I love living in Washington, DC and I definitely love being an American and that’s why I never thought other countries would appeal to be on a more long-term basis. I’m not moving anytime soon, but if I had too these are the places where I’d most like to live.
1. Paris – My first true travel love, it’s a city I never get tired of visiting. The first time I left on an international adventure was when I was 17 and spent a month in the City of Lights. Ever since that amazing summer of my youth, the city has held a sentimental place in my heart. More than just nostalgia though, I’ve returned many times and have come to appreciate the city on its own merits. Paris has a certain spirit, a unique feel that I haven’t found anywhere else in the world. I realize that this is probably unique to me, but on some base level it strikes every chord with me. I love nothing more than walking along the streets, soaking up the sights and sounds of the city and letting the Paris-ness of it overtake me. One of my favorite experiences is to pick up some fresh bread, cheese, meat and wine for an impromptu picnic in any of the fabulous parks around town. If I could live anywhere in the city, it would either be in Saint Germain or the Marais, two classically Parisian neighborhoods that preserve the look and feel of an older city with all the conveniences of modern life.
2. Melbourne – During my trip to Australia I was generally underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great country and I had the trip of a lifetime, but in general I just didn’t connect until the last city on the trip, Melbourne. I expected it to be sort of like Sydney I guess, but I soon realized my error. Melbourne reminded me more of a city in Europe than anywhere else in Australia, thanks in large part to its architecture. At one point Melbourne was the richest city in the world following a gold rush and the turn of the century buildings and design reflect this gilded age. What makes Melbourne different is the unique personality stamped everywhere, from the lanes and alleyways to the many, unique neighborhoods. The atmosphere felt artier, more intellectual than Sydney and something clicked right away. One thing I liked in particular was how easy it is to escape the downtown core for more pastoral views. You can drive down the Great Ocean Road, or even take the tram to nearby St. Kilda for killer sunsets. I didn’t spend enough time in Melbourne to figure out which neighborhood would best match my personality, but I think I could be happy just about anywhere in this great antipodean metropolis.
3. Cape Town – I’m always hesitant to include cities where I’ve recently visited in ‘Best of’ lists, mostly because I’m easily influenced and I like to see how I feel about destinations after some time has passed. But Cape Town is different and I’m confident my newfound love for this great city by the sea won’t change over time. I once read somewhere that if you expect to find Africa, then don’t come to Cape Town. It’s an interesting statement and isn’t meant to diminish the allure of the rest of the continent, but it is true. Walking along Long Street in Cape Town I could’ve been in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, but certainly not Africa. Actually the city most reminded me of Seattle or Melbourne, not only for the sea views but also for the laid back, artistic vibe. The scenery can’t be ignored though. Whether it’s the omnipresent Table Mountain or stunning sea views from Camps Bay, this city has an overabundance of beauty. It also seemed to me that the quality of life was generally very high with lots to do, see and experience. If I could live anywhere in Cape Town I’d choose the ritzy Camps Bay area, but I may have to be more realistic should I ever actually move there.
4. Vancouver – I knew I’d love Vancouver long before visiting. For some reason, the Pacific Northwest has always appealed to me, including Portland, Seattle and of course Vancouver. In rereading this post I’m starting to notice a general theme, well except for Paris. Laid back cities near the water appeal to me, and Vancouver is one of the best. It’s hard not to fall in love as you stand looking at the harbor as seaplanes land and take off at regular intervals and the fog encircling the nearby mountain peaks. More than just a pretty face, Vancouver is clean, comfortable and easy to admire. It’s like that cool uncle you love to hang out with. The weather is also a selling point because although the famous ski runs of Whistler aren’t far away, Vancouver benefits from the same great weather of other Pacific Northwest cities. That also includes rain, which is a common occurrence in Vancouver but also creates one of the greenest cities I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure where I’d live in Vancouver, but I’m worried that thanks to its over abundance of popularity the cost of living may be a bit out of reach.
5. Anywhere in New Zealand – Ahh New Zealand, how I love thee. My one and only trip to the land of the hobbits may not have lasted long, but it was enough to instill in me a deep and unabiding love of the Land of the Long White Cloud. The star of the show is of course the rich natural diversity found everyone on the islands. From glaciers to rainforests and green rolling hills, this place has it all. The people are also mostly fantastic; similar to Australians but not as extreme in their personalities. The problem is that except for Christchurch, I didn’t spend much time in the cities of New Zealand, where I’d almost have to live if I wanted to call it home. From the very little I saw of Auckland and Wellington, my gut tells me that Wellington is more my style. Like many of the other cities on this list it’s on the water and the proximity to the mountains makes it visually stunning. I guess I’ll just have to visit again to figure out the best city and neighborhood for me; a chore I’m willing to accept.
These are some of the places I would consider living around the world – what are yours?