Sunday, August 23, 2009

Where in the World?

If you could choose to live anywhere in the world, where would you like to be? Why do you live where you are now? Is this where you were born and grew up, where your parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles live? Or have you been transplanted here in the search for work, for security, for a better life?

But if you could choose, and had the freedom to move, what would the criteria be? A good job, never mind the environment? Or clean air, quiet country lanes, a mountain view? Maybe the excitement of city life with theatre, concerts and shopping close by?

My own itchy feet are beginning to tingle again. The flat I'm renting is in the process of being sold and I'll have to move out around six months from now. I thought I'd just look for another flat close to this one - until I saw a notice of planning permission sought for the building next door. Construction in Malta is no joke, and is impossible to avoid. It's noisy - really, really noisy - thanks to the machines used to cut limestone blocks and tiles; it's dirty for the same reasons, the thick grey dust coats my windowsills even now; and it's slow and never stops - even in this recession. Ernle Bradford, writing about the Knights of St John in 1972, noted "Malta is in fact a giant stone-quarry... and from neolithic times onwards it seems as if this mass of easily-quarryable stone has induced a paroxysm of building in the island's inhabitants." (The Shield and the Sword: Ernle Bradford, p.204)

If you have the perfect place in mind: peaceful (in all senses of the word), with green trees, a blue ocean, glorious mountains, and - of course - affordable accommodation, let me know where it is!

Sun setting behind Gozo, viewed from Qawra, Malta - not as peaceful as it looks.


Leslie said...

The Big Island of Hawai'i -- but you've already tried this place out! I wandered around a bit before landing here, but when I did land it was on lush, beautiful land where my family has been for generations and I couldn't be happier here. There are views of the ocean and Mauna Kea, and fresh fruit falling from the trees, and waterfalls and flowers everywhere and the puffiest white clouds against the bluest skies. And the rains, which clean and nourish, and those tradewinds, which absolutely caress your skin....

I love it here. It feels exactly right to me. Why don't you come back here?

Zapasiewicz said...

Poland is my first choice, but if I had to choose anything except for my home country, I'd say USA or Chile. Or some island in Polynesia if I were to live without economical worries :)

Paradise Driver said...

Maui has it all. Except for the affordability.

Lesley said...

I also have M.E., and I have wondered whether my health would improve if I could find a place with a healthy climate.

In the past I have felt great in sunny, warm and dryish places, like the Greek islands and parts of California.

Leslie and Paradise Driver - Hawaii sounds so beautiful. However, I have the impression that it is a) humid and b) pretty built-up and tourist-oriented - is that right?

Nicky, with your M.E., do you have to live somewhere within the EU in order to claim benefits, or is the whole world your oyster? Are you able to support yourself independently, or would you need to find work in your new location?

No need to answer, these are personal questions, but I'm just thinking that the practicalities may constrain one's choices.

For me, my fantasy healthy spot is fairly rural. I imagine a hillside overlooking the sea, with olive trees casting shade on dry, rocky ground. Realistically, though, I know I need quite a lot of the amenities of civilisation to survive - so I can't live too far out in a rural paradise.

Back to your situation - you're absolutely right that you need to escape the noise of construction. M.E. can increase sensitivity to noise enormously (hyperacusis) - hope you're far away when the drilling starts in the next building!

Nicky Reiss said...

Thank you all for your comments! I would love to return to Hawaii - parts of the Big Island, Maui and Kauai (not to mention Moloka'i!) are all still rural and beautiful and quiet - and some areas are drier than others. But Hawaii is just too expensive, in the final analysis. Too expensive for me, right now. One day, maybe, I will return!
As for where I'll end up in the meantime, follow this blog!!