The motheracronym of acronyms in the 21st Century.
“You only live once!” or YOLO, is so much more than a trendy hashtag, meme, drunken club anthem, excuse for bad decisions, and Drake rap lyric.
It’s a life motto. Like Hakuna Matata, which means no worries, except YOLO, well, you get the point.
Have you ever had an urge to pack your bags, buy a one-way ticket, and set off to the great unknown? To try something new? To ditch your comfort zone for the adventure of a lifetime? Because, same. Always. I refer to this craving as “itchy feet”, and it’s both a blessing and a curse. It’s taking a chance on an urge, which is obviously a risk, but could also be the best decision you ever made. Because the world is big and you only live once, so why not?
I blame my perpetual restlessness on the way I was brought up. Having been raised around the world, I call many places home, thrive in changing environments, adapt quickly, and long for the next adventure. I love all the places I have come to know, with their cultures, quirks, and people I now call family. Because I had a generally positive experience (although, of course, this lifestyle wasn’t for everyone nor was it perfect - as all things, it had its downsides and sacrifices), I’d love to introduce my husband, and eventually our children, to the experience of living abroad. Adam’s always expressed a keen interest in moving internationally, and we agree that our children would benefit greatly from it, as I did. We’ve decided to prepare for a couple years, see how our app pans out, and continue to travel to discover and explore countries and their cities to find what might feel like the best decision and a potential future home for our family. And take the plunge!
Some of these cities I’ve been to and others I haven’t, but would still move to anyway because I’m sure I’d love the experience. I’m a sucker for adventure and trying new things after all. So without further ado, here are the top 5 cities I would move to in a heartbeat if I could.
5. Somewhere in England
I have to admit, I’m not very familiar with the country of England as I have only ever traveled to London, and even then, I wasn’t there very long at all. I was also a teenager last time. Although I’m not sure I would raise a family in London because of what I’ve heard about the weather and the high cost of living, Adam is all for it. I put “Somewhere in England” because there are so many other places in the country that have caught my attention in my “research” (you know, Google searches, watching British shows on Netflix, and reading blogs and forums, ha). While I’m not sure yet if I would move to London, I’m drawn to the quirky, artsy city of Brighton (which gets bonus points because it’s by the sea), for example. My dad lived in Folkestone, Kent in his 20’s, and he absolutely loved the experience. So I’m interested in exploring the county of Kent, as well as others. The English countryside is beautiful, as is the seaside - I think I’d move to Cornwall or Devon in a heartbeat if I could, because the scenery is breathtaking and it seems so peaceful there. In fact, I’ve always dreamt of someday living in a little cottage with a beautiful garden, by the sea!
4. Tokyo, Japan
Because I’m sure we’d love Japan, and I mean, who wouldn’t think living in Tokyo would be a cool experience?! Although I’ve never been, I already know it’s an incredible and thrilling one-of-a kind city - super modern, entertaining, and a feast for the eyes as well as the belly (authentic Japanese quisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Like, sushi and ramen and miso and onigiri every day? Cheap chirashi?! Yaaaaasss). After all, there’s a reason Tokyo is one of the most popular cities in the world. Adam has expressed keen interest in the possibility of this happening someday, and I can’t get the thought out of my head. I've practically been obsessed with the idea of moving to Japan since I was in middle school, so yeah (even taking Japanese language lessons at the age of 14) - pretty sure it's been calling my name!
3. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Fun fact (and one I’m really proud of!) - I was born in Den Haag, the Netherlands - and I’m proud of it! My parents lived in the Netherlands (also known as Holland) for a couple years, and said they loved the experience so much they would have never left, if they hadn’t needed to relocate for my dad’s job. My parents have only spoken very highly of it and by the sounds of it, the Netherlands is pretty high on the list of best places to raise a family. I’ve been back a few times and I can never get enough - I have a special place in my heart for it! The friendly people, the fact that bicycles are practically the main mode of transportation and are everywhere, the stroopwafels (Dutch waffles), and so much more. But the main reason we would actually live in and raise our family in Holland? We share a lot of the same values as the Dutch. They are family oriented, love children, and the government takes good care of its people. Healthcare is actually a right and is mandatory, and the overall benefits and freedoms the Dutch receive put the American way to shame. Holland is generally peaceful, safe, and unified as a country, and it’s people are considered some of the happiest in the world. (Take notes, USA. You have a lot to learn!) Basically, not having to worry about the things we worry about here in the States would be refreshing…and that makes the Netherlands an irresistable place to move to.
2. Kyoto, Japan
Again, even though neither one of us has been to Japan (yet), it’s at the top of our list. I can confidently say that I’d love Japan because I already do love so many things about Japanese culture - the food, my favorite, the art, Studio Ghibli films, kimonos, cherry blossoms and ancient temples mixed with modern society, Tokyo, I could go on…Kyoto is on my list of potential places to move to because from what I’ve researched, it’s more relaxed and less expensive than Tokyo, while boasting amazing historic landmarks, beautiful sights, nature, and rich cultural heritage. Sounds like just the right place. And from these photos, it looks like it, too. It’s no surprise that Kyoto is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world! (Florence, too!)
1. Florence, Italy
Ah. What can I say? Where do I begin? If you’ve ever been to Florence, I need not say more. You most likely fell in love with it, because really, who wouldn’t? I remember going as a child and loving it even then, never forgetting it and always longing to return. And when Adam and I did so as newlyweds in 2015, we found ourselves enamored and desperately plotting a future that involved returning with a one-way ticket. It's hands-down our favorite city. The locals are so friendly, and while the atmosphere of the city is lively and vibrant with music at every corner, it is peaceful and serene, and I found it much more relaxed and amiable than bigger cities like Rome and New York. Added bonuses? It's dog-friendly, and has the better weather on this list. Of course, Adam and I have never lived in Florence, and as always, I’m sure there are differences between visiting as tourists and actually living there as residents, but I’m pretty sure I’d be happy to put up with anything if it meant waking up to the bell chime of the Duomo and watching the sun set over the river Arno from the Ponte Vecchio. Weekend getaways to the Tuscan countryside and the best wine in the world always at my disposal? Yes, please.
I believe that everyone should live outside their home country at least once in their lives. You don’t have to feel unhappy to want a change and try something new. I believe that we are always changing, and so are our interests; life is the sun, and we are the planets orbiting it. So why not try something new? You just might be surprised how happy you are that you did. After all, the world is big and you only live once.
What is a foreign city you would move to if you could?