I’ve lived in Vancouver for thirteen (minus a little less than one) great years and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.  I love my home, the city, and the local food scene that boasts the freshest seafood and widest array of Asian cuisine outside of Asia.  Vancouver is beautiful, boasts a thriving film & television industry and, with its innumerable parks, pet shops, and doggy daycares, is a great place to raise your dogs.  Why would I ever want to leave?

Of course, I said the same thing thirteen years ago when I was in Montreal.  Back then, I was quite content living on the city’s West Island, freelancing from home.  And then, an opportunity came along – the possibility of joining the writing staff of and awesome SF series, Stargate: SG-1.  I didn’t know anything about Vancouver but I went where the work was, assuming I’d put in a couple of years and then move back home.  That two year stint turned into a wild twelve year ride and, along the way, I settled in quite nicely.  In time, thoughts of moving back to Montreal eventually faded.

Now, Vancouver is my home and, while I won’t discount the possibility of ever moving away, I will say it would take a pretty damn big opportunity to convince me to pack my bags (and toys) and go.  So I was thinking today: What if?  What if that pretty damn big opportunity did present itself elsewhere?  What if the city of Vancouver suddenly passed a strict “no dog” bylaw?  Where else might I consider giving it a go?

TOKYO

If Vancouver was no longer an option and I was offered the opportunity move anywhere of my choosing, Tokyo would top the list.  It’s an incredibly safe, dynamic city, packed full of fascinating people and places, and fairly easy to negotiate thanks to its top-notch subway system. The food is second to none and the customer service is, well, mind-blowing for someone accustomed to the North American “way of doing things”. The only drawback, besides the language, is the fact that work might be a little hard to come by – unless I can land a sweet gig on one of those awesome Japanese gameshows.  Getting the dogs there would be a problem – and then there’s the earthquakes.

L.A.

An obvious choice given my line of work, Los Angeles offers opportunity, excitement, and great restaurants (have you noted a pattern?).  Its urban sprawl does give me pause as does it’s higher crime rate but, on the bright side, its home to a number of friends and former co-workers.

SAN FRANCISCO

A city as beautiful as Vancouver and, I’m guessing, just as expensive to live in.  It also boasts a great, Asian-influenced restaurant scene and a lot of character in its unique neighborhoods.

 SEATTLE

Vancouver’s sister city would be a damn fine choice as well.  It offers much of the same things I love about Vancouver in a less expensive though admittedly more dangerous locale.  Like Vancouver, it’s conveniently located within relatively quick flight distance from some of my regular vacation destinations like Vegas, Tokyo, and Los Angeles.

TORONTO

Surprising, no, given my experience there last year?  The traffic is terrible and the winter brutal, but it’s actually quite lovely in the summer, boasts some terrific restaurants and, provided I could live where I lived in 2011 (smackcab in the heart of the entertainment district), a lot of fun.

Honorable mentions: Hawaii (Obvious, I know, but I bet that even I would eventually grow tired of the sun and sand), Montreal (Whenever I go back, it’s like I never left and, while it’s always great to see family and friends, the language politics are incredibly silly and tiresome), New York (Less industry opportunities than L.A. and decidedly more expensive, but vibrant and full of world class restaurants).

What about you?  Where are you living and where would you consider going?  Give me your Top 3 picks and tell me why.

49 thoughts on “June 21, 2012: You’re moving! Where to?

  1. Where am I now?
    Chicago area. I’ve been here for about 35 years and it’s definitely home. Where would I move to if I had to?

    London
    Like some of the cities you mentioned, it’s stupid-expensive, but I feel such a connection with that city. Who knows why…maybe a past life thing? I really dig the mix of new and old (and very old), the people, the food is great these days and it seems like there’s a never-ending supply of things to do and see. As Samuel Johnson said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” I don’t know if that’s true, but there are also a lot of hot chicks there.

    Long Island
    Close proximity to New York City, lots of rolling hills and dense trees, beaches, and lots of family. Many of my aunts, uncles and cousins still live there, and it’d be cool to be around them all.

    Hong Kong
    I used to make toys, and of course Hong Kong is a necessary stop in that line of work. The people are friendly, the city is vibrant and it’s both familiar and completely foreign. Not shiny and fancy like Tokyo (for the most part), but I found it strangely charming and fun.

  2. Ooh! Ooh! I love Seattle. I’m going there next week to visit some friends. It is a lovely town. I’ll check out the macaron selections while I’m there. Not sure about food trucks, but I can check that out as well.

    My niece has been living in LA for the last couple of years and going to grad school there. She loves the farmer’s markets, proximity to lovely natural areas for … oh, never mind. I forgot who I was talking to – you don’t do hiking and biking. She has also found it to be very dog friendly. But driving is hell.

    If I ever moved out of the Chicago suburbs, assuming money was no object, my top picks would be Seattle, Vancouver and San Francisco. I would, however like a little place in Tokyo; one in Kanazawa; one in Rothenburg ab der Tauber (in Bavaria). I think that will do for now.

  3. Interesting question. I enjoy visiting big cities, but am put off by the crowds and general rudeness in most. So there goes New York and L.A. If I did go big city, London is my pick. I love the history, pageantry, and multitude of subcultures to be found there. It is also a great base of operations for traveling, well, anywhere. British Airways services flights around the world, and you can catch a.chunnel train to go to the mainland. And while not the foodie you are, I do like trying out the various ethnic foods found there.
    I would choose Tokyo as number two. Two main reasons. Having lived there as a child waaaay back when, I would like to see the changes. And it should simplify a search I need to make, involving some old photos and the families of the people in them. Besides, like London, Tokyo is a great jumping off point to see so many other things in the country. And I have this odd desire to visit Hokeido.
    My third choice is Williams Arizona. About an hour from the grand canyon, with a population smaller than my current town, I fell in love with it while driving through. Biggest downside is distances to bigger p,aces(I.e. places with actual bookstores) but I could cope with increasing my Internet purchases And Vegas is not all that far away if I do want more liveliness. Besides, one of my bucket list items is to spend a week or two hiking trails in the Grand Ca yon. Living in Williams would simplify the conditioning process and making it easier to hike at the optimum times of the year.
    To cheat, my ultimate option would be to simply spend about 1-2 months a year in different cities, with a couple of months dedicated to travel and discovering new places worthy of revisiting. But until my four legged
    Al passes on, I am content to be anchored down for now. Enjoyed this question and looking forward to others’ answers.

  4. I’ve considered New York and San Fran. New York for the food, work, and the New Yorkness of New York. Of course, I would want to live in Manhattan though. Hopefully one day. SF being a great food city and close to Napa and somewhat close to Vancouver, it’s not a hard choice to make. I’m going to move to London next year for work, but, we’ll see how i like it if things go according to plan.

  5. I have lived in Ok, Chicago, DC, Anniston Al, Denver, Honolulu, Houston, San Antonio, Ft Lauderdale and Minneapolis…….But, I always come back to Seattle !
    Thanks to the US Army and a second career with an international airline, I have traveled the world, but Seattle always pulls me back..
    We would love to have you here and remember….Seattle is known as the friendliest city for our canine relatives !

  6. I live just south of Minneapolis, MN. Honestly, I love it. I’m an all grown up military brat – I’ve lived in three countries (including the US), and in a decent sampling of the US. If I weren’t going to live in Minneapolis (which I admit to loving):

    1. Sydney, Australia – I lived in a suburb of Sydney when I was in primary school. I love Australian culture, the food (I have so much fun introducing people to pavlova). Plus, I loved the friendliness of everyone. I remember we lived in a cul-de-sac, and when the parents would come to call us kids in, they would start chatting, someone would pull out a box of wine, and we got to play longer. The accent, the landscape, the names. I sometimes think that I’m 1/8th Aussie or something because of my adoration of all things Australian. Except Vegemite. I did say I only thought of myself as 1/8th…^^

    2. Guadalajara, Mexico – I studied abroad there one summer in college. My degree is in Spanish and I had a lovely time living with a host family. Authentic Mexican food, markets, insane cab drivers, and a siesta every afternoon. I could be an expat in Guadalajara.

    3. North Las Vegas – I lived there for two years in high school. I adore the desert climate, but there’s so much to do. People tend to think of the Strip, but no one talks about the mountains. We used to travel up there, or to Red Rock Canyon, or even Hoover Dam. Plus, with the constant flux, the city felt a lot like my life. The water shortage might be an issue though… 🙂

    But, I have fallen in love with Minnesota. I’m okay with Minneapolis being my homebase and jumping off to go everywhere else. I’m trying to figure out exactly how one lives in one place longer than three years…ask me in 2015 (if I haven’t already boarded a plane for someplace else).

  7. Currently: San Antonio, TX, USA, since 1988. Originally moved here to be near both sets of parents as well as my only sister. Still here because we’re settled and semi-retired. My sis is still here, as well.

    Joe already knows our #1: Vancouver, BC, CAN, as an escape from South Texas summer heat. That was the primary reason for our trip a few weeks ago, though visiting with friends gained over my years in SG fandom ran a close second. We haven’t yet sat down and seriously discussed particulars of future visits, but Husband & I plan to make at least one trip to the Lower Mainland each summer.

    #2: My home region in New Jersey. It was a great place to grow up and is still quite rural. Very unlikely, however, as the thought of being there without my parents and without the friends who have also passed on is quite painful.

    #3, believe it or not, is also in South Texas: Karnes City, the small town where my late mother-in-law was born & raised and where the inlaws made their retirement home. I became accustomed to visiting there, especially as we worked on settling the estate, 2009–2011. But one has to drive North to San Antonio or South to Corpus Christi for access to medical specialists, major hospitals, air travel, shopping malls, bookstores, etc.

    I’m a bit surprised at my 2 & 3, having traveled to Europe and Mexico a few times in my 55 years. I think it’s time to talk to Husband about other potential destinations and get going while we can expect several years of relatively good health.

  8. Tokyo is like the most expensive city in the world to live…and they eat weird, spermy things there. 😛

    My three places? Easy peasy (except the part where I’d have to get in a plane to get to these places, unless I decided to chance a long boat ride 😛 ). Firstly, however, I’m not a city girl, so if I moved to any of these places it would have to be more of a ‘village’ sort of place, or small town. I don’t have a specific town in mind, so I’ll be a bit more general.

    1. Scotland. I love damp, cool weather. I’m part Scottish. I love kilts. And bagpipes. And castles. And people who talk funny. And Islay single malt. And did I mention kilts? This would be my perfect place to live. 🙂 Biggest drawback? Haggis.

    2. New Zealand. I know the NZ anthem better than that of the US. In English AND Maori. Why? I watch a LOT of rugby, and this is how the national team starts their matches:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhCgcZ0efAA

    Beautiful, innit? And it’s immediately followed by this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjVqZkDZrgg

    Sheer poetry in motion!! 🙂

    New Zealand is a rugby nation, and I love rugby. Also, the climate is fairly agreeable. Plus a lot of Scottish expats have settled there. Biggest drawback? Bigass spiders.

    3. The Pacific Northwest. Washington or Oregon – whichever gets the most rain. And I can drive there, which is a plus. It’s ‘artsy’, and I’m artsy, so I’d fit right in. Also, there’s good – and healthier – food on west coast. I would probably lose weight. And it’s closer to California wine AND olive oil country. 😉 Biggest drawback? Serial killers. 😛

    das

  9. Joe, I agree with you; Vancouver is a beautiful city. In my short time there, I couldn’t see anything it was lacking.

    As for me, even though the Chicagoland area has been my adopted home town for 14 years now, it comes with a few deficits, namely traffic congestion and a general lack of quality seafood. My ideal location would have access to the water so that I can do some of my own crabbing and fishing, a good general aviation airport for flying, and a large enough (but not too big) city nearby for entertainment and occasional necessities.

    Savannah, Georgia might be close to the top except it would be hard for me to find a GPS oriented job there. The Baltimore/Washington area (where I’m originally from), could offer crabs and a job, but the traffic congestion is bad and I’d probably have to get back into defense contracting (which has its own ups and downs). So I’ll probably be hanging around Chicagoland for the foreseeable future…I’ll just have to make the most of the seafood when I travel to the coasts (or to Vancouver for that matter 😉 )

    @Sparrow_hawk yesterday:

    We put our macarons in the refrigerator and had them later in the evening. When chilled they seemed pretty close to what I had in Vancouver, but I don’t think my palate is as discerning as Joe’s. The pistachio was again my favorite, with the amaretto with cracked pepper (I think that was the flavor) coming in second.

    Tomorrow we’re off to Bloomington Gold to take in the ‘Vettes and hopefully find a few missing parts for our project car.

    Goodnight all!

  10. Don’t move to LA until they finish the 405 freeway upgrades(upgrades?). It’s going to be hell around here for the next 18 months.

  11. 1. Tokyo. I live here now, moved in 2006. I love the vibrant city, the culture, the food, the mass transit system (although I generally bike to work), the language, and the people. Things I miss: New York style pizza (mostly Italian thin crust, although there are some Chicago Style places, and one S’barro in Shibuya that is lame, but the best I’ve found so far.) The Italian style pizza that is here is excellent though. Cookies. Soft, chewy, just out of the oven chocolate Chip cookies. I’ve had to make my own, made harder by the small kitchen and lack of space for “niche” things like a Mixer. Live basketball. But the NBA League Pass just about makes up for it, if I don’t mind working knowing that the game is on. It isn’t too hard, and it is nice to be able to skip the free throws / timeouts.

    2. New York. I spent 8 years (or more?) here getting my PhD at Columbia University and loved it. The city truly never sleeps, cabs are super cheap (compared to Tokyo, where I have taken perhaps 3 cabs in 6 years) food is excellent, art, plays, and nightlife is abundant. On the downside the place is much dirtier, and feels more dangerous (although I don’t necessarily think that it is more dangerous as long as you keep some common sense about yourself) than Tokyo. One other great perk is authentic food from all over the world. Tokyo is good for the variety of food, but often it comes infused with a Japanese sensibility. On the other hand, you can throw a rock and hit a crap sushi joint too, so Sturgeon’s law holds here as well. A nice mass transit system, but not nearly as dependable or clean as Tokyo, but on the plus side it can be late and undependable 24 hours a day.

    3. This is a tough call between San Francisco and Seattle. I would probably have to go with Seattle for the long term because it has seasons. I like seeing the march of time and having four different seasons. Living in San Francisco would be great from a job point of view (I’m a computer scientist) but having a year-round constant sameness would be difficult I think.

    I throw in a vote for Tokyo!

  12. If Van was no longer an options, I think I’d move to Portland. Love the city, the shopping, the nature nearby. The weather is a bit of a drawback, but if I can manage here…
    Second option Madrid. Love the city, love the people and culture and could improve my Spanish. Right now it would be a bit of a sucky time to go but they’ll figure it out I hope.
    Third New York for all the obvious reasons.

  13. Oh, I don’t know really, I guess my answers would be pretty obvious but in general I would be pretty happy anywhere as long as the people most important to me are.

    If i had to live somewhere for a few years I wouldn’t mind, haven’t specifically thought about places in general though.

    Problem is, ideal and how things turn out are two different things entirely lol.

    Anyway speaking about your Japan comment Joe, you could always become a light novel author, if your series gets picked up into an anime you’d be set for years lol. I guess that would require a publisher but wouldn’t be too hard I’ld imagine.

  14. I’m currently in Edmonton but don’t want to stay. Vancouver is actually at the top of my list. I would love to live by the coast and be close to the mountains. Plus, it’d be a lot warmer in winter than Edmonton.

    Second is Calgary. Close to home bit far enough away. Plus my best friend lives there.

    There isn’t another city on my list right now. It’d take an amazing job for me to move anywhere east of here though. And you would have to pay me a lot to have me move to saskatchwan or Manitoba.

  15. Right now I’m in Vancouver, and after years of living in Victoria, Calgary and Sasktoon, this city takes the cake. It’s big enough that it’s developed distinct neighbourhoods to always be presenting me with new things to try, yet small enough (in these neighbourhoods) that I know my neighbours (oddly enough a lot of them are also geologists).

    If I were to move any place else in the world (where I’ve been) I think Copenhagen would take top choice. It may be horrendously pricey, but it’s close to everything which makes it easy to travel throughout Scandinavia, Europe and the UK. Denmark’s long history combined with it’s rich culture make exploring the area/cities endlessly fascinating. Not to mention it’s only a 5 hour flight to Greenland from Copenhagen. Since Greenland is one place I would LOVE to go back to, and since I am DYING to get to Iceland.. well Copenhagen is a perfect spot. For everything.

    Second pick: Sao Paulo, or perhaps even Rio de Janeiro. Sao Paulo is a huge city but the bustling business works well the the large amount of green space that is incorporated into even the main shopping districts. Great museums, great history, amazing food (although the fried bologna sandwich wasn’t much to write home about, the size of the beer is!! Just um, don’t order one to drink by yourself. The bartender will give you funny looks), and super friendly people. After spending maybe a week at most in the city, every single person I met there has kept in touch. Kudos to them for not taking my poor communication skills personally as every single one of them has sent me repeated invites to come stay with them in Brasil. I love you guys.

    Third: I think perhaps.. Georgetown? Call me crazy, I know. It’s a third world country with a crazy crime rate, dictator-ship style politics and not a whole lot to do compared to any of the three cities mentioned above. Yet there was something about the people that really drew me in to make me me feel at home. The overall good nature and general happiness of ‘underprivileged’ people in ‘third world’ countries never fails to amaze me. It makes me wonder if it isn’t us that are underprivileged as for all of our toys and technology we are often rather unhappy. Anyways. Georgetown was great for (again) its history, its culture and the overall happy/friendly/welcoming nature of its residents. It’s suprised me that even with its water and garbage filled ditches, ramble-shack buildings, not to mention the street people bathing in the lethargic ditch waters it’s surprising, the overall atmosphere of Georgetown was pretty damn friendly.

    Funnily enough I may be moving to Sydney in 2 months time, and it is nowhere on my list! Haha!

  16. Oh, I like! Well, let’s see, I currently live in the middle of Missouri (for school) – which is just not ideal for me. My top 3 picks?

    1. London

    I lived in England for a year doing study abroad and have visited London many times. I love the atmosphere, the multiple cultures (how you can 5 different languages in a 10 minute tube ride), the museums and art, the architecture, the politics, the connection to every other place on the planet both through Heathrow and through the people who live there. I love the mix of old and new. It’s remarkably easy to find your way around, and the public transportation is superb (unlike, say, small college towns in the midwest). It’s also a hub for concerts and sci-fi conventions and theatre. Pretty much the only thing not to like is the price for places to live (having just seen a London House Hunters, this dream is pretty far off).

    2. Washington, DC

    For me, I want to work in the government at the federal level so this is a no brainer. To be right in the middle of the nation’s capital, surrounded by politics and decision makers is a dream come true. Plus, I’d love to live in Georgetown one day – gorgeous!

    3. Minneapolis

    I grew up here and it’s still my second favorite city, only losing to London. Sure, it’s got a lot of white midwestern folks, but on the whole, Minneapolis is remarkably diverse for being in a flyover state. It has a thriving gay community (one of the highest percentages for the population), and it was the first to elect a Muslim to Congress. It has a theatre district worthy of Broadway (but cheaper), art museums, art gardens, a lively musical scene, parks, lakes, and good highways, everything is easy to get to, and even public transportation isn’t bad. It’s relatively eco-friendly, and just plain friendly. And of course, it has the Mall of America. The only disadvantage is the 50 below windchill, but growing up there, I’m kind of used to it. And at least the summer isn’t 100 all the time!

    Runners up would be NYC, Portland, Seattle, Milan, Boston, and Cambridge Mass.

  17. Australia. As ‘what the real time is right now’ seems to be gauged from the US and Europe, you can always say you’re from the future.

  18. That’s a tricky question. Vancouver has always been high on my list so I’m sure I’ll get there eventually.

    I would like to live somewhere warm, though. Since leaving Melbourne, Australia in 1998 I’ve lived in New Zealand, Tasmania and England and haven’t had a decent summer in any of them! So my next move will have to be somewhere that has warm to hot weather for a significant part of the year. Maybe somewhere on the Mediterranean. I would like to learn Spanish/French/Italian/Greek . . .

    My grand plan was to retire at 30 as a multi-billionaire and buy a Pacific island somewhere. The billions never happened and I’m now 40. Oh well.

  19. I live in Denver and it’s hard to call think of a place better suited for me. It’s sunny over 300 days per year, the continential divide slows winter storms so it stays relatively warm in town during the winters, and the people are (usually) nice. We also have some of the best skiing, hiking, and camping about an hour drive from my house. Oh yeah, and we have low humidity.
    Cons: We have low humidity, so we have a tendency forest fires.

    Other options:
    Portland and Seattle – great cities and I have always had a blast while I was there. Plus plenty of fresh seafood, which is not abundant in Denver.

    Glenwood Springs, Colorado – While Denver is great, I’ve always wanted to live directly in the mountains, and Glenwood is big enough that there is plenty to do, but small enough that it doesn’t take an hour to drive across town.

  20. That is a fun post Mr. M. and a topic I’ve thought about a lot! If I moved out of the country I would love to try Australia or New Zealand. Near the beach, if possible because I need the warmth. If I could live anywhere in America, I would live on the beach somewhere. A summer house in Maine and a winter house in…..Georgia or Florida.

    Hubby works for Microsoft and he keeps talking about moving to Washington State. It looks very pretty in Seattle but I don’t know if I could handle the cold temps. My fingers bleach out to white when it gets under 70F here. I’ve got Raynaud’s and it’s not a big deal in the South. However, I would probably get frost bite in the North. I’d like to keep my appendages, thank you very much!

  21. My 3 places to live…

    1. Tampa Bay, Florida…I’ve been to Florida many times, and I absolutely love it there. I love the warm weather. I’m a Jersey Girl. Lived in NJ all my life, and as much I love my state. I don’t like the cold winters…and I especially hate snow. I chose Tampa because it’s on the Gulf coast, and that’s my favorite area. I love the white sandy beaches on the Gulf coast. And…I can take the heat and the humidity. I just know I would love it. 🙂

    2. Sydney, Australia…..I dunno there’s just something I like about Australia. I would love to take trip to the Down Under one day. Plus…I hear that the people are so nice there. Again, I like hot weather and looks just like a nice place to live. I wanna see the kangaroos and koalas and emus and wombats! And…I can do I a great Aussie accent! 😉 Crikey! 😀

    3. Texas…..I love Texans! I love anything to do with Texas. I love country western. I love the food! I wanna live on a horse ranch! I wanna cowboy hat. 😀

    1. To Sue Jackson: So you want to be a Texan?

      A friend from my NJ girlhood lives in N. Texas and went ALL THE WAY: cowboy hats, Western shirts, country music, boots, “cowboy church”…and she married a Texan last year.

      I sometimes put together a Tex-Mex outfit: embroidered Oaxaca dress or ruffled blouse & peasant skirt, sandals, a paper-flower garland in my hair. But I usually do jeans, sunglasses, and a San Antonio T-shirt.

      Before you decide to live here, come down for a week in May–October to experience our hellacious six-month summer. I don’t know how Texans survived before the mid-20th-century proliferation of air conditioning.

      Gilder
      Hunterdon County 1957–1980
      San Antonio 1988–present

  22. Oh, what fun!! We are in Birmiingham, Alabama right now having been here for almost ten months. I can’t say enough good about it. The opportunities are much greater than they were in SC (including writing opportunities for me, homeschool opportunities for the kids, and work available in hubby’s field.) We are close to the main thoroughfare (sp) which offers good food (I had my first lamb burger yesterday. Mmm. Yum.), access to a great library, and access to baseball fields. Now, if we could find all those somewhere else, these would be my cities to pick from:

    1) Miami, FL area—Having no winter to speak of, this would be tremendously popular with the family, and I have a good homeschooling mom friend that lives there too. Of course, the cost of living would be much more expensive.

    2) Raleigh, NC—I like seeing the leaves change colors, and I’ve heard there are lots of the same kinds of opportunites here that I would want.

    3) This would probably be somewhere I would move after the kids were grown, but I’ve always wanted to visit the city of Copenhagen, Denmark. I’ve always been fascinated with the country and the city itself.

    Nice topic, Joe.

    Have a great day, everyone!!!!!!!
    Lisa R

  23. Tokyo would not top my list, I do love it there, but the air quality would kill me. Maybe up near NIkko, in the mountains.

    San Francisco, surely. Always my top pick. I was born in Oakland, after all. Lived there as an 18 year old in the 70s. I think I have some great memories.

    LA? No thanks. Although I have spent plenty of time in San Diego, and could be quite happy there. Still, California makes me a bit crazy after a few years, so I’d have to decline.

    London, oh yes, although I’ve not been there since the 70s. I had a blast and managed to get into the middle of a footballer/punk gang fight, just like the movies. Cold as hell in the winter. One hopes the food has improved, it sucked back then. And then there was the incident where I was nicely but modestly dressed, coming back from the theater in the evening, and I was propositioned by a well groomed gentleman with an exotic accent who mistook me for a working girl. Huh.

    I did enjoy Santa Fe, and I have wonderfully fond memories of Shiraz, and the people in Vermont were terrific. When we passed through Minneapolis, I learned they have the rudest, most aggressive drivers in the US, every merge is a personal challenge. Not a great impression based on that alone.

    Hawaii, yes, but not Honolulu. Big Island, nice little coffee plantation. Two houses so my hippie friends could come harvest my coffee.

    Basically, a home in the middle of a bunch of nowhere, because if you have enough money, the entire world is within commuting distance.

  24. I’ve lived in Manchester, UK all my life. I have no intention to live elsewhere to be honest. This is where I work, and my friends and most of my family live. Even when moving house, it’s never been outside the Manchester area. But if it was time to leave, for whatever reason, here’s the 3 places I’d consider:-

    Geneva

    Beautiful city, with a picturesque lake and mountain-scape. Scrambling up mountains is one of my hobbies too, and because Geneva is on the outskirts of the Alps, there’s plenty of them around there (scrambling up, yes, but not hardcore climbing up). A friend of mine has lived there for over a decade, even though I’ve never actually been myself.

    Tokyo

    It seems to be an incredibly interesting city, where there always seems to be something to do, and in places, geek heaven. The language barrier would be a problem, but I want to learn another language. I know it’s a tough one, but I’d certainly give it a go if I moved there, (ok, learning the native language is a necessity wherever you live).

    Mars

    Well, why not? Red’s my favourite colour ;p

  25. It’s 90 degrees here today (so far)…I am SOOOO ready to move to Scotland. 😛

    My AC is old and obviously not able to keep up with the heat, so my house is 81 degrees. I came to work, only to find that no one turned down the office AC, so this metal box I’m sitting in is currently 85 degrees. Talk about a frying pan to fire scenario. 😛

    Not sure when dad’s guys can get to my AC. Our problem mechanic is taking off for the next week (as he always does this time of year, the idiot), and our other fulltime guy is just swamped. We have a couple guys – former employees who have their own businesses – that help out when we get in a bind, but they’re swamped right now, too. We might be getting t-boomers, so hopefully that will cool things down a bit, but I really need a new AC, or at the very least, a shot of refrigerant. Alas, like the shoemaker’s kids, I have to wait. 😛

    das

  26. Little offtopic but Joe, looks like the newest Michael Shanks series is flopping hard on NBC, shame actually because Saving Hope isn’t half bad.

    Would of thought his first real role on a show since Stargate ended would do better but it only got 2.6 million viewers, 0.5 18-49 on NBC yesterday, hopefully just a one off dip in numbers.

    Seems former Stargate SG1 lead cast members aren’t having the best of luck lately, with Sanctuary being cancelled and Saving Hope looking likely to follow too.

  27. Well, I’m currently in central California. It makes visiting SF and LA quite easy, so those are out. But here are mine:

    3. Santa Barbara(area). They’ve got their own wine country there, fantastic weather all the time, beautiful scenery, and just removed enough from the big cities to feel separate. Been there many times and love the place.

    2. Seattle. Visited there a couple times. Once for a family reunion and once to visit a friend. Both times I absolutely loved it. Wonderful place to live. Don’t know if I could take the constant grey and rain, though. That’d be tough. But everything else was spot on for what I like about a city.

    1. Santa Cruz. Hands down, the only other place I’d truly consider living, outside of where I’m at now. Small town feel(because it is), mountains, state parks, huge redwoods, the boardwalk, you name it, all within about 10 minutes of each other. Amazing weather(I LOVE foggy cool nights in the summer), beautiful landscapes, extremely chill people, I love it all! Granted, the majority of people there are flag wavin’ hippies stuck in the 60’s(you could go there and see tons of doubles for the actors from the SG1 episode 1969, appropriately), but they’re all so relaxed and nice, it’s refreshing. I’m almost a polar opposite from most of them politically and morally(I’m quite the conservative), but I’ve got long hair and a long goatie and am extremely laid back and easy going myself, so I fit right in. I know, “laid back, easy going conservative” sounds like an oxymoron, but trust me, we’re out there! I did live there for four years, so I know the lay of the land pretty well and to me, it already is my second home.

    I’ve been all over the states and have seen many cities(Atlanta, Detroit, Charlotte, Denver, Phoenix, Dallas, etc.) and while many of them are nice, I’m just not a big city kind of guy. Love to visit them, just can’t live there.

    I will give an honorable mention to San Diego. Has everything going for it, but it’s still a little large and I like to feel seasons. It’s really a toss up between Santa Barbara and San Diego, I guess. They’re both nice.

    -Mike A.

  28. I currently live in a suburb of Dallas. Centrally located, mild winters, but scorching hot summers (which last from late April to early October). However, I was born and raised in Texas and all my family lives here so I’m here to stay.

    But if I were to move…

    1. Newport, RI. Crazy, I know, but it’s the cutest place I’ve ever been. The cold above the Red River (the river that separates God’s country, I mean Texas from Oklahoma) precludes me from living there.

    2. Santa Barbara, CA. Most beautiful place I’ve visited. Ocean and beach, architecture, temperate climate – it has it all. Including sky high cost of living.

    3. Chicago, New York, or Boston – I love these cities (excluding their sports teams). So much to do and see. But those winters…

    @sue jackson – come on down! There’s plenty of room (and cowboy hats) for you. However, while I’m with you on the food, if you’re expecting horse ranches and cowboy hats everywhere, you’re going to be disappointed. Not that they can’t be found, but you’d be in the boonies (that’s way out in the country for those that don’t speak Southern). We only bust out our Stetsons and boots for country music concerts and TV shows.

  29. I currently live in Brookline, Massachusetts, right next to Boston. Having grown up in New York City, though, I’ve always had a desire to return one day, if the right reason for doing so came up. The one other place I’ve often thought of is Los Alamos, New Mexico. I spent a summer working there and I enjoyed the quiet peacefulness of the town. Odd for a city boy, I suppose, but there it is.

  30. Hmm. My top 3… I know we discussed this before, Joe, but don’t hold me to whatever I said then!

    I would consider where I am right now (the Maritimes) as my first choice, just because, well, I’m here and I really like it. Harsh winters and all. So, for my other choices, I have to say number one is (still) Vancouver. The climate, the mountains, the generally laid back atmosphere, clean, great arts facilities, you name it. I just love it there! If there were one place in Canada that I would like to live other than the Maritimes, Vancouver is definitely it.

    Now, assuming immigration, etc. were never an issue, I would like to live near Gorham, NH, near my beloved White Mountains. It’s just a small town with not a lot in the way of restaurants or other facilities, but it’s just so darn peaceful there.

    Next would probably be somewhere like Brisbane, Australia. Friendly folks, great infrastructure, semi-tropical. I think it would be a nice place to live.

    I’m going to add a fourth, since it’s kind of a silly fantasy of mine, but I sometimes say I’m tempted to pack everything up and move to Nepal, where I would use my IT background to set up a little tourist internet cafe in the Himalayan village of Namche. Good bye, Rat Race!

    Here’s a pic of Namche from my trip there in 2005:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gforce2002/7421536418/sizes/z/in/photostream/

  31. i’m a country girl, so i can’t imagine living in a city of any size.

    maybe atlanta, ga for no other reason than to be close for dragon-con.
    or washington, d.c. for no reason in particular.
    or maybe pittsburgh, p.a. because it was once voted the second most livable city in america. (whatever that means)

  32. Hey Joe!

    It’s been a while. It’s funny that you wrote this entry today as I just arrived in LA to start Summer School at USC (Flying in from Seattle)

    Seattle is gorgeous. Though I had bad memories of the city, I fell in love with it during my most recent visit.

    I suppose my 3 dream cities would be

    Los Angeles (entertainment industry, diversity, weather, beach)
    Seattle (artsy environment, character to the city)
    Vancouver (entertainment industry, environment)

    Also, quick cool bit of personal news. I get to write a 6 piece guest column on Airlock Alpha about my experiences at USC. Check it out

    http://www.airlockalpha.com/node/9216/scifriday-filmmaking-goes-back-to-its-roots.html

    Hope all is well with you guys. And if I don’t post often, Im still here just lurking. 😀

    Thanks so much,
    Major D.

  33. I like this 🙂

    I’ve never moved far from home: Moncton, New Brunswick. Small city in a small province. *But* I actually like it here. I’m 30 minutes from the beach, there’s trees and grass everywhere, and we get extremes in all seasons (6 foot snow storm? sure! 40 degree humidity? no problem!) Maybe it’s because I’ve never actually lived in a big city, but they seem overwhelming.

    For a realistic list, considering family and other obligations, I’d definitely be staying put in Canada.

    1)Halifax, Nova Scotia. Only 2 and a half hours from where I am now! But it’s the biggest city in the Atlantic provinces, so more opportunity, it’s close to home, close to the ocean, I have family there and it’s close to so many beautiful Nova Scotia destinations (Peggy’s Cove, Lunenburg (they shoot the show Haven there!) etc)

    2)Winnipeg. I have a very good friend who lives there, and I’ve visited twice. I know that *no one* seems to like it there or go on purpose, but I thought it was quite nice. The neighbourhoods are very close to downtown (unlike my family that lives near Toronto), the rivers are beautiful, the people are nice.

    3) Charlottetown, PEI. I guess I like the Maritimes and I love the water. PEI is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Rolling green hills, red dirt, beautiful trees and flowers, and it’s so small you can pretty much always see the ocean. It’s also very close to Moncton and I’d go to Charlottetown for better work opportunities. I would love to retire in a quiet town in PEI, though.

  34. @Major Davis: Wow, you’re all grown up, kiddo! I’m sure I speak for all of us here when I say we’re all proud of you! Stop by and see us more often!

    The three places I want to live? Guatemala in the 70s, Tampa (hopefully next year), and today, THE PEGASUS GALAXY. 🙂

  35. Hmm… Well, I\’ve lived in LA, and I wouldn\’t hate going back there, but I really didn\’t make use of most of those entertainment/cultural opportunities. I\’ve been to Seattle many times, as my brother lives there, and it does look like a very nice city. I wouldn\’t mind living there either. I also visited Vancouver a few times, and it too seems like a place I\’d like to live. (Although I find I get a bit restless after two or three years in one place and want to move to a new city.)

    Off the top of my head, the top three places I\’ve never lived and would like to try out would be:

    Glasgow (never been to Scotland, but it seems cool, and I love the Glaswegian accents)
    London (visited there briefly, and I enjoyed it)
    New York (mostly just to see what all the fuss is about)

  36. @Lou Zucaro:

    Shoot, any other day probably would’ve worked, but we’re hosting my wife’s Dad’s 70th birthday party on 7/21, ugh.

    We’re also having “tours” in August and September. If you join the group (link above), you can join the email discussions for venues, times, and cuisine choices. I think there was talk of Macarons again in August or September…

  37. @Lou: Hey, we’re open to suggestions! What’s on your wish list?

    @das: Take heart, my dear. We’re sending a little cool weather your way in a couple of days.

  38. Where we want to live?! great question.

    I’m currently living in Akron, Ohio trying to finish up my Masters degree. I’ll be moving back east to the Philadelphia area at the end of July.

    So as for my top three places to live:

    #1: Philadelphia: before coming to Ohio for grad school I was working in center city and spent all of my free time enjoying everything that this wonderful city has to offer. Yes….i’m sure no one besides people who actually live in Philly love it, but to me it’s home! The benefits for me would be amazing academic opportunities (in my field), cultural and historical features, and a nice up-and-coming restaurant scene. This city is extremely dangerous and not for the feint of heart but if you can overcome preconception about the city it really has a lot to offer! Downside, it’s so stuck on it’s colonial history that my specialty (Early North American Archaeology) is often not well represented.

    #2: Toronto: I would live here for almost the same reasons as Philly. It has the academic opportunities in my specialty that I need to be successful and a great restaurant scene. Already having experience in Great Lakes Region archaeology would be beneficial to moving to Toronto.

    #3: Chicago: Same as the above….I’m thinking all I really need is a great PhD program and a place to blow my stipend on something tasty and I’ll be pretty happy….

  39. Currently live: The Woodlands, Texas http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Woodlands,_Texas

    We moved here in 1992 when there was no mall, they were just building the first high school. We liked the concept of the rigid standards to keep this area full of trees. It reminded us of our lives back in New York. It’s close enough to Houston and all its bustling culture (where I lived since 1982 after high school; I came here because my two biological sisters were here; they’ve since moved, but I was sick of moving so I stayed. I was noncommital about Houston. Didn’t hate it; didn’t love it. However, I do LOVE The Woodlands.

    This is going to be a bit complicated post. Because of Patrick receiving benefits from the government, which are federally mandated but state paid, if he ever left this state he would lose his benefits here and go to the BOTTOM of the waiting list (and the wait times vary) of whatever state he moved to. As an adult, that would mean paying for care (like residential care when he is older) out of pocket. Jeff & I are figuring up our estate planning and if we had to rely on private pay, NOT ADJUSTING for inflation, taking into consideration a 30-year time span before he would leave us and before he might be allowed to have social security if it even existed, we’d have to have more than $5 million of life insurance money to provide for him when we died. Our retirement accounts are already depleted. So we are being held hostage by the state of Texas. To give you some idea how long some of these wait lists are: Patrick was only #100 ten years ago on the wait list. It moved up only 10 slots a year. Now, there are over 50,000 people on the wait list for services. I’m thinking 20-30 years to get through that list. Seriously, they need to pass federal mandates that say that if you have services in one state, you go to the top of the list in another state. So if we die, Patrick can never leave this state and go to a state where family might live. It’s ridiculous. So we are never moving. Besides, my 1st mortgage is paid off in about 2 years. The second mortgage we hope to double-up on payments there once that happens and get that paid off quickly. Being held hostage in The Woodlands is in no way a prison sentence. It is that beautiful, vibrant, economically sound, environmentally friendly, great schools (if you don’t have a kid with a disability), great neighbors. It’s not too far from Austin, San Antonio or Dallas, all very nice cities as well.

    But if we won Lotto or if God forbid Patrick should ever die and we wanted to move, these would be my top picks:

    1. Vancouver, BC. When we visited in 2001 we wanted to move there. Mind you, this trip almost ended our marriage, but I loved the area, and this was before I knew everyone I do now who does live there. I loved the contrast of the mountains and the water. I’m a Pisces and I crave salt water. Sometimes I have to go down to Galveston or Kemah just to breathe in some salt air.

    2. Friday Harbor, WA: We actually looked into prices of houses and how we would get Patrick to a small school on the island with his autism and the resources they would lack there. Still considering it as a vacation destination.

    3. Seattle, WA: Again, we just love the area up there. But when we found out the salaries were about the same as they were in Houston, and the housing prices about 3x as much, our place wasn’t looking so bad anymore.

    4. Kauai, Hawaii: Small island, just like Friday Harbor. It was our original honeymoon destination until A) it had horrible hurricane damage in 1992 when we were supposed to get married and the place we were going to stay at was on the front page of our newspaper, and B) the mortgage lenders required we put 20% down on the house instead of 10% and we were paying for our wedding, so the money had to come from somewhere.

  40. Hey, you didn’t mention the UK! Just think of all the history, the culture, the rain…Okay maybe I can understand why you would rather stay on the other side of the globe.

    Seriously, I live in Scotland and it is a very diverse and beautiful country. The scenery up north is magnificent, and we have some beautiful cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow with excellent shopping, eating places and entertainment venues. If I didn’t live here my top 3 places to stay would be

    1. San Francisco. The reason? I paid my first visit when I was 19 and fell in love with the place. I’ve returned many times since.

    2.Hawaii. I’ve also visited there and apart from the beauty of the place, the native Hawaiian’s share the same type of quirky, sarcastic humour as the Scots.

    3.Vancouver. I’ve visited there only a couple of times and really liked the place. It is such a lovely clean, classy city. You’re a lucky guy to live there Joe.

  41. I live in Spokane, Washington, USA. But my picks for some place would have to be:

    1) Seattle- I have family there and it’s only about four or five hours away from home. And there is of course the Science Fiction Museum, so bonus!

    2) L.A.- A couple of shows I’m trying to join the writing staff of film there.

    3) Portland, Oregon- Another show I’m trying to join the writing staff of (and it actually looks like it has a chance of panning out for me to join) films there.

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