Given the Choice, Where Would You Live?
There are some cities you travel to and think: “Yeah, this place is pretty rad.” You enjoy your time there and in the future, may even plan a return trip. Yet for you, it will simply remain just that – a holiday destination.
However, every now and then, you’ll arrive in a particular place and it completely and utterly captivates you. It is by definition, love at first sight. All you can think is: “Give me a job offer, hand me a visa, learn me a language and I will stay here forever.” (And if you have dual citizenship – then all the better!).
Where would you live, if given the choice? For me, a few cities come to mind.
To be honest, I only spent a weekend in Austin, but it was standout spectacular – my two and a half days there remain one the fondest memories of all my time spent in the United States. I dig cities that have a quirky, artsy vibe to them and Austin certainly fits the bill. The weather is decent and the nightlife goes off. It may not be anywhere near a beach, but Barton Springs pool will get you through the summer. I was also particularly impressed with the abundance of food trailers, especially the one that was solely dedicated to the production of doughnuts.
Living there would mean easy access to SXSW and Austin City Limits, which speaks for itself.
I have had people tell me that they found Reykjavik “boring”. My jaw dropped open, as I could not fathom how anyone could think that. It is not a big city by any means (Iceland is a TINY COUNTRY, at the time of writing it has a population of 323,002), but I found it particularly charming. I thought there was an endless abundance of things to do there; catch a film at Bíó Paradís, get your laundry done and grab a bite to eat at The Laundromat Cafe, go for a dip in the local swimming pool or even just wander around the town itself, taking in all the colourful houses and quirky shops. If you got sick of the city, there are thermal pools to be swum in, beautiful national parks to be explored and Icelandic horses to be ridden, all within driving distance of the CBD.
If you are a creative, living in a town that has such long and fierce winter could have its advantages; all that time spent indoors could really lead you to hone your artistic skills.
Like Austin, I had wanted to visit Berlin for quite some time. I expect to become enamoured with the city straight away. This wasn’t the case straight away – heartbreaking stuff. Thankfully, it finally grew on me. Good food, great op-shopping, although not being a huge party animal, I was a bit meh on the relentlessness of the nightlife. Strolling through the streets of Kreuzberg, while munching on a somehow delicious vegan ice cream sandwich, I appreciated the lure of this city, particularly for creatives. Boasting way cheaper living expenses than other capital cities, the obvious examples being Paris and London, I could definitely see how it had the potential to be a popular destination for expats.
If I had to pick one word to describe Vancouver, it would just be “cool”. It’s a beautiful city to look at… Any place bordered by mountains gets a thumbs up from me. I found the vibe really chilled, there were many food options, all delicious and inexpensive and the people just seem refreshingly nice, doing things like thanking bus drivers when they disembarked. Oh, Canada!
I am a born and bred Sydney gal, but if I ever return home, I might have to forgo the beauty and the beaches to fulfil a lifelong aspiration of moving to Melbourne, Australia’s other big city. You can’t compare Sydney and Melbourne – they are like chalk and cheese, yet foreigners regularly make it their business to tell me all about how much better Melbourne is as a city. Sigh. I will concede, the public transport system is loads better and Melbourne feels like it has a sense of order to it, unlike Sydney’s urban sprawl. Both cities boast a great food scene, they are each thriving culturally and their individual cityscapes are beautiful in their own right. My love for Sydney stretches from the top of the highest mountain to the bottom of the deepest sea, but I completely understand Melbourne’s appeal. Update: I moved to Melbourne in February, 2017!