In this post I wanted to talk a little bit about how my experience of traveling and even living in hotels influenced my decision about where to live. I’m calling home in Miami even though, as I explained in a previous post, we are currently living in hotels while we wait for our new home to be ready.
What journey taught me where to live
In my early 20s, I lived full-time in hotels for several years. There were a couple of reasons for this, not least because I wasn’t sure where I wanted to live, so I decided to just live nowhere else.
Many people assume that the more you travel, the more absolute favorite places you have and the more you decide where to live (this keeps bringing me back to the “curse of the traveler”). For me it was exactly the opposite:
- There are cities that I adore, but I’m not sure if I really want to live in them for the long term. There is a big difference between being a visitor somewhere and actually living there
- The more places I’ve been, the more I realized some of the downsides of the places I love and some of the advantages of the places I didn’t think I loved
- The specific place where I live doesn’t have a big impact on my happiness – rather, it is certain environmental factors that I have found to be much more important
- Given the lack of free time the average person has after taking into account work, family responsibilities, fitness, and other activities, I think people are more likely to place too much emphasis on what cities have to offer than on other factors
Now there are a few things that are worth acknowledging in my particular situation:
- I am very happy that I can work from anywhere in the world. I recognize that for many other people, job opportunities are where people live, but that’s not the case for me
- I’m an introvert so I’m not looking for big social scenes, and in that sense I don’t care if a city is known for having particularly kind people or not, for example
- I’m pretty busy in my own “bladder” when I’m at home – I spend most of the day working, enjoy exercising, sometimes enjoy going out to eat (obviously more precoronavirus than now) and I love spending time with Ford and Spend Winston
What I am looking for in a place to live and why I like Miami
I’ve only had limited time in Miami lately as we’d rather not be there now as no coronavirus precautions have been taken. I received two types of comments / questions from some:
- Why on earth would you live in Miami?
- If you want to complain about Miami, “we” don’t want you there, go live somewhere else; I didn’t realize that I had to be chosen “the island” to live in a city and that I had to have exactly the same attitude as everyone else
With that in mind, let me make it clear that I really enjoy living in Miami. That despite the fact that I almost never go to Miami Beach (it’s too wild for me and I’m not a beach person) and also despite the fact that I’m not a big party-goer.
Why do I like to live in Miami? Let me share the reasons, roughly arranged in the order I prioritize them:
- Warm weather and sun – Personally, I am someone who loves being in warm weather and having sunlight as it affects my mood so positively. If you’re like me, then there aren’t many places with as good weather as Florida
- Views & landscape – I love a place with a beautiful view and geographical diversity and find it so inspiring as a backdrop. That could mean living in the middle of nowhere in the mountains or having a view of the water even if it’s in the distance (I wish Florida wasn’t that shallow, but I’m taking the ocean).
- Somewhere that accepts – I’m gay and married and luckily a lot has improved in the past decade when it comes to being a gay person in the US. I think gays can be pretty comfortable in most of the big cities these days, although I’d never like to live in a place that I wouldn’t be comfortable (I’d love to be comfortable referring Ford as my husband, and don’t pretend he’s a “friend” or whatever; obviously there are homophobes everywhere, but I want them to be the exception rather than the norm)
- Cost of living – When you have the flexibility to live anywhere, the cost of living is an important factor. Miami is a big city and absolutely not cheap, although Florida has the advantage of not having a state income tax, which I would include in the total cost of living
- A simple life and access to services – One day I would very much like to live in the middle of nowhere, but at this point in my life I appreciate the ease of living in a big city where you are just minutes away from everything you might need and to which you have access Services like Uber Eats, Postmates, Instacart or whatever; You can have almost anything delivered to your door in 30 minutes and that saves me so much time and hassle
- Be close to the family – While we’re not in Miami, most of our family lives in Florida. So it’s great to see them without getting on a plane, especially as our parents get older
- A city that feels international – I really like the way international Miami feels as some days I feel like an expat in another country. I definitely feel like an outsider, but I don’t mind
- Close to an international airport – I love the fact that many places in Miami are only 10-15 minutes from the international airport, which is very convenient especially for frequent flyers
Travel has undoubtedly changed what I’ve been looking for in a place to live. I used to think there was a perfect place to live and I just had to find it. Then I accepted that there are advantages and disadvantages in almost every place and that if there was a perfect place to live, it would no longer be perfect because everyone was there.
Personally, I like living in Miami, even if I may not be the “typical” person in Miami. I’m not a party goer and I don’t love the beach. For me, Miami is just a great base – the weather is nice, I love looking at the water, I love how international the city feels, I love how close it is to the airport, etc.
Do i love everything about miami Of course not. Do I think I’ll live there forever? Probably not. Would I ever vacation in Miami if I didn’t live there? Probably not. But it’s home for us now and we’re very happy with it.
I’m curious to see how you are doing – how important it is to find the right place to live, what are you looking for and what is your favorite city?