What is your favorite/least favorite place to live?

I have been privileged to have been able to live in four different countries across four different continents in my life, and a common question I get is: “What’s your favorite and least favorite?”

I always answer: “I don’t have either. Each place is great for it’s own reasons.”

Asia: Malaysia

Live here if you want the best in southeast Asian cuisine at minimal cost of living, or to visit an exciting tropical paradise full of ecological wonders. But you better be okay with 100% humidity, constant heat, and a constant losing battle against mosquitos.

Europe: Scotland

Live here for amazing views, weather, and friendly locals whom you won’t be able to understand. But be prepared to pay more (in Pounds), and unless your idea of variety is “meat and potatoes recombined in different dishes”, you won’t find an abundant variety of food. You get used to daily Fish & Chips, Shepard’s Pies, and for the adventurous there’s always Haggis.

Oceania: Australia

Live here for somewhere in between: plenty of adventure, unique wildlife, great views, and good food (lots of Asian variety due to immigration and proximity). Drawbacks? Everything is bloody expensive (even more so than Scotland) and the internet SUCKS. It just sucks. I have gotten better internet service in a third world country like Malaysia than when I was living opposite of Telstra (the major Telecommunications Monopoly) in the middle of Melbourne. We used to joke that I could walk a USB over to the next building and walk it back for better transfer speeds than we were getting.

North America: United States

Go to the United States if you like variety, convenience, and paying less for more stuff*.

One of the most unique things I find about the United States is that almost every state is like it’s own country- with different cultures, history, and foods. Fancy some pizza with broadway shows? Visit New York. Craving Gumbo and Blues? Visit New Orleans. Some Barbeque and Tex Mex served from food trucks to live music? Visit Austin. Feel like Snowboarding and hiking in the mountains? Visit Denver.

Everything is also so incredibly convenient! I’ve ordered dog food and a HDMI cable from Amazon and had it delivered to my door within 2 hours. Almost any food you want delivered to your door fast and cheap. You can get the latest electronics and games cheaper here than anywhere else. You can drop down to a Thrift Store or Outlet Stores and get good name brand and gently used gear for close to nothing.

For what I don’t like: the laws vary by state and are often weird and confusing. Some states don’t allow you to carry or drink alcohol on public streets, while as a loaded fully automatic assault rifle is okay. Picking up a feather from a bald Eagle has fines of up to $250,000. Don’t even get me started on Healthcare. It’s the worst designed system I’ve ever seen: life threatening urgent care is expensive, convoluted, and sometimes just outright refused: and this is the best case scenario (having the best insurance, plenty of savings, a flexible and understanding job).

The United States is great for living it up. If you have plenty of money and time there is absolutely no better place. Just don’t ever get sick (or have a family member or animal be sick), be uneducated/ignorant of local customs and laws, or be poor.

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