Moving overseas is no longer the glamorously unreachable dream it was just a decade or so ago, which is good news for those of us looking for a fresh geographic start in 2017.
Under the ever more sensational news onslaught of 2016, you may be left at the start of this year feeling like the world is a rowdy and unfriendly place, but that’s hardly the case: while the Internet focuses on giving us a collective case of Chicken Little complex, positive news from around the world goes largely unnoticed.
We all know that Syria, Ukraine, and Venezuela are better left off the itinerary this year; but believe it or not, most of the rest of the world continues marching forward as always. Here are six destinations where peace, progress, and the good life are still dominant in 2017.
Medellín, Colombia: South America’s Nomad Hotspot
Medellín has been soaring through the rankings of the best residences for itchy-footed nomads since long before the Economist named it the country of the year in 2016; but now we can officially say that Colombia’s second city has landed on the mainstream map.
A four-year peace process finally resulted in an agreement and peace in Colombia in late 2016. When you combine that with the eternal spring climate that’s made Medellín a hotspot for digital nomads in recent years, it’s easy to see why every year more people from around the world are calling it home.
Constanta, Romania: Fast Internet and Black Sea Breezes
Speaking of digital nomads, Romania’s high-speed internet and low cost of living is drawing nomads and IT workers living the laptop lifestyle from across Europe and the planet. Dracula’s birthplace and home to the most gorgeous castles in the world, Romania also offers cheap and delicious wine and an untouched countryside for all who come to call it home for a while.
Constanta, Romania’s oldest and second most important city, offers a better balance for many expats than the busy capital of Bucharest. With just under half a million people in the metropolitan area, it has the connected feel of any medium-sized European city, but with its Black Sea coast offers a climate that in the summer will remind you more of Italy or Spain at bargain Eastern European prices.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Miami’s Down-to-Earth Sister
Is the Internet done hating on Florida yet? (Hah! Funny! J) It’s got some of the best beaches and beach towns in the US, and towns like Ft Lauderdale and Tallahassee are up-and-coming hubs of young professionals and urban innovation.
“America’s Venice,” as Fort Laudy is often called for its canals, offers all the benefits of moving to Miami without any of the South Beach price tag. With a strong local brewery culture, a well-connected international airport right on the edge of town, and year-round sunshine, you’d be hard-pressed to be unhappy in South Florida’s up-and-comer.
Montevideo, Uruguay: Latin America’s Progressive Leader
If you’ve ever daydreamed about living somewhere with liberated attitudes on sex, drugs, and culture, you’ve probably pictured moving out to the West Coast somewhere. For a real adventure this year, look instead to South America’s east coast and the tiny, quietly successful nation of Uruguay and its capital Montevideo, where things always seem to be going well.
One of the most progressive Latin American cities, the Uruguayan capital is home to state-regulated marijuana dispensaries, marriage equality, and a community of artists and hipsters to rival neighboring Buenos Aires. It’s also one of the safest cities in all of Latin America, and an ideal home base for exploring Uruguay’s giant neighbors of Brazil and Argentina.
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam: Life in the Crossroads of Asia
Ho Chi Minh city is not just a Southeast Asian foodie’s paradise. It’s also an ideal vantage point for watching the next year or two unfold on the South China Sea.
Also known as Saigon, Vietnam’s largest city and southern capital is situated at the maritime crossroads of wealthier northern countries like Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China with their dynamic southern neighbors in the rest of Southeast Asia. This corner of the world is changing rapidly under the forces of globalization and tourism booms, and there’s no better home base for exploring countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, and the Philippines.
Auckland, New Zealand: Seventh Heaven in Middle Earth
The Kiwis try not to brag, but their small island country, often treated like Australia’s Canada, is home to one of the highest qualities of living in the world by just about any measure.
The balanced lifestyle and natural beauty that provided the backdrops for the Lord of the Rings make it easy to see why New Zealand consistently leads rankings of best cities for expats. Auckland, the country’s largest city, leads the pack. Recently ranked the third most liveable city in the world for the fourth year in a row, Auckland is a Southern Pacific paradise of volcanic beaches, economic prosperity, liberal tolerance, and a healthy respect for the wonders of nature that encapsulate it.