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Finding the perfect location to live – its all in the weight!

I am asking for your help here to help me produce a tool to help the analysis of finding a great location to live. I myself have been agonising over all the options I have and have decided to start looking at this in a more analytical way.

One thing about being a working nomad means that you can in affect live anywhere. The problem this has thrown up for me is that one can be left with too many options! Some people can spend their entire lives looking for the ideal place to live and never find it!

So what I plan to do is to get together a list of important things to consider when choosing a location. This list is going to be extensive as possible and cover as many things as people feel important.

The next part, and indeed the tricky part, is to weigh and score these individual requirements to help build up a true representation of needs. For instance some things will be important to some people and not so to others. Here is a quick list of things that are important to me when looking for a location with a rough weighting index.

1. Social life, active expat scene & Weighting: 5/5 – important to me as I am single and not moving with a partner or family. I would not want to move anywhere that would be hard to integrate or lacking in like-minded individuals.

2. Healthcare, access to free healthcare- Weighting: 3/5 – As I am still relatively young and healthy so this would not be as important to me as it would in 30 years.

3. Work opportunities -Weighting: 4/5 – Surprisingly this is important to me because although I am self employed I would like to be somewhere where I could do other things. I don’t want to be working on my own for ever!

4. Easy access to beach & mountains – Weighting: 5/5 – As many of you who follow me knows I am very keen on outdoor activities, both winter and summer and feel it would add considerably to my quality of life.

5. Year round climate</strong> – Weighting: 4/5 – Important to me as I love the outdoors when I am away from the computer!

6. Cost of living</strong> – Weighting: 3/5 – Again this is important but I would not give it top marks as I would be happy to pay for somwhere decent to live and work there to enjoy it.

7. Access to family and friends</strong> – Weighting: 5/5 – Undeniably important to me, possibly more so than in the last few years.

Ok there are lots of other factors. Access to family and friends, transport links, cost of real estate, kids education, culture, language, ability to learn a new language, environment, distance from home etc

So taking in to account my needs I am now going to compare three places where I am considering living for a while. Prague, Auckland and Barcelona. The way I score the cities maybe up for some debate but this represents my current perceptions.

Prague, CZ;

1. Great expat and social scene, lots of web resources, clubs etc – 9/10 (with weighting x5 = 45)
2. Healthcare, modern and free for EU pp, – 10/10 (with weighting x3 = 30)
3. Work opps exist but only for teaching English – 6/10 (with weighting x4 = 24)
4. Near mountains for skiiing, hiking but not beach! – 5/10 (with weighting x5 = 25)
5. Climate, great in the summer, too cold in winter – 5/10 (with weighting x4= 20)
6. Cheap compared to much of Europe (not so for tourists) – 8/10 (with weighting x3= 24)
7. Only 2 hours flight to London Stanstead – 8/10 (with weighting x5= 40)

Auckland, NZ

1. Good scene, lively groups, easy to meet people etc – 9/10 (with weighting x5 = 45)
2. Healthcare, modern and free for UK pp (emergencies only) – 7/10 (with weighting x3 = 21)
3. English speaking, lots of work – 9/10 (with weighting x4 = 36)
4. Near mountains and beaches – 9/10 (with weighting x5 = 45)
5. Climate, good year round but not perfect – 8/10 (with weighting x4= 30)
6. Cheap compared to much of Europe – 9/10 (with weighting x3= 28)
7. 24 hours and $1000 min airfares – 1/10 (with weighting x5= 10)

Barcelona, ES

1. Great expat and social scene, lots of web resources, clubs etc – 9/10 (with weighting x5 = 45)
2. Healthcare, modern and free for EU pp, – 10/10 (with weighting x3 = 30)
3. Work opps exist, mainly teaching English – 7/10 (with weighting x4 = 28)
4. Has many beaches and near Pyranees – 10/10 (with weighting x5 = 50)
5. Great Med climate, not too hot or cold – 9/10 (with weighting x4= 36)
6. Expensive. – 2/10 (with weighting x2 = 4)
7. Only 2 hours flight to London Stanstead – 8/10 (with weighting x5= 40)

1. Barcelona, 233 points
2. Auckland, 215 points
3. Prague, 208 points

So there we go. Based on these three cities I would be heading off to Espana (which is something I am seriously considering, particularly as there is Mediterranean surf which I did not know about before 🙂 )

It is interesting to consider that if cost of living was a real factor for me Barcelona would not be top of my list. Shows you the importance of weight!

There are of course lots of other factors to build in. For me anywhere in the EU would have the advantage as I have the right to work there where as NZ I would have to apply for a one year visa (at a cost of GBP450) and then face the possibility of having to leave after the visa ran out if I could not get a work permit.

So what I am interested in is for other people to leave comments about what is important to them and how much weight you would give to it. <strong>The weight thing is the most important aspect of making this analysis relevant to the individual!

I will then make some sort of tool that will calculate the best locations for you based on your needs.