Given a free choice (what else is there?) where would you live?
If this post is taken in the right spirit it may be of use, and I would be interested to hear other people’s experiences....
For my part let me clarify, my intention is to create an organic farm/ forest garden, and it is with this in mind that I would offer my experiences...
People attitudes to me reflect who I am and what I am; a white middle aged (whatever that means)European male. So when I travelled through South America I was often met with some degree of hostility as they thought I was from the U.S; their attitudes changed remarkably when I told them I was English.
Also, I renounced all my worldly goods 8 years ago, so I have been a shoestring traveller, and dont have any sort of financial reserve to simply go and buy a property, anywhere in the world.
So briefly, at first, where in the world?
I had an organic farm in Portugal for 8 years (still owned by my son) would I return? Possibly but unlikely... Spain seems a better option on many levels and there are hundreds of abandoned villages and many existing communities if you are into that sort of thing. Im not personally.
France is a beautiful country and west of the Rhine in the French part of the black forest is beautiful but the weather can be a bit bleak. The Pyrenees is a good option for free housing, and quite a good location.
Germany is also quite beautiful in the south of the country, and the people are environmentally aware, but the level of control is ridiculous to my tastes.
Switzerland is another stunningly beautiful place, but cold winters and the people do seem to be quite sad, again in my experience.
I lived in an abandoned village in the north of Italy for a while, again much natural beauty, but not for me either.
UK? Not for me, but I do love the countryside.
I have travelled through many other European countries but havent stayed long enough to really comment.
I was pleased to leave Turkey and wouldn’t settle there.
India is one of my favourite countries but its getting harder to get visas, and long term it would be hard. Corruption is rife and when I last looked you could buy a residents visa for about US$500 in Kathmandu... Sikkim is my all time favourite place in India, though I lived in southern India for a few years.
Nepal is stunningly beautiful, but a hard place to live. The poverty makes life for outsiders quite difficult. I was one of the few westerners to travel east through Nepal during the political and social unrest, what beauty! Stunning, but life threateningly dangerous.
Sri Lanka is a gem, away from the tourist areas. Again corruption is the norm and I know many people who have overstayed visas to set up homes there (and in the past you could pay US$100 to leave the country even after a long overstay).. but electronic visas and checks are making such stories rarer these days. Still, there are few places on earth to match the hill country of Sri Lanka for a base to create an organic farm
Further east Cambodia is a favourite of many of my friends, many of which never came back out, for all the right reasons; they had found their spot. Last I heard you could buy a residency for US$500. Laos/ Vietnam similar, but beyond my experience.
Thailand is popular, especially with the Australians, and rightly so, beautiful and cheap and a friendly people.
Australia was the disappointment of my travels to date, far too expensive and culturally lacking. New govt controls are draconian and it is an environmental disaster in the happening. I wont go back.
New Zealand wins the prize for the most friendly people on the planet, and what beauty. I was offered a job in NZ and could have set up there, with residency, but there is something ‘missing’, it is the least spiritual country I have ever visited. “the land that yoga forgot”. I wasn’t sad to leave but do miss the majestic beauty of the south island.
I was a while in Peru and Chile, and was pleased to leave both places, though my time in Peru was life changing (see Vidyas journey elsewhere in the mists for my account with ayahausca and the jungles). I had an offer to set up in Chile, buy I found the language and the people very hard. Sadly, they seem to like to cheat foreigners, it is a difficult place to set up. From what I briefly saw of other places, Brazil looks amazing, and such variety. Nicaragua is well talked about.
So there’s a brief start, if anyone is interested... I met a woman who wanted to visit 100 countries, for some reason (a day trip and overnight stays in airports were ok in her personal game) and she asked me how many I had visited... I counted 39.. but the above are where I have spent enough time to make some judgement.
I have selected my own ‘final’ base.. but if its ok I wont say where in open forum. Besides, I am not there yet, I need to re-finance before I head out.