One of the things everyone asks you when you come back from Remote Year is: Which one was your favourite City?
The question is legitimate, but the answer impossible.
Besides the fact that most of us resumed to a ready-to-use answer or a more political top three cities/countries, reality is that there is no such thing.
Most of us didn’t go on Remote Year in search of the perfect city, country or next home, which is part of why we didn’t find one. We weren’t looking. Most importantly each month, experience, people and local teams we met, made the perception and memory of a city so different that it’s impossible to abstract.
What I will say though, is that having the opportunity to live in so many cities in such a condensed amount of time, made me realise the things that make the difference for me in the quality of life I can live in a city.
- I need the sea, at least seeing it. Lima is a great example from this point of view, on top of winning the award for best sunsets, quickly followed by Lisbon and Split, for both reasons. Knowing the sea is close, the smell, the openness, just makes me a happier person.
- I need good weather. I appreciate the change of seasons, but at the very least I need blue skies and a prevalence of spring/summer over fall/winter. (Sorry London). This will come as no surprise to anyone that knows me, but bad weather makes me miserable. My colleagues in Paris had it all figured out when they gifted me with a SAD light to accompany my move to London. Medellin, the city of eternal spring, and Mexico City might be my favourite ones from this perspective, although, having followed spring/summer for almost all year, I have been able to experience most cities at my ideal temperature.
- I need nature. I need an easy access to a park (fine, living by the beach is also ok) and an escape to green lands. I am lazy, so sport is definitively what I choose the path of least resistance for, and I need nature to think, breath and steam off. Thanks Bogotà (not so much thanks to the altitude) and Mexico City, and mostly thanks to Mama Jen for the apartments by the park, Medellin for tropical forests in every corner and Croatia for the stunning parks.
- I like to party. You gotta fight for your right to party, right? Well I sure do, or at least to listen, singalong and dance to (possibly live) music as much as possible. So if I can have a bar street at my doorstep with music everywhere like in KL or Chiang Mai, great. Otherwise give me some Reggaeton, a speaker, a bus or a mountain and some Kaizens, and that will do just as well!
- Gluttony? I’ll have some. I love food, and a country that has good food just has it easy with me. I mean, not so easy, I am a still a spoiled Italian, but Vietnam, Japan and Thailand won my heart; at least definitively my stomach.
- I want to ride my bicycle. Living a city on a bike it’s just another thing. And I’ll take it on me for being a weird Italian and not riding motorbikes, that also make it quite special. Big thanks to my favourite rider friend @byericvera for making me experience the world from a motorbike here and there. Living Kyoto on a bike has just been the best way. Biking next to the river and every beautiful building and paths that this stunning city has to offer, going to work by bike, biking back to home at any time of the night after work or partying (extra points if you
don’thit a drunken salesman). Rain or shine biking the streets of Kyoto it has made the month even more special.
- I need to be surrounded by beauty. I have know this since my years in Milan. I like to be surrounded by art, architecture, nature. With all due respect, I have enjoyed living in Rome and Paris far more than I have living in Milan or East London. I can certainly do better at finding beauty behind close doors, Milan is great at this, but reality is that I am spoiled, and I prefer when art and culture are just outside my doorstep. Kyoto wins the award here too, hands down.
- I like chaos. I don’t know if the chaos outside makes me feel there is less chaos inside of me, or I simply enjoy it. Asia was a good experience overall, but Hanoi was my favourite. Living in the middle of the 24hours street was just perfect for me, food, drinks, people at all times of the day and night just made me constantly happy, even if it meant being almost run over by a scooter every time.
- A “Piazza Life”. This kind of goes hand in hand with the weather, but for as much as I like dancing I would choose a street party or bar hopping over a club any time. Ok, it can’t be Barranquilla carnival every day, I get it. But give me all the Cartagena or Medellin vibe you can and I’ll take it.
- My Kaizens. Well, I know that won’t be so easy to access anymore, but they are there and mi casa es su casa, siempre.
Anyhow, in case you are still curious, my favourite cities were Hanoi, Kyoto and Lisbon and my favourite country Colombia. There, you have it!