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Ask HN: If you could work remote where would you live?
355 points by sloaken 51 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 742 comments
In the current climate it appears remote working will be more common. So where would you want to move too? Or would you become a nomad? Or is current home, perfect?

I may be the only person left who loves San Francisco. Just got back from biking from my house through Golden Gate Park past the De Young and Cal Academy to Cliff House and down Ocean Beach. There was sunshine and people were outside. In different circumstances, there are people dancing on roller skates, learning tango, and skateboarding. Near our house there is a great Russian Bakery, tons of Chinese restaurants on Clement, Green Apple Books, Irish Bars.

Walk North and you are in the Presidio and see the Golden Gate Bridge. Walk West and you are at the Legion of Honor or Lands End and watching the sun set over the Ocean. Walk East and I can hit up a hip hop or funk night at the Boom Boom Room or go to the Fillmore. You can dance at Madrone Art Bar or see an indie rock show at the Independent on Divisadero. Walk a few blocks South and you are in the Panhandle walking by some beautiful Victorians, then stop and catch some jazz at Club Deluxe. Walk a little more and go up Corona Heights or Tank Hill and you have breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Or head down to some of the pubs in the Lower Haight. And that's just within a 2 mile radius. For some reason, everyone focuses on the Tenderloin and SoMa though. The city has major problems, but there is also so much to enjoy.

I have made many interesting and creative friends here who are from all over the world. I get to work on mobile games, but there are many other opportunities around. Among my coworkers are digital artists and painters, musicians, engineers, hip hop dancers, drag show performers, people who party all night in the Castro, a muay Thai boxer, mixologists, and more interests than I can list.

I lived in Seattle, Portland, and Austin over the previous 2 decades -- all great places -- but still find myself happier in SF.

When I got to visit SF, it was a lovely, magical city and it inspired me to buy $300 worth of books related to my interest in someday becoming a city planner (or something similar).

The problem is I can't possibly afford to live there. If you can live there, cool. For many people, it's just too expensive to make it into a nice experience.

All those restaurants nearby are only cool if you can afford the high cost of housing and have enough money leftover to still eat at restaurants without worrying that you are cutting your own throat in terms of retirement savings or something.

In short, it's great if you are wealthy enough. It's not for most other people, even if they find parts of it enchanting.

I feel the biggest city planning lesson you can learn from SF is don't end up like SF where prop 13 keeps big parking lots in the middle of downtown unreasonably cheap, while NIMBYs are empowered to stall new apartments for years/decades.

This was a lot of years ago. Probably 19.5 years ago.

I left California more than 2.5 years ago. I don't plan to return to it.

Those things are great and also why I love SF. The problem is as I’ve gotten into my mid-late 30s those things I enjoyed in my 20s aren’t as magical as they used to be.

Most of this has to do with settling down and thinking more about a family than myself and career. My body also can’t recover from those nights in SF as well as I get older.

SF is a Peter Pan city though, you can stay young there forever and do fine. I know people who still go to the same bars and hang out with the same crowd they did a decade ago.

Curious, what books did you buy? I’ve been getting interested in this sort of thing lately.

I bought some book that was a bunch of excerpts from classic urban planning works. I bought a book called "Seeing like the state." I bought a book about the Clemente Course in Humanities (there is a website for this these days).

I no doubt bought other stuff. I also enjoyed "How buildings learn" but I don't think I bought it that day.

I run r/CitizenPlanners and there are some links there to videos and what not.

For anyone interested, Scott Alexander wrote a longish review of Seeing Like A State: https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/03/16/book-review-seeing-lik...

Personally I found the book a bit long and repetitive: although the examples were varied, each was used to restate the same basic point. But that may be my own problem. After all, if you're trying to support a generalisation using case studies, it's not enough to breeze through one or two and assure the reader that others exist; you need to go into detail about as many as you reasonably can.

If interested in urbanization and the particular problems SF is running into today, I would highly recommend Progress & Poverty by Henry George. Fairly dense at first but it lightens up.

It was written in SF post-gold rush to answer the question of why the obscene wealth generated by the gold rush resulted in abysmal quality of life and skyrocketing inequality in SF. Sadly relevant these days.

Seconded, if you get inspired you can also visit /r/georgism

Check out 'Order without Design' if interested in urban planning.

Also depends on when you started renting. I know people paying $700 a month in SF for a one bedroom but they moved here over a decade ago.

Also people who bought houses long ago pay almost no property tax. Prop 13 is rent control for landowners.

If the number of renters exceeds owners statewide [0], Prop 13 will become a victim of it's own success. It helped existing homeowners stay in place so well that growth that otherwise would've occurred did not, and the minority of remaining homeowners will lose their property tax benefits.

[0]: There's a slight tilt towards owners (54%). If property prices continue to become less affordable, it seems reasonable there will be less owners in the future. https://datausa.io/profile/geo/california#housing

The good thing for homeowners is that renters don't vote. On top of that - many renters are also ineligible to vote in CA. (Cause no citizenship)

If prop 13 were to die, you'd think it'd be this year with all the budget problems coming up. It won't though. Politicians would face a mass exodus even if they kept in an exception for primary homes/business-locations. There's no way they'd all stay in office.

> If prop 13 were to die, you'd think it'd be this year with all the budget problems coming up. It won't though. Politicians would face a mass exodus even if they kept in an exception for primary homes/business-locations. There's no way they'd all stay in office.

Prop 13 is a voter-passed Constitutional Amendment and, therefore, can only be repealed by the voters. So, the politicians that would be voted out for repealing it are...the voters.

There actually is a measure on the ballot to modify prop 13 this year: https://ballotpedia.org/California_Tax_on_Commercial_and_Ind... — as you said, this is the year for it to pass.

I wonder if this will have any effect on housing. As it stands, it seems like this will do nothing and only affect commercial real estate. So, likely, a lot of small businesses that have held the property for decades will close shop. I expect to see a lot of expensive commercial real estate be vacant for years if this passes.

It’s a good first step. The effect should be to make property tax for commercial/industrial property much fairer between entities who bought the properties decades ago vs. those who bought recently.

This can (a) raise a whole lot of revenue, relieving local/state budgets so they can hopefully stop needing as many stupid short-term workarounds which have proliferated the past few decades, and (b) allow future commercial property taxes for newly purchased commercial properties to be lower than they otherwise would be, encouraging more turnover, especially for underused properties.

The obvious follow-up would be to also change the law for residential properties owned by large-scale landowners (say, companies which own large apartment complexes or dozens of homes).

> I expect to see a lot of expensive commercial real estate be vacant for years if this passes.

It'll be much more expensive to hold commercial real estate without it yielding income, so it should reduce the commercial vacancy rate.

People who rent, can't vote in the US??

No, I think op is asserting there's a correlation that renters vote less than owners

Many renters in CA are also not US citizens.

SF is a good place to be if you got in sooner than later.

Just like a Ponzi scheme!

I know people who have moved here a decade ago and they are paying 1600$ for a small one bedroom apartment in SOMA. For 700$ it must have been the tiniest of studios.

I just moved out of SF. I was paying $1600/month for 24 sq meters studio in the Tenderloin with no kitchen. My next neighbor was paying under $300, having moved into the building in the 80s with a starting rent of $85/month.

It must have been well over a decade ago. When I was looking in 2011, an average 1 bedroom was $2200.

That sounds as if you visited SF for the first time...very good speech for tourism.I have been in Bay Area for 13 years, single, with GF, and now with kids. Good luck with the high real state prices and if you can afford it, is probably overvalued, homeless, drug addicts, lack of good public transportation and Infrastructure (no high speed trains). My take i would live in London.

London is dirtier and just as inflicted with "undesirables", unless you're willing to continue paying SF rent prices, or live in zone 3 or beyond.

Bad luck, I moved from London to SF a bit more than a year ago and:

* no, London is much much cleaner than SF. I'd rather take a stroll in London.

* there's very little amount of homeless compared to SF. Again, I'd rather take a stroll in London.

I was paying 1300GBP (so around 1500USD) for a one bedroom apartment in Battersea (so zone2). I am now paying 3350USD for a small one bedroom in Castro.

Battersea and Castro aren't comparable. Inner areas East of Shoreditch or north of Regent's Canal are consistently dirtier than SF's worst.

I'm comparing the whole cities. Shoreditch is lovely in my opinion, used to go there every week end.

Whilst you say dirty, they’re actually just more multicultural areas

I don't find London to be dirtier than SF. Also I get the sense that it's a much bigger city in general, and of course your Stratfords will differ significantly from your Westminsters, although this can be said about basically every city.

Also I think London is slightly cheaper. Still, working remotely from London proper is probably a terrible idea given the extent of public transportation. Just live in Croydon and catch overground to London when necessary IMO.

> London is dirtier and just as inflicted with "undesirables"

Are we talking about the same London and the same SF? I went a whole week in London riding the subway several times a day without seeing anything gross.

> I have made many interesting and creative friends here who are from all over the world. I get to work on mobile games, but there are many other opportunities around. Among my coworkers are digital artists and painters, musicians, engineers, hip hop dancers, drag show performers, people who party all night in the Castro, a muay Thai boxer, mixologists, and more interests than I can list.

Being mostly in Seattle for about 6 years now, this is what I enjoyed the most about being based in SF and is what will likely make me return to it.

Seattle feels to be a town now comprised of corporate campuses and the suburban neighborhoods in between. It's also great if you love outdoor hobbies, but I prefer the vibrance of cities. The creative culture here feels substantially more lacking than it is in SF, and it feels extremely challenging to make new friend that aren't in technology. Of course SF has its tech-bro startup culture; here it seems most people that live around me work for Microsoft, Amazon, or Facebook. At least there were easy outs in going to galleries or clubs or art/makerspaces or various meets for non-tech things in SF and I have never been able to find enough of those in the Seattle area. The COVID-19 crisis will likely choke them out further.

> . At least there were easy outs in going to galleries or clubs or art/makerspaces or various meets for non-tech things in SF

I hear the same thing about New York and to that I wonder:

1) Do people actually like these things

2) or are they a just a way to virtue signal their cosmopolitan bona fides to the other graduates of selective universities?

Perhaps I'm just an unsophisticated public school grad, but I've never met anybody that actually takes part in these things even when they live in New York, etc.

I'm sure I'm less sophisticated than you are. I wouldn't consider the university I went to selective by any means. But I have had a lot of friends that are musicians, and with that came a lot of hanging out with them at random venues, and from there going out to hear live electronic music became a dominant theme of most of my life in SF. Whenever I find myself back in San Francisco who's playing there while I'm around is one of the first things I look at.

Your friend circle must be pretty non-diverse then.

I love SF as well! I've traveled around the world and lived in multiple US cities that many people consider nice/cool/fun, but SF is still my favorite city. I was in Golden Gate Park today as well and it never gets old - so beautiful, and perfect weather. The streets in my neighborhood are clean, the neighbors are all intelligent, fascinating older people, young families, and just generally really cool people. Granted I never go to the Tenderloin, SoMa, or the Financial District -- if that's your primary view of the city then I understand the distaste, but overall SF is a fantastic city if you can afford it.

thinking of making the move to SF soon - which neighborhood are you in?

Yeah everyone loves those things too, they just don't want to deal with the cost and quality of life from the homeless/drug problem. I walked up to beautiful Corona Heights today and saw all of the amazing views, but then I walked home past the ever-increasing numbers of tents popping up on the street to my overpriced apartment in the mission where I currently have to listen to one mentally disabled homeless person scream profanities at everyone around her. Sure you could move to a different neighborhood, but those problems are difficult to ignore.

Dude you live in the mission, probably the most disgusting part of the entire bay area, other than maybe the bay itself. I didn't last a single week there

Move to Noe Valley or Bernal heights

There are parts of the Mission that are extremely nice. The Tenderloin is far worse than the Mission and parts of SoMa rival the Mission for grossness.

On my morning walks in the TL, I had brieflly kepts stat on the poops per mile I counted. I decided it was too much work after I saw 3 poops on a single block.

Yes, can confirm the Tenderloin is worse than the Mission. Take a walk down to Eddy & Leavenworth, especially right after all the homeless and drug abusers have cashed their disability cheques (or on the weekends) and try to walk down the sidewalk without being harassed or your nostrils assaulted by the acrid tang of human piss and fecal matter: https://youtu.be/KUtVz2fIhHM

Hell even park Merced area by SFSU is nice. I have a few friends who love out there.

Aside from the limited parking it is a decent area that does not smell like “San Francisco”

Tents? I didn't realize it has gotten that bad. Do they try to remove them?

The city has a limited ability to remove them. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Martin v Boise, which held that it was illegal for the city (of Boise, Idaho) to remove homeless people from public spaces if the city has insufficient homeless shelters. This is a binding precedent in San Francisco, which is also in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The city of Boise, Idaho appealed to the Supreme Court, prodded by several cities including Los Angeles, but the Supreme Court declined to see the case.

San Francisco is still held to Martin vs. Boise. They need to either build sufficient homeless shelters for all of the homeless in SF, (lol) or allow them to sleep where they please in public places.

I am not a lawyer, but I got an A in Political Science 101 and I read the news. This is not legal advice, but my personal advice is that cities in California oughta build more homeless shelters.

cities in California oughta build more homeless shelters.

Oh, please, god, no.

California desperately needs more actual housing. That's a huge issue in California.

More homeless shelters just drags out the problem. It doesn't solve it.

The people who scream at me in a schizophrenic drug addled haze aren’t going to go away because cheap 1br housing pops up in an affordable neighborhood. They do need help though. They need homeless institutions.

I spent nearly six years homeless and I have had a college class from SFSU on Homelessness and Public Policy.

There are mentally ill people in housing. They don't generally follow you down the street and scream at you when they have housing.

Being homeless is enormously stressful. It is itself crazy-making.

Lack of sufficient housing supply is a root cause of high housing prices and of homelessness. California has been under building for decades.

Counterpoint: SROs are the most common location of overdoses in the city of San Francisco. Mentally ill people in housing probably don’t bother you, but that doesn’t mean they are safe and healthy.

When you find the planet that has solved all personal problems, let me know.

In the meantime, I will keep harping on best practices for this planet as I best understand them.

Residential housing costs $750k to build per unit in California, and most of those costs are unique to the process of developing infill in NIMBY cities with high costs of labor. We are two orders of magnitudes away from enough funding to solve homelessness with residential housing in San Francisco for the existing population, notwithstanding induced demand. Treatment outside of city centers for people dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues could be built far more affordably elsewhere by saving on the land and labor costs. They’d also be cheaper to operate.

More generally, your comments come across and smug and sanctimonious — everyone has an interest in solving the problem, and falling back to “homelessness is a housing problem” amounts to tautology which is not particularly insightful.

Plus if you throw all the poor people in 1 building you're not solving anything.

It's a great way to help them share their diseases and fun stuff like that. I went to soup kitchens about six weeks and then began doing everything I could to stay away from that crap.

I'm sad that this is the first thing we're thinking about, removing them. What does it mean, displacing them so that it's somebody else's problem? Putting them in jail? Killing them?

Killing them?

Given how much lower the average lifespan is for homeless individuals, we are more or less killing them.

I came from tribal origin with nomadic goat and sheep herders recent ancestors. Life is not easy there but sense of community is strong and lifespans are at par with cities with best healthcare despite not having good healthcare facilities there. Not sure how it compares to people who are homless in cities.

Being from the tribal origin I've been conned by city dwellers a lot before I wised up. In tribe we trust everyone, there is no need to be shrewed and sense of community and living together in harmony is valued above everything else.

Not sure how it compares to people who are homless in cities.

UK data from 2011:

Homeless die 30 years younger than average

The new research found that the average homeless person has a life expectancy of 47, compared to 77 for the rest of the population: a startling difference of 30 years. The life expectancy for women was even lower, at just 43 years.


I think this is US data from 2017:

The average life span of a homeless person was shorter by about 17.5 years than that recorded for the general population.


In tribe we trust everyone

Yeah, my dad was part Cherokee. I can be sort of stupid at times about thinking the best of people and I've been burned by that.

But I also think my native heritage helped me survive living in a tent for nearly 6 years and helped me profoundly in other ways.

That sense of community is very life giving and it tends to be lacking in most modern American places.

These people ostensibly have no other place to live. Why should the state or anyone else destroy what little housing they have?

Well if we built housing for those people they wouldn’t have to live in tents. And if we provided mental health services to all people there would be fewer people who slip to homelessness in the first place.

Yes but do we have to build houses for them in one of the most physically constrained places (partly geographic, partly zoning) on Earth?

There seems to be this strange idea that people put forth that your options are simply between living in the most expensive city in the country or being homeless in the most expensive city in the country.

How about Modesto? I think you would find plenty of support from people who genuinely would like for those people to have somewhere to live. The problem is that the opposition wouldn't accept it. It would come off as some perverse form of gentrification, under the implication that anybody "deserves" to live anywhere. I personally have always found the argument that "I should be able to continue living here, because I lived here previously" to be incredibly uncompelling. What about people who weren't born in fantastic cities?

The fact that the Tenderloin is where it is, in what would probably be some of the best real estate in the city, is absolutely insane. I think you would find that there is all the good will in the world from people, if the proposed solutions make sense. They just don't.

Modesto is not San Francisco. I believe it is reasonable for someone to want to live in San Francisco even if they do not earn many tens of thousands of dollars a year minimum. While there are many units grandfathered in or rent controlled in SF, it seems all new tenants are selected based on wealth. Why should SF be a city exclusive to the wealthy?

The city of Vienna Austria has a fantastic social housing program. The city owns and manages 220,000 units of housing and indirectly controls another 200,000 units of private properties developed under a city-regulated process [1].

This could be done in SF. And then even people who are not very wealthy could potentially move to and live in the city. I reject the notion that individual wealth should be the sole or primary way that we allot housing to people.

Instead of complaining about tents, we could (through our taxes) build these people homes. Instead of stepping over people sleeping on the ground we could make sure every person has a roof over their head. San Francisco is a very wealthy city. We could certainly afford to build this kind of housing.

[1] https://www.huduser.gov/portal/pdredge/pdr_edge_featd_articl...

The important thing to remember is that the same forces that made those people homeless are what made you pay for your overpriced apartment.

All the “unlanded” are sharecroppers, some better paid than others. Time for some solidarity among the renter class.

Homelesnes can be cured only by treating housing as a basic human right. There are plenty of examples of this globally so it's a fact, not a theory or a political fad.

If you prefer more equal ownership of capital there is nothing wrong with that.

But that is completely orthogonal to solving 'the problem' of homelessness. Please don't confuse the two issues.

This comment seems unrelated to mine.

People are made homeless because housing costs rise arbitrarily high along with productivity. To the market, the definition of “the correct price” for housing is when there is “a little bit” of poverty.

If you happen to earn enough to land above that price then you are paying for your overpriced apartment. If you happen to fall below that line, you are homeless.

The “force” at play is a broken pricing scheme which allows/encourages landlords to continue raising prices as high as they can possibly go, which in a super high productivity area like SFBA or NYC is extremely high.

Housing market and homelesness are two different things.

Places with less inflated housing prices had a 'homeless problem' as well until they made home a basic human right.

Hence empirically I doubt you can 'fix homelesness' by fixing the housing market. You can fix the housing market but will still have homeless problem - until you make home a human right.

What constraints do you think there should be on that basic human right, if any?

None? That's what a basic human right means. This is how lots of countries have fixed homelessness.

Can you give an example? Are you sure it's unconstrained? For example, is there any constraint on the location and/or properties of the housing?

And what forces are those? Demand for housing?

Housing prices are set as high as they need to be in order to guarantee at least “a little bit” of poverty.

Everyone being housed is effectively a signal to landlords that rent is too cheap.

We obviously produce enough capital to ensure everyone is housed and fed, yet housing costs simply keep rising with productivity because, well, why wouldn’t they?

Zoning/NIMBYism doesn’t help either, but even with perfect zoning, prices would still rise with productivity.


I've known a number of homeless people with serious mental illnesses who were both much happier and saner once they had an apartment (and, crucially, were helped with getting there).

I lived in San Francisco between 1998 to 2002 and loved it. In my memory it is a Fantastic city. However, almost all of my friends have left saying it has changed dramatically for the worst. I rather hold on to how I remember it, and really hope that when I visit again one day it will match up to how I remember it.

My wife is from the Bay Area or obviously biased, but same thing. I'm from France and we both lived is over 10 cities/countries combined (together and separately) and recently came back to the Bay Area "for good".

Before coming back we tried pretty hard trying to find somewhere else we could go live (and be much wealthier, afford a bigger house, etc) but we couldn't and decided on going back to Oakland.

Oakland is still more affordable, probably because the public schools aren't great and commute to the good jobs on the peninsula is pretty painful.

Another SF lover here. It is an amazing place. What I like so much about it is that you can just wander aimlessly through the city and stumble upon all sort fo cool stuff. Very walkable.

Also, in contrast to NYC, you can easily string together a day where you're in Muir Woods, then hit a winery or two in Sonoma, and be back in SF in time for the Symphony. Sure, I don't do stuff like that all the time, but on occasion when I have visitors in town.

Downsides are the high cost, the absolutely insane homeless and feces filled streets, and the monoculture.

That’s a pretty narrow view of NYC. You can be on a beach in an hour or less, any number of state parks in a short time, etc.

California is amazing, but the NY metro area has a ton to offer with a much lower drama factor.

Could the drama factor concept be expanded on, I am not following.

I can hit Muir Woods-esqe outdoors areas (that are much less busy), wineries, and arts in a day in central New York (the state, not the city). Much cheaper too...

I agree with you. Having lived in a number of great cities over the years, San Francisco is my favorite. It's not perfect, but there are a lot of things to love, and being able to work remotely wouldn't cause me to move.

Actually just got back from a very similar bike ride.

Honestly, if SF was a bit warmer, and didn't have all the homelessness, it wouldn't be such a bad city (assuming you have the luxury to afford it). But I'm a bit fed up with the state of the city personally, I don't think I can stay here for long... it is eating your soul to see so much poverty.

I'm really baffled, I have no solutions to offer, I'm just baffled that everyone can see that SF is in a very very bad state and yet nothing is improving.

It's kind of an aspect of the tragedy of the commons. If you yourself haven't done anything to contribute towards a solution then likely it's also what's going on for everyone else.

Basically everyone (me included) is just completely baffled why nothing is improving and just sitting there waiting for something to be done.

I recommend the south bay if you want to escape the poverty, it's not as bad down there.

Another one! I love the weather here too. That's my favorite part, no need for A/C or worry about the snow. I love the fresh fruits and vegetables and going to the farmer's markets to find what's in season. We're so close to everything that you can want to do in life, that I cannot imagine a better place to grow up or live.

I mean that's great but you left out a lot of the bad parts. Human feces everywhere, homeless people, broken needles, expensive rent...

I think south bay you get less of the above with better weather.

And the baying tech workers!

If you think 'homeless people' are one of the bad things, then I think you're part of the problem, and would politely ask you to help come up with a solution.

You're aware around 90 percent of the bay area considers to homelessness to be a serious problem.

Citation: https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/03/08/when-it-comes-to-the-... "89% of residents say homelessness is an extremely or very serious problem — up from 79% the year before"

Considering homelessness to be a serious problem and considering homeless people to be a problem are very different (and to some extent opposed) things.

Advocates for homeless people think homelessness is a problem. People that oppose dealing with homelessness tend to portray homeless people as a problem.

>Considering homelessness to be a serious problem and considering homeless people to be a problem are very different (and to some extent opposed) things.

What doesn't solve problems is creating a false BS dichotomy between "homelessness" and "homeless people" as if there are two major groups of people who are actively combatting two different problems. It's ridiculous. If the people who view "homeless people" as a "problem" aren't advocating helping "homeless people" as solving the problem what exactly are they advocating?? How do you solve the "homeless people" problem without helping "homelessness?" Don't be stupid, these things are one and the same problem with the same solutions.

This is a play on words inserting false malice where there was originally and obviously no malice intended.

Instead the origin of the malice is @dragonwriter intending to use a play on words to start a witch hunt.

I think ultimately a lot of the negative stuff I said about San Francisco pissed off some people who love the city. I wasn't trying to paint San Francisco in a bad light. I was trying to shave off some of the excessive and illusory positivity of the initial post because San Francisco as great as it is, is a city with deep issues and deep problems. To solve these issues and to solve these problems one has to first admit that they exist. Acceptance is hard for many, especially those who have lived here all their lives, and I think this attack was just an aspect of that.

You don’t think “homeless people” are a bad thing!? The first step is recognizing the problem. More of the same is not a solution.

i would wager most would rank the worst homeless population in the country in terms of rampant drug abuse and severe mental illness an unqualified negative

Have you been working on a solution?

I for one am hoping that house prices drop with all the tech people moving out of the Bay Area. That way I can move back to Rockridge (North Oakland) to work remote from there without paying an arm and a leg.

Wherever you find yourself in SF you will be just couple of miles away from Tenderloin which is a place on Earth closest to hell.

My wife and I live in Mexico. She works remotely, I did that for 10+ years, now I'm building my thing and taking some occasional freelance projects.

I won't deny there are some horror stories coming from Mexico, but I'm a European and have been living here since 2009. I've never seen or experienced anything even remotely violent. I paid for a mordida once, that's it. I've lived in Mexico City, Estado de México, Veracruz, Cancún, and now near Querétaro. I've travelled to most states either for tourism or work. Although I'm from Spain I totally look like a gringo so I never pass unnoticed.

We live in a little village about 3 hours from Mexico City with almost no crime at all. We only lock our door when leaving town. We have 200Mbps fiber. We rent a 3bdr house with garden for about $500 USD. Life is really good for us.

My wife is Mexican and her mother passed away a couple of months ago so we're now planning to go back to Europe in 2-3 years once my gig starts generating some income. There is not much here for her and I'm a bit bored of Mexico. We also don't like how the political situation is changing with Amlo.

I paid for a mordida once, that's it.

For anyone else besides me who was unfamiliar with the term, it's a bribe: https://www.tripsavvy.com/definition-of-mordida-1588821

The fact that the word starts with 'mordid' somehow made me associate with 'mort' and that was not good :"D thanks for clarifying.

a mistake like that would have me feeling muy embarazada

I see what you did there!

(for those that do not speak Spanish: embarazada = pregnant)

I'm from New Zealand and lived there for 4 years. Same experience. Never saw anything crazy, didn't even know anyone who had. I used to fly up to LA and SF often, and saw crazy shit up there often.

Mexico is safer than the US - some will find that unpaletable. Get over it.

> Mexico is safer than the US - some will find that unpaletable. Get over it.

This is quite verifiably false?



edit: fixed link

I think crime and especially violence in Mexico are much more unevenly distributed. That is, half the country is really safe and half is quite dangerous.

I stayed in various of the "safe parts" of Mexico for three months and felt much safer than in any of various cities in the US, both experienced as a European traveller.

The United States is the same way. I grew up in the Midwest and I've lived in Washington DC for the past 14 years. There's a huge difference in crime levels between the two.

Your first URL is wrong, and btw you are comparing two different metrics. The Mexico link shows number of murders and the US one murder rate.

Also, even comparing apples to apples those stats don't paint the day to day reality of living in Mexico. Very often murders are from fights between narco gangs, or between narcos and the police/military.


It's also true that crime and narco presence is not equally distributed.

See Queretaro vs Boston:



Although I'm from Spain I totally look like a gringo

I can't help but wonder if a Spanish accent buys you some cred in Latin America that other gringos don't get.

I think the general negative stereotype about Spaniards in Mexico is that they're brash and stupid. Mexico's negative Polish jokes demeaning a culture's intelligence would be comparable to Galician jokes, dating from a time when there used to be more Galician immigration into Mexico. Iberian accents don't sound cultured and distinguished to most Mexicans; also, Spaniards more casually use words that sound rude to Mexicans or use words with different general meanings like "coger" ("take" in Spain but "fuck" with sexual meaning in Mexico). It's a funny situation not comparable to how most British accents sound cultured and distinguished to US nationals.

On the other hand, Mexicans use more diminutives compared to Spaniards and have lost the informal plural "you", always using what would be the the formal form of address in Spain. Mexicans often also say "¿mande?" to acknowledge you or request that you repeat yourself, but this more literally means something very servile like "order me" or "what is your command?", a remnant of the Spanish conquest of Mexico. For this reason, Mexicans sometimes sound excessively polite to Spaniards.

Of course, these are just broad stereotypes and it's entirely possible that pier25 has not experienced any of this. Possibly simply due to being foreign and the generally unacknowledged racism we have in Mexico (white is pretty), pier25's experience may have been entirely positive.

Also, pier25 may look like a gringo but he's not a gringo. In Mexico, only people from the US are gringos, regardless of their appearance. Obama is a gringo; Trudeau is not a gringo (other countries use the term "gringo" differently). As soon as pier25 speaks, no Mexican would call him gringo. Gachupín is an older somewhat pejorative term for Spaniards in Mexico, but I think it's rarely used nowadays.

> Spaniards more casually use words that sound rude to Mexicans

Yes, this is totally true.

Also Mexicans generally try to speak properly unless they are with friends or family. They typically shush bad words, use more polite substitutes, or they start a sentence with "excuse me but...".

In Spain nobody cares.

> pier25's experience may have been entirely positive

Yeah, totally. I've lived in different countries so I adapt very quickly to different customs and forms.

> As soon as pier25 speaks, no Mexican would call him gringo.

You'd be surprised. Most people in Mexico associate Spanish accent with Madrid accent (eg: hola como eshtash) and since I don't have that accent they think I'm a gringo with a weird Spanish accent. Dozens of times Mexicans have insisted speaking to me in English even when I was speaking in Spanish to them. Once I even had to insist that I was from Spain and the answer was "¿Pero español de España?" :)

With my wife we've joked about making a t-shirt for me that says "Que no soy gringo joder!".

> Que no soy gringo joder!

Jajajaja me encantaría ver esa playera.

> Iberian accents don't sound cultured and distinguished to most Mexicans

That's so interesting. I'm from Brazil, and to us Continental Portuguese sounds pompous, much like what a British accent sounds to an American listeners.

Different languages, I know, but interesting contrast considering both cases are related to the Iberian peninsula :)

It's possible.

Outside of touristic zones (Vallarta, Cancún, etc) Mexicans tend to like and be curious about people from abroad. There's actually a pejorative term called malinchismo for this preference for foreign stuff.


>My wife and I live in Mexico....There is not much here for her and I'm a bit bored of Mexico.

>we're now planning to go back to Europe

Where in Europe are you planning to relocate?

My wife would like the North of Spain or South of France. I'd prefer a colder climate.

Switzerland! Clean. Great nature. Stuff actually works. People do their jobs well and without argument. Transportation is reliable. Easy living.

Also nod to NL, as other poster. Lived there for three years. Again, stuff works.

> Switzerland!


Both Switzerland and NL are at the top of my list.

NL might be a good choice then.


I've heard great things about Guadalajara, anyone in tech has experience to share?

I'm from Mexico. I lived in Guadalajara for ~8yrs while in University and the first years of my career before moving to Canada. I go back frequently, sometimes working remotely (a few times even in WeWork spaces, hah!). I love to go back, there's a lot of things I miss, but I'd not raise my kids there given the option (which I now have thankfully), both economy and violence are an issue. I can imagine living as a single or childless expat for a while can be a great experience though. I sometimes think of going back to retire to a town nearby one day.

FWIW, I've been living in Budapest now for a year and is quite nice, I like Europe overall too, but we'll be returning to Canada :-)

I lived an hour away (as a foreigner). Absolutely loved it, and would still be there if I didn't have to return home for sick family.

These guys won’t even move to New Orleans, what makes you think they’ll consider Mexico

how do taxes work?

Since I'm married to a Mexican I have the permanent residence so it's just like any other Mexican.

As for getting money from abroad you have to declare it and pay a percentage to the state.

> We also don't like how the political situation is changing with Amlo.

Could you expand on this? I'm not keeping up with Mexican politics so I don't know much besides him being left leaning.

Not op, but I'm a Mexican living in México.

He is surrounded by incompetent and bootlicker advisors.

This administration is one of the most corrupt and violent in the past 20 years.

He has three pharaonic projects to build an outdated infrastructure that only "benefits" the president's home state.

He is actively stopping the construction for renewable energy projects and foreign investment.

Yes the president is betting everything into oil, burning huge piles of cash on useless projects, scaring foreign investment, and stopping all investment into renewables. Among other countless stupid decisions.

With the combination of COVID and the current political situation, Mexico is going to plunge into the worst recession it has seen in modern history. I wouldn't be surprised if Mexico becomes the next Venezuela in a couple of years.

> He is surrounded by incompetent and bootlicker advisors.

A more accurate description would be “he surrounds himself with incompetent and bootlicker advisors.”

At the presidential level he appointed all of those people


Oh! Thank you for teaching me this word.

He was hugely popular when he came into office and made some significant improvements the cash subsidy for farming program. Nevertheless, there sure are power-consolidation moves evident.

https://www.as-coa.org/articles/approval-tracker-mexicos-pre... https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/amlo-is-me...

Nothing wrong with being left leaning. But he is a demagogue. A narcissist surrounded by yes men.

I would live in NYC, which is where I already live. NYC won't feel like NYC while we have SIP because there are no performances, no arts, etc.

But I'm hopeful that will all return in 18 months.

And so in my idealized remote setup, the balance I want is:

A) Work environment optimized for deep work. I run a company, but I've found a way to do that with very few meetings and very little email. Most weeks I just have one meeting and many days I don't send a single email.

B) Living environment optimized for people and culture. While a lot of restaurants are obviously going to have to declare for bankruptcy, I do think that people working from home are going to crave a social life and so I think the demand for pubs and restaurants will return.

NYC people resonate with me because I experience them as a diverse group of ambitious people. I'm constantly running into people in different industries, but who still share my basic interest/ambition to figure out how to succeed.

In order to make this work you need to have a decent office setup. But I'm sure that coworking will be able to meet the demands of people that want more work/life separation. That's a pattern that people who work for me often use: remote worker at a coworking desk. But I have a nice office setup for myself already even though NYC apartments are small.

(I am coupled, but we are intentionally child free.)

I work remotely and live in NYC. Honestly, I cannot imagine living anywhere else. Present conditions notwithstanding, I believe New York to be an ideal place to base oneself. The connivence to both everyday needs, world-class food, culture, and yes, employers, is unparalleled. And on top of that, there is perhaps no better place in the US from which to explore the world.

People say it's expensive but they act as if you get nothing in return for what you pay, which is certainly not the case.

Can someone please explain what people mean by "culture"? I'm a working class joe, I can't afford to pay for Broadway tickets regularly. What's the benefit here?

Sure everyone will talk about art and food and all of that but culture in my mind comes from something deeper. I live in Brooklyn where I can walk outside and meet people from every corner of the world without leaving my block. The philosophical perspectives that people come from hits you with every interaction you have. The longer you live around it the more you learn about their back stories and why these different groups of people carry themselves differently than you might or dress differently, work differently, eat differently, make love differently and so on. Often times these interactions are small but still impacting, other times they are intense and moving like hearing first hand explanations what it was like to live through atrocities from around the world and what it takes to escape but they all hold meaning and a life lived only surrounded by large groups of the same often leads to everyone eating the same things, enjoying the same art and music and missing out on, or even understanding the things outside of your own bubble. Sure you don't need to fit the mold of the place you live but in a place overflowing with influences it is clear that there is always more to soak. So as a working class joe I can still find myself experiencing things that I would have never sought out myself simply by walking out my front door and having a conversation with a neighbor.

I am not sure what the OP specifically meant, but here goes:

when I talk about "culture" in my city, I am usually referring to how often I will end up at events which broaden my perspectives, simply by tagging along or following the suggestions of friends/acquaintances. For example: wine tastings, art gallery/museum openings, open mic amateur stand up comedy events, [specific thing, e.g. cactus] festivals, and so on. (in my experience many such events are free/inexpensive)

What city has cactus festivals?

We've lived in NYC both at a time when we had very little money for culture and also now when we have plenty of disposable income. So there is a free/low-cost culture here too, although, generally we now don't hesitate to pay for the more expensive things.

When I said culture I was thinking to myself a lot about diversity. This is a major outpost for movie production, tv production, theater, music, dance, comedy, art, writing. And so we end up with both the high end version of those, i.e. broadway, and also all the supporting versions as people climb the ladder to the big leagues or even just need smaller place to test an idea.

It's so intwined with the city that I run into it everywhere. An element of that diversity is that I experience a lot of surprise. I'll see something or meet someone and learn something that I didn't already learn.

A smattering of experiences:

- My partner has a season pass to an off broadway theater and had Hamilton tickets before it was on Broadway.

- Twice now I've lived directly above major magazine editors. One was the #2 at Real Simple and now is on Medium's internal team and my current downstairs neighbor is at the Atlantic. How do they think about current events and how to best explain it?

- Janene Garafolo is trying to start a comedy club in Brooklyn and it's a very relaxed and easy night out that's only a few blocks from my house.

- I ended up friends with a guy now on the air at WNYC right when he was making the transition into radio. He'd take me to Moth Story Telling Competitions and sometimes he'd win which led to him getting much more serious about audio storytelling. But when I first met him he was dirt poor and sharing a very shitty car with my now girlfriend.

- I ended up at a lot of parties with one of the lead dancers at the Paul Taylor company. She's probably one of the top ten dancers in the world. And this was just a run of the mill house party, maybe ten people sitting around drinking.

- The artist who did Obama's presidential portrait is on the permanent collection at Brooklynn Art Museum and his urban men restyled as Renaissance paintings kind of blew my mind.

- Almost everyone here is up on a current museum exhibition, theater thing, or writing. So culture is just part of the conversation here.

- I was sitting at an off-broadway play and ended up making small talk with the person sitting next to me, Deborah Eisenberg. I had no idea who she was, but she had just had a book reviewed by the NYT. She looked bored because her partner is a famous actor (recognizable by anyone who saw Princess Bride). And so he was fending off a fan and she looked bored. Later I saw her speak at a non-fiction center near our place in Brooklyn and the audience was almost all writers.

- The TV show Dirtbag on Amazon seems pretty well known. (It's also great). I saw her do a one-woman show version of season one. It was about 90 minutes with just her performing. Tina Fey was sitting right in front of us, which is part of the pipeline thing here. Performers are out checking out other performers.

And then on top of that, yeah, I go to the movies and see mainstream movies and what not. Or I used to in the "before times."

I've also been working remotely from NYC - lived here for about 7 years now. Agree with everything you've said. The people and the level of ambition and energy here is unrivaled anywhere else I've been, save for maybe Tokyo or Hong Kong. I'm also optimistic that things will return to some semblance of normal within a year or two. I'm also hopeful that the coming months will provide a bit of a reset with lower prices that will allow residents or businesses that were previously priced out to return.

I loved NYC in many ways. But it's unforgiving. If you make a single mistake, or if anything bad happens to you, you'll be crushed. Lucky enough if you even have the dough to hire a U-Haul to hump your stuff back to the real world.

NYC is great. But keep everything you care about in three suitcases, and be ready to haul ass at a moment's notice. And for heaven's sake, don't sign a lease, much less a mortgage.

> I run a company, but I've found a way to do that with very few meetings and very little email. Most weeks I just have one meeting and many days I don't send a single email.

I'm very curious to know what your secret is!

Agreed. I absolutely love it here. There's still the huge downside of the cost of living. And competition for good school is starting to take a toll. But everything about the people and the energy is like no place else.

My village in Kerala, India. I got a house and I have a small patch of land which is very fertile and plenty of water (there are places with water scarcity). I get to watch the monsoon rains.

The beach is like a couple of miles away. The mountains are also quite close and its very beautiful and its very much untouched nature. It's also very hot and humid but I am fine with that.

Also, they get fiber so the internet is faster than where I live in the Bay Area.

The only problem was that there were no jobs there but with the Facebook announcement, that hopefully will change for the better.

As a non-Indian I would say most places in India are way up there in the beauty stakes, be it the desert states, the southern tropics, the inland forests, the river deltas or the mountains .. but I think for lifestyle you really can't go past Kerala or Himachal Pradesh. They have it all.

Gotta say Kerala looks pretty livable.


Traveling through India for a couple months is on my bucket list, and now Kerala is part of that.

How did you presumably google Kerala and then pick a city on a different coast in a different state?

Covid brain.

Kindly note though that the distance from the point I chose to the state of Kerala (not the city) is roughly the distance from Miami to Boca Raton.

That is Kanyakumari as the other commenter has pointed out. I was born and raised near there. It was such a beautiful place back then with a lot of greenery, ponds and the ocean. I wouldn't want to go back and live there these days, but I do miss the small town vibe I grew up with.

That is from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, not Kerala.

+1 for Kerala. My native is Kerala, but I was living in Bangalore for job. Due to Covid19, right now I am WFH from Kerala. Only issue I see is, in summer 3 months (March to May), it will be hot and humid here, so AC is required. Otherwise all good.

I had the opportunity to spend a week in Kerala. It's a beautiful place with rather friendly people and such delicious food! What a lovely place!

Love for Kerala +1


It's one of the five biggest cities in the US but most people routinely look past it.

First of all it's fairly cheap, less than half as expensive as SF even in the nicest parts.

It's got the best restaurant scene of any city I've spent time in (and almost all are free BYO).

It's got a great art scene including a ton of amazing live music. 4 sports teams with passionate fan bases.

It's racially diverse (no racial majority), mostly safe, and has plenty of young professionals.

And if you really need to you can get to NY in only a few hours.

The only reason I'm not there is that the tech scene sucks. If I could be remote I'd be there already.

You forgot to mention DC is nearly as close as NYC, and the train between either is a great way to get around.

Something that folks on the West Coast might appreciate: flights to major European cities are roughly equal to flights to SF or LA, and often cheaper.

Oh, and it’s a 6 hour drive to Montréal.

Granted, with corona... that’s all dreaming.

As somebody who just started a remote role and is in the process of signing a lease in Philly, this is good to hear :)

Agree with everything you said, but the weather makes it an instant disqualifier for me.

I live a few hours north of Philly and while there have been bad years, the last ~4 have been generally great. Generally mild winters and only intermittently unbearably hot and humid summers.

Do you mean the weather in the northeast, or Philly in particular?

I work remotely just outside Philadelphia and enjoy the change of seasons.

I do work remotely, and bounce between Philadelphia and Las Vegas, depending on my mood and the weather. Philly food, drink, art, and music scenes are all fantastic. Additionally, it’s a very “human scale” city. Large enough to support all of the above, but small enough that you can grasp the whole thing in your mind, and travel around it easily.

> small enough that you can grasp the whole thing in your mind

That's exactly how I feel about philly. Especially after spending several years in LA.

This is the reason I live in Delaware. I moved from NYC to Delaware with no intention of staying. But because of a lot of the stuff you mentioned I decided to stay. I'm able to be in Philly in a little more than 20 minutes, back to NYC in 2 hours and DC in 2 hours. The COL is just right and plus I'm near family.

It’s true that Philadelphia has all these great benefits, but they’re counterbalanced by Phillies fans, the trashiest in baseball. Head further south to DC and there are many of these same benefits, tons of free cultural activities, and the reigning World Series Champs.

It’s all relative. Philadelphia sports fans are also considered some of the most passionate and loyal out there. I state this as journalist-reviewed fact :) https://www.npr.org/2018/02/03/582876687/despite-colorful-hi...

Presumably not as cheap though

Philly does have a great restaurant scene!

It’s actually the 6th largest city, Phoenix beats it out for the number 5 spot.

> 4 sports teams with passionate fan bases.

Rabid. They have rabid fan bases.

I'm a bit surprised very few people mention proximity to parents, family, and long time friends as a major reason of picking a place to live. The discussion is mostly around beaches, scenery, and climate. It seems that either social capital is not that important for most commenters, or many simply don't realize what they lose when they move to another country for beaches and scenery.

Haha, I was about to comment "right here".

I live in the small city where I was born, so within 30 minute walking distance of my parents, one of my sisters, and a few of my friends.

It's amazing because our kids can play together and we can easily have the proud grandparents come over for help. Plus, friends can come over for a drink and then walk back home.

I did live in Singapore, Vietnam, and the Canary Islands for a while, which was also great, but for different reasons.

I'd say the focus on travel in here just shows that most HN readers are younger than me, so they don't have to plan for kids yet.

I think it is an age thing. If you're younger or at least not "settled"/bound by family obligations you want to see/enjoy things e.g. you didn't or don't currently have in your life - most people prefer exotic places, e.g. "beach".

The importance of family and friends comes once you realize it actually doesn't really matter that much where you live (unless it is downright terrible to live there). Life is what you make off it - this goes for your "place" as well. And for some people, their friends are essential to do that. For others not at all.

I would have never moved for family unless it concerns my household. I only moved once because of "friends"/people I knew when deciding where to study. Wasn't really stupid, just the wrong reason. It is never easier to make friends than as an 18 year old beginning your studies.

I always intended to move after studying to work abroad for a few years. Scandinavia or California would have been awesome.

I prefer not to move at all now because I/we prefer stability in life now as parents. The doctors we know, the shops we know, the handymen we know - and life isn't that terrible where we are and the daily struggles interesting enough. I would work remote to be able to stay where I am right now, just as an example.

Having moved across the continent as a kid I don't fear moving - I just prefer not to unless really necessary. Moving across the country in a few years, to a place I know more "adolescent-friendly" and with "nicer people" to build a house is still an option for me though - but harder for my partner to feel comfortable with.

I guess a lot of people (including my dad) are more adventurous and need to see the "foreign land", but everyone has their own incentives and anchors.

This deserves to be a top comment. Once you hustled your life away and have your life full of regrets that you haven't spent it with your loved ones - you realise that location is a pretty useless qualifying factor for life unless your family and closest ones are around.

I would 100% move back to Puerto Rico.

My mom, sisters, long time friends, family, beaches, scenery, mountains, hurricanes, etc. I’ll take it all.

I would need to be able to have and run a central AC like here though. All I hear from friend is how hot it is right now.

You also get some pretty sweet tax breaks, right? I seem to recall reading that somewhere.

There are some nice tax breaks for tech companies on the island. If you freelance or do contract work, it would be best to get a company setup for that.

Not far north of Auckland - Tawharanui peninsula, Mangawhai, etc. On a large rural mansion (preferably with ocean view). All easily achievable with about $1m USD (interest rates are great atm to). The thing to watch out is "rates" aka taxes and maintenance (ocean water does etch a bit). Downside is NZ is quite boring from cultural perspective (but super fun for boating, fishing, hunting, etc - I think most city dwellers don't realise how much of it's here). The other problem is visiting family in Europe means it's nearly 10k a year for business flights. Plus winters here aren't particularly pleasant either. I'd rather be in northern hemisphere for longer days mainly.

Right now we're a in a similar situation, albeit renting sharing with flatmates. Auckland/Airport is just 20-60 minutes away if need to. Marina is just 15 minutes away. Internet is not excellent but 60mbps VDSL is enough. Maybe 5G will change that.

On longer term - offshore cruising. I recon there might be a boom of that once Starlink constellation is operational and finally sat net is affordable for smaller boats. Big decision here is whether it's catamaran (2.5x living area, 3x cost, 2x speed, 2x maintenance, 2x comfort) or monohull (2x safety, 1.5x versatility).

Japan is out there too. They've recently announced visa programme for startups so immigration options might be more feasible. That said I've got spoiled by rural living and Japan is incredibly dense so no idea how big of a house I could find there. Also I'd move far north as summers in Tokyo etc seem unbearable.

I currently live in Kaiwaka not far from Mangawhai and have since Symantec bought out Ghost in '98, as that helped me afford a first house. It's a wonderful place to live. I did a lot remotely back then and once Symantec closed in NZ a decade ago I've been 100% remote from home ever since.

While I don't have an ocean view, and only about 2ha of land, it's a wonderful place to be. However, there are pretty significant drawbacks in getting gigs as there just aren't many local firms doing anything at all intellectually challenging and US firms still just apparently aren't interested in talent in this country who don't want to suffer being forced to relocate to awful places to live.

I don't see that changing, either; the fact is that people who really place proper value on a quality lifestyle tend to be older, and few firms really place much value on older talent either. Younger people are cheaper and more willing to suffer abuses such as moving to unpleasant, expensive metro areas in countries with alien values.

nice, I'd quite like to work remote in a similar location . Currently on the edge of Auckland (Henderson Valley area). I'm hoping with this lockdown more firms are going to be way more open to remote work. Current workplace didn't consider it an option pre lockdown, but might be more open to it now as working remotely has gone pretty well for us (other than the manufacturing side of things).

If I'm in NZ can I come visit? Looks lovely. How's the cheese shop?

Anyone from HN who wants to can drop by on the way to a more traditional tourist spot like Mangawhai or further north (although over summer I'm often away at the weekends racing stockcars). The phone number for the library redirects to our house if it's not open.

The cheese shop is fine! I know Keith and Marita who have owned it for many years, they are good people - Ad Clarijs who founded it still occasionally runs cheesemaking classes, his place is not far from mine. Also worth a visit is the amazing Cafe Eutopia next door - https://g.page/eutopiacafe?share - which is a marvel.

It just boggles my mind how US firms don't realise how poor a value proposition - especially to people of an age to have a family or strong community ties, like the roots I have here - they offer to developers in AU/NZ when demanding that people relocate to work for them, and I'm not really optimistic that COVID-19 will really bring any significant change to their corporate cultures. I am hopeful that perhaps more firms in AU may cotton on to the fact that there's a substantial pool of exceptional veteran talent in NZ who are really underutilized, which really represents an opportunity for them if they were to make a serious attempt to hire here and let people work remotely.

I'm in Tauranga -- I have gigabit fibre, reasonable taxes, an amazing Prime Minister and a 3-5 hour time difference with Silicon Valley depending on the season. I am fortunate enough to have a remote job for a distributed company but I hope one of the few plusses to come out of the current state of the world is the tech industry taking its blinders off, finally, to remote/distributed work.

Dumb question, but how does the time difference to Silicon Valley vary with the seasons? They are a fixed distance apart.

They are, but daylight saving time means that from April to October the time difference is 5 hours (NZT: +12, PDT: -7) and otherwise it's 3 hours (NZDT +13, PST -8). With a few weeks of a 4 hour difference at the edges since the daylight saving boundaries don't precisely align.

Aaah that cheese shop. I've stop there briefly this summer, on way to Waipu. Finally got to taste cultured butter for the first time (unimpressed).

Utopia cafe looked dystopian as it was closed :D

We employ remote workers globally and are over represented by New Zealand and to a lesser extent Australia, I think for this very reason.

I'm in North Shore, which has fibre (100 mbps down, 20 mbps up). 5G is also good. There are cultural activities, but those are mostly in the city.

As a young, unmarried guy, there's no need for me to get a mansion. The homestay family I live with have taught me so much about living with young children, it's been a blessing to learn whether that's a challenge I'd like to take on.

Most people who want to make lots of money moved to Australia, so those left in NZ usually care about more important things in life.

I also have high hopes for Starlink, not just for NZ (we have enough submarine cables) but for other countries e.g. Zambia, Georgia.

I'm from nz as well, I wouldn't get your hopes up for 5g. We have too many trees for 5g, its only really planned in malls, airports, universities ect. Large indoor areas.

I think the bigger issue is oligopoly of cell providers. Puzzler how (reasonably) well Chorus operates, yet cell providers has big money to shelve for licences which is hard for polichickens to say no to.

The new 5G plans are pretty much same as 4G - it's not realistic alternative for broadband. Meanwhile in most Eastern European countries you can get truly unlimited data plan for less than $100 (we've got one for a 100 boat + 8 cameras marina).

Nice. If things really do go reliably in the direction of distributed-first, I'd love to move to Central Otago - where my heart has been since I was a child. I'd love to give my daughter the chance to grow up in Hawea, Bannockburn, or Earnscleugh.

I'd give serious consideration to the Mackenzie Country too - Ruataniwha, Pukaki, and Tekapo are all amazing places.

I live in the main part of Auckland, easy 20 minute bus ride to the Centre of town and Gigabit Fibre for Internet..

What specially you miss when you say "NZ is quite boring from cultural perspective" ?

For me Auckland is about the minimum size (1.5m people) I'd want to live. I have a minority hobby (chess) that barely exists in smaller cities, let alone towns. Similarly as you go to smaller places you lose those other niche things that need a huge population to support. For example outside of Auckland/Wellington most towns have perhaps one Tech meetup group, not one for every topic.

The outdoor stuff is an occasional for me. Living in the Auckland I can get to it in an hour or two dring while having two good bakeries in walking distance for my house.

Well I don't go out much nowadays, especially with newborn. But even then it's festivals and raves are too chill.

People are a bit simple. You'll rarely have discussion on politics, economy or philosophy. I suppose there's a reason - so many here can enjoy sailing, fishing, hiking, golf and much more than us in Northern Europe - things that are sort of luxury. We were bound to stay in deep dark cellars, listening to weird electronic music and eating pills like pacman.

Also housing supplies are a bit ridiculous. Laundry is good example - cold water, horizontal tub that at most gets rid of smell, but not stains. Also what's up with those stainless laundry sinks that every damn house has to have it? Right now we live on a property that's valued over $3m but we ain't got a damn heat pump...

Dude, (Dudette?) your thoughts are very similar to mine. The world is a big place with a lot of possibilities and this is totally possible. DM me.

I live in Lisbon. 10m walk from the riverside, 30m uphill walk to the center, gigabit fiber, (currently) 100% remote.

Would only trade for something directly on the seaside, or a little more to the West (Cascais, Guincho) for a slightly cooler climate, but those usually imply driving (which I detest) and lack “big city” amenities (most of which I can’t enjoy right now).

Have zero intention of ever going back to an office (have been remote on and off for years, hot-desked, worked at customers, etc.).

The current situation (despite the pandemic and weird working hours) is perfect for me since (nearly) all my colleagues and customers are outside Portugal.

I love Lisbon! (as a tourist) So walkable and inexpensive, good seafood to be had at the marisqueiras, clean sea air, cool stuff happening in the Chiado and Bairro Alto neighborhoods. I still remember my meals there: sopa de legumes, sardinhas, leitão, percebes, etc.

How's the tech scene?

The tech Scene here is good for the size of the city. Nowhere near SF or even Paris level, but definitely bubbling and growing at the moment with a lot of new implantations. I am the CTO of a 20 people startup with offices there, coming from France. Super happy with the move.

I visited Lisbon twice and I always felt like this was the city to work remotely from. The food is good, the people are super nice and chill and seem to appreciate life, the cost of living was low, and the weather was amazing.

Seeing the answers in this thread, I think people should get out of the US and visit cities like Lisbon to understand what it means to live.

What are schools like in Lisbon?

Schools and colleges are pretty decent, depending on location, neighborhoods, etc. Public schools are a bit all over the place where it regards quality, but all around Lisbon you have a lot of private schools (German, French, US-inspired, etc.). Best colleges tend to be public, though.

They are relatively big buildings. Kids go there and receive lessons in different subjects( stuff like Math, History, Geography, etc) from dedicated personal(known as teachers), it is OK I guess. The bad thing is that there is no pledge of allegiance ceremony, you cannot pick your curriculum and you HAVE to vaccinate your kids, but not everything can be good.

Taipei, Taiwan The most underrated city/country in Asia :

- Chill and relax

- Awesome people, polite and clean

- Best place in the world to work from cafes. Many cafes shops welcome people who works for long hours. They also care about cafe ;) I actually prefer to work from cafes than co-working here

- Surrounded by nature, mountain, sea, river are within 45minutes reach. Hundred of trails around Taipei.

- Metro / Bus system is top notch, no car needed, it's flat so you can bike everywhere easily. The bike sharing (uBike) is everywhere. I use it daily.

- People are genuinely kind, friendly, curious. Did I mentioned people 2 times? They deserve a 3rd mentioned, they really are.

- Visa is easy to get if you are employed (aka not freelancing), and earn more than usd5.5k/month, or work in a "trendy" field, you can get the "gold card" visa for 3 years that comes with a work visa, that is not attached to any company! Is any other country has such a perk to attract talent? I'm not aware of.

- Great healthcare (and the best best country that managed the coronavirus)

- LGBT friendly

- Warm (but humid)

- Convenient , 24/7 convenience stores, within 2 minutes walk from everywhere, really often, 2 convenience stores face each other (no kidding)

- Awesome international food scene , you can find any western food , and local food is amazing. Japanese food is amazing, as good as in Japan, but cheaper (it's an old japanese colony, and the favorite destination of japanese people)

- It's a better China (I lived in China for 4 years)


- It is so relax / chill that it somehow bugs me. I sometimes worry to become "soft", staying here bc it's too convenenient

- Wish the startup / tech scene was better

ps: if you live in Taipei hit me up :)

pps: People often think Taiwan is China, but it's not. It has a totally different vibe and Taiwanese has a totally different personality. The only thing in common is the language

Hopefully it's not exploited too much, but yes Taiwan is basically perfect place to live with reasonable comfort on the cheap.

I don't think you mentioned gyms. The Taiwanese are an oddly sports-oriented people. Throughout asia I can't think of an equal in terms of availability of cheap gyms. Public sports complexes are also sometimes good enough (but I've also found myself working out in a cramped room with a bunch of senior citizens on occasion :)).

I think you also didn't mention proximity to other countries for visiting. It's a very good location, and EVA is one of my favorite airlines.

Edit: Note that the things that make Taiwan great for living also, almost by default make it a "boring" country to some types of people. #1 for remote work possibly, definitely not #1 for thrill seeking, nightlife-type interests.

Spot on, love the gyms here. They have MANY decent gyms where you pay by the hour, and sometimes by the minutes without any membership. And really cheap, about usd 1,5 per hour .

Nice point on being one of the hub for flying in Asia. It's connected to everywhere within 1 or 2 hours reach(Philipine,China,Japan,Korea, SG etc...)

This is crazy, Virgin gym in Bangkok is almost £100/$121 per month

Yes. In Taiwan for 2 years now from SF and it's amazing. I like to visit around Asia but this is most livable by far. Plus it's really underated so it's a bit under the radar which I think is a good kpi for remote centric work.

Agreed on cons, it's so good it softens you which is an overindulgence if efficiency problem.

Agreed startup scene is hurting. Ironically amazing for hiring and even in high tech. Taida is a serious school and companies like TSMC are here so serious engineering gets done. Ifni was in hardware I'd look to here as a black sheep vs shenzen.

Say hi if in Taipei!

Not to mention zero new local cases a month now! Enjoying restaurants and life daily :). Shhh don't share about Taiwan

I've heard great things about Taiwan and Ben Thompson of Stratechery often talks about living in Taipei.

What I'm wondering is how worried are the people of Taiwan about China encumbering on their sovereignty in the near to mid future? Or is this something that people over there do not give too much thought to in their day to day lives?

I've been thinking about moving to Taipei since I visited you. I wish I could go back to China but 1. pollution and 2. censorship are real deal breakers. On the other hand I'm wondering about how it compares to some cities in Thailand (ChiangMai) or even Korea.

Thailand has become very difficult to stay in over the last decade. Unless you marry a Thai or are employed by a Thai company, you are limited to 60(-90) day tourist visas, which are only available from countries a long haul flight away. Expect lots of Visa hassles and day long trips to immigration to extend your 60 day visa to 90 days.

Chiang Mai has terrible pollution every year Oct-Nov due to burning crop residue. It affects all of Thailand and neighboring countries, but Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand gets it particularly bad to the point of needing smoke masks. You might be better off looking at Hua Hin if you don't mind trading mountains and cooler climate for a beach.

Thanks for the advice! I’ll look into it. I wouldn’t be against staying 2-3 months in different places in Asia

way more expensive COL than Thailand, but still cheaper than China/Korea

what is COL?

cost of living

I visited Taiwan last year and can confirm. It's a beautiful, modern place full of absolutely super nice people. The stories are true.

For the Taiwan Gold Card Visa that gives you the right to stay and Work in Taiwan for up to 3 years , you can find a comprehensive list of Questions and Answers on https://taiwangoldcard.com

I am studying master in Taiwan. Chill, cafe, convenience stores are certainly the best three things I loved about. Btw transportation is only top notched in Taipei, so if you are free you should take some time to get a scooter license.

long-term visa in Taiwan can be challenging unless you have a local employer

Looked a bit into gold card recently. Do you currently have it and are you working remotely?

Yes I do have it. and working remotely for few years now

For the gold card, do you not need to be employed by a local company? If not, that's a pretty good deal.

If you apply via salary, you need to be employed by any company. Freelancing income doesn't count. You need to justify it with employment letter, and tax return.

The other way is to qualify for any of their "talent" needs. Blockchain, VR, IA, and have proof it it (publication, work, projects). They have 8 categories of people that can qualify: https://foreigntalentact.ndc.gov.tw/en/cp.aspx?n=128B875DE9C...

Great, just reading up on it. I also have permanent residency in HK, so might be able to do it via that route as well.

Just keeping my options open at the moment.

Is your company also located in Taiwan?

I've been studying Mandarin here for a while after being a software engineer for a few years. Been thinking about what I'm gonna do once I feel comfortable in the language. Working remotely would be great if I could pull it off.

he works for Buffer.

Beef noodle soup yummm

For the last 3.5 years I've worked 100% remotely- an answer which I'm surprised isn't showing up more is: wherever my parents are. I got to spend my mid to late twenties seeing them daily and I'm fortunate for it every day. My girlfriend and I have an apartment on the other side of town and we were happy with the decision. The only way it could've been more ideal is if we could've gone back to our home country, but both of us are starting med school, hopefully, one day.

This. Especially if you have young children grandparents are worth their weight in gold.

Sacramento or the surrounding metro (Granite Bay, Folsom, etc.)

I’m not surprised no one has said it but it’s a really great city. I’m slightly biased in that I grew up in Sacramento but it’s really well located. 2-3 hours to everywhere in the Bay or to anywhere in Tahoe. The American and Sacramento Rivers run through Sacramento and there are miles upon miles of walking trails along them.

The rents are significantly lower than in the Bay. Depending on how far you go from Downtown Sacramento, you can rent a 3bd/2ba house in a great area for $2k/month.

The downtown area has really been revitalized since the opening of the new arena. There are a ton of fantastic restaurants in the area and plenty of things to do, and the homeless population isn’t as bad as in SF.

The weather can get really hot (100F/38C+ during peak summer) but those are just opportunities for a day spent on any of the various waterways.

Growing up here I definitely went through the same struggles as the character in Lady Bird- hating the place and thinking there was nothing to do. But it’s really been transformed and since leaving I’ve really grown to love this city. I’m definitely planning on moving back here in the long term future, but if the new WFH policies allow me to move back here sooner than I likely will.

If anyone has questions about Sacramento I would be happy to answer.

I moved to Elk Grove a few months ago and wrote an article on this topic and touched on most of the points you mentioned! :) https://medium.com/@bigilui/moving-from-the-bay-area-to-the-...

Is Sacramento at risk of earth quakes?

Midtown/East Sac is honestly the only place I would live if I were to go back. I have a major problem with the culture outside of the city itself:

1. People are very closed-minded. They're against education, labor, the government, LA, other countries, etc. Anti-vaxxers/homeschoolers are for real in the surrounding metro. I knew very few people who went to elite colleges and institutions from my high school. I just recently spoke with someone who threw a birthday party for their kid, no masks, no social distancing.

2. Homelessness. My barber's neighbor, a hair salon, recently went on Fox News to talk about property damage because the city won't do something.

3. Desperate poverty. You described the nice areas, Granite Bay and Folsom are hella rich. Go to Del Paso or where I grew up playing baseball on Watt Ave. Drugs, domestic abuse, shootings. Prostitution is basically an open secret.

4. Tech is nowhere to be found. I learned to code at the Hacker Lab, a local tech meetup non-profit, and got the hell out as soon as I could. There are literally no employers.

Yes, you can find a "cheap" place but for what you're getting the cost is way too high. I'm glad I left and I'll do my best to never go back.

1. I agree that the opinions are pretty wild in the surrounding metro. It seems that as you get to more of the affluent areas, the politics tend more to the right. I still think that the downtown/midtown areas are pretty liberal. At least from what I hear from friends living in that area.

2. I’m sorry that your barber’s neighbor had to go through that. The homelessness doesn’t really seem all that bad to me compared to SF though. My experiences are from my passing observations and I’ve never really been accosted by the homeless.

3. I didn’t grow up in either of those areas but I did grow up in a middle class area so my biases might be showing here but to me it seems like most larger metros have pockets of deep poverty. Yes, Granite Bay and Folsom are the upper class areas but I think there are more middle class areas than there are impoverished areas. I’m not super in tune with how local government is doing in the impoverished parts either.

4. In the context of working remotely I’m not sure how much this matters besides I guess being able to meet other people in tech. There’s also a decent amount of tech transplants moving to the area from what I’ve heard.

Most of your points here are generally applicable to... anywhere. The homeless problem does seem pretty bad, but again... it's not great in many cities. Anti-vaxxers and closed-minded people are to be found everywhere too.

The tech scene might be "nowhere to be found" compared to the bay, but there are plenty of tech jobs. Folsom is practically founded by Intel, HP has a campus in the area, Cisco has something here, there's an Apple presence in Elk Grove, and there are also plenty of smaller companies.

I faced this decision about 2.5 years ago; I had a remote job for which I could work anywhere, and I had just separated from my wife so I needed to move. I chose Gent, Belgium, and I haven't regretted that decision for a moment. The city itself is beautiful and an absolute joy to walk or bike around in, the people are all very friendly and welcoming, and, being a university city, most people you meet are intelligent and well-educated. I strongly recommend it to anybody who's looking to escape from the madhouse that is the United States these days.

Gent is an awesome city! Beautiful cathedrals and castles, a nice downtown riverside area, good art museums, lots of terraced pubs/cafes with excellent beer selections, plenty of smart people doing PhD work at UGent. And while people speak Dutch most of the time, 99% of people are fluent in English.

That seems unusual for a company to sponsor work visas for the country of your choosing. Care to elaborate on your situation or your suggestion for Americans to follow?

Did you already speak one of the primary languages before making the move?

My experience in Gent in 2006 was that it was impossible to get anyone to even attempt Flemish once they heard me say a word, be it English or Dutch. I imagine now it's even more that way. Nearly everyone was at least quad-lingual in English, Flemish, French, and another language, with many also having 5th or 6th languages in Spanish / Italian or German.

Would not recommend for Francophones to end up in the Flemish side of the country unless they also speak English or Flemish - there's some cultural stigma, or was at the time.

I've worked remotely since 1996, living in rural Indiana, Budapest, and Puerto Rico. Now I live on a farm in the mountains of Puerto Rico and all my questionable life decisions have culminated in a very, very tolerable quarantine.

So, answer: slow nomad. It's been a good life, although I've found it difficult to prosper to the extent more connected people can. (But I believe this is more me, than being remote.)

I like the notion of 'slow nomad'!

I don't like the idea of bouncing around a lot - a month here, a month there - it feels superficial. On the other hand, between reading and talking to a lot of people, and exploring the hell out of wherever I am by bike, a place can start to feel old... I've been here in Bend, Oregon for 5 years, and have ridden more roads and trails than some who have been here much longer. It's difficult to find new stuff to explore at this point without driving further afield. I kind of miss the sensation of it all being new, yet to be discovered (by me).

how would you compare the experience in these locations?

Im a US citizen - lived in Mexico and the Islands of the South Pacific

Where in rural Indiana?

Surprised more people on here aren't saying nice, relaxed, sunny places like SE Asia. I'm a white american citizen and I've been living in SE Asia for 3 years having the time of my life while working remotely. I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. Looking back at the US, I don't miss the jerks everywhere, the value system of work, work, work and more money. Here in SE Asia, they value quality of life, being happy, family, and friends over money and "success" which is what Americans value.

Most (not all) places in SE Asia have air quality that will have health ramifications that aren't worth the upsides of living there. I unfortunately recently had to move my family out of there because of it. Air quality aside, it can be a great place to live.

This. I've been in Bangkok for the past year and the air quality has been really bad. Not as fatal as china but almost there.

other factors

-Food is cheap but novelty wears off eventually and you will want to cook. Apartments are mostly expensive and small [in BKK] so kitchen is small. Western style groceries are expensive.

-Its too hot. Traffic is really bad. Public transport is air conditioned but walking to skytrain etc is tiring because of the traffic, pollution, heat around you.

-Wework or similar remote coworking spaces are not cheap

-Language barriers

-Time difference with clients back home [major one]

I did one month in Hanoi, Vietnam and hated it. Places with infastructure worse than Thailand make it awkward if you have to work everyday 9-5

I think it can be fun if you move around and do it in episodes. I'd like to do some time in SKorea and Japan Perhaps Taiwan too https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23297378 (but then also see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GIndXSfawA)

All of these points are easily resolved by not living in the biggest city in your country. Bangkok is the New York City of Thailand. You could have all the same delicious food, but great air, no traffic, and more if you went to say Chiang Mai

Nope. I moved from Chiang Mai. It has some of the worst air quality in the world for a quarter of the year, and almost consistently worse than in Bangkok.

That's a shame, guess I was only there during the good time

I stayed in chiang mai for a month last year. Air quality is second worst in Thailand because of crop burning.

I think Chiang Mai has issues with seasonal burning fields (same as Malaysia thanks to ID)

Good points, but the plus sides of Bangkok:

+ incredible night life with some of the best bars and clubs I've ever seen

+ from downtown to the most beautiful beaches in just 3 hours by car

+ more dream islands and beaches just 1 hour by inland flight away

+ several national parks in range for weekend tours

+ super easy and cheap to hop to exciting neighboring countries (Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore) for a few days

+ actually there are many super nice coworking spaces for around $120/month and many cafès allow sitting for hours

+ probably the best dating scene in the world for white and black men

+ Thai people are probably the friendliest, relaxed and most easy-going people in the world

Agree with the dating scene and nightlife. Beaches too. I really messed up my posture by working in cafes so tend to look for proper setups these days

Air quality in Indonesia is pretty good (as long as you're not in Jakarta or any other major city in Java) and a lot of expats work remotely in Bali.

that's just not truth unless you live in the biggest cities, it's not really an issue in most of the places, for instance I travelled across Thailand for months many times and only place I would consider dirty regarding air quality would be Bangkok

You're absolutley wrong. Air quality is a huge issue in most Asian countries due to crop burning especially Thailand. You should look at the AQI and pm2.5 levels on a trusted app.

yes, crop burning is seasonal issue in some locations of Thailand, Malaysia (from ID) and Indonesia, not all year round issue

Go look at the AQI for last 12 months. I live here. I know.

I looked at AQI right now and forecast for next few days and don't find there anything extreme, just a little bit dirtier air during rush hours caused by crappy cars and motorbikes without filters, but nothing extreme anyway, slightly above what is considered completely healthy.

That's in cities right? I know most people want to live in cities, but if you don't, I don't think that would be an issue.

Just curious, which countries in SE Asia would you recommend?

KL (my hometown) is great. There's reliable gigabit internet, which is important to remote workers I reckon. Dying to convince tech folks to come here instead of Singapore.

As a citizen you might not see it but Malaysia is tough for foreign developers and foreigners in general. I mean it's tough even for decent local developers, all the good ones get out asap. The only acceptable foreigner workers for most of the population are the ones who will do menial jobs, everyone else isn't wanted there. In SG no one cares about you being a foreigner.

Theres few options available to someone trying to work in Malaysia remotely:

- Get business visa sponsorship for a local job, be treated terribly and earn a bit more than local dev rates which are still lower than what you get flipping burgers in the West and work your remote job on the side.

- Apply for the Tech Entrepreneur visa which is inward looking and needs to either employ locals or be focused on the Malaysian market to be successful.

- Third option is buying a house and getting a 10 year renewable visa from that, the recent situation with the government banning permanent residents from returning home due to covid shows how little value PR actually grants you.

Not really conducive to remote workers moving there to live. Internet is great though and most services are well provided for.

I couldn't live in KL longterm, was there for most of a year and it really wasn't for me, there's some nice suburbs and all that but the pollution and soulless aspect of the city really gets to you after a while, it's so car-centric with malls everywhere being the only place you are encouraged to be a pedestrian.

For someone like me who likes to go out and drink a bit it's incredibly expensive. Smoking a pack of cigarettes a day costs basically nothing though which is amusing as a non-smoker. It's also hard to justify living in and supporting a country where people pay different prices for the same house based on their race along with a myriad of other race based laws, it's very backwards in a lot of ways. Everywhere has problems but these ones seem quite in your face once you live there for long enough. Bumiputera laws are bizarre and counterproductive to any semblance of a healthy society.

Penang is charming though and has a lot going for it, along with a big expat community, fresh air and always close to nature, Langkawi is a cheap 15 min flight away, it was once the "Silicon Valley of the East" but never really capitalised on that, regardless there's still a lot of tech manufacturing and associated industry.

I feel you.

Our homegrown tech scene is nothing to shout about. That's why realistically I positing a case for remote workers of foreign firms instead. Who knows, maybe the "right stuff" will spillover locally after a decade.

The bumiputera nonsense is outside our control, however unless you have to frequently deal with the government, most people won't even notice.

There's so much potential there, Malaysia has a lot going for it from a startup perspective it's just getting the talent, not just in tech either. Energy, rent, taxes are all incredibly low. I guess the same applies to startups but it all comes at a cost.

Homegrown success stories like grab eventually move to Singapore because it's just easier in a lot of ways.

I find it sad, been in and out of the country for nearly a decade and there's some real opportunities to lure in foreign remote workers or startups but there's little political will to do so. The concept that a foreigner could work for a US company from KL will just upset locals who would demand they do the work instead.

Know plenty of expats and nomad types from over the years and even basic things like accommodation is a nightmare. Monthly rentals are rare to come by apart from airbnb and that is banned in many apartments. Everywhere else in SEA you can walk up to an apartment and have a monthly lease signed in under an hour.

When I first moved in for the first week every security guard in the complex demanded to see my lease and accused me of using airbnb, was quite a shock.

Having spent the last few months stuck in Singapore's awful lockdown, I'm pretty convinced it's not the place for me. Can't wait to get back home to HK. I'm starting to miss the smell of teargas.

That said, wasn't the biggest fan of KL when I visited. It gave me "trying too hard to be Singapore and failing" vibes. Was much happier chilling in Langkawi. For a big SE Asia mega-city, BKK or Saigon are far more livable than KL, Manila, or Jakarta (and the associated crime, traffic, etc.)

Langkawi is currently reeling from the virus. They are dependent on the Chinese cruise crowd and that have dried up completely. I expect real estate prices will see a hit.

On the bright side, they're likely to be the first spot in Malaysia to get 5G, so that will bode well for an emerging tech scene.

Expats love it because sin items (tabacco and alcohol) are not only tolerated, but duty free. People buy a house right next to the airport and fly to KL / Singapore for their once a fortnight big-city fix.

Try Labuan, not as touristy and good Internet due to the offshore finance centre. Large number of expats as well as the oil crew from Brunei who come for the tax free alcohol. Regular flights to KL or take the ferry/fly to KK or Brunei.

KL isn't much of a mega-city compared to Bangkok, which is IMO an upside.

definitely Thailand. Vietnam is nice on the coastal cities.

How do you work remotely from Thailand for any reasonable amount of time? They are incredibly strict about these things. Sounds like an extended holiday and no stable way to live.

Apart from applying for an education visa and learning Thai (unsure that actually grants work rights?) or an actual work visa with associated FT job, you'd be on 1 month tourist visas with repeated border crossings and in legal grey zone at the whim of regulators.

Vietnam you can apply for extensions up to 1 year and everyone leaves you alone if employed remotely or running your own business abroad. Central Vietnam is a beautiful place.

The elite visa is $15k for 5 years if you have the money that's the way to go. It's possible to stay in Thailand about 6 months max per year without risking getting into trouble on a tourist visa.

I've been living there 6 months out of the year the past 3 years and plan to get the elite visa once the pandemic settles down. Vietnam is another favorite spot of mine but Thailand has always been my #1.

Foreigners paying 15K for a glorified tourist visa is why the myths about all foreigners being “rich” continue in this country.

There are also special rules/visa (I do not know details but I have a few friends who did it and are still doing it) where you can create a company and hire Thai people, you can stay + pay (almost) no tax. If I remember correctly, the tax incentives expire after 6 or so years, but you can stay there as long as the company exists. One of the friends is there 13 years now and had no issues (besides the paperwork, but he paid someone to do that). But I guess you do need some money; just going there on a shoestring is not great anyway; I would want to be able to leave at any time when I want to (that's emergencies, not leaving for fun!).

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