I love New Zealand, I think it’s the most beautiful country I’ve ever visited, but I don’t feel like it’s a great place to be young. It’s not bad, by any stretch, but I just feel that I’ve outgrown it. When I originally left in November 2010, I had no idea of my itinerary or my plan, whether I’d be gone a few months or, as it turned out to be, a few years. All the while, I’ve always been secretly hunting for a place that I’d love to call home. Along my travels I’ve found a few places in the world that I’d love to move to, maybe for a few months, maybe for a few years. As I get a little older, the people become a little more important than the city, so when I can convince some of my favourite people to come with me (or at least visit) I might end up moving to:
If I was to live in Europe, I’d choose:
It wasn’t how I expected, at all. In my mind I had imagined a place filled with dirty drugs and prostitutes overflowing from the streets. Still, to this day, it’s one of the most magical cities I’ve ever visited. There’s this charm about it and I feel like Amsterdam isn’t the prettiest girl at the party, but just has this infectious self confidence that’s consuming. The locals are laid back and friendly, the canals look like something straight out of a painting and there’s a bunch of awesome markets to explore. It’s also the only place I’ve been in the world where bikes seem to dominate the roads. From the moment I arrived, in my mind’s eye I saw myself living here, in a small apartment, riding everywhere with sweet treats in my bike’s basket.
In some ways Madrid is an awkward mix of old and new, the beautiful grand buildings of the past seemed to be wedged in between ugly and bland buildings. One of the reasons Madrid features on my list, is that time just works differently here, in a way that seems to naturally suit me better. Lunch is later, dinner is late, going out is even later. It would not be particularly unusual to go out to dinner at 11pm and it’s certainly quite common to take your children for ice cream post midnight. Clubs don’t start filling up until after 3am. Spanish food is delicious, Sangria is both affordable and yummy and the shopping here is like no other. The city is filled with gorgeous parks and I feel like there’s always something to do or something to see. It’s the most alive city I’ve ever visited. So, despite all the weird things that Spaniards do, I’d be pretty happy to live here (again) for a while.
Ahhhhh, Berlin. I was here only in winter and still managed to fall in love. Once you get under the skin of Berlin‘s history, it’s hard not to be in awe of how far this city has come. There’s art oozing form every corner you turn and the entire city just resonates cool. One of my favourite things about Berlin is the fact that it is in Western Europe, but sports Eastern European prices. It’s affordable, without being cheap. The Underground is far reaching, affordable and efficient. I also had the most amazing Kebap of my life here, and it only cost three euros. Yes, Berlin!
If I could convince someone to marry me and give me their green card I’d move to:
I didn’t even do anything particularly exciting in San Diego, but I still love it. I like that it’s on the edge of the Pacific ocean, my ocean. It’s only a thirty minute trip away from Mexico and a (wonderful) consequence of that is there is an abundance of delicious Mexican food, everywhere. The climate is perfect, in fact, a formerly homeless man commented that “San Diego” is the perfect place to be homeless. I propose that it might just be the perfect place to have a home, too. I also spent the better part of a day here in a cafe drinking Sangria while a flamboyant waiter pointed his electric bubble machine at me, I suspect my affection for this city might be due in part to that afternoon. There’s something eerily pleasant about California and I wouldn’t mind getting lost in it for a little while.
If I found myself living in Asia, it would probably be in:
I don’t rate Singapore much as a backpacker destination, at least not for someone coming from a first world country. It doesn’t seem very foreign, almost everyone speaks English and it’s very expensive compared to the surrounding countries. But it would be such a great place to base yourself, as you could easily take weekend trips to almost anywhere in Asia cheaply and easily. The food is insanely good here, I ironically had both the best Thai and India food here, despite having visited both of those countries. Much like Madrid, everything happens a little later here. Foodcourts are often open until 2am and rarely any Singaporeans cook, because it’s just so cheap to eat out. The MRT’s great, the skyline along the waterfront is the most beautiful I’ve seen and there’s enough malls to satisfy anyone’s materialistic needs.
A little part of me wants to save up a lot of money, move to Ubud, rent out a nice little bungalow and attend yoga classes daily, work on my photography and just chill out for a few months. There’s not a huge amount to do in Ubud, but it’s just so relaxing and the natural beauty is stunning. I’d probably end up wearing temple trousers every day, losing track of what month it was and never looking at a watch – ah, sounds ridiculously amazing, doesn’t it? I feel like sometimes we get too caught up in the day to day of keeping up with the Jones’ both in terms of possessions and now in terms of social media, too. It’d be so great to drag one of my favourite people along to Ubud and to just chill out and explore. Of course, there would be the odd weekend trip to one of my favourite islands, Gili T.
If you could pick anywhere else in the world to live, where would you choose and why? What matters more to you, the place or the people?