Where to live?

I recently talked about the time zone troubles in California. This TikTok guy is saying the same thing about the macro-economic situation.


#stitch with @Francesca • one girl one world History has a way of repeating itself🤷 #techlayoffs #googlelayoffs #workfromhome

♬ original sound – MJBobbitt
I said it first 🙂

I think the brain drain from California (and the US) will continue in the coming decade. Knowledge workers will move to cheaper locations and companies will continue to globalize. It leaves me with a question:

Should I keep my house in Silicon Valley or change locations to somewhere cheaper, maybe even overseas?

This question has so many facets and wrinkles, it is impossible to simplify. But simplification is the heart of this blog, so I must try.


I don’t have people I regularly hang out with. I’m an introvert and keep mostly to myself. The local tennis community is the thing I would miss the most. However, I believe/hope I could make new tennis friends almost anywhere.

My wife is more embedded in a few communities, but that has lessened now that the children are grown and moving (soon!) out of the house. She still is actively involved in the singing/choral community. Would she be able to make new friends in a new land? I hope so.

US or Europe?

The US is easy from a citizenship standpoint. However, you can get a visa to many countries simply by buying a house there. Portugal is highly rated and you can get a house for a fraction of the US market. England has many cool programs and everyone speaks English there. Also Tel Aviv and Prague are great vibrant cities. This section could be enormous. The choices are endless.

Rent or Buy?

If I sell my house, I could rent in various different cities. I could live in a few places for 3-6 months at a time and decide if we even like it. This digital nomad existence is intriguing to me, but it’s possible I hate it. It would certainly be a drastic change in my lifestyle.

If I do that, I would have to sell/donate/recycle 98% of my stuff. This includes couches, books, computers, televisions, paintings, games, beds, bicycles, random paperwork, and all manner of stuff. Can you imagine getting rid of that many things? It is daunting and you can’t get it back.


I have no idea how to make this decision. It’s huge. I don’t think I siplified it. I made it more complicated. How does one contemplate such a shift? On the one had it is exciting, on the other hand it’s a major change and I am terrified of the unknown consequences.

Right now, many people are forced to make this decision with far fewer resources than I have. Some examples:

  • Poor people in Central and South America are being threatened by gang violence. They have to decide to leave their homes and go elsewhere. They have no resources and are often targeted by right wing politicians. It’s a terrifying situation to be in.
  • Every person in Ukraine is figuring out what to do. Their towns and cities are in ruins. Danger is lurking in every field. What should they do? Where should they live? The young men are fighting for their country now, but what should the elderly and children do?
  • Russia has instituted a draconian draft system. They are kidnapping people and throwing them into the front lines to kill and die for no good reason. Young men are fleeing. Where should they go? Where to live?
  • Women in the southern states of the US are having their rights stripped away. Should they move? Where? How?

I am very lucky and recognize my cis-white-male-upperclass-educated privilege to have a support network and enough money to choose for myself where I want to go. Many others just do not have this option.

My prediction is that the next 20 years will have more migration of people than any other period in history and cause all sorts of unforeseen consequences in culture, language, economics, and politics.

Good luck to us all.


6 responses to “Where to live?”

  1. Courtney Avatar

    Sesh, that is daunting. Good luck to us all indeed.

    You said “Can you imagine getting rid of that many things?”. Yes, I did that in 2017 and started over. Had 0 contacts in Portland, but found a like-minded community. It’s easier than you think. My process was asking: What do I need? And then went all in pursuing it. I knew I could not try 3-6 months “trying a place” because I would always have one eye looking out the window for something better, distracted by my current reality. I needed to declare the place I was in was my home. Best of luck to you.

  2. I totally agree that they would be more migration in the next 20 years with ramifications we cannot begin to fathom; positively and negatively.

    I am not a fan of a hobo lifestyle myself. I believe in having a stable environment that’s open to growth. I will advise you keep your place in California. It is true that companies will continue to globalize but there will always be a limit as a result of Hotelling’s model of spatial competition. This is why Silicon Valley gets bigger everyday

    However, the remote culture will also influence globalization of companies in different countries without actually “going global”. Haha.

    Nevertheless, it is always good to keep your one’s option open

  3. Remote work is obviously a thing, but i think that companies with a strong (at least a few days a week) in person culture will outperform those that don’t. Obviously edge cases exist here.

  4. I say rent the Silicon Valley house. Then go test out living overseas for a year or two. You can always come back or decide afterwards to sell the house.
    We’ve talk about doing that. I suggest Prague or Portugal

    Let’s talk soon. I want to hear how things are going!

  5. Do whatever your wife says. But besides that, why pay California taxes if you don’t need to be there. How important is having the convenient place for the kids to live before they are own their own (how far away is that?) Renting a house can be a huge mess, but if you get a steady family, it is can be very profitable. Rent for now and sell at the first sign the housing prices start to crash. I know two people from Portugal, if you want to talk to them. Looking back on your life, dying in your bed, many years from now, don’t you think you will have wanted to experience new adventures while you are still young enough to enjoy it.

  6. How to know who is posting this all?

Whatya think?