On Deciding Where to Live

by Tina Ferrari

Many of us, when bitten by the living abroad bug, find ourselves charmed by the idea of living in a small town, while others get excited by the big city.

Oftentimes we dream of specific places because they are so different from what our current lifestyles have to offer.  If you live in a large city and are constantly rushing to meet deadlines, stuck in traffic, exhausted, you are probably thinking of a small town where the pace is just right.  If you have always lived in a small town, you might be antsy and wishing for some rush and excitement – and chaos.  Each of the two choices has its pros and cons:

Small towns.  Who, after seeing Under the Tuscan Sun, doesn’t love the idea of living in a small town where everybody knows each other?  You have your butcher, your green grocer, your florist.  You take walks and run into people you know all the time.  There is always somebody to stop and say hello to.  On the other hand… everybody knows each other.  If you’re used to life in the big city where you can do whatever you want and nobody notices, you’re in for a surprise if you switch to a small town.  People do notice. It’s not necessarily a bad thing – just keep in mind that a little bit of discretion goes a long way.

Big cities.  The rush, the excitement, the constant movement. There is always something going on in the big city.  A diverse population, a sense of individuality, and the neighborhoods are all different from each other.  People are straight-forward and to the point.  They are so busy carrying on with their own lives that what you do is your business – they don’t have time to worry about you.  On the other hand, if you’re used to the tranquility and slow pace of a small town or the country, you might get overwhelmed.  I know someone who had panic attacks almost every day their first week in Buenos Aires.  It can be a lot to handle if you’re not used to constantly busy streets and sidewalks.  My advice in this case is to find your favorite park and make a regular visit to it.  Just a few minutes of silence surrounded by green can do a lot for one’s well-being.

What’s your advice or experience on small towns vs. big cities?

Tina Ferrari is a tango dancer, translator and writer currently based in Lecce, Italy. She writes at AffordableCallingCards.net as well as on her own blog, Tina Tangos. Comments are always welcome!

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  1. Good points, Tina. I’ve never lived in a really big city so I can’t comment on that part of it, although part of me has always wanted to live in NYC!

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