WHAT IF YOU COULD MANIFEST THE PERFECT PLACE TO LIVE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD? What if you could live in sunny Hawaii in winter and cool San Francisco in hot summer! What if you could live in a mansion when you're now making do in a log cabin? What if you could move to the beach next week when you're in a skyscraper in Tokyo today.

YOU CAN DO IT -- you can create the life of your vision and dreams!

Where you live need not be driven by career choice, but by personal decision. With a plan of action, the right technology, a bit of capital and lots of ingenuity, you can choose to live in the mountains, in the city, on both coasts or abroad no matter what profession you want to practice. In fact, you may want to choose where you live before you consider what you want to do.


Just what are the best places in America to live? MONEY magazine publishes its new list each summer, comparing about 300 different areas across the country.

Check your library for other reference books or do a search on the Internet. According to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the best cities for jobs were (in alphabetical order) Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington C. No wonder so many dot-com alumni moved to the Sunbelt cities.


If youre raising kids, youll want to choose a family-oriented community. The organization Zero Population Growth considers 10 factors including population stability, crowding, child health, crime, education, air quality and water resources in determining their top cities. But you may want to find out where the best hiking trails are our where the best fishing ponds are located so that you can enjoy your favorite hobbies together with your family.

Remember, bigger isnt always better. A Zero Population growth spokesperson says, We found a strong correlation between the size of a city or metropolitan area and the overall stress on children.

To find out more about other areas of the country and even job opportunities in Europe or Asia, check with chambers of commerce and online. Many will send you sophisticated packages including fancy DVDs of their town. In fact, some chambers and Economic Development groups will refer you to local recruiters for their area, if you have a skill they need. Or just head to the area youre interested in for a quick weekend. Recently, while staying at a bed and breakfast in a small rural town, the owner tried to get one of my career clients to change her life and help start a local museum with her. All my client had intended to do was visit the area where her grandparents had owned a farm, but the weekend trip turned quickly into a career and life opportunity.

Matching what you want to do with where you want to live can be a creative process. Think about your career and life choices. How could you make them happen in a big city? In a small town? Lets look at these two options with a few different career choices.

1.Want to be a writer/novelist or screenwriter?

Big city: You may choose to be a tech writer at a major computer firm by day and write science fiction tomes by night. You may want to hit New York and get an old college
roommate who lives there to underwrite your off-off Broadway play. Or look up that college celebrity you went to grade school with and head to Hollywood to see if you can get a gig writing for her new reality show.

Small town: Consider turning your familys Mountain cabin into a writers retreat and bring in some old professors to lead some seminars go ahead, be brave moderate some of the short story workshops yourself. You can telecommute to your companys headquarters in Denver from your ski chalet in Aspen. Really think outside-the-box, love Yosemite go ahead and set up a regional theatre repertory program on weekends and work as a forest ranger during the week. Who knows one of the highly-stressed tourists you meet may be a Broadway talent agent.

2.Yearn to be a travel tour leader or a river rafting guide?

Big city: You may choose to create arm-chair multimedia adventures for local travel firms
or get a gig with your local cable station and start your own travel show.

Small town: Check out the scores of caverns, caves or other natural resources nearby and
become a tour guide for adventure trips. Organize a 21st Century travel blog online linking
handicapped travelers together for the adventures of their lifetime.

3.Want to own your own business?

Big city: Are you a great barbecue chef? Consider setting up your own weekend barbecue
catering business as fund-raisers for schools and other non-profits.

Small town: Open up a summer-time only open-air barbecue pit near the largest campground
in the area. In the winter, find a major food conglomerate to buy your family secret barbecue
sauce recipe.

4.Want to sail around the world?

Big city: head to the nearest marina and open up a time-share visit for other would-be sailors who can help finance the boat of your dreams. Borrow a pals Digital Video camera and document wealthy yacht-owners special occasions. You get to sail for free while you sharpen your film prowess.

Small town: Teach sailing to the scouting troupes in the area or design a seniors only class for everyone who shares your dream.


To challenge you creativity, consider small-town/big city options for the following careers and lifestyles:

*Making a contribution to the world.

*Preserving local history.

*Share a love of gardening and landscaping.

As you consider your lifestyle choices and where youd like to live, there are other factors you may want to weigh:

*Your family situation. Do you have a spouse? Do you want one? Children? Are you a single parent? Does an ex-spouse have visitation rights? Are you single looking for a new partner? Do you have any family commitments that might keep you in a certain area?

*Your bank account. Do you have at least six-months living expenses to get you started in your new community? Keep in mind that the cost of living varies from community to city. Six months bed and board in a small town might total only $10,000 or less, while in a big metropolitan city that might not even cover moving expenses for a family of four.

*Your hobbies and leisure life. Cant live without a quiet walk in the country each weekend? Do you thrive on theatre and nightlife? Whether its rock climbing or rodeo wrangling, make sure you choose a locale thats compatible with you recreational interests or be prepared to start your own rodeo.

*Your social life. True, you can meet terrific people just about everywhere you go. But you may find that your social life revolves around your church or synagogue. All too often many of my clients depend on work to spark their social activities, and when they change jobs they feel left out. Plan to hook up with local community organizations or your alumni chapters in the new location.

But what if you cant afford to move?

Like many of my clients, you may feel limited by lack of resources the green kind! But dont worry, there are ways to beat the bank.

Consider house-swapping, There are lots of online websites that offer to formally swap homes in the country for skyscraper condos in the city. Be sure to check them out carefully to make sure the one you choose is legit. Ive found that its often easier to just tell someone youd like to swap your apartment for a mountain cabin professional organizations like Women in Film or the manager of your gym may have a pal or relative yearning for just such an opportunity.

Investigate house-sitting in the city of your choice. If youre handy, the absentee owner may even pay you a fee for your assistance in fixing that broken porch or mending the roof.

How about going international?

What if youd love to live in Switzerland or deep sea fish on an island in Micronesia? Its possible even on a budget. Before you jump off the deep-end, consider these options:

1)You may want to take a leave of absence from your teaching gig and live in Barbados for a month before you make the final commitment.

2)You may want to see if you can get a regular gig in the new locale, even if you yearn to buy a franchise in the region or set up your own small biz. Having a job will give you time to check out the region without touching your own capital.

3)You may want to work for an American company internationally that has offices or worksites in the locals you yearn to travel to in the future. Or explore the area first with shorter trips before packing your trunks for a permanent move.

4)You may want to keep a safety net back homesublet your house, get a housemate for your home, keep an emergency nest egg in the bank where you come from.

Before you leap to foreign lands, prep for the trek:

Most of my clients spend more time planning a summer vacation than mapping out their life-plans. Even if youre checking account is minimal, you can get a head-start on your dream for little or no cost by:

1)Studying the language in your spare time (most high schools offer low-cost evening classes).

2)Stopping by the consulate for the country of your choice, make friends with the office staff and see what suggestions they have for you.

3)Check out international trade associations such as the Australian Trade Commission which will be glad to meet with you while youre still living in the U.S. and help you prep for your relocation.

4)Place an inexpensive ad in the English-speaking newspaper in the Mexico City where youre yearning to open a sailing school. You may be able to get students to sign up in advance. At least start a subscription or read the paper in online or at your local library to see what the business climate is like in advance.

Soon you'll be saying Adios to Arizona and bonjour to Paris. Joyce Schwarz, author of SUCCESSFUL RECAREERING and the upcoming book THE VISION BOARD knows that this can be done. Watch for an excerpt of the best-seller THE VISION BOARD about how the Shroyer family is living their vision today on a 40 foot sailboat in the Gulf of Texas because they took Joyce's advice!

Author's Bio: 

Joyce A. Schwarz is the best-selling author of several books including SUCCESSFUL RECAREERING When Just Another Job Is Not Enough and the upcomign book, THE VISION BOARD: Unlock the Secret to An Extraordinary Life. For more info, email her at thevisionboard@aol.com or go to www.joycecom.com or to www.ihaveavision.org and sign up for her free newsletter. For consulting and speaking, contact her directly at 310-822-3119