Can I live here? (Or here, or here…?)


Photo borrowed from Amazon


About a month ago, I read a book called ‘Can We Live Here?’ by Sarah Alderson. It’s a true story that follows Sarah and her husband as they quit their London jobs, pack up/sell everything they own and set out to find a new home in the world, with their three-year-old daughter in tow (dressed in a tutu).

I won’t give you a page-by-page breakdown but it’s a great light-hearted read which had me laughing out loud on my commute to work. I think I read the whole thing in two days. The book follows the Aldersons to India, Singapore and Australia to ‘try out’ different countries before they eventually decide Bali is where they want to call home. In the end, the Aldersons stayed in Bali for 5 years. Whilst Sarah and John had a really rewarding Bali experience, it was perhaps their daughter Alula who got the most out of it. Out there, she grew up into a kind, confident, nature-loving girl who ran around barefoot and went to ‘Green School’. What a wonderful way to grow up! (And Sarah said she was rather thankful Alula grew up away from the lure of Barbie and Disney!). (If you’re interested, they have a blog, here, and are currently living in California).

The reason I’m mentioning the book, aside from me recommending it, is I kind of decided I wanted to apply the Aldersons method to my upcoming adventures. (Although I’m definitely not spending 10 months on the road looking for my next home!). Since I was a teenager, I always loved the idea of working abroad, probably in Asia. I’m now 22 going on 23 and I’m still firmly anchored in the UK. I know there’s no rush but I’m not quite sure what else I’m waiting for! I always loved Hong Kong as a teenager and could definitely picture myself living there some day. However, it was the first foreign city I ever visited (well, that I remember visiting) and I can’t help but apply my mum’s lighthearted advice about men to cities: “Never marry the first man you date. Alway try before you buy”.

So as Hong Kong was the first city I ever ‘dated’, I don’t want to settle for Hong Kong without comparing it to anywhere else! I need to try before I buy and make sure it really is ‘the one’! So this summer, every city I visit, I’m going to be asking ‘Can I live here??’. I’m sure I should make this semi-scientific and have a list of criteria or something to check cities against but… I’ll just make it up as I go.

I’ve already hedged my bets about which city will rank where. Let’s see how right I am when I come home. From most likely to least likely…:

  • Hong Kong
  • Shanghai
  • Taipei
  • Singapore
  • Beijing
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • (I’m also visiting Guilin, Yangshuo and the Cameron Highlands which are countryside areas, but I can only picture myself living in a city!)

Only 3 more days to go until I can start finding out for real!

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