Best Places I’ve Never Lived

I realized the other day that there’s not enough time in a lifetime to live all the places I’d like to live. In fact, it’s a good thing inter-planetary space travel has not yet been invented, or I would be completely overwhelmed by possibilities. My blogger friend Amira (who presently lives in Kyrgystan) is doing a series on all the cities where she’d like to live. Some of them are so obscure I have to look up what country they’re in. Of course, I had to look up Kyrgystan when I first “met” her too.

It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who can’t help viewing every international vacation (and every National Geographic article, for that matter) as a house-hunting trip. My travel dreams might not be quite as exotic as Amira’s, but in the course of the last several years since we decided we were an international family, Tony and I have researched mundane things like housing, raw milk availability, and homeschooling laws in quite a variety of different possible destinations. Besides the ones where we’ve actually ended up living.

Here’s my shortlist of places I’ve never been but know I would love to live.


I hope this doesn’t sound morbid, but I first became obsessed with Norway last year, following the horrific shootings on Utøya Island in July. Although I’m not really a party person, the Norwegian Labour Party might possibly come closest to a political ideology I could feel comfortable espousing. Norway is full of natural beauty, both in the countryside and wild places and in the many urban green spaces. Norway also has a high standard of living, a Scandinavian sense of organization, and a cool climate. What’s not to love?

Costa Rica.

I watched this little video and was sold on Costa Rica. Besides the fact that I already speak Spanish, and it’s pretty cheap to live there, 99% of their energy comes from renewable resources. If that’s not the wave of the future, I don’t know what is. Costa Rica is the go-to destination for retirees and other sun-seeking expats looking for a quaint paradise with good infrastructure. I really love tropical fruit and tropical beaches, but there aren’t that many tropical countries I’d like to live in long term. Costa Rica might be an exception.


Well, technically I have been to France. Nice is the preferred airport for international flights out of our little corner of Italy. So I’ve glimpsed the fabled pebbled beaches of the French Riviera out of the window of a bus various times. My most vivid memory of Nice is sitting on a huge cardboard box (filled with my belongings) in the train station, with seventeen pieces of luggage piled around me, deathly ill in the middle of a move from Ireland to Italy. So no, I don’t consider myself to have really visited France.

But who hasn’t dreamed of living in Paris? Ever since I read Paris to the Moon, I’ve pictured us there. I’ve even found my perfect apartment, in the 8th Arrondissement, right next to Parc Monceau. Now all I need is my perfect income to support a Parisian lifestyle.


Why Turkmenistan? I’m not quite sure. It just really fascinates me. We want to adopt internationally someday, and I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching different countries, during which research Turkmenistan appeared on my radar. Unfortunately, it’s well-nigh impossible to adopt from Turkmenistan. In fact, it’s hard to even get a visa to visit Turkmenistan. Maybe that’s why it attracts me: the lure of the forbidden. And the interesting tidbits I’ve read about the country. Bizarrely, the former President-For-Life (who died in 2007) authored his own book on Islam. Just like Qaddafi! The book forms the basis for the educational system of the country, and knowledge of it is required to even get a driver’s license. The Akhal-Teke, a beautiful breed of horse with a metallic-sheen coat, also originates there. Turkmenistan is one of those countries that feels like a “black box,” tantalizing in its mystery and oddity. I’d love to see what it’s really like there.

Will I ever live any of these places? Who knows? But this is my favorite kind of daydream.

What’s your dream destination?

photo credits: Norway, Costa Rica, France, Turkmenistan

7 thoughts on “Best Places I’ve Never Lived

  • April 12, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Christine – We’re presently in Florida. But California is a great place to homeschool! And a great place to live, too.

  • April 12, 2012 at 5:22 am

    Christchurch New Zealand, St. Andrews University Scotland, Copenhagen, and we share Costa Rica because I saw that TED talk on the Happy Planet Index half a year ago! Add Bhutan for me based on the same video.

  • April 12, 2012 at 1:13 am

    Oh, don’t get me started. I think I’ll have to write my own post on this one. I think my three would have to be Turkey, Uzbekistan, and almost anywhere in the Caribbean where they speak Spanish. I guess I’m cheating with Turkey since I’ve lived there, but I don’t want to live in Istanbul, I want to live out by Edirne near the Greecian border. Sarah, are you still in California? I think we’re moving there next year. What are the homeschooling obstacles there?

  • April 12, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Yay for Turkmenistan. We actually know an LDS family who adopted a daughter from Turkmenistan, but that was in the 90s and they were living there at the time.

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