It's worth mentioning we're pretty independent, probably to a fault, and have no interest in living near family, despite having children (sorry fam).
We've lived in the following places: Bay Area, USA (twice); Berlin, Germany (twice); Montreal, Canada (twice); Chiang Mai, Thailand (twice); Sydney, Australia; Bangalore, India; Cusco, Peru; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and a handful of other places for shorter periods.
We first settled on Montreal, but on our second visit, we decided to try somewhere else. The same happened with Berlin and it's still my wife's favorite city to visit. Boulder was just a major step above the rest for us personally: friendly people, very active lifestyle, some tech/startup scene, sunny weather, mountains, etc. We've been here three years now, which is our record for staying anywhere, and we've never once thought about anywhere else.
If anyone is at the beginning of a similar journey and search, get in touch.
In a new city try to find a 'social hostel' (not a party hostel, unless that's your thing) with organized walking/food tours. Go on said tours and chat with everyone. After the tour see if anyone wants to get dinner/drinks/sight-see together.
Basically everyone in common areas at a hostel will be open to conversation at least. Be the initiator, chat with people, organize a group to go get dinner, etc.
If you aren't good at being the initiator, try to find someone who is and befriend them. Add people on whatsapp/messenger and setup a hostel group chat.
Befriend people who are also traveling longer term, they're usually more open to change plans a bit.
Socializing takes more effort and most relationships will be fleeting, that's the nature of the beast. But nothing makes a trip like organizing a small group of friends to travel together to a few different cities. You can create much stronger bonds and even some life-long friends.
If anything, I can't imagine having more money making things harder. Wouldn't you be able to join a travel group? I guess the main issue there is people would probably be coming with their families, though.
There's gotta be some way to meet other bachelors who are decently well off.
- join local communities that interest you (cycling, running, chess, gaming, etc)
- don't be shy about being explicit about meeting new friends. there are others out there just like you and you'll find just by simply saying "im looking for new people to meet" will make it much easier
- drink! I hate to say it, but drinking (nothing excessive) makes meeting people much easier
I've been lonely enough times in my life (due to moving to new places) that after you've done it enough it sorta becomes regular practice. I like to remind myself of a Tobias Funke quote "there's dozens of us, literally dozens of us!"...in other words, you're not alone no matter how small you think you are.
On Friday I visited a Mundo Lingo meetup in Buenos Aires and met a lot of interesting and nice local people (along with travellers from other countries). If I was planning to stay longer I'd say I could have met there one or two people I could be long term friends with. And it was so easy and enjoyable. Normally I'm not good at social events, like parties or generally interacting with strangers at clubs and pubs, but the atmosphere there is the most friendly.
In meeting people, you may want to simply be in places where you can peaceably interact with new friends. It depends on the calibre and quality you seek. A library near a research institution will likely yield interesting discussion, but that's not to say you won't run into a chemist on the beach.
Probability (odds of interaction) is good if you want to try and get a hold on events and mingling. Consider Tokyo, a hypertech culture compared to many places that requires scheduling a month or two out on your calendar just to meet up with a buddy. It's bizarre, and perhaps a trend common only to the big city, but it's interesting to take note of and do-as-they-do. In Japan, people use Mixi for networking, oftentimes there are get-togethers situated around specific activities like tennis, movie-going, karaoke, enjoying the cherry blossoms with SLR, etc. Getting roped into an activity or finding local get-togethers like that can really expand your network rapidly, and with a shared-interest you at least have a reason to keep meeting up.
Bees are attracted to a variety of flowers, and every flower is vibrant, has strength, has fragility and delicateness, and it has its own lock on the situation. The flower is always a flower, but unfolded to different degrees. It doesn't waver in being a flower. When the flower is 100% its best flower, the bee comes to the flower.
This is something that personally put me off the nomadic lifestyle. It seems to be a very common theme, and the concept of "locationships" as well.
If GP is the same way, I'd recommend to GP to first find a partner that's open to traveling, and then go traveling with them. Otherwise, the world is your oyster as sova said.
I feel that was a very poetic way of explaining finding a partner. Thank you. You have a way with words.
We finally settled down in Boulder in 2016 although we still travel a few months every year with our 2-year-old son. Boulder is a really amazing place (but very expensive). For us, we wanted a place with easy access to nature, a ton of sun, good tech scene, and walkability. We love that we can easily walk downtown, to the library, to the farmer's market, and to the grocery store with ease. We both grew up in Arkansas where you have to take a care everywhere which we dislike.
My wife and I used to travel a bunch, but we have a 6 month-old now and start to find ourselves pretty pinned down and not easy to go on even short trips. The good thing is I made the jump to a remote job so we now have flexibility, but infant care is currently proving to be quite time consuming.
How old are your children and how do you deal with their needs with your living in different states and countries? How is their schooling?
I currently live in the suburbs of Bay area so the remote job is working out great, I can enjoy Bay area conveniences and food without suffering the commute traffic. But we would like to live in other places too, provided that we figure out plans for the kid, with regards to schooling etc.
What ended up driving us away was the red tape running a startup in Germany and dealing with taxes, etc. Normally we wouldn't let this deter us, but we had a shortlist of other places we liked just as much.
First decide "I will structure my life so I can be location independent"
Then take the next few years obsessing over how to make it a reality.
I left it for Berlin, and mostly don't miss it (apart from days like today where I could perhaps tolerate weather slightly warmer thatn 0º.)
As for the deciding where to live, it was pretty easy for us. We were already coming to New Mexico for the outdoors multiple times per year, and land in our favorite area is cheap. We were able to locate 43 acres with a log home and relocated here 5 years ago... was the best decision for our family.
Our first couple of years here the internet was a bit spotty as I had to use a Verizon hotspot and typically had 2 bars of LTE on the best days. Surprisingly, there is fiber run all over the place here even tho its super rural. Eventually the local phone company installed a DSL box on one of the fiber runs near our property and that allowed us to get DSL. It's only 5/1 but fits our needs and my VPN connection works fine with it along with my VOIP desk phone.
It is annoying to upload large files, which was a task I virtually never had to perform.
I have no problems using zoom with only 768kbps upload. I was surprisingly impressed.
Slack remote screen sharing sucks, but I never had a problem with Screenhero. Chatting is fine.
I've been in situations like this in the past and would SSH to a build box that had a fatter pipe. Depending on the situation, it may be a cheap alternative.
Another big thing for me is having a separate place for an office, so I can leave the house and go somewhere that is dedicated to work. For that, I have a 400sq ft office about 20 yards from the main house.
We also have a separate space for homeschooling, that's a big help for my Wife and the kids.
If you want advice on remote living and property type stuff, shoot me an email (in my profile).
Check out some of the plans from these guys (I am not affiliated)...
I've thought about moving close to Leavenworth/Cle Elum or down south on the border of Oregon near Hood River/The Dalles.
We're still in the planning stages, and I'm rounding up some more clients just in case my main client stops working out (and I'm working on some startup ideas as well).
I just wanted to say that I'm super jealous that you're living in the area that I want to end up.
I'm torn between having my kid (4 now) grow up in Seattle w/ access to great schools and dozens of different educational & extracurricular activities, or to grow up someplace less hectic, where he can run out the front door in the morning and play outside all day.
We loved the location we were in, but the school districts were awful.
Right now I live in Indianapolis. My ex girlfriend and I wanted to try somewhere new, so we looked at a bunch of different options and listed the pros and cons. Ultimately our decision to live here was based on the high population yet low population density, the growing tech scene, the cleanliness of the city, and the low crime rate.
Those are all great qualities, but I've learned a lot along the way about more things that are important. First of all, I really can't stand the cold. My house had the heater on even during some summer days (running endlessly now in the winter). Also, everything is too spread out in Indy. There's not much outdoorsy stuff nearby. Being landlocked sucks and I love the ocean. Finally, I love Asian culture which barely exists here.
So again, now that I've learned all this, I'm applying this knowledge to my next place. It turns out that Oahu, Hawaii seems to fit the ticket. It has all the positive qualities I mentioned above. The super high prices out there are less than ideal of course, but living in San Francisco already taught me that it's not a deal breaker (plus I'll finally save some energy with the heater turned off)
So, hopefully I'll make cool friends and find that Oahu is a great fit. It seems like somewhere I could live for years, and possibly settle down in.
As somebody who hates driving I immediately wondered how that could be a good thing!
> everything is too spread out
Ah! Yes, I can imagine.
Hopefully Oahu will have a good balance where I can be a bike ride or short drive away (considering buying a cheap truck) from downtown Honolulu while still living in a super green, peaceful area. But the great thing is that I can always just make slight adjustments to my distance to the city the longer I live there.
It's rare enough to hear about a shooting or robbery here, but there's a lot of cities where it's a regular occurrence.
From October 
==The FBI reported that crime dropped 10 percent from 2016 to 2017 in Indianapolis and robbery was off by more than 12 percent.
IMPD statistics show robberies are down another 17 percent so far this year and burglaries are off 20 percent from last year.
But killings and aggravated assaults, often with guns, are up.==
I was working in software at Raymond James unhappily wearing my business appropriate attire in 90% humidity everyday. (I am VERY temperature / humidity sensitive).
After work (in 2004) I used to go to a bar and code a bit. No WiFi, I don’t think Starbucks even had WiFi. Needless to say, no one else ever had their laptop at the bar.
I do this for a few months. One day another dude walks into the bar wearing board shorts and a tshirt with his laptop and sits down at the far end of the bar.
The bartender says to me, “I bet he’s a software developer.”
And I said, “what would make you think that?”
“Who else would bring a fucking laptop to a bar?”
Good point, I thought.
So I ask the guy if he’s a software developer and he says yes. I ask what he does that he gets to wear board shorts to work. He says he works for a start up in Los Angeles.
Now at this time in my life I’d never heard the phrase “start up” ... I thought it was the company’s name.
So I ask what Start Up does? He explains it’s not the company name. I feel dumb.
He goes on to explain a start up as “some MBA tricks a bunch of rich people into giving them money and then they hire software developers that pretty much get to do whatever they want.”
So I quit my job the next day and moved to LA that weekend.
Should I have moved to SF? Probably would have made more money sure, but I also don’t enjoy temperatures below 72° F.
I traveled for quite a while a few years after I moved, developing from “the road”. My favorite place was Routan, Honduras.
I lived in “the woods” (maybe they call it the jungle, but I’m from Florida - so it’s “woods”) on the beach in a little hut WITH WIFI!
I eventually settled in Pasadena. Close proximity to nature and city things, affordable houses with a yard relative to the rest of LA.
Well, we got married, and shortly afterward one of the well known tech companies made a really good offer. My wife threw an absolute fit and said she had taken a gamble while dating and didn't believe I would ever actually get a job offer at one of those companies. I nearly filed for divorce because of how horrible she was treating me, but instead I accepted the job and told her I was moving to the Bay Area regardless. Soon after, she agreed to honor her promise and came too, but every single day here she complains about how much she hates California.
When my few years are "up" I'm really dreading going back to a non-tech region. The company I'm at doesn't generally allow fully remote work, so I am somewhat seriously floating the idea of commuting to their office in the Northeast by plane each day from Atlanta. Sounds expensive but the plane tickets would be balanced out by the much lower cost of living. I don't know if the idea is actually feasible; I'd have to test it for a week.
Not to imply that where you live has to be both partners’ first choice, but if you can’t be on the same page that it’s a good compromise, one of you is just going to be miserable.
I think you are wasting your time. This will not end well. I'm telling this because I speak from my experience with very similar situation.
If a husband compromises, he is a wise man!
My family lives in the PNW, and my in-laws live in SoCal. Right now we're in Utah (ticks most of those boxes), but I'm looking around for other options, and right now I'm considering central Oregon or central Washington.
So yeah, I think it matters a ton where we live. Sure, we could be reasonably happy anywhere, but we'd really prefer to not have to compromise.
considering central Oregon or central Washington
Consider the Tricities -- Pasco, Kennewick, Richland, WA. It's not central. It's Eastern.
But my sons quit eating frozen veggies while we lived there and never went back. They got spoiled by fresh stuff. It is considered "the fruit basket" of the US, which I never heard anywhere but there. It's like some well kept secret. I learned to eat fresh pineapple there. Having grown up on the canned stuff, it was news to me that fresh pineapple is awesome. I had a pretty low opinion of it.
It's also kind of a retirement destination because it's relatively sunny and temperate for that part of the world.
I lived in Alexandria (outside of DC), then Evanston (outside Chicago) and now Rogers, AR, and each move revealed things to me that I didn't realize I enjoyed.
In DC I had a big enough friend circle that any given weekend I could find someone to hang out with. In Evanston I could walk to everywhere I wanted, and in Rogers, I've got actual gigabit Internet and pay half the rent I was paying before, for twice the home.
Each new place has a different set of advantages and disadvantages. DC was crazy expensive, Evanston had my whole life revolving around Northwestern (my fiancee was a student) and I'm not making tons of friends out here in Rogers yet.
What I did realize is that I could get used to anything, and remembering that my happiness is probably going to level out no matter what my situation is helps me cope with any of the bad stuff I don't like.
I find it hard to imagine that any one place is perfect, so if it's just a matter of making tradeoffs, I don't think the choice of where to live is one that you can "solve". Just pick a few things you want, and move somewhere that has them.
My Polish friends always wonder why I would leave San Francisco for their country. Poles love America and San Francisco in particular is a symbol of civilizational achievement. There's even a popular song about it. Well, one of my friends went on a work trip there and stayed at a hotel on lower Market for a week. When she came back she told me "yeah, now I understand why you're here" (or something to the effect).
Why she didn't like San Francisco?
I think I first heard about Chiang Mai on NomadList , where it was ranked as one of the top cities for digital nomads. (Side note: I made a typo while typing that URL and now I'm the proud owner of MonadList.com.)
My wife was teaching English here for a few years, and now she is studying music. I'm still a contractor and am also working on my own projects.
We really love Chiang Mai, and it's been a great place to live for the last few years. But we're planning to move somewhere else soon. A few candidates: Berlin, Melbourne, Toronto
Iglu takes 30% of your total invoices. I think ~20% is for your Thailand income tax and social welfare, and the Iglu fee is around ~10%. There's also a minimum of $2,500 USD per month. So you're paying Iglu about $250 per month.
I think it's a pretty good deal. It's one of the only legal ways to live in Thailand long-term if you're working as a web developer or startup founder. The other options are:
* Marry a Thai person and get a marriage visa
* Get a retirement visa if you are over 50
* Buy a 5 year Thailand Elite visa  for 500,000 baht ($15,000 USD) -- This also works out to $250 per month. However, it's technically a tourist visa, so you're not legally allowed to work. You also have to file your own taxes, and I don't think you're eligible for the social security system.
30% seems like a lot - I guess they know they have a market with few choices.
For reference, in a month where we had client invoices worth 4 times the amount you've given in your example, our outgoings for Tax, Accountants, SSO and rental for a business address, was about 7.5% of revenue - and a good chunk of that is a relatively fixed fee.
I'm not sure if you're comparing the 30% with 7.5%, but that wouldn't be very accurate. Iglu pays all of your personal income tax, social welfare contributions, visa application fees, etc. So I think it's more like 10% vs 7.5%, which isn't too bad. Definitely a good start for a solo developer/founder.
That 7.5% includes both company and personal taxes, SSO, etc.
My visa application fees are about $70 a year now, they're inconsequential. I realise this isn’t viable for some - I started on a business visa and it was a lot more work and money each year.
> because it was a lot easier
I'm sure it is easier, particularly if you're a foreigner without any kind of ties to the country (e.g. no spouse+family to trust/rely on). But it's definitely more expensive if you're intending to operate for more than a year or two, and expect to have reasonable income.
The bottom line is that staying in Thailand for over 6 months per year is illegal if you are working and not paying any income tax. Anyone who stays in Thailand for over 6 months is officially a tax resident (even if you're on a tourist visa.)
So you will get deported or possibly sent to prison if you are ever caught (and you never want to end up in a Thai prison.) A lot of people have been getting away with it for now, but I don't think this will last forever, and it's probably not a smart idea if you plan to stay here long term.
I think the "working on a tourist visa" issue is a grey area, and they don't have any problem with tourists who do some work on a laptop. It just gets tricky as soon as you become a tax resident.
You should be OK for 1-2 years if you stay under the radar. But this is very important to sort out if you're going to stay for 3-5 years.
So I left the medium sized city I lived in, sold my moderately expensive house, and picked a small town over an hour away with a rural fiber build out, and bought a much larger property with tons of room for my kids to run around on, with a larger house, for much less money than my previous house. I’ve been working remote for a few years now and don’t regret any of my decisions, and wouldn’t change a thing.
In my opinion the advantage to technical remote work is that you get to choose the location that works for you - meaning you’re no longer tied to cities and large tech hubs. If you’re like me and don’t like or enjoy cities, remote is the way to go
West of the Flower Washing Stream,
not far downstream from the bridge,
the master has chosen a quiet spot
here in the woods by the river.
Living apart from the city crowds,
the world loosens its grip;
murmuring of this clear water dissolves
the sadness that burdens a stranger.
Countless dragonflies play in the air,
dancing up and down;
a pair of wild ducks out in the stream
swim and dive together.
You could take a boat downstream,
thousands of miles to the east
or else forget the boat, and live
here by this stream forever.
Many friends I know want to move to the city when young and then to the country with a house when they are old. This seems backwards to me. I want a home now, with workshop and woods I and my children can run wild in. (I am 30 and am in the final month of building a home just 5 minutes walk from Amherst village, on 4.5 acres). When I am old I may sell my house, maybe all my things, and move to a small flat in a city, like Cambridge MA or Paris.
Personally, I live in Rochester, NY, and I absolutely love it. There are definitely some neighborhoods that I avoid, but there are also extremely nice areas in the city with beautiful yet affordable housing and lots to do. There are all kinds of fun events, concerts, and festivals going on all year; lots of nice restaurants, bars, and coffee shops; an assortment of beautiful parks; the list goes on. The community of friends I've met here is also much more tight knit than anything I've encountered in bigger, busier cities.
I think a lot of people tend to gravitate toward extremes: I see a lot of answers in this thread pointing to very large cities, or super-rural areas out in nature, or far-away international metropolises. There's definitely something to be said for picking a middle ground, though - I feel like I get to have my cake and eat it too, and if I want to occasionally go to a Michelin star restaurant or climb a mountain, I can always do that on vacation (which, of course, is easy to fit in the budget too, given the amount of money I save by living here).
Have been unable to find that mix anywhere else + fear of the unknown/devil you know.
Married w children + house, so friction of moving pretty high. Wife really wants to stay.
There are a host of downsides of course, and sometimes I think we’re crazy for staying.
Schools when the kids get there: public school lottery, private is $30-35k/y + donations + extras, budget $45-50k/kid/year, after horrendous taxes (worst in the country for high earners?).
Traffic can be pretty bad, parking sucks and public transit is there but not that great. Seems to be at least one crazy person on the bus whenever I take it. Muni (= bus+subway+light rail) breaks down quite a bit.
Mostly it’s the cost (everything is ridiculously expensive, not just real estate) and the homelessness.
You need to be ok with people being quite leftie and your vote generally not mattering if you’re not.
A lot of this policy is admirable in its intent but has the (mostly) unintended side-effect of making everything horrendously expensive. How could it be anything else...new construction in San Francisco requires years of permit approvals, solar panels on the roof, there's pretty much a ban on any non-union labor in construction, etc.
All the employers know this, so they pay salaries that make it worthwhile for people to show up. So you end up with hordes of people making $200-300K paying $100K/year in taxes and $40-50K for a babysitter for your kids because your parents or other family live halfway across the country and nobody can afford to live here on $20-30K when single rooms in a 4br place cost north of $1K/month after tax. Oh, and the schools, roads, and other infrastructure are pretty bad, too, and there's trash everywhere.
The real suckers seem to be the companies willing to pay the wages to keep this whole huge ponzi scheme going. The whole thing is a massive transfer from shareholders to local land owners, and government employees.
I'm not being cynical, this is just how it works, after living here for seven years. The city has 800K people and an operating budget of $8 billion. That's $10K/head and it's still potholes and unfunded pensions.
Except: “How could it be anything else...” - my wife is french and one thing that constantly surprises her is how little we get from our government for the taxes we pay. It is possible to make government more efficient, and not resort to the private sector (which has other problems).
I assume my criteria is like that of anyone else, but I have great flexibility with no spouse, children, no home ownership and self-employment.
Naturally, I look for cities that have culture that I like. I’m drawn to cities like Denver, Austin, and Portland for their strong art cultures, area tech businesses, and a healthy concentration of educated middle class people under 45. I also explore and ‘live’ in places like Vegas or Tucson for a couple of weeks or months, or if I go somewhere for a convention, start there for a couple of weeks. I enjoy staying in ski resorts for a couple weeks in the off season, or hanging out at a state park for a while.
I practice and appreciate art and music, and enjoy establishments such as industrial chic coffee shops and semi-hipster cocktail bars, cideries, distilleries and wine bars. Cities that have a lot of people moving in and out are good for me because then you’re not trying to break into closed social circles - many people are new and looking for something to do.
Weather is a big deal to me, as I spent years slogging through snow despite being from the southwest. I can schedule my life like a snowbird and go north in the summer and south in the winter.
Currently, I am deciding whether to stay around Colorado, or head to Texas and Arizona followed by Oregon and Washington when that gets too warm.
My wife is Portuguese, but has no ties to our current location, nor do I. We moved here, because we found a great house, in a great location that we could buy for reasonable money.
Portugal is an affordable country (if not in Lisbon or Porto), with great people, great food and great weather. Education is great, and the startup ecosystem is ambitious and growing rapidly.
Let me know if anyone would like to meet up, if you're here; or any tips on moving here.
Both myself and my wife have really enjoyed the opportunities we had along the way, both in terms of lifestyle, research projects and financially.
But we are now at a point where we both feel the urge to "come back home".
I would love to hear your feedback from an outsider looking into the tech scene in Portugal.
My frustration in previous searches and interviews is that everyone likes to talk 'innovation' but the majority of interesting projects are still pretty much university incubations and/or very dependent on EC research funding streams. Has this changed in these past years? Do you see companies actually securing VC funding rounds or growing into more mature businesses?
Also perhaps an inferiority complex bias but I feel that, for larger service companies, Portugal is still scene as what they would call a 'near-shore' outsourcing tech pool, where you can get a bit more quality output but still at a fairly cheap price point. Has this changed? i.e. Do you see that Software teams can command competitive salaries when compared to other European locations? Or is it that it's acceptable only if you leverage this with a very low COL (outside prime real estate areas like Porto/Lisbon centres)?
For day-to-day, it does make your life much easier. Surprisingly, banks are a pain to deal with, without speaking Portuguese. I learned because my parents in law didn't speak English very well.
Portuguese is a rich language, and Portuguese people are typically familiar with the countries famous writers and poets. That makes it a valuable language to learn.
I work for a fully distributed team (Agentrisk), with people across the US and Europe. I'd be hard-pressed to leave SoCal for any other place.
I ended up settling in New Zealand in 2009 because I love the culture, the fact that it's a long way from the rest of the world, it's affordable, and it has a lot of options for travel. I fly from there to my ship, then go home when the trip's over.
Can you expand on that just a bit?
Also, curious if you are Jewish by birth or conversion?
People just do their thing and don't even think about it. I think it allows for more genuine relationships, more genuine interactions.
Another great thing about Jerusalem is that it's a smallish city. You see your friends on the street, you recognize faces at parties. You go to the local cafe and you know a few people there... But at the same time it's not so small that you know everyone. There are always new people to meet.
Except for a few years ago when there was a wave of terrorist stabbings. Streets were empty. Everyone was looking back every few moments to see if they were being followed. Eye contact was made between every passing stranger in order to determine if they were about to stab you. It was scary but it did not last for too long. It was also a fascinating experience. Imagine walking down the street and EVERYONE makes eye contact with you!
I have many friends who moved to Europe who say the locals never let them speak their language and keep their distance.
- Getting out of the state I had spent my whole life in until that point. California is a great state, but I don't think I would have been happy with myself if I had never lived outside it for a significant amount of time.
- Moving to a city that doesn't hate tech (as much). Here, there are plenty of other industries assisting with gentrification, so we don't get singled out.
- Public transit is passable here.
- I originally came for a Recurse Center batch. They just moved to Brooklyn, and I live a 5 min walk from the location.
I miss my friends back home and being near all the nature that CA has, but overall it's a pretty good life here.
1. Move somewhere where college graduates choose to move (this is a proxy for restaurants, arts, high paying jobs)
2. Move somewhere where desired incoming levels have net population increases (immigration)
3. Move somewhere within the major metropolitan statistical areas with continuous growth (city populations are funny, MSA is more informative for my case)
4. Scrape user profile locations off multiple websites to determine "Online participation" as a proxy for more modern citizens
5. Scrape job sites by the keywords in my field, full time, non-contract
The cities on the top of the list were not surprising given my very limited scope (San Francisco, New York, Denver, Seattle, Boston etc).
The one that ranked highest that was most surprising was Minneapolis, they are fairly strong in almost all the metrics I was looking at.
Years later, I had to move to a huge city to find the women I ended up getting engaged to. I had worked out that only 0.5% of the population met my first few requirements in a partner, so I moved to increase my chances.
So, all my major moves so far have been to go where the women are!
Boston would have been a good choice except I hear it's really hard to make friends there, but once you've broken through, friendships can be deep. Many people don't break through though.
Chicago people on the other hand are much friendlier, but it doesn't go beyond the surface friendliness. One doesn't typically get invited to dinners, so one has to make a conscious effort to reach out. I did, and have managed to get connected.
For me, two things in life were most important:
- Meaningful work
- Edifying relationships
So my choice of location was calculated to maximize the probability of achieving these goals.
Factors that were not important for me were cost-of-living, personal space, suburban-level safety, nature, schools (I don't have kids). I recognize that these are important to others and contribute to achieving their goals in their lives. I think most people have similar aspirations to mine in terms of finding meaning, but my path is just slightly different.
After moving here, we quickly made friends and I've encountered quite a few other like minded tech workers in the area (one works for a direct competitor). My job and co-workers (many 10yr+ relationships at this point) fulfill my intellectual needs and the main engineering office happens to be located in Boston!
some others that didn't make the list:
* must know people, i actually didn't know anyone when i moved to atlanta, boston, tokyo, or shanghai, i ended up making a lot of friends in each place, so i don't find this to be a requirement.
* family close by, i think this is more important as i get older, i used to want to get as far away from my parents as possible, now, even though i don't live remotely close to my father, i yearn for the days where i could see him regularly.
* great weather, meaning warm usually and good air quality. since i'm in the city, the air quality's not that great, so i've come to deal with it, it's important, but i've never prioritized based on this.
i live in shanghai, it fits all of the requirements above, great city, safe, lots of good high tech companies, just that my family is in the states, and the air quality could be better.
Anything except for Internet is there. You may have a gigabit line to your desktop, but even internal Chinese Internet will be screeching slow unless you visit a site with an own CDN in every city.
I also worked in Shanghai on a 6 month assignment once. Line 2 rush hour commute was an everyday near death experience (commuting in between Lujiazui and high tech park where chip cos were.)
We eliminated any area that got below 50 degrees at any time. My wife and I had no interest in being cold!
* School Quality
We have two children so school quality was very important to us. We used sites like:
We originally eliminated private schools and focused on public schools since we had only lived in areas like San Francisco and Miami. We added them back when we realized other areas like Atlanta have reasonably priced private schools.
We wanted a global and diverse community. We wanted our kids to hear multiple languages and learn about different customs and celebrations.
* Cost of Living
We wanted to have a better life without having to increase our overall take home pay. So things like cost of house and amount of state taxes was an important issue for us. When we moved from San Francisco to Miami we stopped paying 7% to California which went straight to our kids college savings.
So after living in San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City we decided to move to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The cost of living in Puerto Rico is comparable to Utah and Georgia, weather is amazing, and the private schools are top notch. Most people here are bilingual and well traveled. It is an amazing community to be part of and I'm glad we made the move.
We also have fiber internet for the first time in our lives since it was only available in small parts of any of the cities we lived previously, so our work is much better :)
As a friend of mine said: Barcelona isn't a 10 out of 10 on anything. But it is an 8 or 9 out of 10 on everything. Good weather, amazing food, great people, great public transport, great airport, high speed rail and best of all: No republicans.
Now we have a son, and we’re planning to move back to Australia in the next couple of years. Thailand is an interesting place to live but I can’t imagine trying to raise a child through to the end of school (with western concepts/mindset) here.
Unless you live like a hermit, you can't be the sole influence on a child - they will learn things from their school, relatives, etc.
If you really want to know more, send me an email and I can expand some more, but it's generally along the lines of even the most basic concepts of safety/precautions/thinking ahead, combined with not expecting women (be it your sister, gf, wife, etc) to be your own personal obedient slave.
There are basically only three cities worthy of the name in Belgium. Antwerp kind of hits the sweet spot between big enough to have everything you need, and yet small enough to be liveable.
There isn't much in the way of a tech scene. The Belgian tax man makes startups pretty much non-starters. Wages are taxed to death, so there isn't much in the way of competition for engineers. The vast majority of software engineers are working for the government in one way or another (Belgium has so many governments that this isn't an exaggeration).
As for how I decided where to live: I didn't consciously do so. I basically looked for jobs, found one over here, and moved here.
I am nominally employed as a contractor, but am just an inch away from be being a de-jure full time employee. China was more or less welcoming to high flyer demographics living in the country on business visas, but the times seem to be changing. For this reason, I am planning on obtaining a residence permit next year.
For decades, China was all about it being no questions asked about anybody with a legit business staying in the country on long term business visas. They were effectively residence permits. In 2016, they first started looking more into the legitimacy of the business, and in 2017 they put it bluntly that 10 year M visa holders have to get work visas if they are to live in the country for any length of time regardless of the origin of their income.
Shenzhen became a very pleasant city to live in the last 10 years, in fact it is said to be the most liveable city in Asia by many rankings. I can say confidently that the city scores more on livability than any US megapolis.
For me, it depends on the future state of things if I am to continue living there. I admit, there is a risk that China may start kicking out foreigners from the country just for the sake of it.
I am 27. I lived 2.5 years in Singapore, 6 years in Canada. and the rest in badlands of ex-USSR countries. I worked in electronics, and manufacturing since my first job when I was an exchange student in Singapore. Even back in 2008, I was thinking about moving to China as one can't do a thing in electronics industry without doing things in Shenzhen.
I think many here are baffled why in the world so many high flying professionals from Western countries come to China in their sane mind. I tell that: yes, the choice for going to China is a bitter pill to swallow; you are choosing in between comfy everyday life, liberties and freedom on one hand, and being able to live life to its fullest, exhilaratingly dynamic business environment, and a chance of becoming somebody before you hit your retirement age.
Why Montana? My sister convinced me to visit as she lives here. Loved it. I was faced with moving anyway, so I could move into a cardboard box with bars on the windows, or I could move into a large, beautiful home on lots of property in a beautiful land. I asked work, and they supported going remote. It was a no brainier. The cost of real estate is great. I got something in Montana that would have cost easily 6x in SoCal. The state actually tries for a balanced budget. Not as many assholes on the road. People are generally nicer. Taxes are better. The catch? Economic opportunities are scarce.
We’ve loved Nashville and Sarasota, FL for these reasons.
Ended up in Sarasota once we had kids to be near family.
Property tax and sales tax isn't bad here or in Nashville. In Sarasota property tax is < 1% per year on assessed value and sales tax is 7%.
Ideologically, I think taxes should be based on consumption, not on earning power.
Where I am, a poor UK city, the Christian Churches provide a lot of services to the poor (homeless shelters, food banks, pensioners meals, friendship clubs, pregnancy counselling, family counselling, pastoral care) often with referral by front line council workers. Most of those services are free at the point of need (only family counselling is charged for IIRC) but couldn't operate on those budgets as council services -- largely because they rely on donations of buildings from the Churches, and donation of time from volunteers. The council has to rent, and has to pay at least minimum wage.
So, in a way these essential community services work outside the state machine doing something that in a socialist setting government is expected to do.
I can see this works inasmuch as those services exist, when they seemingly wouldn't otherwise, but the payment for those services isn't as fairly distributed as if it were acquired by taxation IMO. Also, in theory on a state level you save optimise service provision to save administration and logistics costs; whilst local piecemeal approaches can be relatively expensive ... but then in practice government seems to add layers of bureaucracy and expensive management ...
Any further thoughts?
Secondly, I believe that aid to the poor is most effective and of greater benefit to both the giver and the recipient when it is done in a relational context (which is not to say that aid is given directly from the giver to the recipient, just that it's localized enough that the givers and recipients are in the same community). The giver can see the tangible effects of his generosity and the recipient can see the care shown by the giver. By its nature, government aid is impersonal and therefore less beneficial. The "givers" in that case, who are "giving" often only under compulsion, often feel exploited and resentful. Many recipients develop a sense of entitlement since there's no direct connection between the aid they receive and their fellow citizens who provided that aid.
I do agree with you that taking government out of the aid business would result in less uniform funding for aid, but I think that's a lesser problem than forcing it on everyone. I'm on the board of a local charity and I see the private donors who fund it, 95% of whom are are middle or upper-middle class, and I'm pretty amazed by their generosity. I wish awareness of those kinds of things were greater.
Those at work who looked into moving there have noted, the commute is much worse, income tax is negated a lot by high property taxes. When the company started downsizing it was noted that those in NH had significantly worse unemployment benefits. Some feel its worth it, but a lot don't. I think we had one person move.
At the moment I live in what I consider another top contender, DFW has access to anywhere in the world via direct flights. No state income tax, excellent access to medical, lower cost of living than the North East, etc. There is also a lot of available work. Interestingly enough Bloomberg ran an article that it is the #1 place for people relocating from the LA, NY and Chicago.
Many Spanish cities have a very small town vibe, while including high quality public transit infrastructure, great sunny weather, and very family friendly environments.
Mexico is my second choice due to proximity to US (close flights to see family & friends; US is not that bad as some people make it), biodiversity of climates, great food, sunny weather, and lots of walkable small towns.
I already can speak Spanish, so this is a plus for me.
I like traveling, but those are the two places I'd settle down in or retire.
Fast forward a few years and I was doing contract work for a customer in Denver, CO and they offered to relocate us to Denver and brought me on full time. Ended up hating that place as a FTE but LOVE Colorado so here we still are.
The T is awesome. I love days when I don't use my car to go to work, and they allow bikes on the T, so I hit the trails downtown during spring/summer/fall weekends.
 Not near Cleveland, much closer to Columbus. I learned pretty quickly that Ohio equals Cleveland to people from Pittsburgh.
I'd like to live elsewhere, but SeaTac is well connected and I like the weather.
Edit : open minded people is the reason
I moved from the Netherlands to Romania. I travelled to Romania a couple of times for business and really liked the atmosphere and the people. Met my girlfriend in Romania and moved here about three years ago. Been loving it ever since.
The city I am in has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe and some of the cleanest air in Europe. Beautiful nature within an hour drive and lots of friendly people.
Seeing that I'm in NYC, I think there are a few cultural, political and culinary reasons to choose a city to transition few. Here are a few of my requirements:
-Strong local job economy if in the event I lose my current position (my job is not sought after enough for me to gain remote positions immediately)
-Cheap(er) real estate (this isn't hard considering I'm from NYC)
-Left/Democrat-leaning locale (the state doesn't have to be blue but where I live should have an unshamed democratic community)
-Some clustered seasonality (that removes FL, AZ, AL, and the northern state for their harsh winter)
My top cities I had in mind:
-Raleigh or Charlotte (I have some trepidations about what the Republican leadership did recently)
- Explosive growth which the city is not accustomed to/for
- Traffic will be a nightmare if the rate continues (almost 0 public transport)
- Good tech scene (Research Triangle) and quite cheap real-estate
- Might be suburban hell/boring
I’m currently living in Raleigh-Durham but thinking about moving to a larger tech hub. Options are DC, NYC, and Seattle.
Regarding your list of concerns, I share with you: explosive growth, zero public transport, and suburban hell.
The job market is good but not great. None of the big tech companies have a presence here, except Google for nothing more than historic reasons. I highly doubt that this will change anytime soon, simply because of the poor infrastructure and transit.
This leaves you with companies like Cisco, IBM, Lenovo, etc. They are not “bad” companies and there is a lot of interesting work to do, but they are also not Amazon or Google.
I'm still just starting my career, so I want to at least try out working at a big tech company. Also, my wife and I travel pretty frequently to Tunisia, and flights from RDU are long and expensive. As a comparison, a flight from Seattle to Tunis costs ~$400 less than from Raleigh while taking the same amount of time!
the place where we choose to travel and where we choose to live are different, because we don't just enjoy the natural views, we care more about people, culture, and health, which is not easy decision in short time, so we'd better to live there long enough, and try to involve into local culture as much as possible.
I live in Shenzhen, it is a Chinese city, but much different with other cities in China, China is trying to build a modern city to beat Hong Kong, this city is Shenzhen, its policies, especially for political, are much transparent, so this city's growing is very fast, it is very livable and good to have business here, startups are come out every day.
but like many fast growing cities, the economic bubble issue, the house is pretty expensive here.
So, how did I decide? I just knew I wanted to have children and that grandparents are a great help, so it's mostly a family related decision. I work remotely as a consultant in software modeling.
- I have a decent internet connection. Optic fiber 30Mbps.
- Rent is cheap. $600 USD for a 3 bdr house with garden in a fancy neighborhood.
- Almost no crime. I rarely lock the door of my house.
- Great food at reasonable prices. The area is known for its cheese and wine production.
- Very very silent place which is super important for me.
- Most people you find are honest and peaceful
I think a lot about moving closer to technology hubs and there is definitely a desire to generally work day-to-day with excellent engineers in close quarters. However, each time I do rocking chair thinking, I come back to the same conclusion; our lives are more rich with family and friends and the lifestyle we are able to gain via the lesser cost of living. Though, I admit it has a large potential cost on career. I'd love to be slinging Haskell day-to-day, in SF, etc for the rest of my life on a professional level.
I was simply born there. I can't move because I don't make enough money to live anywhere else than with my parents. I am playing around with the idea of homelessness in which case I'd be headed south towards warmer weather, because I am afraid of tough winters.
Reasonably cheap compared to other major European cities, great weather, close to the outdoors & the ocean, very walkable & cycleable with lots of public transport, good tech community, and amazing food, drink & lifestyle. My costs have halved compared to London, with a far higher quality of life.
Only real downside is that local salaries aren't great, but if you're working remotely that doesn't matter in the slightest.
I am really want to try a few months in a Mediterranean beach spot (or similar). Hopefully a low-ish cost location.
I am doing mostly back-end dev, and also (sadly) some remote lead of a FE team. SO all i need is sunshine and broadband..
For Cyprus I would recommend Limassol many expats there and lively.Taxation in Cyprus is really good and the state is more organized than Greece.
Now our parents are older we would love to be closer. Would have helped immensely with caring for the kids to have grandparents local too.
Where I live is ok, im used to it lots of family around .. but deep in side somehow I feel stifled
Also, Tulsa is starting a program where you get paid to work remotely from from Tulsa: https://www.seattletimes.com/explore/careers/tulsa-is-offeri...
Dunno if that helps. Also email me if you wanna talk about it at all!
When I am working, I work remotely quite a lot.
I realized a few years ago that the place where you live determines a lot of what happens in your life:
The type of people you meet, the type of sports you can do, environments you see, activities & events you can take part in, people you meet, cost of living, tax, local wages, type of housing, what kind of foods you can eat, what the weather is like, transportation systems, healthcare, internet connectivity, what language you will speak, religious activities, exposure to diseases, peacefulness / safety & stability ... and so on.
Human life also has a certain momentum to it that means you are quite likely to stay in one place or nearby it for much of your life if you settle intentionally or get stuck unintentionally. So it's a situation where if you get it right at the start, you can be happy for quite a long time, and if you get it wrong, you can be suffering for a long time. Finding somewhere just 1% 'nicer' can integrate well over the years.
I began by deliberately saving up a 'find a new home' fund for a couple of years while working normally so that I could take some time to travel freely and in a patient/relaxed way. I spent these years looking at multiple sources of information:
- International statistics & websites & thematic maps describing the basic shape of many countries - quality of life, climate, culture / attitude of people there, cost of living, tax, etc. Forums for immigrants, forums for tourists, forums for locals. Newspaper articles. Anything I could find.
- I made a shortlist of about 10-15 countries (occasionally adding/removing new ideas over the years) and used a combination of VR streetviews and real life 3-7 day trips to build an idea of the feeling of being in each country. I made a point to avoid all tourism, keep costs low, and stick to exploring widely on foot and visiting residential areas to get a taste of actual life as an immigrant. I would ask locals where they would live in the town (and country) if they had the freedom to choose, and why. I would ask immigrants how they felt about being there and if they knew of any better places (towns or countries). I kept a list of the top 5 towns or cities in each country that might suit me best and would adjust my trip following advice from local people as I travelled.
- If I found I was having a nice time and felt happy somewhere, I would wait a few weeks then go back for a second trip staying in my favourite town for 2-4 weeks, to see if I continued to like the place. This gave me a chance to exclude 'sunny weather' effects, i.e. almost anywhere can seem nice on a sunny day. Also it helped to overcome the novelty effect. New places are always fun, for a while. It's useful to ask yourself if you still feel excited about the idea of going back for another full month having just spent a week somewhere.
I won't say where I picked in the end, because the process is much more important than a particular result - and because my needs & values & preferences & language background will be different to anyone else's.
However, some places that might be interesting to begin your search with: Netherlands, Estonia, Portugal, France, Bulgaria, Romania, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Sweden, Georgia.
I have no regrets about taking a systematic and extremely patient approach over several years, utilising every possible source of information online, and always keeping an open mind (avoiding prejudices about certain parts of the world). I can see that if I had tried to solve this problem in just hours, days, weeks or months, I would have found a much less appropriate answer.
If you will be running your own business, PAY ATTENTION to business practices (laws, accounting, taxes). There are many countries where it is fantastic to be a salaried employee and you can have a generally excellent quality of life, but you might be tripped up repeatedly trying to run a business (cough Germany...).
Equally there are countries where the quality of life has certain things missing, but running a business is easy and straightforward; or the cost of living is so low that it makes a transition to running your own business viable where it otherwise wouldn't be (in particular, the cost of a local accountant to make things easy for yourself). Some countries have unique entrepreneurial tax systems like France's micro-entrepreneur system, or Estonia's 'your company only pays tax whenever you start to pay yourself anything'. Those are worth exploring. It's also worth looking for places with plenty of other coders & meetups to hang out with. (Meetup.com will give you clues).
And there are places that are just so friendly and fun that it may be worth paying whatever it costs to live there. Last of all, don't miss out on the chance to try something radically different to what you are used to. If you are from the US, consider Asia and Africa as well as Europe & Canada. You only live once.
Finally, a virtual reality headset (oculus rift or htc vive) is probably the fastest/cheapest/most effective way to explore thousands of villages, towns and cities for just a few hundred dollars total, and get an excellent idea of what it's like to be there in person.
You might find these sites useful: https://nomadlist.com and also https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/
Good luck everyone and I hope you all find somewhere nice to live.
I think if you’re happy within you can be happy wherever you are.
I also have a Certificate in GIS, so I briefly took a stab at trying to create a website and consultancy to help others find their personal best place, but it didn't really get any further than a very half baked website and asking around a bit.
I decided it would need to be a consultancy doing custom research. I don't really know how to make that happen and it seems like there may not be a market for that. Or, if there is, it wasn't a market a homeless woman was going to be able to sell to. No one was going to hire me to do that kind of research so I could improve my income and get off the street.
I've seen people post questions to various forums, similar to this Ask HN but more focused. And there's lots of free info on the internet already via sites like City Data and Best Places.
But when I asked around about how people make such decisions, part of the feedback I got was that deciding where to move was an alien concept. Only super rich people think like that. Most people live where they were born or go where the job takes them or similar. They don't pick some personal best place for their personal best life.
I was homeless at the time and trying to decide where to move to try to get back into housing. It never occurred to me that only very, very privileged people ever wondered where they might prefer to live. I was dirt poor. I didn't see myself as very, very privileged. But that's part of the feedback I got.
Free or very cheap info on the topic is very popular. You see a lot of articles with lists of "best cities to retire" or "best cities for young families." But it's very generic, really, and I'm not aware of any pricier custom solutions for the space.
I never figured out what the next steps might be. I asked a couple of people from HN for feedback. One replied and the other never answered me. I don't have experience doing something like that and I don't have good connections and couldn't get enough feedback to figure out where to go next with the idea.
I think I eventually took the website off the internet and stopped bothering.
It's potentially something someone else could maybe tweak and run with, someone who knows how to set up a consultalncy or has the right connections where they could get good feedback. That doesn't happen to be me.
Oh, also, if you google terms like "personal relocation," you mostly get moving companies, not services helping you decide where to move. The assumption is you already know where you are going and you need help making it happen. The idea that you would pick a dream location seems to not really exist, in spite of the popularity of questions like this one in forums and "best places" type books and articles.
They are not the target market for a service I want to charge money for. So my awareness of that is not really relevant to my feeling that this would not fly, at least at the time and under the circumstances that I was doing the initial research.
Oaxaca has: good coffee, friendly people, safety, mountains, amazing weather (except April/May, which are too hot for me), small scene of digital nomads, mountain biking, yoga, etc. My 2bd apartment near downtown is $250 usd and my unlimited coworking is $250.
Regularly travel and work remotely for 1-week to 1-month stints, and hope to expand that when kids finish high school. So easy to do these days.
I'd rather take the volatility of bitcoin and never have to worry about another centralized exchange/company locking my funds again.
I cash out a small portion of my BTC every month (to pay bills) and take the money from an ATM, it works like a charm.
I'd like to stay in a smaller European city that is cycling friendly that maybe has some sailing.
The easiest way would be to acquire investors visa but I am only in the 250k E bracket and it would take me too long to acquire at least 500k to move out.
I like mountains.
That was around 7 years ago and now I'm thinking about moving to Miami or LA. My only requirements are warmth, some tech jobs, and a little more space.
... or Canary Islands even warmer but not English.
... and last but not least - Sri Lanka with English as a secondary/third language (but official) and also warm.
We decided to settle down in Tokyo.