If, for whatever reason, I were forced to leave America and live in another country that I had visited in the past, which one would I choose? That question was posed to me at a dinner party a while ago. At the time I threw out a quick answer but afterwards I thought about it some more and today I’m going to share six countries that came to mind as a possible new home. Certainly if I took the time to ponder the question longer I could come up with addition locales but these are the ones that came to mind first.
I think I’ve more extensively explored Spain than any other country I’ve visited. There are plenty of towns that I could see myself settling down in, such as San Sebastian, Segovia, and Granada. Long ago I could speak Spanish at a high school level and I’m quite confident that with a little time and effort I could recover those skills and move beyond into full fluency. With my Mediterranean skin color I also fit in, to the point where Spain has been the only country I’ve visited where locals have mistaken me for being one of them. Obviously my American accent gives me away once I start speaking but I think I could assimilate pretty well into Spanish society.
Living in Japan might be cool, but there’s the fact that I’d forever be gaijin. Foreigners can have a hard time getting work visas, they’ll never become citizens, and Japanese is a notoriously difficult language for native English speakers to master. I guess I’d have to make up my mind on whether the interesting parts of Japan would be worth the hassle that a gaijin like me would have to endure to live there.
This is sort of an obvious choice just because there would (theoretically) be no language barrier and the culture in Britain isn’t too far off that of America. The problem with Britain would be that I’ve only been to London, so I can’t say that I’ve seen much of the country and thus wouldn’t have an informed opinion about living anywhere outside of the capital.
Korea might offer a good compromise for living in Asia in that I’d get the experience of living in East Asia but without some of the trouble that would come from living in Japan. While I did like Japan more than Korea, I still thought Korea was a fascinating place and I think I could find a good place to lay down roots. The Korean people are also probably the friendliest I’ve met in the whole world, which is a great bonus. Yes, I’d have to learn Korean, but from my casual observations it doesn’t seem like it’s as hard to learn as Japanese.
The Balkans region of Europe is an interesting place and my personal favorite of the nations there is Croatia. The capital city of Zagreb was enjoyable both times I visited and is the nation’s most advanced city, so I would find a place to live there. Croatia would also have the benefit of being a little cheaper than most other nations in this post.
Much like Croatia, I could live in France but it would be in a very specific location. There are lots of nice places in France, but for me I’d pick the Normandy region. Normandy is a quiet (and rainy) part of France that’s full of history but doesn’t attract the big crowds like you find in Paris or other parts of France. If I had my pick of towns I’d opt for Bayeux, a centrally located and very charming town that’s got most of the conveniences of a large city but without the traffic and other annoyances of big cities.