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Where to Live In The World (Was: Leaving Switzerland)

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on August 29, 2020, 5:51 am

What's unattractive for you about Southeast Asia?

To me, it's that the cities have generally lower quality of life. Overrun by cars and traffic, and very polluted.


On downsides of Southeast asia:

Disclaimer: I’ve not yet been to southeast asia (SEA), so all of this is only what I read and saw in videos. I’m also generalising, it may likely not be true for all of SEA, and I’m only describing downsides, so this is not balanced at all. Some of these points are also true for other places.

 

  • SEA while having great climate apparently has all sort of really dangerous animals as well. I’m not too excited to constantly have to check my appartment and shoes for giant centipedes, spiders, scorpions, etc. and it seems it may even be dangerous to walk barefoot, especially if you stumble at night from your bed to the bathroom. Maybe less of a concern in big cities.

 

  • And while it might not be a too common situation for most people in the heart of a city, but knowing that a bite of some rather common venemous snake can give you torturous pain and/or kill you, isn’t a particularly nice realisation to have. They are of course not to be provoked, but it can happen accidentally.

 

  • Bad quality of tap water

 

  • Very different culture with unexpected and annoying things to worry about – like not accidentally pointing at someone with your feet because they are ‘dirty’, and stuff like that.

 

  • Massive and open animal abuse – elephant rides, cock-fighting, etc. etc. (though that’s not exclusive for SEA for sure)

 

  • Corruption – may having to bribe f.e. police is something I find very unattractive as well, and it sets very wrong and dangerous incencitives. (This may be a very interesting topic for a post, how to handle it well)

 

  • A lot of even quite sophisticated scammers, and many directed at westerners specifically.

 

  • Stray dogs

 

  • Dangerous chemicals still used f.e. as pesticides that are long gone in other places

 

  • Mosquitos

 

  • Loud and dangerous traffic

 

  • Racial issues

 

  • Not even allowed to stay there long time – and all that unnecessary visa stuff.

 

  • Poverty – shouldn’t exist whatsover, nowhere.

 

  • Toilets appear not too nice

 

  • I’m not into drugs at all, so this doesn’t really directly affect me, but this excerpt from wikitravel on singapor speaks for itself, and the atmosphere things like that create is simply very ugly, and as far as I’m aware it’s somewhat similar in other places in SEA:

 

“Singapore treats drug offences extremely severely. The death penalty is mandatory for those convicted of trafficking, manufacturing, importing or exporting more than 15g of heroin, 30g of morphine, 30g of cocaine, 500g of cannabis, 200g of cannabis resin or 1.2kg of opium, and possession of these quantities is all that is needed for you to be convicted. For unauthorised consumption, there is a maximum of 10 years' jail or fine of $20,000, or both. You can be charged for unauthorised consumption as long as traces of illicit drugs are found in your system, even if you can prove that they were consumed outside the country, and you can be charged for trafficking as long as drugs are found in bags that are in your possession or in your room, even if they aren't yours and regardless of whether you're aware of them - therefore, be vigilant of your possessions.”

 

Having said all that, I still want to see the visually stunning region and judge the reality of these problems for myself though.


On Berlin:

The ‘nature fix’ is absolutely crucial – without parks bigger cities would likely be very depressing long-term, and that’s why I appreciate it so much if there is much green.

 

And I agree, bodies of water are a huge plus, as it is very relaxing as well and gives also further variation to your ‘nature fixes’.

 

Probably the most obvious thing that is so destinct to Berlin in comparison to other german cities for me, is simply the size of streets and sidewalks, especially in the regions around the centre*, and that may be the main reason why it doesn’t feel overcrowded, but simply -big-.

It's also one main thing that gives that 'international'-vibe I think.

I’m not really sure of the outer parts now thinking about it, but these small sidestreets that are common for southern european cities are a big stylistic contrast to that.

 

*There is a joke that I heard several times that Berlin isn’t a real city because it lacks a (destinct) ‘city-centre’, as these are very common for german cities – and the Alex which may appear as such is directly surrounded by big streets, which is untypical.

But I think there are plenty of great places everywhere – so to me it’s more like many small centres, not only one.

 

The dressing perspective is a nice observation, I haven’t really though about it that way, but indeed dressing options in summer are quite limited in comparison.

 

And I guess you really stood out in a great way out with this outfit, and I haven’t seen many people wearing hat’s in central europe -which is something that could really have a comeback-.

 

 

Quote from Anon on August 29, 2020, 11:49 am
(...)

Yeah, those are all good points actually.

In certain places, the corrupt police is like a tax. And of course they like foreigners even more. And the most annoying part? You're supposed to "negotiate" their fee, which makes you waste even more time.

The animal part might be a bit of an over-worry considering the real risks, but swap that with "cockroaches" and some rats (outside), and you're close :).

Clean and more expensive places in big cities should be fine for the cockroaches, albeit you can never 100% exclude it.
Cockroaches aren't really dangerous, but they also don't exactly make for the coziest feeling :). They can also get to some people's heads, especially those who aren't used to it.

Singapore is a bit of an exception, it's a very wealthy place, extremely clean... And extremely expensive. Democracy is weak and individuals' rights are not as strong as in most Western countries as you also mention, but it's also very safe. Basically the country had one of those leader whom you could call "enlightened dictators" (LKY). He went all in to make it a "'model" city-state, and if that meant trampling on individuals' rights, so be it.
But you're right that drugs are a big no-no in most places across SE Asia.

And about Berlin, yes, you're totally right about not having a real city center. Which is another thing I appreciate. It's like a de-centralized model where different areas can all be attractive for different reasons.


Anyway, it's such a great thing that one can choose among so many different places.
Options are empowering. And even if you get it wrong, or get tired of a place, you can always move. The world we live offers smart and driven people all the tools to live the life they want.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I'm on holiday for 2 weeks and visiting Germany, currently in Cologne. I'm going to visit Hamburg, Berlin and Leipzig as well. I'm more interested about liberal and open-minded cities so I'll leave Munich, Stuttgart and Frankfurt for another time as they seem more conservative.

The thing about Germany is that compared Norway and Denmark you work more hours and even more than in Switzerland with less money: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4426124/pdf/qims-05-03-488.pdf

That's the challenge in my situation from CH: in term of salaries, I can only go down. So it would not allow me to travel as much as I did and as I do. That being said @Lucio, you can see that I'm considering your advice as I know that Berlin has many advantages as a city. I'll see if I can meet a resident from a hospital in Berlin to know more about the work conditions.

Also if you look at physician happiness between countries, Germany does not fare well. However, I know that they educate superior doctors than Switzerland in my opinion (generally speaking), just like France.

My criteria for a new city are:

  1. Work culture: equalitarian and positive
  2. Work/life balance: enough time for oneself
  3. Dating market: favorable for me (haven't read Date-onomics yet)
  4. Openness
  5. Progressiveness
  6. Entrepreneurship
  7. Research opportunities
  8. Nature

Hey John,

Just as a quick note for you to consider:

  1. The money that matters is what's left your pocket, so you should consider salaries minus the cost of living. Berlin is a notoriously "cheap" city. Just try to go out when you're there, and check the prices for yourself. You also would likely not need a car, which saves a lot of money
  2. Consider that satisfaction in that survey was probably a self-reported criterion. Germans like to complain, so it might be that the culture affects the responses there (worth maybe comparing a few more professions to see if it's a trend)

 

John Freeman has reacted to this post.
John Freeman
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Good points!

Here is the expat explorer comparison. It's too bad they removed many countries from the survey. What's very interesting for me in Germany is like France and Canada I think the opportunities to learn medicine are better because there are more patients and they have more of a scientific culture than CH.

What I know: I must move from where I live as it is too small from me now, even though my social life is improving a lot thanks to this website.

Thinking out loud, I can see a few roads for me at this point:

  1. Swiss road: I don't move, I stay frustrated, I adapt, I settle: no go.
  2. German-Swiss German road: I go to Germany, I see more patients, I improve my German and this gives me an option to work in Zurich or Basel later on. Condition: I have to see if I could see myself living in Basel or Zurich.
  3. Nordic road: I choose between Norway, Denmark and Sweden and live the nordic lifestyle: quite appealing but maybe I won't be able to create as easily a company. However, I'll be able to do research 1 day a week without having to do it in my free time like in CH.
  4. Dutch road: NL is in-between Switzerland and nordic countries in terms of culture: more liberal and more social at the same time.
  5. Anglo road: I go to Australia, Canada or NZ: however it's outside of Europe so I won't be able to see my family as much. In Canada they do work quite a lot as it is still Northern America. In Australia they might be liberal economically but not so much socially and it is quite far away.

Canada vs Germany

Canada vs Switzerland

In CH can already see some of my friends becoming more and more conservative and "bourgeois". It's all good to be a hobbit but I don't want to be a hobbit. I could see myself becoming a hobbit as basically Switzerland offers you comfort and wealth in exchange of conforming and not challenging the status quo. It is a seducing deal I understand.

Actually, I realize why I'm confused. It's because I'm not prioritizing things right. In terms of phases, I'm now stable-ish in my job. So my current priority is finding a mate as my clock is ticking now. So that must be how I prioritize: where is the best dating market for me. I'll use Lucio's technique with OkCupid. Once I find a mate I can always move to another place. I need a better dating market. As Tom Bilyeu said: "Writing is Thinking" (quote from someone else).

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Some reflections:

I prefer to live in a left-leaning city/place as the values of equality and solidarity are very important for a society. To me, they are more important than individual success as they provide the basis for it.

So my reflection is that I'd rather live in a left-leaning place because with my drive and ambition I will be a little bit out of place. But less than living in a more individualistic culture and trying to find people with whom openly share ideas, connections and resources. Living in a conservative place is for when you have already have a good amount of resources, connections and/or power. Otherwise, it's an uphill battle from my experience as people try to keep you from climbing up since most of the time they have a scarcity mentality.

That is why I think socialistic countries leaning towards capitalism (Norway, Denmark) are happier on average than capitalistic countries leaning towards socialism (Switzerland) from my observation.

Some statistics on children happiness in 2020, which I think is quite revealing as children are the "end product" of a society I believe.

Spoiler alert:

Spoiler
1. Netherlands, 2. Denmark, 3. Norway, 4. Switzerland

Any thoughts?

I would say it is important that people share the government mentality, if they are in a left or right country against their wish ( or against the wish of big part of the population) I do not think those values will apply to the people, more likely people would be angry and resented.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Very good call on prioritizing, John.

I personally don't think that "your clock is ticking" and you'll have plenty of dating power for quite some time. But the urgency mentality can be a great approach to making things happen sooner, rather than later.
And in doubt, an urgency mentality is a safer bet than a complacent mentality, which is what the vast majority of people fall into.

One more thing to consider would be the amount of sunshine.
Winters are long -and dark- in Scandinavia.

P.S.: Date-onomics adds little that you don't already know if you've gone through PU or read the summary here. Such as, that the gender split has a huge influence on your dating power. Just saying this so that you might decide to deploy your time in more value-adding readings and pursuits.

 

Stef has reacted to this post.
Stef
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I personally don't think that "your clock is ticking" and you'll have plenty of dating power for quite some time.

I'm almost 40 years old.

Winters are long -and dark- in Scandinavia.

I agree that's the biggest downside about these countries. The upside is that the days are quite long in summer.

Just saying this so that you might decide to deploy your time in more value-adding readings and pursuits.

Thanks for your consideration!

Stef has reacted to this post.
Stef
Quote from John Freeman on September 15, 2020, 10:05 amI'm almost 40 years old.

You could spend the next 10 years twiddling your thumbs and having no interaction with women whatsoever. Then travel somewhere where your SMV is 5 times higher and where age matters far less, pick an attractive 20-something, and take her back.

This is just hypothetical, saying that you could.
But not saying you should do that.

If you're leaning towards a more typical household, with a European girl in Europe, then your approach and mindset might better serve you.


On Winters

Another good and simple technique to cope with the long winters is to take your holidays during January.

That's what I've always done when working in various companies.

John Freeman and Stef have reacted to this post.
John FreemanStef
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?