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Ask HN: If you could live and work somewhere, where would it be?
175 points by bsvalley on Jan 2, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 382 comments
If you could pick one place or city in the world where you'd live and work (software dev) for the next 10 years. Where would it be? And why would you pick that place?

Switzerland. High living standard and good wage, multiple languages to speak (German, French, Italian, and English), neutral in the world (so I don't have to bother with wars children disguised as adults are organising), great public transport. Beautiful landscape, I'm very fond of mountains, YMMV (yes, I've been in SV/SF, also very nice).

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.

> Only downside for Switzerland is ...

... 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.

I'm curious, can't you just cross the border over to Germany, and enjoy smaller prices?

You can but that's only practical if you live in Basel.

Salaries are high, but cost of living is also really high. If you are from the US, expect to eat out less and have a smaller house/apartment, but have nicer (and longer) holidays.

Which is not so bad always. I know of many Americans who went to higher col places but saved more than before. High prices push you to be more disciplined with spending: pack your lunch, use less energy, take public transportation, buy less useless junk out of boredom, etc. Also, when you're surrounded by accessible natural beauty and loads of travel destinations close by there's less of a need to spend frivolously.

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.

I would assume the balance is less ideal than US. Then again people from US compare to EU while in EU you get pension, insurance, and generally a social system to protect the weak (which might be you one day).

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.

Immigration isn't that great in switzerland. It takes even longer than the USA to get citizenship.

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.

> Immigration isn't that great in switzerland. It takes even longer than the USA to get citizenship.

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 [1]. 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).

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Ukraine%E2%80%93European...

>Is it that difficult to get a H1B visa in Switzerland?

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.

For the weather it's not that bad in general, and if you pick the best canton in Switzerland (Valais) {{Citation needed :-) }}, you will have more than 60% of sunlight [1]. The place is also really beautiful [2] and have been in the «52 Places to Go in 2015» [3]. Only drawback, it's a quite rural area, so not the better place to find jobs in IT in Switzerland.

[1] http://www.meteosuisse.admin.ch/product/output/climate-data/...

[2] https://www.flickr.com/search/?text=valais

[3] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/01/11/travel/52-plac...

I travel to Switzerland quite often for work plus I have relatives living in Switzerland since ages and I used to live close to the Italian-Switzerland border. I would never move there as the country is so boring. Really, every time I travel to Zurich I get bored and annoyed like hell.

I'm basically never bored alone, I prefer to be alone, and I can spend nearly 24/7 alone (although part of that time communicating via the Internet). The social interactions at work and with family is more than enough for me. I don't need to go 'go out', 'date', 'visit clubs', or 'see the world'. I've been there, done that. I want to settle at a place. Obviously YMMV.

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.

"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."

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.

Vienna. In the heart of Europe and just short drive away from every one of these: Italy Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Switzerland. ranked best place to live [1] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/feb/23/vienna-name...

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)

EDIT: typos

Lived in Vienna for 8 years, now in Berlin for the past 3. Vienna the city is great but I'd definitely say the biggest downside are the Viennese (I know this is ironically the most Viennese thing I could say).

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.

> 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 :)


>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.

Ouch. That's pretty bad, especially for... you know... Austria.

Just to offer another point of view here: What you say is true but IMHO things have been improving on the "culture" side over the last 2-3 years especially.

I too like to think it did, a lot of it has to do with foreigners coming in and working alongside Austrians in offices. In tech, some companies have even English as their internal language (in Germany more common).

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.

What specifically happened in the last 2-3 years?


Why not Budapest then? Still fairly central, much cheaper, nice spas and amenities, closer to eastern Europe, and IMO the food is better

Much worse infrastructure, if you care about such things. Probably not as good a place to raise children (especially with the politics of the recent decade or so).

I have to disagree. I know people who passed over good job offers overseas in order to remain in Budapest and raise their children. Good schools, affordable housing, a cheap & heavily utilized public transport system, respect for history and culture, forest/nature a max. half hour from anywhere in the city, and ironically, the recent politics have resulted in a safer climate compared to other cities in Europe.

But these were supposedly Hungarians, rather than foreigners choosing to move to Budapest? My point about politics was unfaovrable climate for foreigners.

Specifically about schools- how would your child feel being the only Jew/Black/Muslim/Asian/etc in class?

Yes, but any new arrivals would benefit from the same advantages as long as they were willing to learn Hungarian and behave in a fashion compatible with Christian/secular cultural values.

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.

Are you talking from experience? From anecdotal evidence of several acquaintants Budapest is not as progressive as you describe, especially to non-whites.

Yes, I am speaking from experience. Budapest is not as multicultural as London, Paris or Berlin (make of that what you will), but it is nowhere near as ethnically or culturally homogenous as Japan or China.

Budapest is essentially a run-down version of Vienna.

You can see they are quite similar, but it's also obvious that Soviet Block happened to one of them.

Good luck learning Hungarian, though :P

Already here. New York.

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 :) http://000fff.org/uploads/PH6.jpg

Great view. I dreamed about New York since I was a kid. I moved here 4 years ago (from Ukraine) and just recently started to realize how problematic this city is. There are millions of issues:

- 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.

edit: formatting

Here are a couple of tricks :)

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 :)

Yep, been here four years too and leaving (I never dreamed of it though - my partner did). Especially good point about the healthcare issues here (independent of the broader US healthcare issues), it's really difficult to deal with. Fun for singles in their 20s but would not recommend the hard slog of raising a family here unless you're from the region or a highly paid banker. The housing situation is really dire once you demand a certain level of quality or want to buy (btw, didn't have mice for three years, now two in one day making four this year. There's always some issue popping up stressing me out and I live in a decent building with a good landlord and excellent area!)

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.

Okay, I'm jealous of that view... that's literally my ideal apartment. And you've provided a great counterargument for everyone who says you can't have children in a city. As someone who just finished grad school, there's no way I could afford that though haha

It's not cheap thats for sure and my wife isn't working.

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.

> But New York although expensive is surprisingly child friendly

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.

Yeah and you walk A LOT in New York which I really like.

How is it child friendly? I've heard the stereotype is quite the opposite. Do you rent or did you buy that place?

Also I work at the same building as square HQ in SF, haha.

Well because of the increase of kids it's changed quite a bit. Williamsburg for instance have a lot of parents. So basically a lot more places are fine with kids.

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? :)

Okay what's your rent.

Agree, NYC. There's no better place to be. Unfortunately, SF/SV keep pulling me back in so I spend almost half my time there.

I'm in Williamsburg on the waterfront too :)


Oh you are in the Edge?

1 N 4th. The one that got built in front of the Edge. Moved in right after they opened up. Was in 184 Kent before that.

Ahh right. Cool. Lets hook up at one point. My email is in my details.

Okay what you do? I am kind of considering a career change for exactly whatever it is. jokes apart which borough, Brooklyn?

Williamsburg. Down on the water.

I am a design lead at Square, plus I sell a fairly successful app on the side.

That's fantastic, congrats on the sweet spot and hustle

This makes me want to pack my bags and head east...Good for you man!

Switzerland. Strong economy, often considered one of the happiest countries in the world [1], considerate culture, and lots of natural geographic beauty.

[1] World Happiness Report http://worldhappiness.report/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016... (pp 13)

Yes it's a good place to live. But...Industry is mostly composed of banks,insurance companies, basically a financial sector. Meaning : OLD LEGACY CRAP.

Also a little bit boring and if you are not a "german" speaking person you will always feel unwelcome.

I found it to be amazingly expensive (I was there in 2013) but a phenomenal place to explore. Made amazing friends and loved the city but don't miss the $44 burritos.

I didn't live there but I did travel for work. Totally common to get stuck with a $50-70 bill for lunch. And, like a lot of places in Europe, getting charged for a pitcher of tap water is really off-putting to Americans. Geneva was by far the worst place I have ever been for charging for water.

Switzerland as well. Economic and social stability for 200 years, while also neutral and not getting involved in wars around the globe. That means no acts of terror either. Also not part of the EU with all its baggage, while part of the trade union (for now). Hills, valleys lakes and wilderness, along with remote work in Alpine villages with broadband cable net. Europe is also just around the corner, if you ever want to go shopping in Cognac, the Mediterranean or whatever strikes your fancy.

Wealth tax means double taxation for Americans.

True that! Moved here from Germany in may working as a backend developer. The people are awesome and once you get used to the language it just feels like home :))

1. In which area of Switzerland did you move? 2. Which languages should you know besides english? 3. How did you find the job: online, recommendation? 4. Did you move with family or alone? 5. How many years of experience did you have?

1. Zurich city

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.

Thanks for your answer, @sawmurai. For me, the western part would be a better fit since I already have some working experience with french language. I would have to move with my girlfriend who is in the insurance business, so I guess Geneva would be a good fit for her as well

Apparently the costs are very, very high, though, and renting a flat is really hard (owners want your bank balance/history). At least that's what some friends who moved to Geneva told me.

I live in the western part of Switzerland, not far from Geneva.

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.

You don't have to move into Geneva, of course. The train system is wonderful, as much as I've heard, and the cities are not bloated like in European countries in general. You can find work in cantonal capitals and in their vicinity, even remote/partial remote.

True, the net rent is higher. But look at it this way: in Germany rent was 30% of my net income, in Zurich it is less than 20% (though it would be closer to 30% if I lived by myself)

As a foreigner on a work visa, is it possible to operate a side business in Switzerland? I would be very grateful if you could explain how to make it work from a visa / taxes perspective. Did you incorporate your side business, and if yes, where?

The easiest way is to run your side business as a sole proprietorship company. You only will need to get a AHV number [1]. To get this number you have to prove the AHV that you are not fictitiously self-employed [2]. This will require invoices from at three (or more of course) different customers. A recurring payment like eg. from an Adsense account should be sufficient also. If you have this number you can fill out your tax formulas and conduct all expenses of your side business [3].

[1] If you have a work visa you already should have a AHV number. [2] 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. [3] Your sole proprietorship company should be profitable after about 5 years.

oh sorry, I meant I had the side business back in Germany. I terminated it when I emigrated because none of my German customers would be willing to pay Swiss rates ^^. But I think it should be no problem to have one as long as your employer is fine with it and you work less than 45h per week (your normal job will probably be 42h/week).

I recently moved to Vilnius, Lithuania, mainly because I have friends and family (my wife) here. There is quite a good local tech scene (for the size of the city), but I work remotely as the pay is higher and I don't like offices.

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.

It would be right where I am, which is where my extended family is. With a wife and kids and being in my 30's, I've learned that who you're with is more important than where you are.

Similar situation here, and I absolutely agree with you.

is your wife's family in the same location as yours? if not, how did you select?

Although we're both from the area, my parents have passed on and my sister is the only one who's not within a two hour drive (including most of my wife's family).

Vancouver, BC. Supernatural beauty. Immediate access to incredible outdoors. Great food and cafe scene. Fantastic arts and music scene. Clean. One of the greenest (carbon footprint) cities in the world. Fantastic transit system. Fast growing technology sector. + all the benefits that come with being a Canadian city.

Agreed - Vancouver is a truly amazing part of the world. Unfortunately the cost of living reflects that.

According to the census conducted in 2016, Vancouver has 603,502 people. In all of 2016, there were 67 murders, up from 60 the year before.

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.

Totally agree! I'd move to Vancouver, BC in a heartbeat, but work out there can be hard to find.

And cost of living.

Can you explain we what you mean by "all the benefits that come with being a Canadian city" please?

As an immigrant living in Toronto, I would say people. I have never been to states, so you can tell me if i'm wrong or not but Canadian people are really helpful, polite and courteous. You don't notice it till you go out of Canada. Also as a brown person, i have never had a single incident of Racism here.

I've been to both Vancouver and the states, and people were helpful in both places. Vancouver felt more European than, say, LA or NYC, though, it was much more relaxed.

No guns and free healthcare are two things that come to mind.

Canada has guns. In fact Canada has some guns one can't get in the US due to import bans, like Norinco.

Maybe, but homocide rate is on par with Western Europe, and people generally don't walk around with weapons


Canada ranks 6th in the western world when it comes to guns per 100 people.

Access to guns is extremely restricted. Canada is the second largest country by land mass, and thus police protection is not readily available at all times. In these cases, and others where protection of life is concerned, hand guns and other firearms may be authorized. There should be no instance where a common civilian is issued a hand gun or the authority to do concealed carrying. I've been in Canada my whole life, the only guns I've seen are on the hips of police officers (they all carry tazers as well as a first line of defence) and held by armoured vehicle occupants. I have seen one hunting rifle, but you'd have a hard time carrying that around in public. Permits must be readily accessible at all times while in possession of a firearm.

It's not that big of a deal to get a gun in Canada. It's easier and faster to get a firearms license (weekend safety course) than it is to get a driving license. People don't feel like it's a big burden to carry their driving license when driving either. Canada just doesn't have that big of a gun culture is really the main difference, and if people have guns they don't really talk about it. For example, my father had a few hunting guns since forever and I didn't even realize until 10 years after he bought it!

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.

Great perspective, thanks!

I moved away from Vancouver because of the cost of living : income ratio there. Seattle is basically identical, but housing is cheaper and pay is better for software people. And they are about 2 hours away from each other.

Taipei, Taiwan. The friendliest people you will ever meet, living and working in the most convenient country you will ever visit. Everything for daily life is within walking distance but if you do need something a bit further out, public and private transportation is exceptionally cheap and effective. The weather is fantastic year-round (save for heavy rains sometimes coming from the ocean) and taking a weekend to visit Kenting in the south by high-speed rail is a treat. I'm already saving up to do it.

My fiancé is from Taiwan and recently moved in with me in Europe. I've been there a couple of times and can not agree more with what you say! We want to live a couple of years together in my country and eventually switch to Taiwan once I feel comfortable with leaving my family and current life behind (and when she has (western) working experience & study that will grant her instant "You worked/studied in the west? Take our money!" privileges) We will live like king and queen together!

Will it ever feel comfortable? I'm in the same position as you, on the brink of moving far away (not Taiwan), but the anxiety of going somewhere new (possibly permanently!) so far from family always restrains me.

I would only disagree with your characterization of the weather; mid- to upper-nineties with extreme humidity during the summers is not "fantastic". I'm sure someone from Austin or Atlanta would be fine, but as a native of coastal California, I found the weather a real challenge to deal with, necessitating 3-4 showers per day.

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.

I've only been there as a tourist (and happened to go during a period of historically awful weather last February), but I'm inclined to agree with all of this. I've never felt as safe walking around a city alone in the middle of the night, the food is crazy good, and the people are educated, courteous, industrious and free. I maintain that if aliens came to Earth, there could be no better place for them to land and get a first impression of mankind than in Taipei.

Or Tainan. Tainan was awesome too.

Do you have to speak Mandarin to go about your daily life?

If you're going to be living there 10 years, then yes. If you're there for 30 days, nah. Just a few phrases like hello, goodbye, where's the bathroom, thank you.

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!

Charlottesville, Virginia.

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 lived in Greensboro for a time, and the similarities are quite large. While the tech community there is less developed, you're 90 minutes from Charlotte and have everything you listed above within a half hour drive.

I live in Charlottesville! I moved here 11 years ago. At the time it was suppose to be for 3-5 years but I fell in love with the area and never left.

I do work on the West End of Richmond now but I still live in Cville.

I moved four months ago from a very crowded city to an small town in the province of Córdoba, Argentina called Mendiolaza. We have beautiful landscapes and it is near (25kms) the big city.

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.

Thanks for this summation of small town living. I find it pretty inspiring actually.

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.

To be honest I haven't had this feeling but maybe it is just because how I am and because I am 30 minutes away of Cordoba, which is the second bigest city in Argentina and has good nightlife etc. Most of my friends and family live there.

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.

Amsterdam. Love the people and the culture, the night-life is great (no, not that sort!), cycle everywhere - never stuck in traffic jams. Reasonably easy to fly back to visit family/friends in London.

Downsides: Expensive, I can't speak Dutch.

Yes to Amsterdam! I'm American and moved here to Amsterdam with my wife and kid just over a year ago. It's a fantastic place to live.

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.

Me too. If I think about not working in Amsterdam, I get miserable. What a place!

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!

Just wanted to chime in (replying to GP as well), if you don't speak Dutch, you can still visit Amsterdam or even work there. Especially if you work in IT. The Dutch generally speak English very well, especially in the bigger cities. Living in Amsterdam is expensive, and its a city (not my preference). I live in Amsterdam Area instead; much less crowded, and also cheaper to live (although either way difficult to get an apartment). That is a downside. Amsterdam expensive? Depends, apartments are expensive (but not as expensive as SF). The tourist area (center), sure, it is expensive. If you want cheap food and don't mind making your own, go to a Turkish grocery store. You can get tons of vegetables very cheap.

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.

Just wondering which cafe?

I'm guessing it's Broodje Bert.

This is the one! I don't even tend to go to small places, it was like a calling.

Thanks for the heads up. I've eaten at Broodje Bert before but haven't tried the BLT. Lunch tomorrow! :-)

or maybe Van Zuylen. Their BLT is full of bacon which they make nice and crisp.

Greenwoods? Yes Amsterdam for me as well!

Berlin. Live here and love it. Reasonably big, multicultural city with excellent public transport. You can go anywhere within 1 hour by public transport (average 25 mins). Eat any cuisine anytime, tons of startups, meetups and social events. All backed by excellent German education, innovation + social support.

Hong Kong. I love the food, culture, and fantastic public transportation. It has a nice mix of Asian and British influences. The city has tons of energy and is always alive. Plus, despite being a huge metropolis, there are tons of hiking opportunities nearby in beautiful natural areas.

Unfortunately I'm not alone in loving it so real estate is crazy expensive (even more so than NYC/SF).

Food, public transportation, beach, hiking in HK are good. But housing in HK is super expensive. You can't find a room in any other cities smaller than HK. People feel desperate because of the super expensive housing. The city's economy is kidnapped by real estate. I am living in HK and thinking about leaving.

Yup, that's really why I'd only consider living there if I'd acquired a decent amount of wealth already (at least $1M USD).

Hopefully the boom will end at some point making it affordable again, but I don't hold out much hope for that.

I'm living in HK myself. Haven't been to SF but I think, while I agree HK prices for apartments are ludicrously expensive, I don't think they reach the rate of SF, from what I've compared.

Hong Kong has the second most expensive real estate in the world, per square foot. [0]

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.

[0] http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-most-expensive-cities...

Well, it depends. Do I have a remote job with all of the computational resources and salary I could possibly want? Then Asheville, North Carolina. Beautiful scenery, great food, plenty of high quality coffee shops, and close to family.

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.

As a southerner who has moved West, I contend that the South needs to fix a huge amount of its culture before there will be the thriving mix of industry and creativity you can find in cities like SF, Seattle, and Boston. Let's not forget that the south has not been the engine of the American economy since slavery was (de jure) abolished.

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.

I definitely appreciate your perspective on the South in general. But I'm a westerner who has lived in Atlanta for a number of years. The gentrification and densification of Atlanta's inner neighborhoods is unlike anything I've seen elsewhere. I'm curious why you think Georgia will hold Atlanta back from further success, instead of Atlanta dragging Georgia kicking and screaming forward. As of 20 years ago I think nobody imagined the progress Atlanta would make.

Well said. I grew up in Arkansas, now in Colorado.

Lived in Nashville for three years, fantastic city, lots of big city comforts in a navigable and manageable size, although I know it's going through some rapid expansion.

Melbourne, Australia needs to be on your list.

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).

Great to hear you've had a good time here Andrew!

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 [1] and was depicted - falsely - in the 1991 Patrick Swayze & Keanu Reeves movie Point Break [2]), 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.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rip_Curl_Pro

[2] https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&e...

Portsea Back Beach (and surrounds) on a hot, clear day is one of the nicest beaches I've ever seen, with the benefit of bay beaches 5 minutes away if you prefer that, this is only an hour or so from southeast suburbs of Melbourne, and minimal crowds and no traffic in peak summer.

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) Pros: The MCG

(As an Indian) Cons: India usually loses/struggles in boxing day tests.

Every few years I consider moving somewhere else, and then I remember I won't be able to go to the cricket and footy at the G anymore, or the tennis, or the formula one :(

Melbourne has got to be one of the best cities in the world if you enjoy sports.

Ah, I forgot about tennis. I applied to UMelb and Monash back in 2011 when I was applying to grad school, but was scared off by some attacks on Indian students at the time. My sports watching life would've been so different if that had gone well.

I'd put London slightly above Melbourne, it's got Tennis, Football and Cricket among others.

One thing to note is the accessibility and convenience of the events in Melbourne. The MCG and other stadiums/arenas are all in a big complex right in the heart of the city, with easy train, tram, bike, and walking access, and this includes the Australian Open tennis. The Grand Prix is in Albert Park, which is kind of like saying there's Formula 1 in Central Park NYC, kind of nuts.

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.

You don't even have go to Albert Park for the Grand Prix, you can hear it from the CBD! ;)

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...

I see, thank you! Hopefully I can live in Melbourne sometime.

I've hear the G is one of the best places to watch a cricket match.

Due to memories, I'd pick India playing at Chennai over anything else. If I were to be unbiased, I'd pick the G, closely followed by Lord's in London, which is generally considered the home of cricket.

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.

To elaborate on the great food, we've got a Melbourne restaurant guide from one of our LA writers who grew up in Melbourne. https://www.theinfatuation.com/melbourne/guides/best-melbour...

Pros: great culture.

Cons: no landscape to speak of.

What do you mean by no landscape? Sure it's no Queenstown, but there's awesome beaches within an hour, mountains and snow within 4 hours.

> there's awesome beaches within an hour, mountains and snow within 4 hours.

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.

Pros: Weather is nice. Cons: The weather can turn sour in 15 minutes.

Another con is that there is no Amazon here which was surprising to me, India has a better ecommerce services compared to Aus.

that's the biggest con, lack of Amazon Prime, but probably because Amazon couldn't get away with the way they treat workers if they built distribution centers there, there are high wages and strong labor laws and Amazon likes to abuse temps. However, there's eBay for third-party marketplace sellers. Amazon is coming, but likely testing the market with a limited Prime Now service. Costco came recently as well as many other global / US retailers.

that's coming next year

Already live there: Los Angeles. Why?

* 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 ;)

I come to Los Angeles a few times a year for several weeks and I really like it. I'm normally based in a mid-sized European city. In L.A. One thing that surprised me is the proximity of the mountains and Griffith Park for hiking, that's fantastic. Beaches very close, awesome weather, movie theaters everywhere, lots of diversity, etc.

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.

The west side (Santa Monica/Venice/Marina del Rey) where most of the tech companies and startups set base is extremely bicycle friendly.

My opinion is pretty generic as I would go to SF, since I am living there. Even though it may feel that the hype is fading I think that it's just the beginning. Although each individual is different and I would try to think of other things you want to see in your everyday life as well. Do you like nature, lots of greenery? Or do you prefer fast paced city life? The choices are on the table and you just need to pick the one for you. You can see what kind of answer does this tool give you https://teleport.org I tend to use this site if I plan to travel somewhere. Next month I plsn to go to Sydney to get a taste of a remote lifestyle as well. All in all I think that San Francisco is the best place to go as a developer. Loads of developers and open-minded people who all have a startup-like mindset which really inspires me and has made me much more confident so far. If you don't like the city you eventually go to, you can always move. You sre never stuck in one place. Good luck on your searches :)

For the last four years I've been in Cambodia, which I will always return to as a home base. But in the future I'm also interested in extended stays in Uruguay, Iceland, Czech Republic, Finland, Mongolia, Laos, and a few others.

Eclectic choices. Are you Cambodian by birth? If not, how did you end up there?

I'm from Minnesota in the US.

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 :)

Thats very interesting. I am currently in cambodia (siem reap heading to battambang tomorrow) and my frist impression is that this is not suited well for online workers. But the last part of your comment explains it. For me its really hard right now to let away some luruxy i am used too. Kudos!

The enormous hassle for me is transferring money in and out of the country. My internet service in Phnom Penh is fairly steady fortunately. Let me know if you need any advice, translations, or whatever while traveling!

I was surprised to see that half of the banks dont accept mastercard and half of the rest was somehow out of service. I can imagine there is quite a banking hassle. Thanks for the offer. Maybe i need to come back to it, but so far everything is nice (except the internet, where both 4G and the hotel Wifi fail every other hour).

From all the interesting dishes, what do i have to try?

Try all of the exotic fruits. Salak, jackfruit, sapodillas, dragonfruit, rambutan, mangosteen, durian, custard apples, and whatever else you find. Any of the familiar fruits are especially good here too (there are many types of bananas and mangoes here, for example, that taste different from any that I had eaten before). There are also fruits that I only know the Khmer names of -- /pɲiev/, /lɔŋkɔŋ/ -- that are very good and also unusual tasting (they both look like longans).

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.

> The enormous hassle for me is transferring money in and out of the country.

Did you try bitcoin?

It hasn't caught on here much and not many freelance employers offer payment in Bitcoin anyway. Most of the time it's Paypal, which you can't even access online in Cambodia. I have to have my dad log on to my Paypal account from the US, transfer the money to my US bank account, then either bite the bullet on the international ATM fees or do a wire transfer to my bank account here. The fees add up as you can imagine, especially if you find freelance work through some place like Upwork, who then take their own massive cut. It would be amazing if cryptocurrencies caught on, many hundreds of millions of people would benefit greatly from that. It would also be amazing if I had not spent the 400 or so Bitcoin that were once in my possession ;)

There are websites like Upwork which only work with cryptocurrencies.

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 ;) ).

Can you point me to some? All i've seen are fiverr like and have many sellers but no buyers it seems

Scotland (if I have to pick a city, Edinburgh). I don't really know what the job market is there for software development though. NY is great because of the huge market, but after traveling all over the UK (and Scotland twice), both my wife and I would love to live there. There's not nearly as many people as there are here in the US (which is a plus), and it's beautiful everywhere.

>I don't really know what the job market is there for software development though

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.

Edinburgh has lots of interesting technology companies: Rockstar, SkyScanner, Amazon, Codeplay etc. The University of Edinburgh has an excellent CS department and hosts the UK's national HPC facility, ARCHER.

It's one of the few cities in the UK that I would be tempted to move to from Bristol.

> one of the few cities in the UK that I would be tempted to move to

What are the others, out of interest?

Good question. Cambridge and Oxford have interesting technology but very high cost of living. Bath is close to Bristol and part of the same city region. I'd prefer to avoid London due to air quality, cost and commute. I would consider other cities (e.g. Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle) if I find interesting work.

I moved to Edinburgh from Stockholm about a year and a half ago. Can confirm it's a great place to live and Skyscanner(where I work) is a great place to work. Tech scene is noticeably smaller than Stockholm, that's the main downside for me.

San Diego. Best coastal city that has warm weather year-round in America in my opinion. Warm climate coastal city is my preference though. For the east coast that really only leaves charleston and savannah. Those two aren't big enough though. LA is too big for me. SD is perfect.

Iceland. Clean water and air, plus practically "free" electricity. Developed utilities and infrastructure. Small and mostly friendly population. The natural beauty there gets to me every time I visit. There is nothing like seeing a bright aurora, or driving through something seemingly other-worldy. And…it might possibly survive nuclear or climate catastrophe.

+1. And I'd rather not go to Reykjavic but to some of the smaller cities. Much calmer and more charming.

The food though...

If I could work anywhere? Well, in the middle of the countryside miles away from absolutely anything. Always preferred rural life to city life. It'd probably be much cheaper in regards to prices and rent too.

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.

> in the middle of the countryside miles away from absolutely anything.

This is usually synonymous with low bandwidth though.

Seoul. The city is so damn modern and the energy of Korea is amazing. It's so easy to get dragged into the fast-paced, high-energy lifestyle just by being exposed to other people long enough.

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.

Do you know the language? Is it necessary to in order to feel that life is as fast-paced as you mention?

It's definitely easier if you speak the language. Koreans don't really hold your hand and tend to bombard you with long, fast-spoken sentences even if you try to explain that you don't speak the language :p At the same time it's very easy to make friends that don't mind giving their broken english a try in order to make a conversation with you.

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

Once you can read/speak (not necessarily understanding much) then you can get around pretty well. The translation apps are really good and I didn't find myself using them often. I found young Korean people to be pretty good at English with decreasing ability up through the ages.

Absolutely. I would not say Korea is a good place to be in as a developer. Mostly dominated by Korean corps. Some companies started my foreign ethnic koreans. They are good and nice places but pay is ...mediocre.

Koreans are also a bit racist but if you do not mind it's fine.

I studied abroad in Korea and asked about expected salaries for SE from the Korean CS Dept. They said 60k would be incredibly high and 30-40 would be normal. That is also in million won which doesn't translate perfectly to a dollar, actually less.

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.

> but pay is ...mediocre.

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

I saw small/medium company offering 60k $ for normal position. How much do you make ? What kind of company ?

Any recommendations for developer jobs in Korea? Working at a Korean company and thus in their working culture (long hours, treated like a slave by higher-ups) and low developer pay is not recommended from what I hear.

Yeah that's the tricky part. You can subscribe to job alerts on stackoverflow careers and linkedin and hope for something to pop up. Alternatively I would say find a remote contract job and do that for a few months while being in Seoul. Go to local startup meetups and you will almost certainly find something nice as your first stepping stone

How's the work life balance?

Silicon Valley. High pay compared to where I stay. Companies based at Silicon Valley are working on interesting products. Developers in South Africa with University degree and 10 years experience and higher, earn less than $100k per annum. No startups working on interesting products here in SA also. You are stuck with big banks if you want to make money.

my $0.02 on this is you can work in SV for 6-12 mo, then if you play your cards right, you can transition into a remote role with your current employer. Myself and other friends have done this resulting in 6-fig salary anywhere we want to live.

Could you please elaborate a little on "play your cards right"?

Be a good employee. Be valued. Be demonstrably more productive when you work from home. Etc

this ^. to add: Identifying a good company is also key. I work for a small startup and am currently the only senior backend developer. I think being 20% of the company and 100% of the backend helped my situation.

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.

That sounds like a very good plan. You get a Silicon Valley pay but a cheaper cost of living.

Any leads on how to land a job in SV? (for non US citizens).

Hacker news job posts would be a good place to start.

Ireland. Lived there for seven years and I loved both the people and nature. We eventually left to allow kids more time with their extended family, but we miss IE so much. IT jobs are plenty and even though they don't pay as well as in SV, you can still afford a comfortable two bedroom apartment somewhere central, or a house 30 minutes (cycling) from the city centre. This is for Dublin where most jobs are. If you manage to find a good job in Cork or Galway you're even better off.

One place? I could limit my choice down to three for different reasons.

* 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.

I advise Kazan (here pronounced caution) though:

Average low in Jan/Feb: -13 deg. C (~ 8 F)

Record low: -47 deg C (~ -52 F)


Not that much worse than Minneapolis:

Average low in Jan: 7.5 F (~ -13 C)

Record low: -41 F (~ -41 C)

An ex-colleague (in a company I worked in earlier), who was based in Minneapolis or somewhere in Minnesota, came for a visit, and told us that he got frost-bite as a kid, and parts of his face were still sensitive due to that, many years later.

Spent a few months working in Helsinki. Aside from the cost of living (mostly rent), I can say it's truly a wonderful place.

I would go back if there was a decent job waiting for me.

I'd like to second Crete, but there are some caveats (nightlife is a bit pretentious, if you care about that). Thessaloniki, Greece, is my choice (since I can live anywhere I want and that's where I live).

Canary Islands (assuming I can find work there). 20 degrees all year round is the perfect weather for me.

How's the Internet speed and cost and uptime there?

Internet is fine. The Canaries are a staging point for several transatlantic fibres. There is also an extremely active astrophysics group on both Tenerife and La Palma who shunt a lot of data around the world. You'll pay more for it, but that's because Spanish telcos are a monopoly. You might not get 100Mbit, but certainly 20M+ is normal.

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.)

Actually gas is around 30 to 40% cheaper than - say - France or Germany: France 1.42:


Germany 1.35:


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.

Yes, gas and gadchets (computers, cameras, phones, etc) are cheaper. There are some fake imitations around also.

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.

Thanks for the info :)

Internet is acceptable in the major Canary Islands cities, take in mind that they use it extensively for reservations. A lot of hotel beds are booked by internet each day. On the other hand there are some arbitrary limits in all country related with telephonic monopolies (not exclusive to Canary Islands).

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.

Useful info, thanks. I can relate to the noise being an issue, since I've stayed in such places for short periods (hotels in tourist areas).

If the internet connection is reliable enough (a big if), it could be perfect for remote working. You're in a nice place, cost of living is low, you're inside the EU and the timezone allows to easily work with countries in mainland EU.

Actually, I'm an evening person, so this would be more suited for work with the US. Maybe I should check out Crete or Cyprus...

I spent 4 months working from Cyprus in 2016 (my wife is Cypriot). There's very little tech there (apart from Wargaming.net), and minimal public transport, but pretty much everything else is great (climate, food, infrastructure etc) and extremely ex-pat friendly. Plus the tech scene in Israel is 40 minutes away by plane.

+1 Sadly there is not much development there :(

Can you elaborate? I have seen quite a few "digital nomads" recommending Las Palmas.

Well not to much to elaborate. The top industry there is tourism, there is not much work in IT industry.

Working remotely seems the only option I guess

I'm already there. It's NYC. The only thing I would change is to give us some tropical weather.

Been there only once for a couple weeks, but it's the best city ever, hands down. A hub of many industries and the urbanite heaven. Having visited many of the usual suspects referred in this thread plus some, nothing compares really.

Believe me I don't mean this with any offense and condescension. But you do need to live in NYC for a few years to decide. Most who do this will end up leaving, but some really love it and give 100% effort to never leave it. I would say it really depends on your job/career here. Good place to try either way and it will open one's eyes and also help one figure out what they want in life.

No doubt true, but same stands for about any megalopolis out there. In the end it's up if the place has right chemistry for you, and yes, if you can support the lifestyle to match. There's little point to live in NYC outside of Manhattan ;)

So by your admission, the 6.8 million people living in the outer boroughs are living pointless lives?

No, my point is that it's not worth moving to NYC just to live in Queens. You can live purposeful life even in Aleppo, that isn't what the thread is about.

You'd change the weather, but not the rent and taxes? :)

Tel Aviv, Israel. Perfect weather and beaches. Beautiful girls. Amazing tech companies and funding. Unbelievable nightlife.

Was looking for this. Beaches, babes, beer (including craft options), sunny and warm nine months out of the year, flat and easily bikeable, nature and history are relatively close, relatively fast Internet for relatively cheap, booming tech scene with high salaries relative to the local cost of living, work-life balance when everything shuts down on Saturdays, great nightlife options, great food with a great sport/running/fitness subculture, most people speak English at least proficiently if not fluently. What else does a developer in his 20's and 30's want?

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.

I'd add, the mindset is similar to small startup culture in SV.

Great place, with unique quirks :) like periodical bombardments from Gaza strip...

What about the politics?

There are politics like anywhere, but nothing unusual.

I hear the settlements are beautiful this time of the year. Seriously though, it looks like an interesting place and quite polarized in many ways, I might be wrong.

I don't have a dog in this fight, but why wouldn't this apply to the US, for example? Sunny with a chance of drone strike and subsequent white wash, for example. Have you followed the elections lately? Or the riots in various cities? Or the record-breaking murder rate in Chicago.

Seems weird to me to bring this up here.

Tel Aviv is fantastic - great vibes, good weather year-round, awesome tech scene. Cost of living is relatively high - a 1 br apartment in a central location can rent for $1500. High salaries offset that, though.

From a quick google search it seems like the surf is pretty flat and not suitable for surfing, is that correct?

Cost of living?

Expensive. Not as bad as San Francisco!

For me, that place was Texas. I finally made the move to Dallas and my fiancée and I couldn't be happier. Great weather, great cost of living, great economy, great driving and great people.

Philadelphia, PA

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.

Middle of nowhere with an internet connection. I'd be pretty happy in Alaska but living in Alaska is very expensive.

I dreamed of living in Alaska since I was a child, actually. I didn't get to Alaska, but that's OK. I live in Norway, which hits into another long dream (living in a foreign country).

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.

I would love the same, but the the possibility of a sudden-onset life-threatening health issue and lack of proximity to a high-quality medical facility makes this a non-starter for me.

Even five kilometres from a small town can feel like wilderness. These days a town of 5,000 people can have enough to sustain life (medical and otherwise).

My wife and I are quite happy in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I think I could probably stay here for 10 years.

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.

Anywhere, anytime.

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.

Interesting. How does bandwidth work? For example when you are in Florida do you rent a place just for a few weeks (can't stay more than 3 months) and register with an ISP or do you stay at a hotel?

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.

Typically I go to places like coffee shops and such that might have decent wifi. It takes a couple of days of scouting to find a few good spots, but there's always some. I also generally get a prepaid contract or hotspot with whatever local cell provider is the fastest and/or has the best coverage.

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 forgot to mention I have a couple of sim cards from various countries in the EU that have generous roaming. Like Three UK which will give you essentially free roaming (but not calls and texts) certainly within the union, but also in places like the USA. It's not enough for tethering (indeed, it doesn't even work) but it's good enough for keeping internet on your phone for things like GPS, simple mail etc, holding you over between wifi hotspots.

I'm genuinely surprised that this post is up to 214 comments and nobody has mentioned Paris yet.

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.

And, in 2017, Station F (https://stationf.co), the "World's biggest startup campus" will create a lot of IT jobs in Paris.

If I approach situations in my severely broken French, people figure out quite quickly that their English is better than my French

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.

nobody who is posting on HN will be living in englewood or east garfield park, so the relative effect of crime increases in chicago is almost totally irrelevant to their decision. It's a problem I want desperately to be solved too, but not because I'm deluded into thinking it's going to affect me in any way.

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.

Maybe you and I have different interpretations of what affects us, but I'm still affected if I live in a city with a dramatically increasing murder rate, even if I'm not likely to be murdered. I have friends working in trauma care at hospitals, for the police and fire department, I volunteer my time in neighborhoods I don't live in, etc. More than that, I have a hard time saying that the problems of people just a few blocks west of me aren't a) my problems already, and b) likely to become bigger problems for me in the future. Maybe it's all just misplaced liberal guilt, but I find it hard to ignore.

No, i'm on the same page as you completely, i just mean that the representation of the issue as if the shooting is indiscriminate or random and anyone is equally likely to be affected bothers me.

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.

I'm amazed nobody has said Denver, Colorado yet. The combination of big city plus mountain geography is very unique in the US, but also anywhere in the world I think (I've heard suggestions that Zurich is similar r.e. geography, but the city isn't as big).

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 :(

Visiting friends there in a week or so... Any suggestions for what to do in winter there that isn't some outdoors sport or something that requires being outside for long periods? Our friends have a young baby so we have a limiting factor in our group.

Also, what is the tech industry like there and what neighborhoods are up and coming but still super safe?

Expensive? Relatively to Wichita KS?

I'm from Italy originally, and now live in SF.

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'd pick some city in Veneto or Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions for remoting for the exact same reasons you mentioned.

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.

That is funny - I work with a few Italians outside Italy and they have said the same thing, socially Italians are lovely, but business-wise they get irritated by their fellow countrymen

I love Boston, but if I could live anywhere else it would be Amsterdam.

Montréal. Having visited for a few weeks I fell in love with the city and the province.

Montreal in the summer is really incredible. It feels like a big city with all of the amenities. I've never been there during the winter, but thought of several feet of snow makes me not want to live there.

I love and live in NYC right now, but I wouldn't mind moving to Salt Lake City, UT. Political climate is a bit silly, but the outdoor recreation is just amazing. Skiing, mountain biking, climbing, fishing... all in your backyard. Cost of living is pretty low, but salaries/job diversity seem pretty low along with it, so I'll probably stay with NYC for a while.

What are your like and dislikes about NYC?

For year-round stay: Southern France. Good healthcare, good food, nice weather.

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.

SF, Oakland, or Berkeley. My family and friends are in the Bay Area. The weather is nearly unparalleled. The food variety is solid. Transit is not that bad, if you compare the cities I mentioned to the rest of the US.

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...)

Berkeley is really cool, esp downtown area

Insanely expensive though, as is the entirety of the bay area.

Hiroshima, I just love the city. Although I would certainly not work there, as the working conditions are a bit stressful.

I'll try to focus on my SaaS and have a nice, steady income to turn my dream true.

Seconded. Hiroshima is a beautiful town. Small enough to be walkable and large enough to be culturally vibrant. It has lots of water and great bicycling. And even more (!) history than most Japanese cities.

Out of all the places I visited in Japan earlier this year, Hiroshima is the one where I'd happily live. Well, if we forget about the working culture and the language barrier... :)

Brilliant question I also would like the answer to. For context, I have lived and worked in Ireland, UK, US, France, Germany, Cyprus, Japan and Singapore. I really like Singapore for the low tax, great weather, amazingly safe and crime-free environment (particularly appreciated by my wife) and tech-heavy leanings - although if you are a political blogger it might not be the place for you! It is also by some measures now the richest country on the planet (GDP per capita). It has a reputation for being expensive but if you are willing to live without owning a car (really not necessary in Singapore) and not buying a property (artificially expensive for a non-local) it really isn't that bad - certainly cheaper than central London or Manhattan. Hope this helps :)

I just currently locked down a 12 month lease in Saigon, Vietnam. I've been visiting here often the last couple of years and keep feeling pulled back to the city, so decided to commit to being here for most of the time the next 12 months.

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:



Santa Monica, California. Beautiful warm weather, next to the beach, big city (LA) - everything that I love.

Multi-hour commutes, though :(

Don't live hours away from your job.

And your school, and your supermarket, and the good restaurants, and everything. I don't think many people who live in LA would argue that you have to drive for hours to get anywhere in the city.

I lived in west LA and I managed to find a place walking distance from restaurants and a supermarket, and one short bus ride to Malibu/Venice. It is doable.

I lived in Santa Monica and didn't even need public transport, walking was enough.

In Santa Monica, does that translate to "don't be poor"?

I ended up in Montana. (Bitterroot Valley between Hamilton and Missoula specifically).

Granite big walls and boulders to climb, powder to ski in winter, microbreweries and relatively cost of living.

Oh hello fellow Montanan. I grew up here, so it's a little different for me.

Somewhere in Scandinavia. I don't know much about the area other than they score among the highest on self-reported happiness indicies[0]. I'm curious about what cultural differences are responsible for that result, and I suppose I'd like to enjoy them for myself.

[0]: http://www.medicaldaily.com/world-happiness-report-scandinav...

Living in Copenhagen, Denmark I'm not sure that moving here necessarily will make you more happy. Maybe the results would be different if one looked at what makes expats happy when moving to a new country.

In a glass dome on Mars because the stars would look amazing.

No where in particular and everywhere at the same time because the beauty is in moving around.

If it were down to "had to work as an employee for companies in the local area", I'd have a house in Woodside or Atherton, CA and work on the Peninsula or SF. I hate the government of California and a lot of other things about being in California, but for 10 years of betting on local companies only, SFBA is the safest bet.

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.

Where do you recommend in Washington?

Broadly, eastside -- Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, etc., but also looking at Snohomish County. I nominally live in Redmond now. I don't like Seattle proper, but do like the Seattle area.

(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.)

Japan (not sure which city), at least for a while but only for a while (not sure if I could keep up 10 years there). I love the culture.

Culture yes, but depending on the company, the working environment is not that awesome :p Also it's very easy to feel isolated as a foreigner and seeing thousands of people squishing themselves into the trains every morning doesn't make it better.

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.

it's very easy to feel isolated as a foreigner and seeing thousands of people squishing themselves into the trains every morning doesn't make it better.

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.

Let me elaborate on the isolated part a bit maybe.

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.

Yep, I'm familiar with everything you're saying. You definitely don't need language fluency to know that you're being treated differently...just time, and a bit of social awareness. They aren't particularly subtle about it. But in my experience, this is also true of any place where your foreignness is advertised by your skin color or facial structure or height or whatever -- you're just going to be treated like a stranger, because, well, you are one.

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.)

> 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 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."

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.

Many expats are complaining about this. However, their world consists of:

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.

>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.

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?

> ocially isolated expats come here expecting one long manga/anime/kawaii/samurai adventure that will fix their broken lives

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.

I just got my visa for 1 year running a company here. I setup the company to be distributed. I am based in Tokyo. I can say despite not speaking the language it was the best decision I have ever made. Both locals and expats are friendly. If you are going to do business here it is best to have someone on your team who speaks the language though.

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.

Are you talking about the normal startup visa here that's valid for 1 year? I wasn't aware that it's this annoying to get. From my understanding, you have to hand in the papers (with a basic business plan), incorporate your company and after a year, proof that you indeed make money.

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

I did an intra company transfer with an already existing subsidiary. In our case we are venture funded with a seed round in the millions. The devil here is in the details.

We also have a deal with jetro: http://jetro.go.jp/usa/topics/companies-chosen-global-innova...

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.

Leuven, Belgium:

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.

Philadelphia, PA:

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.

Lugano, Switzerland:

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.

Pago Pago, American Samoa. Moderately good looking area, plenty of sharks in the harbor. Lots of sun. I would need a satellite Internet connection to do anything tech-based. There would be no hope of corporate espionage. Would never be able to have time zones meet up for a teleconference ever again.

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.

Belgrade, Serbia. A very nice city with balanced weather. Amazing nightlife. Emerging opportunities in tech and startups.

Hyderabad, India.

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.

While I would love to live on those places, I'm almost sure living close to either mine or my wife's parents is a better strategy for overall happiness and mental sanity... But maybe in 15 years?

Heh, yeah. It is hard enough to have a dog without family around, I don't know how people do it with kids. If grandparents are willing to help you save a ton on childcare and both parents can continue to work, which increases your income and savings. Fortunately my wife's family lives in a great city. Unfortunately, it's 17hrs flight from my family.

Mine is always around 8 hours (same country, no direct flight) :)

Boulder, CO.

Moved to Boulder 18 months ago and it was a great decision. That being said, IT'S AWFUL STAY AWAY.

I'm here. It's not that awesome.

Mind if I ask why? I've visited a few times recently to see friends there and each time I go, I feel more and more drawn to the area. Love the accessible and amazing hiking, etc, and tech scene seems decent enough. Would love to hear a counterpoint though.

I moved to Denver about a year ago. It's all subjective of course, but I really struggle to understand the benefits of living in Boulder outside of a more vibrant tech scene and being a nice cozy town. The rent is ~$300-$400 more expensive. The trails are absolutely packed with people. There is beer pong and loud parties on every corner in the summer. Yes, it's a little closer to skiing resorts, but we're talking extra 20 minutes. Yet, whenever I talk to folks there they seem to enjoy it while I can't help but feel out of place surrounded by college kids everywhere.

If you aren't on the hill or a in a tiny handful of bars on Pearl, you never run into the college kids. They mostly stay south of the creek, with the exception of the dive bars on Pearl (and Absinthe House, but that place is a dump anyways).

I've lived here for three years, go out every weekend and never once have I seen anyone playing beer pong.

Yeah, like I thought, it's a little subjective. I'm just hanging out at the wrong places with folks there :)

I've heard home prices are Bay Area level without similar salaries there, is that accurate? And how does that stack up against Denver?

The job market seems relatively weak in both areas compared to the Bay Area... Would you agree with that?

I don't think anything in Denver or Boulder stacks up to astronomical prices of the Bay Area. You can easily get a nice house 20 minutes from Denver for $300K. If you're looking in Denver proper, you're looking at $500K-$1M+ (Cherry Creek or similar). But you get much much more bang for your buck (we're talking a nice house). A $1M property in SF is like, what, some land with a dilapidated property? Boulder's housing market is going to be significantly more expensive. I'm only familiar with rent prices there. Maybe somebody else can comment on the housing market. But again, I don't think it's anywhere close to the Bay Area prices. At least not in terms of what you get for the same money.

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.

Ditto, i moved here a year ago and love it!!!

Granada or Cordoba in Spain.

Would need central air conditioning in summer though.

+1 for Granada. Probably my favourite place I've visited to date, but the job market doesn't sound great. If you can get a remote gig though, what a place to live.

My business goes where I go, so all I need is a stable internet connection.

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.

These two are nice places indeed. But salaries there are so low and in Cordoba there are not many IT jobs so unless you are going to work remotely I wouldn't go there.

I'm pretty content where I am now (Chapel Hill, NC) but if I had Ludicrous Money I'd love to have a condo in downtown Chicago. I wouldn't want live in Chicago year round, mind you (too cold in the winter), but I love spending time there.

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.

Bangalore. Great startup scene, amazing talent. The IT spirit of the city almost feels like silicon valley in 90's. Also a lot of pubs and bars and thousands of places to eat makes the city just a amazing place to be in.

London. Dunno - I kind of like it here. It's quite an international melting point. I hope brexit doesn't muck things up too much.

I honestly love living in the Bay Area. There is a community for everyone that fits their style, weather is good, food is great, lots of culture opportunities, great for kids, all types of environments in driving distance, international airport, best development community in the world, expensive as all get up.

Live in Oakland and it's hard to imagine living anywhere else.

I always remember the answer from my boss to this question 4 years ago.

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."

Ideally, I'd work remotely and move around whenever I wanted.

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.

Anywhere with temperature between 25 and 30 C year long, no authoritarian government, reasonable services. Remote working.

That's also my wish list, and I add "English, French or Spanish as primary language".

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.

Hanalei, Kauai (Hawaii)

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...

I'd go to SF/Silicon Valley and look to buy a small starter apartment. Higher wages can pay into high housing costs -- which translate into major savings if you move to a low-cost city. You're also going to be close to some of the world's best talent which should help you hone your craft.

London. A great city with amazing history and culture, tons of things to do, other European cities are hours away if you want to travel and has a good tech scene. Add to that, it has a fantastic public transport system and no language barrier. And of course, you can watch Premier League games every weekend!

I don't know if you've lived there or not, but I'm going to assume you haven't and give you my experience over 3 years.

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.

That's a fair account of the reality of life in London. Of course the abundance of jobs, great tech scene and endless things to do are all true, but it's not all as good as it sounds.

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!

You have responded correctly to the only person suggesting London so far. Just don't do it.

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 live in NYC, but would probably want to live in San Diego or some other warm pretty place in the usa.

I'm a NYC native who spent some time in San Diego for work. I was just reminiscing about the weather there. I spent many weeks there over the course of a year and had nothing but perfect weather to contend with. And the food was great.

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.

Victoria, BC, Canada. Fantastic food, great lifestyle, amazing scenery, close to 2 big cities (Vancouver, Seattle), best weather in Canada, a growing technology industry...

The only downside is that in 10-20 years it will probably become overcrowded.

What's the cost of living in Victoria?

I was there last year and loved it (equally Van was lovely), but the rent looked almost as outrageous as London.

Ha, you haven't even seen the super-low salaries yet.

Hawaii, either Oahu or Maui. Provided I could afford a decent place to live. There is something about green that I love. Other green islands like Dominica would work too, though internet on some islands is not great.

Have you been to Kauai? Think Maui, but fewer people.

Seattle, WA. I've been in love with the Pacific Northwest since I visited my great-great-grandparents in Eugene when I was a kid. When I visited Seattle as an adult, I knew I had to live there.

tech + ocean + mountains = ️

New York. I fell in love with the city during my first visit this summer, and even if I don't get to live there in the future, I really hope to get an internship there or anywhere other in the US really.

NYC. I think it's just a very inspiring place. But it's soo expensive so I'll add a second; Barcelona. Why? Affordable, inpiring as well, and nice weather / beach...

New York or San Francisco.

With their salaries, I could retire at 30 instead of 65.

Have you looked into the rent and taxes in NYC?

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.

Looks fantastic to me.

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?

Median developer salary is more like $45k in Montreal [1] and $93k in NYC [2], according to Payscale.

[1] - http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Software_Engineer_%2...

[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.

My numbers are in USD.

$45,000 CAD = $33,500 USD

Mine too I did the conversion and Montreal's median salary is $60,000 Canadian not $45,000.

My bad.

Looks like I'm underpaid.

Sure, Montreal is pretty lame IMO. Assuming you're in software why don't you make the move? As a Canadian citizen you can easily get TN status at the border.

Lack of a degree makes things more complicated.

You can get it with a "post-secondary certificate" combined with three years experience.

Outside of cities, I'm pretty certain that I could be happy in most of the not-stupidly-hot world. In practice, probably England/Wales for family reasons.

Unites States of America. You are closer to more opportunities as a software dev than any where else in the world.

Mill Valley (Marin County), California. Because of the Dipsea Trail. (One of the best hike/run trails on the planet.)

I have to agree with you on the Dipsea trail. However, public transit is infrequent and the commute to the city (nevermind the South Bay) looks pretty bad.

The goal would be to not have to commute everyday. But if I did, take the ferry from Larkspur to the SF Ferry Building.

Istanbul, Turkey.

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.

Agree, my wife and i love it but with violence kicking up and the political climate getting more authoritarian we are skipping visits.

How did you handle the stress of traffic jam?

After one year, moved to a closer place to work (in a walking distance). Most companies in Istanbul have shuttle services, so even when I had to commute it was not that bad.

Mumbai, India.

Totally. Except its crowded. And expensive with the >10 year debt to buy an apartment. And the insane traffic on undrivable roads and the daily squeeze in the local trains. Hardly any tech scene here although tons of mediocre IT work. And yeah the corruption you face to to even set up a LLC is mindnumbing. Apart from these, its just great.

Great weather. Super supportive people. If you have the drive, you can get it done here. Relatively safer than other parts of India.

Miami - only sub-tropical in the US. Not sure why tech and VC scene have been absent.

Stay in the same place for 10 years? Sounds like jail.

Madrid or Barcelona, Spain

BCN would be my answer.

Lived there for 6 weeks this summer. Hard to say how it will look in 10 years, but it's an amazing place.

How do you think Barcelona might change?

South Goa. Summer in Winter Beaches Low Traffic Afternoon siestas

Moscow, NYC, Madrid - the most convenient places for traveling

Dubai: because it is the nearest most happening place (in terms of innovation) where I currently live. Although, it is very expensive to live especially if you're self-employed.

AFAIK dubai has sales teams from different companies situated there but no real innovation. Could you please elaborate?

Dubai is doing a lot in the areas of digital technology, healthcare, solar energy etc. There is a vibrant startup culture and entrepreneurs from other countries are setting up shop in Dubai via the free zones.

Some resources on this:

http://www.dic.ae/ https://angel.co/dubai http://www.forbes.com/sites/suparnadutt/2016/08/22/is-dubai-... http://www.forbes.com/sites/elizabethmacbride/2016/12/29/dub...

Culture is so blah!

Hainan, China. Better air quality and weather.

Wyoming. Only problem would be air quality.




Barcelona, best beaches with a fantastic city as a backdrop. One of the best City's in the world. Great food, great nightlife, amazing vibe in general.

The pay is shit, though, if you don't bring a remote job with you. For comparison, prepare for sth like 40k EUR vs SV's $200+k.

Well, where the cost of living is cheap, the salaries will follow as well (or the other way around). Unless you work with a company in Barcelona and live somewhere else, you're not gonna be poor (money-wise) as a developer there.

The point is that corporations practice geo-arbitrage all the time, and you'd have to be a fool not to do it as well. Those $200k salaries are probably not going to last forever, and it makes sense to maximize your earnings while you can. For that reason, I wouldn't settle for a 40k EUR salary (especially in a state where 50% of that will go toward failed social policies).

In case one is more location- than salary- driven, i.e. wants to live in a non-ugly European city with decent infrastructure and human living costs (not where fast-food pizza costs EUR 20) the salary EUR 40k (gross, annual) would be considered a really good deal. Some remote companies let the employee to choose the location but in this case they adjust the salary to local market... and yeah the fact of very high social contributions in some EU countries on failed social policies and with indistinct perspective of getting something out of it in the future is really soul-sucking.

This would be my answer too.

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.

I'll second Barcelona too. Fantastic city, great people, very relaxed, amazing nightlife.

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