapore. Tokyo. Buenos Aires. St. Petersburg. Vancouver. Reykjavik. Chicago.
posted by laughinglikemad at 11:31 AM on January 2, 2008

The MrsMoonPie and I plan to move to Hilo, Hawaii, as soon as it's at all possible. We loved the scenery, people, and weather there.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:31 AM on January 2, 2008

Hanoi or Saigon.

VN is still rebuilding itself after the war so the vibe in the entire country is exciting and hopeful. Much of the architecture in either city is a weird/interesting hybrid of ancient chinese and french colonialism. THE FOOD alone is worth it. Processed foods are still a kind of new concept-- most people get their food from farms still. It has all of the cultural richness of an asian country but with a distinct french flair (cafe's, baguettes, a more laidback, life-loving pace). Internet might be a thing to worry about-- when i was there a few years ago the most promenient speed at internet cafe's was dsl. Not sure what speeds are available for private residences. If i had the same oppurtunity as you i'd go there in a heart beat and do a little bit of charity work while holding down that regular job. I just think it'd be fun. Also its warm, the landscapes there are mindblowing beautiful and there are villages in the countryside that seem to be untouched by modern society. So much to explore!

Other than that-- Rio De Janeiro or Buenos Aires.

Your idea of hopping around sounds really awesome.
posted by modernsquid at 11:32 AM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Panama, I think.
posted by changeling at 11:34 AM on January 2, 2008


posted by hermitosis at 11:35 AM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Santa Barbara, California

When I was 14, my family moved from Chicago to Los Angeles. I had this picture in my mind of what L.A. would look like - palm trees, tile roofs, sunny and mild. Instead I got a stereotypical big city - ugly buildings, freeways, smog, HOT.

Then...we visited Santa Barbara. It was exactly what I had pictured in my mind. I fell in love and have always said I want to live there when I grow up. Well, I'm grown up and I still live in L.A. But, I can still dream...and recommend it to you.
posted by clh at 11:39 AM on January 2, 2008

Seconding Melbourne. Lived there in 2006, and it still seemed pretty great from me, especially if you don't mind air travel. Have lived also in Moscow, DC, London, Vevey (CH), and currently Boston, which I highly recommend for lousy drivers and high piles of black snow. /bitter
posted by mozhet at 11:45 AM on January 2, 2008

Wherever you think of, check the work legalities to make sure that it would be legal for you to do your work there. It would be a shame to fuck up your ability to travel because you thought it would be fine, but ICE or someone else's immigration authority actually required you to get work papers to be physically in-country and do internet work.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:46 AM on January 2, 2008

winnipeg. sure, it may be blisteringly cold six months out of the year, and, yes, it's sort of in the middle of nowhere, but a: housing is absurdly cheap (like, you can buy a nice little bungalow for under $70,000), and b: though it's maybe a little bit rough around the edges (or, uh, all the way through), it has one of the most vibrant cultural scenes i've seen in any city, and certainly for a city its size.

i also really liked helsinki, when i visited there some years back. i also love glasgow, but you're probably looking for something a bit more exotic than that. as far as american cities are concerned, there's no beating chicago, in my book.
posted by wreckingball at 11:49 AM on January 2, 2008

Austin, Texas.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:02 PM on January 2, 2008

I would live for 2 or 3 months in Mexico in a small city. Also, I spent 2-3 months in a small town in Germany named Frieberg. I loved it.
posted by xammerboy at 12:03 PM on January 2, 2008

Berlin would be my first destination. The cosmopolitan teleworking lifestyle sounds great :)
posted by willem at 12:05 PM on January 2, 2008

Tuscany? Florence is very touristy a lot of the time, but I could hole up somewhere outside it very comfortably for a few months.

New York? It's just a fantastic place to live for a while, although being a Brit you may run into work visa issues, I suppose.
posted by jamesonandwater at 12:06 PM on January 2, 2008

Tokyo. It fascinated me so much, and the trains are a fantastic way to get around the country.
posted by GaelFC at 12:10 PM on January 2, 2008

If I could I'd divide time between Hong Kong (nighttime beautiful with excellent restaurants, clubs, anything you want really). Within a one block area I had burgers at Ned Kelly, snake soup at a dive, the best dim sum I've ever had in a 'high rise' resturant. But crowded and filthy, so Vienna, or nearby (I like CZ,except Prague after a few weeks) would be a welcome respite, besides I love cold weather. And the tiny pubs and friendly's just really a 180 from HK.
posted by dawson at 12:18 PM on January 2, 2008

Pennsylvania - so at least you could be close to my family. Let me know how they're doing, ok?
posted by Sassyfras at 12:21 PM on January 2, 2008

Switzerland. It takes a long while to become a citizen there however. But you can live there as long as you hold a steady job. It's really a happy country as far as I can tell, which is odd because almost every citizen owns a gun (military issued). The crime rate however is one of the lowest due to the weapon being seen as a means of national defense rather than a means of destruction. Plus...English is very popular there. You'll have French on one side, German (although not High German) on the other...rather than learn each others languages you'll see English used instead. (Ok, I'll skip to the part where the scenery is beautiful)
posted by samsara at 12:32 PM on January 2, 2008

Bermuda. Absolutely stunning natural beauty. No income taxes. Quick flight to NYC and London ( Bermuda is NOT in the Caribbean ). Expat population from all over the world. Large international business presence. Plenty of internet bandwidth. Richest country in the world per capita. Very easy to make friends. Close knit community. Did I say no income taxes?
posted by jasondigitized at 12:33 PM on January 2, 2008

Dublin. I felt very much at home there.

But if you consider Canada at all, one place you should try is Montreal.
posted by zadcat at 1:17 PM on January 2, 2008

Just came back from Sydney for grad school, but would still be living there otherwise. Wonderful place, and as a Pommy you'll fit right in!
posted by qwip at 1:31 PM on January 2, 2008

I was faced with a similar choice and ended up spending a year in Berlin, which turned out to be one of the best years of my life. I think this is a very hard question for anybody else to answer for you, since it depends a lot on your own likes, dislikes and interests. I went to Berlin for the lifestyle/culture and music and because it was relatively cheap for a "cosmopolitan" city.
posted by atomly at 1:53 PM on January 2, 2008

Montpéllier or its environs if you like good-sized cities, Béziers if you like smaller ones, and just about anywhere in the Languedoc if you prefer little towns. Weather is Mediterranean, perhaps one snowfall per year; quite warm (~40C) in summer. Amazing food, delightful people. Stone-reliable, fast Internet.
posted by jet_silver at 2:32 PM on January 2, 2008

I'm in the same position. I'm considering quality of internet access, public transport, availability and cost of health care, and cultural stuff (I like traditional music & dance).

Based on my haphazard research to date, I won't need a work permit in the places I'm considering because (1) I won't be taking a job from a local or have a local employer and (2) I won't be there longer than 3-6 months at a time. I'll be more like a slow-moving tourist.

It's hard to recommend particular places without knowing your interests. My list includes France & Sweden for musical reasons.

You might also consider Guanajuato, MX: college town, UNESCO world heritage site, good weather, not overrun with gringos.

If you're paid in Euros, the US will be a deal. In addition to the places already mentioned, you might consider New Orleans for its unique culture and history.
posted by PatoPata at 2:56 PM on January 2, 2008

San Francisco. No question!
posted by jcruelty at 4:14 PM on January 2, 2008

Brisbane. Much more relaxed than the other big Australian cities but still very modern. People are lovely there.

I loved Denver, nicest people on earth (as you can see, people's friendliness ranks high with me). California is fun too, though it can be superficial. Hated New York because everyone was so cold and they seriously have no organized system for things.

The Netherlands and Belgium are quite like Brisbane - relaxed, modern, friendly, calm. Denmark's pretty good too. Sweden is a bit more reserved but could be good if you're more introverted.

Singapore's boring :P Things do tend to happen there more often, and the underground scene is actually rather bustling, but mostly it's rather sanitized. Malaysia right now is going through political upheaval and I have mixed feelings about living there. But the FOOD. OH THE FOOD.
posted by divabat at 6:28 PM on January 2, 2008

posted by miss lynnster at 6:30 PM on January 2, 2008

6 Months in Shanghai, 6 months in Berlin. Berlin is not too much fun if you do not have a way of meeting people though.
posted by markovich at 11:18 PM on January 2, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for your suggestions!

I'm leaning more towards Italy, Spain, Tel Aviv, Dubai, Cape Town (again), Shanghai, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, HK, Chicago.

Mexico, Bermuda, California are places I hadn't considered but sound like great places to live.
posted by uk_giffo at 3:04 AM on January 3, 2008

You might find this (developing) thread on the same subject useful.
posted by jamesonandwater at 6:46 AM on January 3, 2008

Somewhere you wouldn't get bored, it doesn't get too cold, there's an airport, good health care and a very important influence in your decision should be good food. Of course NYC comes to mind since I'm here. But we have enough people here already. (and its freakin’ freezing out today!)
posted by thetenthstory at 9:26 AM on January 3, 2008

Paris (France, not Texas)
posted by lukemeister at 9:41 AM on January 3, 2008

posted by arimathea at 11:39 AM on January 3, 2008

Buenos Aires is so amazing, I'm living there six months of the year now and every time I'm in Miami I want to go back.

Food is amazing and inexpensive, I'm taking very cheap yet great quality Tango classes, and the people and weather (spring, summer, fall) is really nice. Tons to do and see.
posted by NexEffect at 1:05 PM on January 3, 2008

Seconding Egypt. Really really friendly people, winters are relatively mild (although summers unbelievably hot) although no heat, so they feel chillier. Internet connections out the wazoo. Easy peasy to get in and stay in, entry visa is around $15 and from then on a 3 month tourist visa is dirt cheap.

Cheeeeap. You can get a flatshare for the equivalent of around £75, or £150 for a very nice place, per month. A filling meal can start at around 25p (obviously it can go up from there, but you can have a really nice meal for around £5).

Fun things to do. Cairo is a neat city and whenever you're bored you can always jump into a taxi and go to another part of town. The beaches of the red sea (which are nice year-round) are a 1 hour flight (or 10 hour bus-ride, but worth it as a cultural experience) away.

Drawbacks: not everyone speaks English, although if you want to you can put yourself into circumstances where everyone you interact with does. It's pretty crazy, and you have to learn to deal with things like insane traffic and a general lack of motivation. If you were an American the lack of customer service would drive you crazy, but as a Brit you shouldn't be nearly so fazed.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:40 PM on January 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

« Older I CAN HAS HDTV?   |   Power Supply Problem? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.