A big reason for moving from city-to-city every three months, besides the experience and fun of it, is to decide where we want to eventually settle down. To help with the process, I've made a rough evaluation template (below). If anyone has ideas for other categories, comment below or send an email!
(Scaled from 1-10)
Culture: What are the music and art scenes like? Are there opportunities to see plays/opera/comedy. Are there a diverse set of restaurants and people? Is this city an important player in the regional/national/international perspective?
Environment: Cleanliness, availability of parks for exercise and relaxation. How dog-friendly is it?
Vegetarian Restaurants: The number of vegan/vegetarian restaurants says a lot more about a city than its eating habits. Is there enough respect for life and progressive thought in the city to support a vegetarian lifestyle?
Cost of Living: Big cities are more expensive for a reasons (high-demand), but how does the city compare to others. Is it doable and worth what it offers?
Transportation/Infrastructure: How does the city deal with storms and emergencies? How much of a hassle is it to travel? Availability of parking? Reasonable public transportation? Is the city expanding for growth?
Climate: Can we tolerate the heat or cold?
People: We can find friends wherever we go, but what is the overall mood or mentality of the average person on the street? Do people seem polite, intelligent, interesting? How are the drivers? It's surprising how different places can be due to religious/economic inclinations.
Pass/Fail: Will we consider living here? Hopefully all the cities we live in will pass. If a city fails, meaning we'd
decline good job offers, we've made a mistake in choosing to live there short-term.
Yes, large media studies based on surveys, crime statistics, and business numbers are published regularly online. We referenced these studies (best cost of living, most vegan-friendly, most-cultured, healthiest, and more) when deciding what areas to visit. The truth, however, is that people are so different, cities change so quickly, and crime statistics are so deceptive that our opinions and perceptions matter more to us than anything hear or read second-hand.
We hear a lot about the cities we're thinking of visiting before we make it there and half the time these opinions are inaccurate. Cities change drastically in a matter of years. Downtown Dallas for example is in the middle of a positive transition. Likewise, crime statistics need to be considered, but if a chart says an area is safe and we don't feel comfortable there, we're not going to live there.
Some other considerations:
- Our opinions may change after we live in more places. We're only in our second city, comparisons are a factor. We may go back and lower or raise scores based on what we see elsewhere.
- This is personal. We're a non-religious, progressive thinking, vegetarian, dog-owners who like to experience culture without spending a lot of money. Kids are a consideration. This isn't meant to to be a universal scale.