16 votes

Where would you live if you had no ties to where you are now?

The US emigration thread brought back a lot of thoughts I've had about leaving the UK, and I imagine a decent number of us have at least idly wondered about a serious move - especially after a year like we've just had.

For me, the difficulty has always been figuring out where to go: politics/climate/healthcare/lifestyle/language are a delicate balancing act, and I don't think anywhere's a slam dunk. Everyone's going to have their own take on what perfect looks like, and what compromises to make mapping that to the real world!

So let's assume you're packed and ready to go, nothing holding you back. You've still got to navigate inbound immigration, handle the language, find a job, all that good stuff - but the world is your oyster. Where would you choose to go?

22 comments

  1. knocklessmonster
    (edited )
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    Southwestern Canada, probably some suburb of Vancouver so as not to be too far north. It's got much of the same environment as the American Pacific North West, beach access, I don't need to speak...

    Southwestern Canada, probably some suburb of Vancouver so as not to be too far north. It's got much of the same environment as the American Pacific North West, beach access, I don't need to speak French with the right accent, and get to live under a government that seems to push policies that make more sense to me, particularly with provision of medical and aid services. I don't expect perfect (I don't know of any problematic nuances of Canadian culture or politics, but that doesn't mean they don't exist), but I think I'd do alright up there, provided I could get a job and move in.

    It's not even a "Screw the US" idea, but realistically, there are many places I'd want to visit, but not live.

    11 votes
  2. [3]
    Kuromantis
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    Probably one of the (very relatively) big cities in New Zealand, for the simple reason that they seem to be the most progressive Anglophone nation. The other 2 closest contenders are Ireland and...

    Probably one of the (very relatively) big cities in New Zealand, for the simple reason that they seem to be the most progressive Anglophone nation.
    The other 2 closest contenders are Ireland and Canada.

    10 votes
    1. archevel
      Link Parent
      New Zealand is one of my favourite places. I hitch-hiked around there back in the early 2000's for a couple of months and it was great. More recently me and my partner packed up our two kids and...

      New Zealand is one of my favourite places. I hitch-hiked around there back in the early 2000's for a couple of months and it was great. More recently me and my partner packed up our two kids and moved there for little over a year (we decided to head back home when we were having our third child). Lovely memories and great family adventure! A bit sad to think I'll probably never go back there though since it's litterally on the other side of the globe and I feel I should be done with my long distance traveling... but then again, maybe my feet will start to itch again!

      3 votes
    2. georgebcrawford
      Link Parent
      Good qualifier re:Anglophone! We (they? I've lived in Australia for 11 years now...) still have issues - child poverty is horrendous, particularly among Pasifika peoples; the "clean green NZ"...

      Good qualifier re:Anglophone! We (they? I've lived in Australia for 11 years now...) still have issues - child poverty is horrendous, particularly among Pasifika peoples; the "clean green NZ" image is just that; housing is unaffordable for many; several recent governments have been involved in dicey deals that nudge corruption...

      But yes, it's pretty good for the most part.

      2 votes
  3. stu2b50
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    The boring answer is: nowhere. I'll still where I am in the US. I've genuinely thought about moving, but I'm not white, I want to continue speaking English as my primary language, and I also want...

    The boring answer is: nowhere. I'll still where I am in the US. I've genuinely thought about moving, but I'm not white, I want to continue speaking English as my primary language, and I also want to be compensated at a rate I consider fair for what I do and nowhere really satisfies those qualifications.

    The US has no lack of race issues, but there's something to be said for the fact that those race issues are blasted on every form of media - it means that there is at least people fighting against them. In many places that don't have visible discriminatory issues, the reality is that the nation is so dominated by one demographic majority that there is no voice for the minority to begin with.

    That being said, if personal income was not a consideration and I was just rich beyond my means, then probably Vancouver.

    9 votes
  4. [2]
    mat
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    If language is magically no issue, Reykjavik or Helsinki. Probably Helsinki. Iceland is lovely but it's little on the small side for me. Helsinki is a beautiful city with excellent bike routes,...

    If language is magically no issue, Reykjavik or Helsinki. Probably Helsinki. Iceland is lovely but it's little on the small side for me. Helsinki is a beautiful city with excellent bike routes, Finland is extremely progressive, especially with regards to education and that's a concern as my kid is not-so-far from school age now (in Finland they don't start formal education until age 7, which is so incredibly sane), the food is nice and they have one of the best libraries in the world. I've never met a Finn I didn't like, although I haven't met that many. The weather is pleasant in the spring and summer and I'm genuinely OK with cold and dark winters. Makes the summer all the nicer, I think.

    The most likely real-world place I'd move outside the UK would be Cork on the south coast of Ireland. I can't afford Dublin any more, and Cork is a very nice, small city - plus I have friends in the area. Also thanks to fucking brexit Ireland is about the only place I could go without extensive dicking about with visas and so on.

    8 votes
    1. Muffin
      Link Parent
      I'll just chime in that I'm an asshole Finn (nice to meet you!), and English-speaking expats seem to do fine in all the major Finnish cities these days. The long dark winters are one thing, but...

      I'll just chime in that I'm an asshole Finn (nice to meet you!), and English-speaking expats seem to do fine in all the major Finnish cities these days. The long dark winters are one thing, but they are also padded with this period of awful slippery wet snow and gray on both sides of the season. And there are a ton of mosquitoes in the summer the moment you head north of the capital.

      But seriously, I'd most likely stay in Finland if I had the choice of living anywhere. Maybe magically move our house right next to a lake (it's like 300 meters to the nearest one currently, unacceptable)!

      2 votes
  5. bloup
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    Somewhere in the mountains, with lots of hiking and pretty vistas, close to a river or lake, filled with lots of ancient small towns connected by country roads. Hopefully a place that has a small...

    Somewhere in the mountains, with lots of hiking and pretty vistas, close to a river or lake, filled with lots of ancient small towns connected by country roads. Hopefully a place that has a small university, with a nice library, too.

    6 votes
  6. streblo
    (edited )
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    Probably within a 100km radius of where I am right now. There's perhaps a more ideal specific location for me to live if money was no object but overall I quite like my region. I lived in...

    Probably within a 100km radius of where I am right now. There's perhaps a more ideal specific location for me to live if money was no object but overall I quite like my region. I lived in Vancouver for a decade or so and while Vancouver is a great place to live in your twenties -- unless you're a DINK household it's unfeasible to get ahead there. I was able to buy a house for almost 1/3 of what I would have paid in Vancouver and besides the lack of big city amenities it's in a better location. Luckily I can work remotely and my wife has a portable career so this was a no-brainer for us.

    6 votes
  7. mrbig
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    If there was a legal way for me to become a resident, I would live with my sister in Sweden and watch my nephew/godson grow up.

    If there was a legal way for me to become a resident, I would live with my sister in Sweden and watch my nephew/godson grow up.

    5 votes
  8. [2]
    autumn
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    I’d still live here in Raleigh, NC. The weather is perfect for me, the culture is fine, and I love southern food.

    I’d still live here in Raleigh, NC. The weather is perfect for me, the culture is fine, and I love southern food.

    5 votes
    1. pumasocks
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      I recently moved to the area and really like it too!

      I recently moved to the area and really like it too!

      1 vote
  9. Seven
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    My main barrier (other than money and family ties, of course) is language. I'd want to live in a place where English is still the primary language, and that really limits the few places I could...

    My main barrier (other than money and family ties, of course) is language. I'd want to live in a place where English is still the primary language, and that really limits the few places I could live. I've thought about the UK before, but since Brexit, I'm not so sure that's a good idea.

    3 votes
  10. Omnicrola
    (edited )
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    Australia or New Zealand I think. My wife and I watched several seasons of Masterchef Australia, which did a great job making the country look like a fantastic place to live. They still have some...

    Australia or New Zealand I think. My wife and I watched several seasons of Masterchef Australia, which did a great job making the country look like a fantastic place to live. They still have some issues, but it still seems better than here (US).

    Tangent: there is the common sentiment from people who are upset about something in their country that they're going to leave, and it's also sometimes shouted as a retort to complaints "well if you hate it so much why don't you just leave?!".

    I honestly wonder how it would affect the politics of the world if it was so easy to move countries that you could do so on a whim, cheaply and easily. I imagine a country starting to pass laws that people don't like, and a significant chunk of the economic base just leaving and nobody moves to replace them.

    3 votes
  11. floweringmind
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    Argentina or Uruguay. The culture, food, music, the land and people are amazing. The other reason is that no country below the equator has nuclear weapons.

    Argentina or Uruguay. The culture, food, music, the land and people are amazing. The other reason is that no country below the equator has nuclear weapons.

    3 votes
  12. ChuckS
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    Germany, Belgium, or the Netherlands. Germany would be my number one pick, though. Love the weather, the people, the language, and the culture.

    Germany, Belgium, or the Netherlands. Germany would be my number one pick, though. Love the weather, the people, the language, and the culture.

    2 votes
  13. Dracryonic
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    I don't have much in the way of ties that would stop me from moving, I just have no money and don't want to go independant without a safety net yet. I'd probably head to either scandinavian...

    I don't have much in the way of ties that would stop me from moving, I just have no money and don't want to go independant without a safety net yet.

    I'd probably head to either scandinavian countries in europe, or new zealand. They seem to have their shit together better than we do.

    2 votes
  14. Don_Camillo
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    some of you might be interested in this short nicly written text about where to live :-) https://simonsarris.substack.com/p/where-to-live I'm a similar type and can relate so much to it.

    some of you might be interested in this short nicly written text about where to live :-)

    https://simonsarris.substack.com/p/where-to-live

    I'm a similar type and can relate so much to it.

    2 votes
  15. Odysseus
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    Money and immigration always seems to be the biggest issue. I never finished college, so finding work abroad is incredibly challenging when you need a visa sponsored. With that said, if I knew I...

    Money and immigration always seems to be the biggest issue. I never finished college, so finding work abroad is incredibly challenging when you need a visa sponsored. With that said, if I knew I could land a decent paying job, there's a few places I'd consider moving to.

    Sweden - I spent a year there doing nothing in particular and I thought it was nice. People were friendly, but not too chummy. The air was clean. Lots of nature. Decent healthcare, though I'm not sure about how available good dentistry is. I never looked, but it's a lot less than in Japan (there are just a lot of dentists in Japan). Taxes were a bit high though and those winters are DARK.

    Japan - Well, I live here now and if it wasn't for the work culture, it'd be close to perfect for me. I lucked out with my current job being pretty relaxed, even by western standards, but the wages aren't exactly very high by first world standards. Still, it's more than enough for a comfortable life, though I doubt I could raise kids on it. Summer is stupid humid, but winter is pleasantly mild south of Tokyo. The food is excellent. Even cheap, supermarket stuff for the most part is very decent. While not every place is amazing, I've never eaten at a place and thought "wow, this is not good".

    Southern France - Never been, and it would be pretty different from any place else I'd lived. One of my best friends is from some tiny town down on the mediterranean and he painted a real idyllic, if a bit rough around the edges, picture. Seems laid back enough. Besides, cooking seems cheap there. I like to cook.

    United States of America - America has EVERYTHING you could imagine. The sky (and your wallet) is the limit. From sea to shining sea, then again to Hawaii and Alaska, there's something for everyone. The land of the free is full of exceedingly friendly, generous, and passionate people. Plus, all the unnecessary junk you could want is so much cheaper stateside than anywhere else. iPhones, Televisions, robot vacuum cleaners- you name it, America's got it, and it's cheap.
    The only reason I'm not living stateside anymore is that I didn't see a future there for me. Job prospects are slim for a college dropout. My hometown is pricey and rural with little career opportunities for anyone. With public transportation being virtually nonexistent outside of expensive major cities, the cost of getting a car along with all the usual expenses make moving almost prohibitively expensive. Pursuing an education while supporting myself and my wife (immigrant with limited education) seems like a pipe dream.
    Plus, most buildings are ugly and people are angry these days. Even talking to my own family, it seems like with all the ever changing, conflicting, emotionally charged media coverage out there, people don't know what to believe anymore. It just doesn't seem like a healthy environment.

    Russia - The center of Moscow, to this day, is still the happiest place I've ever been to, and that's including Disneyland. I've never been to a more friendly, jovial city in my entire life. People were laughing in the streets, grown men were playing in the snow, and there was an unmistakable sense of optimism in the air. My wife tells me that it wasn't normal and that she'd never ever seen the city like that before. While she found it bizarre, I like to think that maybe it isn't so uncommon. The rest of Moscow was more normal, but I'd really like the chance to spend a few years outside of the capital. Maybe someplace in Krasnoyarsk or Karelia. I definitely wouldn't want to raise children there and the healthcare, according to my wife, can be inconsistent at best, so maybe this would be a short term move

    2 votes
  16. sron
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    While I'm not at all considering moving, I could probably count the amount of people I'd want to stay for on my hands (maybe one hand) and I've been thinking more lately how the UK is not a nice...

    While I'm not at all considering moving, I could probably count the amount of people I'd want to stay for on my hands (maybe one hand) and I've been thinking more lately how the UK is not a nice place to live for a lot of people. Mainly society and politics, and how those two meet - the fact that so many people continue to vote how they do despite all that's happened in the past decade is mad. This might help put it into perspective

    https://twitter.com/Inadarkwood/status/1364553477922390016?s=20

    https://twitter.com/i/events/1363130656541270019?s=20

    So, if I had to choose somewhere it would absolutely be The Netherlands. I've been following Not Just Bikes on YouTube and it really shows how much of a nice place to live it can be. I don't know much about politics there but it seems that most decisions being made are for the benefit of the people living there, maybe us Brits should try that sometime?

    Obviously language etc would be a big barrier to that, and the UK with its beaches, mountains and all that is nice to look at, it's home. Anyone from the Netherlands here, what are your thoughts?

    2 votes
  17. RiveGauche
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    I'm pretty happy with where I am. I'm in Ottawa, Canada and love it. Otherwise, I'd be happy to go back to France.

    I'm pretty happy with where I am. I'm in Ottawa, Canada and love it. Otherwise, I'd be happy to go back to France.

    2 votes
  18. FishFingus
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    I suppose that if money weren't an issue, I'd like to live in New Zealand or Canada, or somewhere in Europe like Italy. Pleasant climate, pleasant people, job opportunities galore. I think I could...

    I suppose that if money weren't an issue, I'd like to live in New Zealand or Canada, or somewhere in Europe like Italy. Pleasant climate, pleasant people, job opportunities galore. I think I could learn a passable standard of Italian without too much difficulty.

    Like a lot of people, though, money is an issue. With my lack of qualifications, I haven't even had a job in years. So I haven't been in a position to give it much thought, because I can't move.

    2 votes