People tend to ask me the same questions wherever I go, and one of the most common is to list some of my favorite destinations. That’s always more difficult for me than it should be honestly – it’s a little like picking a favorite child. I love almost every new place I visit; nearly every city or country has something admirable about it. There are though some around the world that stand out, that really are my favorite places to visit and are even countries I’d consider living one day. I’m not looking to move, but if I were these countries would be at the top of my list.
I honestly never expected to fall for Australia the way that I have. It happened quickly though, and even though I’ve been there three times collectively spending several weeks exploring the country, I think it was the first trip that forever endeared it to me. While I’ve enjoyed every state and city I’ve visited, there is one place that holds an extra-special place in my heart, Melbourne. The city and I clicked like new best friends, instantly understanding each other in a personal and intimate way. 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 and sense of innate style. 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 peculiar personality stamped everywhere, from the colorful laneways to the unique neighborhoods. The atmosphere feels artsier, more intellectual than others I have visited and something clicked right away. While I do love Melbourne, I’m pretty sure though I’d be happy living just about anywhere in the massive land Down Under.
Germany is one of those stalwart champions of the travel world. It’s always there, it always has something fun to share and it’s so massive I rarely seem to visit the same places twice. Over the last few years I’ve spent a lot of time in Germany, probably more than any other foreign country. Over those many visits I’ve seen a lot of this deceptively large country, from the always-edgy Berlin to those romantic Bavarian escapes that personify Germany for many of us. But it’s more than that which has me considering it as a new second-home; I think it’s the people who have won me over. Tolerating my poorly delivered German, I’ve always been treated kindly by locals no matter where I am, a cultural attribute lacking in many places I visit. Not only do I love the people and the width and breadth of things to see and do in the country, but the laws for relocating creatives like myself are extremely generous, making it one of the few countries in the world where I’d actually be allowed to legally move to. So yes, Germany has a lot going for it from the food, the people, its centrally located position and its willingness to allow all types of people, even myself, to call it home if they want to.
At first blush, it may not seem like a desire to live in Canada would be too much of a stretch for an American and it’s not. It’s close by, the language is the same (sort of) and we share many of the same cultural traditions. But for as close as Canada is, the country really is a very different place in every positive sense of the term. Their history has created a modern country that may be geographically removed like the US, but which is so much better connected to the world around it. For too long Americans have blamed the oceans for our isolation, but that’s no longer a valid argument as Canada proves every day. Culturally, there’s a lot to love about Canada from the famously polite citizenry, their healthcare and education system and how diverse many of the nation’s cities tend to be. It’s also though a beautiful country, again like the US, but when you add in all of those amazing other attributes, it becomes something special. I think Canada is in a place historically that we in the US are somewhat envious of. We want to be like that, we want healthcare and nice people and limited gun violence and everything else that is accepted so casually in Canada. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe it’s awful, but from my point of view here south of the border, it seems awfully nice to me.
Emotions are a powerful driving force in travel and many times they dictate where we go and what we see and do. That’s one reason why France is on this list – a month living in Paris as a far too young 17-year old was a defining experience in my life. Ever since then I’ve adored Paris in a type of love reserved only for this city, but which is felt by millions like me around the world. While I like Paris, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to live there, instead it’s the rest of this large country which has me so intrigued. While I’ve only spent a limited amount of time exploring France, what I’ve discovered in the process couldn’t be more different from the City of Lights. That’s to be expected I suppose, any major city will be more intense than its country cousins, but that effect seems somehow magnified in France. There seems to be two countries in one – Paris and then the rest of France. Both are great, but for my own sanity I think I would have to find a smaller, but not small, town to call home. La Rochelle, Avignon and even Lyon would be wonderful cities to live in, while still enjoying everything that makes France so very special.
Ok, yes the US
At the end of the day though I am a patriot. And while I may daydream about having a condo in France or a cute city-apartment in Melbourne, that probably won’t happen. I love the US, warts and all, and always will. All of the same qualities of other countries I’ve listed here can also be found in the US, and so much more. I find it difficult to believe that there’s not a city or community for everyone in this wildly expansive country – it’s just that enormous and that diverse. Would I continue to live in DC if I had my druthers? No, probably not. I moved around a lot as a kid and as strange as it sounds, I like the idea of moving somewhere new every 5 years or so. I’ve been in DC for 16 years; far longer than I ever anticipated and I think it’d be fun to explore a new region of the country. If I had my choice the Pacific Northwest would be my ideal spot, either Portland or Seattle are wonderful cities to call home. But there are so many others around the country, that ultimately it would be tough to make that decision. But for as much as I truly do love seeing the world, it’s always wonderful to return home.