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:
- We want to live outside of North America.
- For our first time living abroad, we want to live in a sizable city where English is the first language.
- We wanted opportunities to travel from where we were living.
- That left Australia/New Zealand (for our purposes, more or less the same thing), England/Scotland/Wales (same deal) or Ireland.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?