Friday, March 23, 2007

Where oh where

Clarissa also asked, “If you had to have a second home where you actually spent 6 months out of the year, where would it be and why would you choose it?”

This is both a very tough and a very easy question to answer. Its tough in that where you live is not always a question of choice. Jobs matter, and even for the relatively well off, there are mortgages to pay, bills to answer to. The type of work LL and I have brought ourselves into limit the number of places we could live. Our jobs are big city jobs, so there are maybe 10 cities in the world we could stay in our current careers and live in.

Of those ten there are places I could and would live, and places I wouldn’t. New York and LA for example, I enjoy visiting but just don’t think I could stand living in. I’m a Canadian through and through, and though what that is may not be clear to the rest of you, I’d really struggle to live in big US cities, though there are some of the smaller ones I would consider. Saying that I would not live in Toronto, us Western Canadians dislike most things Eastern. I have lived in Geneva, and would not choose to return there. The Swiss are just odd, nice, especially when you actually get to know them, but odd. I would not ever live in Frankfurt, though I’ve been there often and have many friends in the city. I don’t think I could survive long in Tokyo, again, its fascinating to visit, but I think it would start to get on my nerves quickly, like NY would.

Then there are cities I positively want to live in. Paris for example. I struggle with Parisians as a whole, but what a city. I’d happily live in Singapore or Hong Kong. Growing up in Canada I grew up surrounded by Asians of all sorts, and feel comfortable around them. I think I’d both love and hate living in Rome or Milan, but I’d give it go. Same goes for Madrid. Though they aren’t financial centres, I lived in Amsterdam for almost a year, and could happily settle back there. Same goes for Stockholm or Copenhagen. I just feel comfortable there.

To twist the question around, if I was financially free, and could live anywhere, shifting every six months, where would I settle ? To be honest, I’d get a home close to Vancouver, but either on one of the Islands or just up the coast out of the city. It would give me the best of everything. Outdoors with mountains and water, but close to a city that is cosmopolitan enough to have access to art and culture.

I would then have a second place in the tropics, St Lucia or maybe Fiji. Somewhere right on the water, with both a sail boat and a good motor launch. Though I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about it, I’m a keen diver. I’ve logged over a thousand dives over the years in everything from iced over lakes, to caves to tropical coral.

I don’t think I could split it six months and six months. I’d need to be able to move myself and the family about as needs and whims took us. We’d need some time in Vancouver in the winter for Skiing, but also some winter sun time. Vancouver in the summer is marvellous, but there are good summer times for diving in the tropics. I suppose I’d be regulated somewhat by the kids schooling, but I’d still want flexibility.

So, hopefully that answers you C. Big cities for work, but not just any big city. Smaller places that are bigger for life and style.


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