Addicted to novelty since 2001

Where on the Planet Would You Live?

Next spring, Jeremy is planning on thinking about moving away from Edmonton Winnipeg (poor bastard, who wouldn’t?) and outside of North America. He’s soliciting advice on where to move:

If you could live anywhere, on roughly 2200$/month (USD), where would you live? I’m not thinking USA or Canada, since those are self obvious. And, we’d be able to afford a house in the 150K (CDN) range, so the area would require houses in that type of range (for us to buy at some point).

I went through a similar thought experiment back in late 2000, when we decided to move to Ireland. This was my thinking:

  1. We want to live outside of North America.
  2. For our first time living abroad, we want to live in a sizable city where English is the first language.
  3. We wanted opportunities to travel from where we were living.
  4. That left Australia/New Zealand (for our purposes, more or less the same thing), England/Scotland/Wales (same deal) or Ireland.
  5. Australia and New Zealand seemed too much like Canada. That is, they’re former colonies with vast lands but a small population. In particular, Sydney seemed very like Vancouver (Pacific Rim city, beautiful setting, similar size). Plus, it was a long way from everywhere else.
  6. London seemed dauntingly large (20 million people?), and the rest of England seemed bleak and depressing. I didn’t know much about Wales and Scotland, so they got lumped in with England.
  7. That left Ireland. In particular, Dublin. It was a very manageable size (about 1 million), had decent access to the rest of Europe and, luckily, was undergoing unprecedented growth. The people are lovely and, despite our initial impressions, speak English.

My advice to Jeremy? Stick with Ireland, for all the reasons I just listed. I also liked Edinburgh–great urban planning, and an excellent vibe downtown. However, it’s about half the size of Dublin and reportedly has brutal winters. Of course, he won’t be able to buy anything for CAN $150,000 in Ireland (or most of western Europe). On the other hand, Jeremy might want to consider buying locally (in Canada) and renting abroad. On a related note, Jeremy’s got a new baby, so I’d definitely recommend Paris to the Moon. It’s a wonderful set of essays written by a Canadian who moves to Paris with his wife and young child.

The next time we live abroad, we’ll probably be a little more adventurous. The obvious and current favourite location is France. Maybe Paris, maybe Lyons, maybe the middle of nowhere. I’d also like to spend some time in southeast Asia, but that might just be an extended vacation.

Where would you send Jeremy?

8 Responses to “Where on the Planet Would You Live?”

  1. Janine

    Prague!! One of the most beautiful cities in the world. Great vibe, great history, great shopping and friendly people.

  2. Donna

    Anywhere in Scandanavia. But then, I’m a socialist, so that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

  3. Adriana

    Darren quick question:
    (….well maybe not so quick) How did the work situation pan out? Did you have Eire citizenship or a working or ancestry Visa? I was there a few years back, absolutely fell in love with the place, and would love to go back for longer in the next year or so.

  4. Lars

    I’d say Cape Town, South Africa. They could buy a house for cash and easily afford a maid and a gardener. Plus they could ride the mounting wave of IT companies that have newly made a presence in CPT.

  5. ken

    I’ve been thinking about going a little more “out there”: Turkey. You can’t beat the Turkish people’s generosity. On my most recent trip to Istanbul I met an American guy who told me that English speakers can instantly get jobs as teachers. He’s been doing this by renewing his 3-month tourist visa (not that I would recommend that). It’s tempting.

  6. Lindsay

    Go Edinburgh go!
    I would say anywhere in Europe is great because of the opportunity to travel around. Buying is pretty much out of reach for 150K, but then again, many people don’t buy in Europe, or at least it isn’t as high a priority as it is in Canada. So I would second Darren’s suggestion of buying here and renting abroad.

  7. Jon Husband

    One of the smaller towns somewhere between Granada (Spain) and Toulouse (France) … oh, wait, the US dollar is dropping … how about Moose Jaw, or Swift Current ? The people are really friendly.

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