BC rainforest — photo by Henry Georgi
It’s looking increasingly likely that I’m going to end up, in my retirement, spending May-October of each year in British Columbia, Canada (for immigration and health care reasons), and November-April of each year in Australia, New Zealand or Hawai’i. I’ve written before about the things that are most important to me in a place to live:
There are two paradoxes here. The first is that the most beautiful natural environments in these (and most) countries seem not to be the places where the most interesting, intelligent and progressive people hang out. I don’t know why this is — perhaps rich bored people hog all the good beaches and resort areas and push the alternative cultures out. Or perhaps informed, creative, university-educated people just prefer the crowded, unsustainable urban culture. But for whatever reason the places that score high on criteria 2 and 3 tend to score lower on criteria 4, 5 and 7, and vice versa.
The second paradox is that while a lot of areas are really trying to be sustainable, none is even close to succeeding. So while I might find a place that meets all the criteria except criterion 6, eventually that criterion is going to trump all the others.
So what I’m doing now is exploring six areas — SW BC, NW US, SW and SE Australia, N NZ, and Hawai’i — looking for places that meet as many of these 8 criteria as possible. I lived for 5 years in SW BC, and have briefly visited all of the other 5 areas. So far there are no perfect choices (that I know of — I’m still looking) within any of these areas, and quite a few that meet 5 or perhaps 6 of the 8 criteria.
In the process, I’ve come up with some interesting lists of the best and worst of (Westcoast) Canada and (Southcoast) Australia. They are surprisingly similar lists! Keep in mind I’m a non-swimmer — I know the surfing is great in S Oz.
Best Things About (Westcoast) Canada:
Worst Things About (Westcoast) Canada:
Best Things About (Southcoast) Australia:
Worst Things About (Southcoast) Australia:
If you live in the BC Gulf Islands, Qualicum/Parkville or Sunshine Coast, or in New Zealand, Australia or Hawai’i and can recommend any specific areas that meet most of my 8 criteria, I’d love to hear from you, and I will check them out as my explorations continue. And if you have quibbles with or additions to my best/worst lists, I’d love your comments on them too.