Alas, my parents weren't Swiss, but they were from a reasonably liberal (in the sense of 'liberty') country which has a quite a bunch of the elements Switzerland has so I could've roll'ed it far less fortunate.
Only downside for Switzerland is the weather, but its a double edged sword. Sure, its generally cold. If you just work out regularly its not that bad. The air however is crystal clear which is an advantage for me given I'm a former smoker and have COPD and asthma in my close family.
... its eye-popping cost of living.
In a supermarket, t-bone steaks are $60-80/kg, free range chicken is $20-25/kg, organic chicken is from $30/kg, etc. The quality of food is outstanding though.
The same goes for eating out - $40 for a simple lunch in a non-fancy place without wine/beer is fairly normal. A good bowl of ramen (which you still need to find first) is from $20, more close to $25-30 with all the trimmings. There is McDonald's, from about $20 per meal.
The weather is very much secondary to this. Just 2c.
Obviously if you're already very frugal and disciplined it's another story. But IMO high living standards are more important to me than cheap prices, otherwise I'd go to SE Asia or something like that.
Quite frankly I wouldn't mind not having much money to live on. My living standard doesn't evolve around e.g. eating out. I want my own apartment (for two), a cheap car, a good laptop, a reasonable good smartphone, and some interior stuff (the usual plus some expensive kitchen equipment as outlier). That's pretty much it. You don't need a high income for all of that. The only expensive one is the car and that's something you save up for (long term investment).
Health is the most important to me; from which everything sprouts. I've been in Switzerland a couple of times. The air in Switzerland is night and day compared to where I live (NL), and I don't even live in a big city.
If enough IT people move to Switzerland (I know some known figures who have) something nice can brew there. For example, Google has a lab there.
Even if you can't get an IT job there's non IT jobs available, including low wage / low education. Perhaps Norway is a better country in that regard. Postal service delivery, for example, earns a lot compared to NL. The weather is Scandinavian, but due to the Mexican Gulf temperature near coast is higher than Sweden and Finland (this also keeps fishing trade alive in winter). Relatively clean air, and they're also neutral (tho less than Switzerland).
Obviously it'd be a backup plan. I don't think you can get a visa for that anyway. Another option could be remote work.
A high income is also good for saving, so you can bootstrap your own ventures in life instead of being beholden to a govt' retirement program or a specific employer.
I assumed we were talking about a hypothetical situation because for one reason or another in our current situation we can't fulfil that dream.
Is it that difficult to get a H1B visa in Switzerland?
> A high income is also good for saving [...]
Yes, but some rather costly business like chemo therapy is in the default insurance in NL. So you will always have it. Besides, if you got too much money, you end up paying more tax. So people end up saving, but also spending, and if they don't they gotta pay more tax. All of which is good for the economy.
One other thing I like about Switzerland is the direct democracy approach. Although I think it also works so well because its a small country, we got a non binding referendum, and its barely ever used because it requires a petition. Last time it was used was Dutch Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement referendum, 2016 . Note, I voted 'for', but that doesn't mean I want the government or EU to ignore the vote. Which is what pretty much happened recently in action (not in words although those words, too, weren't binding).
If you don't have an EU passport, yes. There are regional quotas, so if you want to live somewhere with lots of tech (read: non-EU people) getting in under the quotas is really hard.
With the coming of VR I expect we're going to see more commonly people who barely if ever go on vacation but go on vacation via VR. You can see the Eiffel Tower on pictures right now. What if you could experience it with VR? Although even that I CBA with.
If you want to live in a city with a good night life there's tons of options available, I got quite some good experiences here and there (Berlin, for example, I found far more amazing and friendlier than Amsterdam while I'm in Amsterdam in 30 min) it just depends on your personal interests tho.
As an introvert who also enjoys VR, I doubt many people will do VR instead of physical vacation trips. The pros of real life trips (people, food, weather, sports) outway the those offered by current or near future VR (go 'anywhere', teleport instantly, etc.). Hopefully the future will prove me wrong.
I'm not saying that the best thing about Vienna is the highway that get away from it (LOL), but as a foreigner it's the perfect "beach head" to explore the continent (and Eastern EU is crazy fun, people are more can-do than can't-do. There are a billion other reasons such as history, culture, cuisine, outdoor & sports ... Taxes are high (like everywhere in EU) but you get decent healthcare. Also salaries in IT are good especially if you are freelancing pretty identical to Germany. (avg > €60,-/hrs).
Another one of my fav is Berlin. Salaries not as high but fantastic software / start-up ecosystem. City is very affordable compared to other parts of Europe so lower salary is not huge issue.
disclosure: I'm Austrian (though have lived outside Austria the past 20+ years)
Basically everywhere in the German speaking world it's considered kinda weird to talk to strangers and people are quite...Shy, I guess? It's always the thing I appreciate most on visits to Canada, the US or the UK, just how talkative and nice people are.
This applies more to Austrians than to (north) Germans, and the Viennese are additionaly also grumpy and complain about everything, despite living in one of the cities with fewest things to complain about.
Also personally felt a lot less accepting of foreigners than Berlin. I far more often felt like a curious attraction and "obviously" you're not really Austrian if you're not ethnically Austrian, even if you speak German and have lived in Vienna your whole life.
Once you master the Austrian 'Schmäh' everything is good :)
Ouch. That's pretty bad, especially for... you know... Austria.
this is good: http://www.economist.com/news/christmas-specials/21712044-ci... (always wondered what is the reason so many great minds have put their thoughts to paper (all during roughly the same time) in Vienna. The place was a breeding ground for both the most crazy and the most genius ideas.
Specifically about schools- how would your child feel being the only Jew/Black/Muslim/Asian/etc in class?
I think Hungarians are quite a bit more world-savvy these days. Chances are your child wouldn't be the only minority in their class, and even if they were, it wouldn't raise many eyebrows.
From an external perspective, the primary disadvantages of Budapest/Hungary are the small size of its domestic market (~10M people), a language seen as difficult to learn, and the occasional decrepitude that we in the West aren't accustomed to seeing, such as cracked sidewalks, missing cobblestones and crumbling plaster.
You can see they are quite similar, but it's also obvious that Soviet Block happened to one of them.
If you like urban life, as long as you can pay your bills it's the best and most interesting city in the world.
It also helps with a good view :)
- Real estate. Of course, this is the root of all evil.
- Driving is a bitch. My wife once asked me to go walk in a Central Park with a kid. I was looking for a parking space for one and a half hours. Literally. I drove back home. Because of the real estate, parking garage prices are ridiculous.
- Restaurants. Overpacked with tables. Because of the real estate, owners pack their restaurants with as much tables as possible, so they could fit more people and be able to pay out rent/etc. Anniversary dinner? You'll have it with your wife, a gay couple and several business partners.
- Subway. Don't get me started here. People pee in the subway. Trains are delayed all the time.
- Medicine. I have a top-notch insurance. Every single doctor is scared of everything he/she is saying. It seems like all of them think that my next appointment is with a lawyer. Doctors are very "limited" in what they do. In my case, I compare with doctors from from my native country. They are more like engineers there, – never prescribe you anything, until the actual defect is determined.
- Emergency Rooms are terrible. Best hospitals of NY. My kid was at 104F+. We came in at 12:30AM. Doctor saw us at 4AM. Same thing was with my pregnant wife. We ended up leaving the ER at 5AM because their system was offline and they couldn't get us anything.
These are just a very few things. There are much more. I'm still looking for a place to raise my kids.
P.S. New York is amazing for doing business.
Sunday you park for free in Manhattan and should have no problem finding a spot up around Central park. Was there yesterday myself.
Restaurants are something you need to kind of learn how to deal with. I can honestly say that I am now mostly never having issues finding a right restaurant for any kind of need. Read eater.com and use opentable plus become a regular at a couple of restaurants and you should soon get access to easier dining.
I take the subway everyday to work switching from L to R. Takes me max 30 minutes normally. Sure there are delays but it's not that bad IMO.
Healthcare here is very different than europe (i am from denmark) it's a long discussion. I know what you are saying but there are drawback to european style healthcare too.
I Think New York is amazing for raising kids. They will get a perspective on life that's hard to get anywhere else. But it's not for everyone :)
The subway will ruin you if you rely on it to commute daily at peak times. Even if on it just for two stops. It's absolutely a mess. Nose in strangers armpit after waiting for three trains to pass you because they're at capacity is a very real thing - now just imagine the train is held even ten minutes in a delay ... a panic attack in that situation is highly possible.
The restaurants and food scene is incredibly overhyped, overpriced, and I routinely get sick after eating at good restaurants. Yeah maybe there's some three Michelin star places but I never go, and cannot afford or get a reservation anyhow.
The people are great though and I'll miss them. Random locals I chat with when walking the dog, or the merchants and shopkeepers in my neighborhood. Good, interesting people. But they're usually the ones who've been here decades, not the transplants
I don't think it's great for doing business. The pace can feel good at times, but drain you all the others. And the city is not what I'd categorize as a "small business city," it's very corporate in opportunities and mentality.
We are going to Melbourne Australia to raise our kids. It is so much better for kids and yet still offers what NYC has but on a smaller more reasonable scale. It is not perfect, truthfully every major city around the world right now is facing issues, but better suited to manage them than NYC. It's far, but you should consider it. I am friends with a Bulgarian couple with a small child who love it and the kid is very happy too. If you are in tech you may be able to do independent skilled migration where you are given permanent residency even without a job sponsorship. Happy to help if you're interested, we can exchange contact info.
But New York although expensive is surprisingly child friendly and have experienced a surge in the number of people with kids (think like 30% in the last 5 years.)
Once they hit Kindergarten there is plenty of good schools for free. I am hoping to be able to stay here for many years and have my boys be real New Yorkers.
That's great to hear! I'm really hoping the trend back toward the cities (and away from the suburbs) continues in America. I think walkable cities are much better than driving everywhere.
Also I work at the same building as square HQ in SF, haha.
I have never had my kids out anywhere and had a problem with them and I go out to eat a lot. But of course there are places I wouldn't take them.
So you at Uber? :)
I'm in Williamsburg on the waterfront too :)
I am a design lead at Square, plus I sell a fairly successful app on the side.
 World Happiness Report http://worldhappiness.report/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016... (pp 13)
Also a little bit boring and if you are not a "german" speaking person you will always feel unwelcome.
2. English is enough for working in IT. Live gets a lot easier if you know German in German-speaking Switzerland, French in western Switzerland or Italian in Tessin (southern Switzerland)
3. I searched online and was approached by Hays. Then I had three interviews with three offers and took the best fit.
4. I moved alone but my girlfriend already lived here which made it easier of course
5. 10 years in total, 1.5 years as project manager in an agency, 8 years in a big utilities company. Had a side business for web development since 2009.
Looking back I would say getting that job was even easier than finding a new job in Germany. Developers are searched for so you can easily apply to open vacancies even if they do not explicitly search for foreigners. I can recommend jobs.ch as a source for jobs.
I think you've possibly misunderstood what you have been told by your friends - you don't need to show your bank balance to a landlord. However, it is true that you have to apply with a dossier of files as specified by the agency or landlord and you can expect these to contain a copy of your contract (and so your salary) and also a statement from the local debt/claims agency (best English approximation I can think of for "office de poursuites/Betreibungs- und Konkursämtern") attesting to the fact you do not have any outstanding claims against you. It is unlikely as a foreigner that you will.
However the essence of what you were told is correct - there is a lot of demand for apartments in Geneva and Zürich. The occupancy rate is well over 99%. It is less a case of searching for the flat you like and applying than applying for many apartments and hoping you are chosen by the landlord.
 If you have a work visa you already should have a AHV number.
 If you would work as a "freelancer" for only one customer it will look like your "employer" just want to avoid to pay into the social system.
 Your sole proprietorship company should be profitable after about 5 years.
Compared to other EU countries it is relatively cheap, but still has a pretty good quality of life. I'd say if you are earning a western salary, as long as you like winter, you can have a better quality of life than living somewhere like the UK (where I'm from).
There are direct flights to most European capitals, so if you want to work semi-remote that's an option too. There are lots of lakes and it's not too warm (max 35c for a few days a year), so it's nice to chill out here in the summer.
Vancouver is truly a beautiful city, with a fairly low crime rate considering it's the 3rd largest Canadian city. A good place to work, a great place to raise a family.
The only drawback if you are working in an international firm is that we are one of the last time zones to conduct business in. Be prepared for 5am or 6am teleconferences with Europe, and 10pm calls with Asia.
I also have lived in Seattle and SF for 5+ years, and like Canada you never see anybody but the police carrying guns around. Worrying about gun violence in the USA is fear mongering, you should still be far more worried about motor vehicles.
Also CC license people have much lower rates of gun violence and crime than the general population, it's not those people you have to worry about.
Additionally, the excellent public transportation meant that spending time walking outdoors (to the subway, etc) was much more likely than in a city where you are just walking from your office to your car. Just my 2¢.
Other than that, I agree. Well, and also the giant, flying cockroaches. They're pretty bad too.
Or Tainan. Tainan was awesome too.
The road signage and markings are identical to my home country of Canada. People drive on the right. The electrical plugs are the same. Almost all of the road signs and public transportation signs are in English as well as Mandarin.
The one notable exception are the Taipei city buses. Those are Mandarin-only. I guess they don't expect too many foreigners to be taking those!
Spectacularly beautiful area; small (40,000 city/100,000 Albemarle County which is huge in terms of land area); University of Virginia (20,000 students) anchors a wonderful college town vibe; very high-end options (Wegman's/Whole Foods/Apple Store 1 hour away, etc.); 2-hour drive/2.5 hours train from Washington D.C.; growing tech hub reputation/community (little Austin); airport with lots of flights is 20 minutes from anywhere in town with ZERO security lines; cost of living trivial compared to Washington/NYC/LA/SF; no traffic jams ever; nice people.
I grew up in Milwaukee, then lived age 18-35 in LA with a year in Tokyo, moved here at age 35 in 1983: I wouldn't dream of living anywhere else.
I do work on the West End of Richmond now but I still live in Cville.
I am a software developer like you and I work from home for a company based on Seattle.
Anyway I am not here to convince you to move to this city in particular but please consider low populated areas with green spaces.
This move has changed the life of my two kids, they went from being all day in their rooms playing with ipad, videogames etc to play outside, riding bikes, climbing trees, etc. Each one have like 10 friends they see every day. I feel they have more self-confidence since they can go outside alone for hours.
It has affected me as well, everything seems to be faster in an small town. There isn't queues when you go buy something, the services are better. Example the car wash in this town will pick up my car, wash it and bring it home. If I ask for a pediatrician home visit, the doctor will be in my front door 30 minutes after I call, compared to 4 hours. There are less places for food than in the big city, but it is more handmade and better.
The people is friendlier and there is honesty and trust among the neighbors. First time I went to buy something I ran out of cash and they didn't have debit/credit, the owner say "no problem, pay me tomorrow" even if I insisted to cancel the operation.
It took me a while to found a good internet service, I tried 3. Right now I have a 20M connection.
Anyway I think it has been the best decision I made in 2016. I am very happy to live here.
One question, do you honestly ever feel like you're "missing out" or feel a sense of isolation by being so far away from a denser place? While I think cities are over-rated, I do feel that there is a variety to my immediate environment that I'd be missing if I moved to a small town and had a family. I strongly suspect this could be a false perception though.
I tweeted few weeks ago that I moved here and found another guy in IT few kms away. Also the first week I invited two neighbours to a bbq (asado!) and turns out one of the guys worked for HP. Not enough for a meetup yet but I am considering havig some beers with them.
My wife didn't want to move out few years ago, two weeks after living here she told me that she was very happy to live here and she suffer every time she had to go to the city.
My 11 daughter has done more friends here in two months than in her entire life living in the city and my son 4yo son is about to learn to ride a bike.
My advice will be at least to try it out, it will change your life for ever.
Downsides: Expensive, I can't speak Dutch.
For Americans who are tempted: check out the DAFT program (Dutch-American Friendship Treaty), which gives entrepreneurs a two-year visa, renewable for another two years. It was relatively painless.
As for the Dutch speaking — it's not necessary in Amsterdam, as everybody speaks English. But I am indeed making an effort to learn the language. In fact, it's a bit frustrating to practice, as everybody just speaks English to me. This is a common problem with non-Dutch-speaking expats here.
There is a wee cafe on the Singel which does BLTs which are so good, that it the only food that i care about, everything else is mere mass. These BLTs though...
Yes, I'd move for the BLT alone!
PS: Food-wide, there are many local shops of high quality depending on your preferences. I can highly recommend Maoz falafel although there are also less well known shops selling good falafel. The salad bar has unlimited refills. Although the stores are so crowded/popular I never end up going to refill more than once.
Unfortunately I'm not alone in loving it so real estate is crazy expensive (even more so than NYC/SF).
Hopefully the boom will end at some point making it affordable again, but I don't hold out much hope for that.
That being said, HKers have done a better job of adjusting to this by making (tiny) apartments available whereas in SF you're forced to pay more for a bigger space.
If "close to family" wasn't a factor then: San Francisco, Seattle, Lyon (France), Barcelona, and London (for a little while).
It's hard to beat the benefits of the massive tech ecosystem in SF. It would be nice if some of that ecosystem moved to the South. Chattanooga and Nashville are nice cities that I wouldn't mind living in either.
The South's peculiar mix of dominionism and right-wing fervor makes strange bedfellows of fundamentalists and rapacious capitalists. Low taxes starve infrastructure and the social safety net, and those are what drives stability. Without stability, entrepreneurialism cannot happen. Without entrepreneurialism, the closest you get are places like Austin and RTP: big, established companies moving people for tax reasons that does nothing to foster innovation.
Atlanta really should be the next big tech hub, but it won't be so long as the regressive politics and systemic racism of the south remain unaddressed. Charlotte would be great except that things like HB2 make the prospect of moving to NC a complete nonstarter for many in the already-marginalized LGBTQ population. The list goes on.
Pros: Most livable city in the world. Great startup scene. Phenomenal transportation options. Great universities. Fantastic street art everywhere. Amazing food. USD vs. AUD is quite good for USD right now so it is pretty affordable.
Cons: Internet not blazing fast. Beaches elsewhere in Australia are much better (it is on a bay = no waves).
I feel the need to add...
Melbourne does have great surf beaches within about 1-2 hours’ drive: Bells Beach (which hosts an annual World Surf League tournament  and was depicted - falsely - in the 1991 Patrick Swayze & Keanu Reeves movie Point Break ), Jan Juc and Fairhaven on the west coast; Gunnamatta, Point Leo, Cape Woolamai to the east.
These beaches can offer world-class surfing for serious surfers.
However, the weather is quite cold in winter and it's not a tropical climate, so they're not very pretty beaches and not much fun for ordinary leisure beachgoers, except for the warmer months of December to March.
The beaches in Sydney and further up the East Coast to Far North Queensland are much more pretty, and for much more of the year, as are those in Perth and up the Western Australian coast.
In the city, I love cycling up and down the bayside trail. Sure you can't surf there, but to be able to the water and smell the salt on a bike path that can take you to the CBD, that's good enough to relax me. Lots of activities like kitesurfing, free beachside powered BBQs, etc make it a fun place when the weather is good enough. St Kilda beach is a happening place in summer with a lively boardwalk. Go further south on the path and check out Elwood for a quieter scenic environment. Continue on to Brighton Beach and check out the beach boxes. Keep going further and once you get to the Sandringham area the beaches become more rugged and ocean-like. On a clear sunny day it's really beautiful, water very blue and nice sand. Bonus: you face the sunset on Melbourne's bay beaches, which can be really nice, whereas the rest of the east coast of Australia only gets sunrises on the beaches.
Regarding internet - if you're in an area with cable, you can get cable internet which is 60mbit and fine. NBN is rolling out slowly which is 100mbit+ but mostly in newer developments for now. I could never do DSL. Mobile is good in the cities with Telstra usually ahead of US carriers in speed.
Unfortunately the climate outside of summer is kind of crap, relative to the rest of Australia, but the city is vibrant enough to offer other things to do in winter (which is not that cold, but the homes aren't built for winter and heating, and the sky gets gloomy a lot). On the plus side, you can take your vacations in the winter when it's summer in the northern hemisphere, or explore SE Asia where its warm year-round, or stay in Australia and check out Queensland or WA which are nice in winter.
(As an Indian) Cons: India usually loses/struggles in boxing day tests.
Melbourne has got to be one of the best cities in the world if you enjoy sports.
I'd put London slightly above Melbourne, it's got Tennis, Football and Cricket among others.
Not sure about London, but in NYC, the sporting events are far away and a real drag to get to. US Open tennis is in Queens - take a subway for an hour from Grand Central, then walk a mile on a boardwalk to the stadium, and when I attended a couple of years ago the fan experience outside of the actual matches was pretty poor (and this being the US, all about promoting corporate sponsorships). NFL football is actually in New Jersey, you have to take a commuter train from Penn Station out there and back. Madison Square Garden for basketball is the exception, but the ticket prices are prohibitive. Baseball is in the Bronx, which is not so bad, but I haven't done it.
But I concur, I have never seen a city where all the major amenities are all so closely located to the city center, it's fantastic. Etihad Stadium, Melbourne Cricket Ground, AAMI Park, the Australian Open, Hamer Hall, Sydney Myer Music Bowl, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne Museum, National Gallery, Queen Vic Market, Federation Square, Birrarung Marr, Royal Botanic Gardens, concert venues, theatre district, Chinatown, Greek precinct, Little Italy, Little Saigon, University of Melbourne, RMIT, Docklands, South Melbourne Market, the list goes on and on...
The G is awesome even on TV. Every boxing day Australia plays a game there, and I do my best to watch the first hour or so on TV.
Cons: no landscape to speak of.
True. They aren't in Melbourne though.
By 'no landscape' I mean 'flat as a pancake'. I like a city with hills, views, and especially views over water with an interesting coastline. Wellington and San Francisco are good examples of cities that I like the shape of. Valparaiso and (less so) Santiago as well.
Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed being in Melbourne. It's an easy place to live with great people and a lot going on.
* Booming tech scene, with a healthy startup/VC ecosystem.
* Best weather + location (benefits of sun + proximity to the ocean are well-documented, e.g. http://www.livescience.com/37819-health-benefits-living-near...).
It's no surprise that people from SF and NY are flocking here ;)
Oh there are issues of course, lots of homeless, not bicycle-friendly, etc. But it is definitely on my short-list of cities to consider living in.
I felt like I was stagnating in the US. I wanted to pursue computer programming but I didn't study it in college and didn't quite have the skill set to succeed professionally at that point. My original plan was to buy a van, drive around warm parts of the US, and live cheaply while I studied for a year or so. Then I realized that I would have a lot more runway if I went abroad. Three weeks later (on the day of my 25th birthday) I was in Cambodia... for absolutely no planning whatsoever things have turned out very well. While low cost of living was originally the main reason I chose to live here, now there are many things that would make it hard for me to go anywhere else. I have become a different person here and living a very simple lifestyle (80$ per month apartment in an ultra densely populated neighborhood, no hot water, no AC, no TV, walking everywhere, eating only healthy food, exercising daily, etc.) has fixed most of my numerous neuroses :)
From all the interesting dishes, what do i have to try?
I like a lot of Khmer food but tend toward simple vegetable-heavy stir fries with okra, kale, bamboo, lotus stems, water spinach, etc. Rice porridge is very common here and usually includes bean sprouts and coagulated cow's blood plus added lime / pepper / chili (the cow's blood is great, but chicken blood tastes terrible IMO). I also eat grilled fish and grilled chicken skin on a near daily basis.
Did you try bitcoin?
For the existing employers, you could offer your employers a discount on your rate if they use bitcoin (or rather, ask them for a surplus percentage if they don't ;) ).
There is a lot more work in Glasgow it seems. We are considering moving and I get the odd email from some Scottish recruiters I spoke too. Thus far I think virtually 100% of the jobs they have sent my way have been based in Glasgow.
It's one of the few cities in the UK that I would be tempted to move to from Bristol.
What are the others, out of interest?
I honestly don't care what country, so long as it's at least relatively modern in its conveniences and isn't a dictatorship of some kind.
This is usually synonymous with low bandwidth though.
Transportation is cheap, it's very easy to reach other places in Asia and Korean people are very friendly (IMO).
If you like technology and shiny new things, Korea is definitely the place to be.
I am not fluent in Korean (still very far from becoming) but still consider Seoul as one of my favorite cities (if not my favorite) period
Koreans are also a bit racist but if you do not mind it's fine.
However, if you are working remote you could probably be taking in a nice US salary and live very very well. 100k and you'd live like a king/queen there.
sure, it's no Silicon Valley but you can get decent/well paid jobs with a bit of trying. My salary was even slightly better than what I made in Germany before
If you got a job at a large tech company, I suspect many wouldn't be as flexible. If you want to work for a large tech company, I would find out if they have any current remote workers.
* Kazan, Russia. A big city with a great architecture, interesting people and a broad mix of cultures. Also, part of family is not too far away.
* Finland, mostly because I am interested in their education system and my child gets into that age… Otherwise it's also a tech hot spot, plenty great people and projects originated there.
* Crete, Greece, great climate, kind people, beaches, mountains (awesome nature), terrific food.
Average low in Jan/Feb: -13 deg. C (~ 8 F)
Record low: -47 deg C (~ -52 F)
Average low in Jan: 7.5 F (~ -13 C)
Record low: -41 F (~ -41 C)
I would go back if there was a decent job waiting for me.
Tourism isn't really a problem because the tourists stick to the resorts. The upside of a flourishing tourist industry is that you can get dirt cheap flights from all over Europe.
I've spent a lot of time in Tenerife. Santa Cruz, in the North, is a lovely city. The weather is pleasant all year round, beaches nearby, the people are friendly and the food is excellent. Accommodation is cheap and readily (and informally) available, prices are generally lower than mainland Spain so for most Westerners the cost of living is low. Most amenities are there - you've got a cinema, large supermarkets, big brand stores and so on. Getting things online may take a bit longer, I missed Amazon Prime.
You will almost certainly need a car if you plan on doing any kind of travel around the islands. Gas is about the same as most of Europe, perhaps a little lower.
The main downside for foreigners is that outside of the resorts fewer people speak English, but Spanish is easy enough to learn. There is a large ex pat community, though they tend to concentrate in the resorts for obvious reasons.
(Also Carnivals are great! Don't listen to the person who said otherwise. They run for a week or two every year, everyone dresses up, gets drunk and pees wherever they can.)
Canary Islands 0.89:
Generally speaking I would say that overall prices are 10-15% lower than continental Spain and 20-30% lower than other main EU countries (like the mentioned France and Germany).
Of course it depends on where you go and which specific city you want to compare with.
Respect to the car issue, even if its convenient to have one, you can probably go everywere by bus or bike. Islands have a reduced sense of distances and are a small world. Tenerife Island has around 70Km from one point to the other extreme. Other islands are smaller. Some people love it, other go into claustrophobic mode after a while. People often escape by ferry to other islands or fly to the continent some days to reset.
The problem is the massive and often very noisy tourism. Good luck trying to concentrate to make a deadline in Carnaval or in a small apartment in front of the beach. If you choose the zone carefully, neither too isolated nor to close to the hot-turism spots, could work.
Food is cheap, rental vary from very expensive to relatively cheap. Life can be cheap except if you need to exit often from the islands and take a fly, or when need to buy a new car (must be imported and there is only a single guy in the island that can sell you this brand), or need something special.
Working remotely seems the only option I guess
If I had to complain about something it's that I find Israelis to be relatively clique-ish, the postal service sucks, and the light rail isn't finished yet. OK, so there are no utopias.
Tel Aviv is a greatly underpublicized and underrated gem of a city, probably due to politics, which is sad because politics/the conflict has virtually no effect on day-to-day life here, and because it's difficult to get a work visa if you aren't Jewish, but that's slowly changing since the army and academia are only producing about half the amount of qualified/credentialed/experienced labor the tech sector needs every year and it's now impacting the growth of what's now the most important sector of the economy, and both are already relatively huge compared to other Western countries, so it's not like the government could expand the military or academia further in order to get more labor, and it's starting to warm to the idea of allowing more non-Jewish immigration to compensate.
Great place, with unique quirks :) like periodical bombardments from Gaza strip...
Seems weird to me to bring this up here.
First of all, it's very reasonable. About 40% cost of rent compared to SF or NY and food/entertainment are also much cheaper.
Second, I think it's secretly the best food city (per dollar) in the country. Everything from the $7 cheese steak to a $50 dinner is great and you never wait in lin or fight for a reservation.
Third, easy access to the whole east coast. Amtrak to NYC or DC before lunch.
Fourth, great history and a vibrant culture. The city is also very pro-growth and seems to get better all the time. No NIMBYs.
Sixth, very solid infrastructure. Decent public transportation, great hospitals, world class universities in the city, etc.
Finally, I like the people there. They have a reputation for being tough but it's just a veneer.
I don't yet live without neighbors - I'm in the 3rd or 4th largest city. I occasionally stay in a little primitive (no power/water) in the woods, and we have some plans of moving to a less populated area. We just have to stay within a reasonable commute to the city for work.
The cost of living is very low, and the climate is pretty nice all year. There's a lot of good restaurants and cafes, and lots of variety. You can find some pretty good Mexican, Indian, Italian, Japanese, etc. There's a lot of 24 hour coworking spaces and cafes to work from, and it's always very safe to walk home at 3am. The crime rate is very low. There's also a lot of meetups and things to do. There's a lot of cinemas with movies in English (and Thai subtitles). There's bowling, ice skating, archery, paintball, and lots of parks and hiking trails.
Major downsides are the "burning season" which lasts for a few months every year, when the air is full of smoke. Also, the traffic is pretty dangerous. It's nowhere near as bad as India, Cambodia, or Vietnam, but it's pretty bad. Another downside is the lack of live music, theater, etc. You have to go to Bangkok to see any international bands, and they don't come very often.
If visas and money weren't an issue, I have a big list of places that I would like to explore before moving somewhere long-term. Examples: Hong Kong, Taiwan, Andorra, Austria, Sweden, Estonia, Dunedin (NZ), Arrowtown (NZ), New Haven (CT), San Luis Obispo (CA), Portland (OR), or Denver (CO). Maybe New York.
I'm generally based in Stockholm, Sweden; my home town and just generally a lovely place to live. It's certainly not the cheapest, but everything works really well and internet is fiber by default nearly everywhere these days, 4g if wireless. People are friendly and the city is clean and beautiful. Driving sucks, but public transport is great and runs all the time, so not a big deal. I can take a ferry to get downtown, which is winning in my book. Plenty of flight options out of Stockholm to go anywhere in Europe as well, including a short hop to London, Frankfurt or Helsinki, which will basically take you anywhere.
That said, I'm now currently in Florida, because January almost anywhere in Sweden is cold, wet, and dark. I'll be working from here for a while before heading back, at which point I might just go somewhere in south Europe for a while.
My point is, I absolutely love Stockholm as a base of operations and summer in Sweden is unbeatable in my opinion and I couldn't see myself anywhere else, but I need the freedom to go where I want/need to be. Being tied down to an office building again isn't something I could do and still stay happy – maybe if I start a family of my own, but I have no such interest.
My life is generally more expensive and messy now, but I'm much, much happier.
I'd love to have that freedom, I already work remotely, but I can't really be offline for multiple days unless it's on purpose for vacations.
I almost exclusively go to places where I know internet isn't going to be an issue, for when I'm working. I do a bit of research beforehand when necessary, but it's generally not.
I have no idea what the practicalities of a life in Paris are, but it's still at the top of my list. In maybe half a dozen visits, I've found Parisians to be quite friendly for city dwellers (very much counter to the stereotype). If I approach situations in my severely broken French, people figure out quite quickly that their English is better than my French, and like most everywhere else in Europe, nearly everyone under 40 speaks excellent English.
Maybe it's one of those things that looks better to an outsider than it is, but the pace of life is very attractive to me.
I'm far less surprised that nobody has mentioned Chicago, but it's not bad here. For a large city, it has most everything I want: great art, great restaurants, etc. The cost of living here is obscenely low relative to NYC or SF. For far less (monthly rent vs. mortgage payment) than friends who rent one bedroom apartments in either city, we own a modest, but very nice detached house in a nice neighborhood smack in the middle of the city.
Between the recent dramatic uptick in shootings and the truly shitty weather in the winter (though spring and summer are glorious), it's pretty hard for it to bubble up to the top of anyone's list.
The stereotype incorporates the inherent rudeness of city dwellers (particularly compared to the rest of a country). My belief is that the stereotype also comes from monolingual Americans who start off in English and assume (or appear to assume) that everyone speaks (or should speak) English. If you start in French, it shows some amount of effort and respect for their culture.
Other than the cold/hot weather, there's nothing more I could want out of chicago. As you said, the cost of living in comparison to other big cities is incredible.
people that arent from chicago think it's a warzone. They're right, but it's only that way for the people unfortunate enough to be living in the small number of areas that are so disproportionately affected by it.
To me, it removes weight from the actual truth (that a proportionally smaller number of people are being horribly affected by the violence) to represent it as something that everyone is facing some comparable likelihood of being shot/hurt.
It is a Chicago problem, not just a south/west side problem, and I think everyone here should feel empathetic and responsible for helping us all get past the issue, but I guess I just don't like it being represented as if well-to-do people face anything even remotely comparable to those in austin or englewood etc.
If you like being outdoors, this is the place. The culture here is exactly that: to be outside all the time skiing, cycling, climbing, hiking, etc.
The only downside is that it's quite expensive :(
Also, what is the tech industry like there and what neighborhoods are up and coming but still super safe?
I would go back to Italy in a heartbeat if I were retiring, or if I were a software developer doing remote work. Great people, great food, great history/culture, etc.
I'd probably pick Venezia (Venice), one of the most stunning places in the world. One of the tourist-free areas, of course.
The problem with Italy is when you have to deal with people for work. Terrible. A nightmare. I would never do that again.
I was actually offered an on-site dev job around there once but had to turn it down due to economic reasons and other commitments back home.
Alternatively (And this is something I'm actually going to try for software dev in 2017): winter on the Canary Islands and summer in Sweden.
I guess the tech scene is decent, but the other factors I mentioned mean a lot more to me. (I would almost prefer it if the area weren't as much of a hotspot, actually...)
I'll try to focus on my SaaS and have a nice, steady income to turn my dream true.
It's a "big" city in Asia without being massive. (Bangkok, Tokyo, Manila, etc.) Great coffee shop scene, rooftop bars, restaurants, and friendly expat entrepreneurial community/vibe. In fact, Obama came through a few months ago and gave a talk at one of the co-working spots to some of the local entrepreneurs!
Here are some good write-ups on entrepreneurship in Saigon:
Granite big walls and boulders to climb, powder to ski in winter, microbreweries and relatively cost of living.
Bellevue/Kirkland/Redmond is my second choice, and I like Washington outside of Seattle more than anywhere else in the US. Since I now have my own company, I'm fine with it -- if I had to work for Microsoft, another startup in WA, Google Kirkland, or something like that, I'd probably stay. Best overall blend of startups, sane government, qualify of life, great culture, environment, etc.
If I had the flexibility to leave, I'd be interested in: Beijing. Kharkov. Israel. Berlin. Hong Kong. As it is, I just got back from a trip to Kharkov, and if I had to hire a lot of ops/admin/tech people, it would be really really tempting. I'm also interested in Utah and Tennessee in the long run, and Montreal.
(What I'm really looking for is a 5-10 acre property in King or Snohomish County which has gigabit Internet, is not in a city with restrictive building codes, permits shooting (hard in King County), ideally borders a hill or non-buildable land on one or more sides, is on a decent road, ideally isn't too far from SEA or downtown Bellevue and Kirkland, maybe is zoned Ag (I'd be happy to do hobby farm ops on site), and is "affordable". That's possibly overdetermined, though.)
Though the startup scene here is changing very strongly and bigger companies from all over the world open offices here and consider Japan as the 'gateway into the asian market'.
Give it a try! The dream of moving to Japan is really not that difficult, especially if you're doing IT.
I'm here now, have been for six months (on sabbatical; studying Japanese half-time). It's interesting...sometimes I feel isolated (as anyone would when you don't speak or read the language fluently), but folks here have been quite friendly and supportive. I've found it easier to make friends here than in SF (where I've lived for eight years). Inasmuch as you can generalize an entire country, people here are forgiving and curious and friendly...just shy/introverted and overworked.
The foreign people who do best here seem to be the folks who are a) at least a little bit outgoing and well-adjusted, and b) don't have unrealistic prior expectations of what "Japan" is. So many weirdo, socially isolated expats come here expecting one long manga/anime/kawaii/samurai adventure that will fix their broken lives, and they're disappointed to find a country of normal people who work hard, have families and lives, and mostly don't do any of those things.
Love the food and the baths and the transit though. Wish they would adopt insulation. And decent cheese.
I speak almost fluent Japanese but the problem comes more in the very strong cultural difference that you are mostly not even aware of unless you are indeed fluent and surrounded by people that tell you your mistakes (which doesn't happen often).
It is (IMO) very hard to make 'good' Japanese friends (not talking about occasional drinking buddies). People seem nice but (especially in Tokyo) often don't tell you what they really think or feel. Being direct and honest about certain things is just not the way things are done here, that starts already at the language level and why you would rather say that something is difficult than not possible (それは難しいです・・・, pretty sure you heard that already a few times.)
Being direct as a foreigner and speaking in a direct way can work but is thus because of the difference in talking and nuance further isolating you and giving you the 'foreigner / 外人' stamp on your forehead, maybe without you really realizing that it's happening. A side-effect of that is that you get considered as, well, a foreigner. Maybe someone who is fun and weird to hang out with but not actually someone who could become a deep friend.
Then of course you have the other group of people that are strangely open and direct to you, but more than often that's the kind of people that only want a foreign boyfriend or someone to practice english with and nothing else.
Sure, everyone is indeed very very friendly and supportive but that can easily be confused with the polite nature that's rooted deeply in this country. That can also come over as shy and introverted, but if the majority of the people comes over as shy and introverted it's maybe not the people that's different but rather you.
Not saying at all that it's bad here. I am still really enjoying my time with a rough 4 years in total but it definitely depends if you want to be fully integrated or always wear that foreigner hat.
I've met a fair number of long-term expats now, and there's a group who have taken this personally, and now have a complex about never being "truly accepted"; then there are the ones who have embraced their otherness. Those latter folks are totally aware they're different, and they just decide that they're going to be themselves, but in Japan. They seem to get along quite well. I've met foreigners who run businesses, many who are married, and even a few who are involved in local government, organizing matsuri, and so on.
Anyway, I'm not suggesting that it's easy, or that I'm in that latter group. I'm just saying that I've seen it, and it's possible, and that it seems to come most readily when you know and accept where you stand.
(Also...for the record, I've heard this exact complaint from expats in every country I've ever visited, including Europe. I was once considering moving to the Netherlands, and I had a dozen lily-white expats telling me that the Dutch are great and friendly and incredibly polite, but it's just impossible to make native friends. So it's not just Japanese people.)
This is sort of a "bubble" problem. Dutch people that are "settled" already have a loyal circle of friends and are not always looking to make more friends. There's also the problem that expats usually work in demanding jobs with lots of competition and not a lot free time. It's hard to make friends that way, especially if half of your colleagues are rushing to daycare to pick up their kids.
If you were able to move out of that bubble, to a less populous / competitive area, you might find much more laid back people.
This is always true, everywhere. Long-time residents of a place have a network of friends/family that newcomers don't have. It's not unique to the Dutch or the Japanese.
This brings up a point I forgot: most expats are young, and have zero experience making friends outside of the social bubble of school. This is hard enough if you're just moving in your own country, but it's worse if you're moving to a place where you don't speak the language well. This is probably a source of a lot of the complaints about cultures being especially closed or unfriendly.
1) their expat colleagues
2) expat parties
Good luck finding natives there.
Also, it doesn't hurt to try and speak the language and understand the culture of a country you're living in.
Have a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honne_and_tatemae
I have a Japanese wife and quasi-lived in Japan for a few months doing remote work, and the tatemae part is quite isolating. People are extremely friendly but there is a certain mask-like thing to it - it's very hard to describe. Politeness, but often it's politeness without warmth?
Well I guess I'm somewhat inside that niche, however I would not expect my broken live to be fixed without any effort.
Also before going there, I would probably learn japanese or make holiday there.
Well I'm not good at getting friends and I doubt that neither in japan I would make many. I just love their culture and their food (at least some, katsudon <3 and other dishes).
I also actually are a big fan of buildins and history, which japan has a lot.
I also heard that they have a special work mentality (which you also described). And somehow if my work is good I love it, which makes me like the longer working hours. For me that make's me more happy than actually making friends (I know I'm a wierdo) and somehow I think japan would be a whole new challenge for me. But as already stated I doubt I couldn't be there for more than 6 months to 1 year.
I still love my home besides the fact that I live in a small town in Germany which is nothing compared to the SF area or any japanese town.
Edit: Great comments from a lot of people, Thanks that makes me actually more engaged to make savings to visit Japan at least once in my life.
Another big reason I love it here is how safe it is. After having lived in SF for a few years, there's a lot to be said for that.
Re: being difficult. I would disagree. Moving to Japan and dealing with immigration took me 4 months and multiple lawyers. The bureaucracy is real.
For all other visas you just need a sponsor (company) / proof that you can make money as a freelancer and, well, a university degree.
Japan might even be one of the only countries that effectively lets you skip the university degree (and 10 years of work experience) requirement with the right certificate that should be no problem to get if you know your computer science basics
We also have a deal with jetro:
as well as a ton of Japanese PR which helped.
Half of our difficulty was actually finding a good law firm that understood how software companies work.
small, international city, everything in arm's reach, looks stupendous, young&sexy vibe, great college town rhythm, close to everything worthwhile in Europe, high-tech job market, top notch culture in Brussels (20min trainride, 4x an hour). Expensive for Belgian standards, but it's a blueprint for aspirational cities of the 21st century: human-scaled, wealthy, georgeous, diverse economy, and centrally located in the global village.
best urban core in the US: compact downtown, wonderful residential areas surrounding it (old city, fairmount, society hill), great 19th century grandeur, close to everything worthwhile on Eastcoast, top notch culture. Primarily here because
it is affordable and allows you to live a luxurious city life on a normal income.
italian flair in Switzerland. No jobs, but you won't care in a place that looks like the riviera nestled in the Alps. Great for outdoors people, heavenly in all seasons.
This would be as far south as I could go on the planet without being an NSF scientist assigned to McMurdo and still be within US jurisdiction. Technically would count as a very legal tax haven within the US defense umbrella. I wouldn't be paying the IRS but rather the territorial government.
Yep, just need a good working satellite connection since the local broadband isn't that great and I would be good to go.
Great food (lots of multi-cuisine restaurants), warm for more than 9 months in a year, cold otherwise but not freezing cold and a happening tech. scene. The work isn't top-notch yet, but it's improving.
I've lived here for three years, go out every weekend and never once have I seen anyone playing beer pong.
The job market seems relatively weak in both areas compared to the Bay Area... Would you agree with that?
Boulder has more tech jobs. There are big guys like Twitter, Google and a gazillion of startups like VictorOps and SendGrid. Denver's lacking but I don't think it's too far behind. The fun stuff is pretty much all in Boulder though. Maybe the current construction boom will change that a bit.
I can't comment on salaries. I work remotely for a company that isn't in Denver, but I can just say you can live lavishly here if you make $120K+. And if you have some money to burn, it's a perfect time to invest in some property. The entire Denver area is under construction right now.
Would need central air conditioning in summer though.
The really difficult problem for us Americans is staying in the EU for an extended period of time (90 of every 180 days only).
Other options I'm inclined to try: Santiago in Chile, and maybe one or two of the smaller tiny towns dotting the Chilean coast as you head south to Patagonia.
I'm also partial to the Portland, Oregon region, as well as New Orleans. Both of those would be pretty high on my list of potential places to live, if I ever left Chapel Hill.
Live in Oakland and it's hard to imagine living anywhere else.
I'm living in Europe and I'm working in the tech industry. We were in a business trip in Asia with people from different countries and everyone had his own different answer.
My boss, living and working in SF Bay Area, answered:
"The Bay Area. I'm already living and working in the best place."
If I had to pick a city, I'd pick Helsinki or Oslo. Scandinavia is beautiful, socially progressive, has great education and health services, and is conveniently located to the rest of Europe.
You just have to deal with the cold for 9 months out of the year.
That temperature range means Mediterranean weather, so the list of cities is the following:
Barcelona, Marseille, Cape Town, Adelaide, Perth, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Santiago de Chile.
it is my favorite place to be. The town is friendly. I love all the farms, and there are plenty of outdoor activities to do.
Sure, it rains a lot. (Some houses are on stilts and the only road out of town floods over a few times a year) But IMO, it is worth it.
Now to find an IT job where I can work remote...
1) Public transport is good, when it works. It often doesn't.
2) Public transport is good, until you have a job that has structured hours- which is most jobs, as evidenced by the INSANE rush hour. 20 minutes in some guys armpit feels like multiple hours.
3) You can't afford to live somewhere nice. I mean, I earned quite a bit more than the average and was spending 50-60% of my take home salary on rent. And I lived in a bad neighbourhood. (because I wanted to live alone).
4) Pubs have the same problem as the transport system, super crowded at rush times.. spills into the streets, especially in the west end/theatreland.
That said, if I had the money to live well in London, it would be a great place to live.
I'd add one more:
5) Forget going to Premier League games every weekend, it's near impossible to get a ticket if you don't know a season ticket holder!
Shitty quality of life due to absurd land costs. Of course people will say you should live like a student in shared accommodation when you have a good job aged 35. Forget it.
I'm not sure I could live there, however. The downtown area is limited and a little run down. It also seems like you have to drive everywhere. The salaries don't reflect the cost of living. The IT market was a little anemic, but remote work could make these last points moot.
It's worth a visit all the same.
The only downside is that in 10-20 years it will probably become overcrowded.
I was there last year and loved it (equally Van was lovely), but the rent looked almost as outrageous as London.
tech + ocean + mountains = ️
With their salaries, I could retire at 30 instead of 65.
As a determined single person chasing FIRE you probably could pull off some arbitrage by renting a room somewhere far, but a more reasonable lifestyle and raising a family, I doubt it.
New York City:
- Gross income: $150,000
- Net income: $95,000
- Rent: $25,000
- Money left: $70,000
- Gross income: $35,000
- Net income: $27,000
- Rent: $6,000
- Money left: $21,000
Would you switch place?
 - http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Software_Engineer_%2...
 - http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Software_Engineer/Sa...
Money left NYC: $40,000
Money left Montreal: $23,250
The apartment difference is going to be considerable. It's very cheap to rent in Montreal.
$45,000 CAD = $33,500 USD
Looks like I'm underpaid.
Warm climate, fantastic food and friendly people. Modern city with developed infrastructure. I lived there between 2011 and 2013 and enjoyed every bit of it. Upon leaving, I knew that I would go back to live there again because I loved it so much. However recent events and overall political direction Turkey is taking is killing that wish within me. I really hope things get better in Turkey.
Great weather. Super supportive people. If you have the drive, you can get it done here. Relatively safer than other parts of India.
Lived there for 6 weeks this summer. Hard to say how it will look in 10 years, but it's an amazing place.
Some resources on this:
I liked the beach vibe, but the actual beaches in comparison to some are sort of "meh." That said, the BCN mix of options puts it in my top 3 cities in the world easily.