We are often asked, “You guys have traveled so much; where is your favorite place?”
This is hard to say, a bit like being forced to choose just one ice cream flavor. I haven’t even tried them all yet.
In a similar vein, people inquire: “Where would you like to have a home base?”
This is a regular topic of conversation for us: finding our forever home.
Finding Our Forever Home
For most people, the location of home is predetermined… by family or funds. (birth, marriage, or employment.)
A few more adventurous souls might seek out better weather or culture, or even go full nomad. But if/when the nesting instinct calls, when you can truly live anywhere, where do you live?
Were we to “settle down” one day, or to establish a somewhat regular home base, this is what we would look for (or maybe even have been looking for?)
Weather / Climate – lots of sun, not too hot, not too cold. If there is a “bad” time of year, it should be summer, when school is out of session.
We really enjoyed living in Seattle, but winters were miserable. While trapped in an office 60+ hours per week it was somewhat tolerable, but I prefer to see the sun more than once every 90 days. Earlier in life I had to leave the Midwest to avoid frozen eyeballs at -40 degrees F/C.
On the other end of the spectrum, we also enjoy Taipei. But summer is disgustingly hot, and stepping outside of an air conditioned building often feels like diving into a bowl of hot soup. It’s a good time to go elsewhere.
Food and Food Culture – We love good food. Places with a strong food identity and culture are really attractive, with an abundance of farm to table dining options, regular farmers markets, creative chefs, and food based celebrations. Spain and Italy come to mind, as does California’s Central Valley. Places where “gas station hot dogs” are common fare don’t make the list.
Diversity & Tolerance – diversity is the spice of life, and the basis of an incredible restaurant scene. We are a multi-cultural family and enjoy multi-cultural environments.
Biking Culture – I love to ride bikes, and it is a great form of transportation… if the city culture is right. Dedicated bike lanes and friendly drivers are a must. A city that embraces the bicycle as a primary form of transportation is a beautiful thing; See Davis, California.
The Great Outdoors – whether it be sea, mountains, or rivers/lakes (or all of the above), access to the great outdoors means a whole world of free adventure awaits . Combined with a great climate, we would never lack for sun and fun.
Easy Access to International Airport(s) – We like to travel, so close proximity to a busy airport is essential. If said airport has direct flights to Taipei, even better.
Good Value – when housing prices are high and rocketing skyward, literally everything from groceries to utilities to transportation increase in price. This isn’t a big problem for us, but for median income households and up it can create a seriously toxic environment. Forgive me for preferring a city that actually allows new housing to be built at a sufficient rate where existing and new residents both can thrive. (I’ll even pay taxes.)
Quality Education – ultimately education starts at home, but a strong partnership with a strong school system and educational community can be invaluable. When every student can move upward, everyone benefits.
Devil Is In the Details
It’s great to have a sense of what you want, and even better to have objective criteria to conduct a search for a forever home.
Alas, it seems far easier to identify places that don’t meet said criteria than ones that do. This is partly what inspired our wandering, as no place seems to meet most of the criteria most of the time.
In the US, maybe places like Sacramento, CA, Austin, TX, and Reno, NV score well.
Outside the US, Girona, Spain is a favorite. Caveat: we’ve only been to ~50 countries.
Of course, we would rent. :)
Where would you have your Forever Home?
We’ll be in Seattle and hosting a meetup on Monday, August 27th at 6 pm at Gasworks Park.
Come hang out with like minded people, some with forever homes and some forever home free. More details HERE.