I'm Christina Lyon, a coffee sipping, piano playing, beach loving, word-obsessed freelance writer and musician. I'm on fire for helping freelance writers get paid and small biz owners succeed online. When I'm not reading or writing, I play music and explore the beaches and wild trails along the California coast.

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Where Is the Best Place to Live and Thrive?

Christina Lyon

Where is the best place to live a fulfilling life and thrive in health and happiness? Answer these questions to find out!

Many of us follow the course laid out before us, but what if that path doesn’t align with our greater vision? Where is the best place to live and thrive? Sure, we’d all love to live on a yacht in the Mediterranean, but surely that’s a delusion of grandeur, right? If that’s your vision, why not work toward it?

Or, what if there was a sweet spot, a balance where you could love where you live and thrive? For me, living my best life means living at the beach in California. But it wasn’t always so…

It’s so easy to go where the work is, stay close to family, never stray too far from the nest. Playing it safe can be consequential as discontent stirs. So, have you ever stopped to ask yourself:

Where Should I Live?

It’s a vital question that is all too often overlooked. Why is it important to ask yourself where you should live? Because this question enhances your self-awareness which in turn builds confidence so you can live your best life. Many choose to live close to a job they are unhappy at. Sacrificing wellbeing to live in an unideal location and work at an unideal job. So, what can you do about it? To start, let’s dream for a minute.

If you’re wondering where is the best place to live, jot down these questions to see where your priorities lie:

  • Am I a beach person, or mountain person?
  • Does the hustle and bustle of a big city excite or exhaust me?
  • Does a small town and strong sense of community appeal to me?
  • Do I need space to stretch or am I comfortable with close living quarters?
  • Do I need to be in a city with high-paying jobs, or can I telecommute?
  • How much of a commute am I willing to make in minutes, i.e. 30 minutes max, or 60 minutes max?
  • Am I location independent? If so, I can work from anywhere in the world, so where should that be?
  • Am I ok with renting or is it crucial to buy?
  • What’s my non-negotiable? Examples include: I must have a view, I must live in a community with excellent schools, I must be close to a hospital, etc.

When you take the time to ask yourself these questions, you’ll find out a lot about where you should live.

Personally, I always dreamed of living at the beach but thought it unrealistic. However, as I grew into adulthood, I realized that mental health is my non-negotiable. Ultimately, I needed to live in an environment that was serene, tranquil, and low-stress…. aka the beach. Not only did finding my ideal place to live boost my confidence, but it lowered my stress, enhanced my productivity, became the source for unmeasurable inspiration and maximized my creative output.

Since I starting living in an environment I love, I’ve built a lucrative freelance writing business, written a fiction novel (notice I didn’t put *finished* haha still hustling on that one), recorded an album (releasing on all streaming platforms this summer!) and moved to an apartment with an ocean view. I’m not boasting, rather illustrating that when you love where you live, you tap into your flow and design your life according to your dreams.

Home is where the heart is? Sure, but for me, home is where the hustle is. 😉

If You Could Live Anywhere Without Limitation, Where Would It Be?

Now let’s have some fun. If you had absolutely zero ties to where you currently live and could live anywhere in the world, where would that be? Write down your dream destinations and a few words about why you would live there. Here’s an example:

If I could live anywhere in the world I’d live in the Italian Riviera. The food is amazing, the water is warm and tranquil, and I love the appeal of a small Italian town where I can take cooking classes, buy produce from a local market, and write with a view like this:

Where should you live for your best life? For me, my dream destination is to live in the Italian Riviera, where I visited in 2016. Pictured is me sitting on a ledge of a lookout tower in Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy.
Studying abroad in Italy exposed me to my desired lifestyle: beach living in a small town. While I’d love to achieve that someday, I’ve adopted a similar lifestyle in California and built a home and life I love.

Your turn!

Ask Yourself, Where Is the Best Place to Live an Ideal life?

Chances are, I may never live in the Italian Riviera. I haven’t officially ruled it out, but it’s not the most realistic nor affordable option. So, the next task is to ask yourself where you’d like to live that is more practical than your dream destination. It can still be extravagant and out of the box. Would you relocate to a new city? New state? New country?

For example:

I would like to live in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Housing is more affordable than beachfront properties in California, and I love the appeal of slow island life. Plus, I’m a water baby so island hopping and water sports would be daily activities.

Swimming around Blue Coconut was a treat for my 30th bday trip. Deciding where you should live sometimes requires thinking outside of the box, or border!
I spent my 30th birthday in Bocas del Toro, a thriving expat community, which gave me the idea to someday relocate there. We’ll see!

That said, uprooting my life to move to Panama isn’t necessarily on the list right now. So, answering the question of where is the best place to live realistically will boil down to the nitty-gritty of daily living: logistics.

Where is the Best Place to Live Based on Weather?

The weather has a strong influence on quality of life. The truth is that climate shapes our wellbeing, so it’s important to research what type of weather you love most before moving.

Things to consider:

  • Humidity – If you want to live at the beach and are comfortable with humidity, seek out beach towns in Florida.
  • Rain – Some people love the rain. I thought I was one of them because I grew up in California and when it rained it gave me #allthefeels. Then I moved to Portland and realized I only love rain a few days out of the year…
  • Heat – Growing up inland taught me that my body doesn’t do well in extreme heat unless there is water nearby. However, some people absolutely love the desert. Arizona is affordable with many unique attractions.
  • Sunshine – When I left Portland I moved to Bend, OR. While it snowed 7 months out of the year in Bend, it was also sunny on most days. That’s how I learned I can tolerate the cold so long as the sun is out. Still, it’s not my ideal place to live. I like sunny days, breezy evenings, and salty air.

What is your absolute favorite weather? Close your eyes and envision it: Are you cozying up to a fireplace as snow flutters outside your window? Or are you sunbathing in the tropics? Escape to your happiest climate and make it a priority to live there.

Cost of Living in your Desired Destination

So, now that you’ve got your heart set on a destination, is it practical? If the answer is no, I’m not giving up on you yet so you shouldn’t either. Let’s talk it out. If your desired destination is expensive, research nearby cities, cost-cutting tips, and how to live in ___ on a budget. Seriously, the internet is a glorious resource.

For example, if your dream destination is Southern California but you don’t know if you can afford it, I’ve written an extensive guide for living on a budget in California. There are countless other blog posts like this available and at your fingertips. Use them.

Christina Lyon walks under the Manhattan Beach Pier at sunset, one of the perks of beach living in California and deciding where you should live.
In literally every way, I am a California girl. Knowing this about myself has helped enhance my self-awareness, confidence and productivity.

Utilize Online Resources for Where to Live

Bend Without Breaking

If you have family ties or an established career in a location you hate living it, it’s going to be hard to move too far away without completely uprooting your life. If the ties that keep you where you live aren’t worth breaking, it’s time to compromise a bit.

How far are you willing to commute to work? Sure commutes are a drag, but so is living somewhere you hate. Remember that your life exists outside of work, and it should align with your greater vision.

Can you move to a nearby city that has better nightlife, more cultural diversity, a lake, hiking trails, etc. Go back to your list of priorities and research which cities check the most boxes. Answering these small questions will help you answer the big question that brought you here: where is the best place to live your best life?

How to Live a Happy Life

There is no one recipe for happiness. Frankly, happiness is subjective and looks different for each one of us. However, your living environment has a monumental influence on your quality of life. That place you talk about all the time, the one spot you visited four years ago that you can’t get out of your head, go there. Make your dream a reality and start living a life of your own design. Chances are you’ll be happier.

Life is short, why not make it sweet? Where do you live? Do you love it? If not, where is your dream destination to live?

Additional resources:

June 20, 2019

California Beach Life, Lifestyle, Personal Growth

*This post may contain affiliate links, and I may receive a commission on purchases made through provided links (at no extra cost to you).

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