More reflections inspired by The Atlantic. Some places are too expensive. Some have better weather. Some more opportunities. But they might not be home. Others find they can’t go home again. Who knows what synesthetic qualities of a place make it appealing or acrimonious to alternate adults?
I would do it in a heartbeat but family obligations and health issues hinder me.
The place you like the most? It could be that vacation spot you spend a few weeks every summer. But maybe you like it because it’s vacation. And maybe you’re not going to like the truly miserable winter weather there. And maybe you are not going to like the lack of shopping and cultural activities there which you don’t notice during that summer vacation.
The place I liked the most is great if you have the disposable income to enjoy what it has to offer. If I moved there 20 years ago I’d have a crappy job in the retail or hospitality industry, I’d be renting and in a crappy part of town, my kid would have attended crappy schools, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy a lot of stuff in the town.
So instead we moved to an area where we have good paying jobs at Fortune 500 companies, sent our kid to great public schools, could afford a house that is now paid off, vacation to “The Place We Like Most” twice a year, and have enough in retirement savings to retire early, move there, and live comfortably later on.
I genuinely don’t know what would be my favorite place. Part of me says that, if money were no object, I’d live in a beachfront mansion in like Miami or wherever. But then I’m reminded of how atrociously hot Missouri summers are, and I’m certain South Florida is ten times worse. Then I think I’d love to live in a vibrant city like New York or Chicago but … winters. And I’ve spent a night or two here or there in both cities and OMG if I didn’t feel like the walls were closing in on me. And then there’s the matter of weather. By my estimates the one place on Earth with the most-agreeable climate to me would be Mexico City. And I’m not moving to Mexico City. Even if money were no object.
Long story short, I guess where I live now (middle-of-nowhere Missouri) is the best, all things considered. Mrs. H’s family is here, it’s a brief drive to my family in Illinois, the winters are pretty forgiving, but the summers – well, you take the good with the bad, I guess.
Maybe the place i liked most to visit was Hawaii. But my job, friends, and family are here. So are my hobbies.
The places I like the most, I don’t have permission to immigrate there.
Yeah. My second favorite place is Toronto, and i don’t have permission to move there.
No, because I don’t speak Greek.
My wife and I fantasize about buying one of those 1 Euro places in Italy…
She has Italian ancestry, and I’m really handy, but we are both old enough that spending 2 years refurbishing a place might not be so much fun. She also worries about the language barrier - her example is trying to convey what is wrong with one of our dogs after he has eaten something he shouldn’t. I also think that places that are great for vacations are not always great for full-time living.
I’m not sure if this is true in Italy, but Mrs. H watches YouTube content of British families that have moved to Portugal for similar reasons (viz, cheap properties). The biggest problem the expats face is getting anything done. Ever. Hire a plumber for Tuesday? He might show up on Thursday, if he shows up at all. Need an electrician? The nearest one is booked solid for six months. Need a part for your car? The mechanic, if he can be assed to order it at all, will tell you that it might be here in five weeks. Of course, that’s no guarantee that he’ll actually install it. And during the hottest parts of the hottest days of summer, no one does anything. At all.
The Wall St. Journal had an article recently about retirees who spent a fortune buying or building their dream home in a new locale where they thought they’d be happy.
Once they got there, they discovered the surroundings weren’t so “perfect” for them after all. One couple moved into a nice home in the countryside near Asheville, N.C., but belatedly found that it was too rural for them and left for less green pastures.
Places that seem wonderful based on vacations and limited research sometimes turn out to have serious drawbacks. Florida is probably high on the list.
As far as places go, I like Montana better than Cleveland. But my family’s here, and I now have a great job here that I couldn’t keep if I moved. I might be able to find a similarly great job if I were to move, but I might not, and even if I did, it’d probably take a few years. The location has to take a lower priority than those considerations, and so I’d be a fool to move to Montana.
I grew up in Los Angeles and hate the place. After finishing grad school in San Diego, I only got one solid job offer which was in Santa Barbara. I really wanted to move to the Bay Area at the time and thought that I’d stay for a couple of years to get the experience needed to stay in the Bay. After a few months I was in love with the place and realized that I wanted to spend the rest of my life here. It wasn’t always easy but it’s been 33 years and I’m retired now and will never leave.
I’ve traveled over most of the globe and this is home. I am very, very fortunate.
Have you ever spent time in San Francisco (or the Bay Area in general). Cosmopolitan, wine-country and ski country adjacent, and the weather is…boring in its consistency (though sometimes it rains).
Maybe you misunderstood. I wanted to live in the Bay Area but I fell in love with Santa Barbara.
Between business trips and vacations, mostly for music, I’ve been to the Bay Area several dozen times. I love a lot about it but it’s too cold for me and the traffic is a killer.
I think that, just as there are a lot of people who are miserable because they’re in the wrong jobs but don’t realize it, there are also a lot of people who are miserable because they’re living in the wrong place but don’t realize it. (As well, of course, as some in both categories who do realize it but can’t help it.)
But it also seems to me that this is an issue that makes a huge difference to some people and very little to others. The people it doesn’t make a difference to often seem to have a hard time understanding how much it can matter to those to whom it does.
I spent a year wandering around the country in my late 20’s in part because I wanted to decide where to settle – I knew a couple of people who had set out on a similar trip for the fun of it, gotten to Albuquerue or Oregon or California along the way, and then just stuck there. That was home for them, though they didn’t know it before they’d been there.
I wound up almost exactly where I’d started from, though the precise location could have been a number of places in the Northeast (USA). By the time I got back home, though, I knew home, at least short of hunting all over the world which I hadn’t done, was somewhere in the Northeast – I’d been in a lot of beautiful and fascinating other places, but none of them felt right to live in. And the process of finding the right specific place was a combination of practical and ‘does this feel right?’ I wouldn’t have bought a place that felt wrong, no matter how practical it was; though there were other places that could have felt right but were too impractical, or too expensive, or not for sale.
And then it was a matter of bonding with the particular place over years. Some people just don’t do that. Some of us do. But there were places I never could have bonded with at all. Not that they weren’t right for somebody – most of them were. But they weren’t right for me.
Like some others, I guess, I’m not sure I could identify “the place I like the most.” There are a lot of moving parts–how close am I to family (how close do I WANT to be to family?), job opportunities, weather, what are the politics of the area, scenic beauty, “things to do.”
Also, places change. 63rd and Cottage in Chicago used to be a primo address back in the twentieth century. Now, not so much. And many people have found that they liked their neighboring orange groves or wheat fields a whole lot better than the housing developments that have now taken their place.
I always figured it was more incumbent on me to come to like a place than to live in a place I already liked “best” (whatever that means).
Regarding liking vacation spots best: I knew a young girl whose family was moving to a big city where she had visited relatives a number of times. (It was a job-related move for her parents.) She was the one in the family who most wanted to move. Why? Well, she LOVED the city. Her mom told me that she immediately started making a list–on Mondays we’ll eat at XYZ pizza joint, on Tuesdays we’ll go the Greek restaurant, on Wednesdays we’ll do the drive-in… It had to be explained to her that just because they ate out three nights a week when they went to visit Grandma, that did not mean they would do the same if they were living there. Her excitement at moving to “the best place in the world” nosedived.