The subject of where we should live is a popular one in our house. At least once a week one of us will launch into a verbal daydream of life in Vancouver, Sydney, California, France etc. and the other one will enthusiastically join in. That is the problem I suppose with having done a lot of traveling - it makes you realize that you could live anywhere. We have both always made a point of not living our lives by default. A lot of people just sort of end up where they are and we don't want that to happen to us. We want it to be a choice - the result of a lot of thought and consideration. Having said that, there are sometimes so many factors to consider that it becomes overwhelming.
We chose Calgary initially because we thought it would be nice to be near our families again after living away for so long. From that perspective Calgary has been wonderful and now that we have a child it is even more important. Having said that, Calgary falls short in almost every other category we consider important. It's not hot enough, it lacks culture and diversity and a certain warmth. The politics drive us crazy and we will never really get the chance to know what it feels like to vote for a winning party. The city council is short-sighted. There is no decent recycling program and our economy is based on oil&gas which has obvious environmental complications. The best things about Calgary are proximity to the mountains, the fact that we can get out of the city really quickly and the friends and family we have here. All of them important things to consider.
The place we envision is warm, full of fresh food markets, arts districts, vital cultural communities, forward thinking urban planners and government, and alive. The problem is that Brian's chosen field limits us somewhat and so does our desire to stay close to family. If we won the lottery tomorrow we would move to New York city - we both love it there so much and although we know it isn't warm it so easily meets all the other criteria that we are willing to overlook that. But New York is not where our family is and it wouldn't take long for us to miss them and our weekly trips to the mountains. Brian wants to move to France but that's pretty far away and France has its own host of issues. We've also considered Vancouver and Montreal but always end up putting off the decision for another day.
It's so hard to know where to live and I wish you could go somewhere for 6 months at a time and try it on for size. I also wish you could pack up your loved ones and bring them along for the ride.