Some days I wake up very undecided in terms of my travel plans because there is so much of the world to see. I mean, I really do have a desire to see it all, but there’s just so many possibilities.
** By the way, I have a HUGE post coming down the pipe about cities in southern Brazil, straight from my recent trip, so stay tuned. **
Do I go to southeast Asia? Do I go to Eastern Europe? Do I go to Africa?
Notice these aren’t even countries, let alone states or cities. They’re entire regions of the world. You could easily spend years in any of these destinations.
And, it’s so sexy to travel to every corner of the world, isn’t it? You always have a story about where you’ve been or where you’re heading, and your friends on Facebook like all your photos and post comments saying “I love your life!” and “I wish I could do what you do!”
But then, I remind myself about my primary aim in traveling at this point in my life, and it’s not to “see the sights”…
It’s to find cities around the world that I can see myself living in.
Now, finding cities around the world to live in is a very simple aim, but it requires boots-on-the-ground investigation. There’s simply no way to tell if you would positively like a place without actually going there.
The cardinal rule in real estate investing is to never buy a property “site unseen.” The same goes for deciding on cities to live in.
Cuenca, Ecuador, for example, was touted as a hugely desirable retirement destination, and ranked #1 in various international living magazines. I found it to be quite different, and will not return.
The truth is there’s really no way to do this work without actually going to locations yourself. Primarily you’ve got to see first-hand what you might be getting into.
Having said that, there are a number of things you can do to accelerate the process of finding liveable cities. Hence my post (cleverly titled), “Accelerating The Search For Liveable Cities.”
Some things I listed in that post:
- Have a point of comparison that you love
- Read the boots on the ground reports of fellow travelers and bloggers
- Don’t put too much weight on guidebooks
- Examine as many practicalities as possible before you visit
- Make it a point to only stay longer periods of time in places that resonate with you
So, after a quick glance at these, it should be obvious that you can decide you wouldn’t live in a certain place without even visiting. Like I’ve said before, the ‘nays’ in the search for liveability can come rather easily.
So that reduces the task a bit. You don’t need to live in every city.
Now, this doesn’t mean you won’t ever visit these places you’ve already eliminated from contention. It just means that when you visit them, you will have a specific purpose.
For example, take La Paz, Bolivia.
I already know I will not like living there for several reasons.
- I have Medellin as my reference point.
- I have read all the hard-data about weather.
- I have read about and seen pictures of the culture.
- I have read about and seen pictures of the girls.
- I have read in-depth, non-tourist-guide reports of people who have been there.
- It is in the middle of nowhere in a landlocked country, and not a cheap plane flight from the US
Let’s just say La Paz leaves much to be desired.
There is just no way it could compete with Medellin for my affections. And I don’t need to visit to find this out.
I’m sure there are a lot of positive things about the city… Beautiful scenery to see. Museums and churches to take pictures of. Indigenous peoples to buy fruit from.
And, there probably will come a time when I make it to La Paz. But when I do, it will be because I am in the general area, I’ve got some extra cash to spend, and some time to spare to see the sites. (I’d really like to bike the Death Road, for example.)
But I am really not interested in any of that. Not right now.
Right now, I am on a rather purposeful hunt for cities I could see myself living in 3-6 months of the year (or more).
What are you really searching for?