I’m sorry to let you down, but this piece will not provide a list of places where you may live a simple life like some generic list. There is no one correct solution to the question of where one should live to in order to have a more straightforward and simple life. The good news is that locating your own unique, ideal environment in which to live a simple life is not particularly challenging.
We’ve already mentioned how important it is to base your daily actions on your underlying beliefs if you want to lead a simple life. For one person, this can mean having a bustling social life full of backyard barbecues and playdates with other children. For another, it can mean minimizing their impact on the world while residing in a setting that is peaceful and picturesque.
If both of those people were to relocate to a remote mountain cottage, only one of them would have a chance of finding happiness and fulfilment there. The first individual would be better off living in a bustling town or the suburb of a major metropolis. These are the kinds of places that you don’t typically think of when you’re trying to decide where to move in order to live a simpler life.
So here is a little framework of sorts to help you decide where to move to live a simple life:
1. Give some thought to the constraints imposed by reality.
At this stage, it’s time to start thinking about the real world. What is it that is preventing you from living the simple life of your dreams?
Perhaps you have outstanding school loans or other types of debt that call for significant payments each month. Maybe you’re thinking about moving to a different country, in which case you’ll need to apply for a visa. It’s possible that the types of businesses that will hire you are restricted because of the line of work that you do.
You should jot down any difficulties that come to mind, and next to those that are particularly significant or long-term, you should make a notation. It’s possible, for instance, that you have a medical problem that requires the attention of a specialist, or that your cherished pet is unable to travel abroad with you.
In time, this list of restrictions will assist you in narrowing down the various locations to which you could relocate in order to live a simpler life.
2. Jot down three to five aspects of your life that you place the most importance on.
Real life is a lot like a game of resource management.
There is only a total of 24 hours in a day, and it is entirely up to you to select how you will use those hours. The other aspect that is restricting is, of course, financial constraints.
The idea behind living a simple life is to concentrate your efforts and resources on the things that are most meaningful to you while minimising your involvement in activities that are less significant.
The following are some items that should probably be on your list:
- A secure location to make one’s home.
- Financial stability.
- Vacant periods of time.
- Relationships that are really close with either family or friends.
- A significant career.
- Having the experience of being a member of a community.
- Availability to a wide range of activities to choose from.
- Conditioning of the body
- Time spent in nature.
If you aren’t used to engaging in self-reflection on a regular basis, it could take several days for you to finalise your list. And that’s perfectly fine!
The last thing you want to do is make a decision about where to move to live a simple life in a hurry, only to later regret it because you’re missing one or more of these elements. This is the last thing you want to do.
When my husband and I were trying to decide whether or not we should move to England from the United States, having our own individual value lists was really necessary.
I used to believe that reaching early retirement was the most important objective I could have in life. But after giving it some thought, I came to the conclusion that the ability to travel regularly and the peace of mind that comes from not having to worry about going bankrupt because of a medical issue are far more essential.
To use yet another common illustration, there are some people who have the life that they want to give up their city lives and start new lives as homesteaders in the countryside. Despite this, the same people place a high value on their spare time and the opportunity to go on a number of vacations throughout the year. The management of a farm doesn’t leave much room in one’s schedule or bank account for other pursuits.
After you have recorded three to five of your values, you are prepared to go on to the next step in the process.
3. Imagine your dream simple life.
You will be in a better position to make the outcome that you desire in life happen if you first build a compelling vision of what it is that you want out of life.
There are a lot of people who fantasise of moving to a place where they can lead a more straightforward existence. This vision may have hazy aspects, such as mental pictures of quaint homes in the countryside or a tranquil hammock strung up on the beach.
However, in order to transform that fleeting ideal into the tangible reality that you seek, you will need to get specific.
Do you picture yourself in that warm and inviting cabin, where you get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling rejuvenated (in my opinion, this is one of the finest benefits of simplifying your life)? It’s possible that your ideal scenario involves spending a romantic evening with your significant other enjoying drinks and dinner on a warm patio in Italy while looking out over the water.
Permit your imagination to run wild and unchecked for a moment. Now is the moment to dream extremely big, because you will come back to these concepts later on in the process with a more realistic perspective.
Understanding the reasons behind your desires is the second essential step in the process of manifestation.
In the first phase, you took the time to write out your values for this very reason. They will help you see the connections between the simple life you dream of living and the desires that are driving you.
Using the second-to-last example from the previous paragraph, why is it that your ideal simple life includes a candlelit meal with your significant other? It’s possible that you place a high value on spending time with the people you care about, but you don’t feel like you’re getting enough of it in your life right now.
And with regard to the Italy component, when you say you want to live by the water, do you actually mean you want to do so in Italy’s coastal regions, or are you just using Italy as a metaphor for a new, slower life by the water?
As you move on to the third phase, you will carry on with the reflective questions that you have been asking.
4. Do some research to find locations that are compatible with the simple life you want to lead.
You are prepared to begin the search now that you have compiled a list of your needs, difficulties, and values. Finding a place to reside will need you to devote a significant portion of your spare time to researching online resources such as websites, blogs, online communities, and social media posts.
The following is a list of some of the materials that I used during this process and found to be helpful:
- The /r/IWantOut community on Reddit is for people who are interested in moving overseas.
- The calculator for the cost of living that Numbeo offers.
- Use the website Zillow.com to research the cost of real estate in the United States.
- If you do a search on Google for “living in [place] blog,” you will be presented with the opinions of locals about what it’s like to live in a specific location.
- There is an abundance of video content on YouTube covering a wide range of topics, from a day in the life of a Vermont homesteader to point-of-view treks through Italian villages.
- Indeed.com is a resource for job seekers in the United States and all across the world (LinkedIn is another good option for networking and getting in touch with headhunters).
5. Compile a list of the resources you will require to make your goal a reality.
It’s time to produce yet another list, don’t you think? This time, you’ll be concentrating on the things that are necessary to turn your dream of living a simple life into a reality.
For illustration’s sake, let’s pretend that one of your goals is to one day run a bed and breakfast on a rural property. You are also aware that over the next five years, you will be required to assist in the care of your ageing mother, and it is of the utmost importance to you that your child attend a reputable educational institution.
What kinds of knowledge, tools, and opportunities will be necessary for you to make that happen?
- A location that is ideal for the company’s needs.
- Funding to get the firm off the ground.
- The understanding of small businesses (accounting, labour laws, marketing, etc.).
- In order to operate a bed and breakfast, the state requires certain applications and certifications.
- The knowledge of farming
- The mental and physical capacity necessary to manage a farm (or the means to hire it out).
- A place that is not overly remote from your mother.
- Proximity to good public schools in the area (or the resources for private school).
It could be overwhelming to have all of these criteria written down in one location. This should be your final wake-up call before you start looking in earnest for a place to settle down and lead a more simple life, and it should be taken as such.
However, it is also an additional method for narrowing down your search results. After all, the world is an extremely large place.
I have high hopes that my piece, which focuses on where people might move to simplify their lives, was more helpful than a general list of locations. It is not possible to travel to a mystical land where everyone is content and lives a simple existence; rather, you must fashion such a place for yourself.