Since our last visitors departed this past Monday, we haven’t had a breath of wind, so we’ve stayed put allowing some time to reflect on the cruising life. So, short of suddenly changing Chrissy’s mind to hop across the pond to Europe, what changes do I want from our previous land life that have been inspired from our travels as we prepare to return home?
In a nutshell here’s what I would like to prioritize:
Walking distance to a downtown area that has local culture events, live music, dining etc
- I don’t think this needs much explanation. Walking is good for you and if you can walk there, you will go because it is convenient.
- Charlottetown, PEI was one of my all time cruising favourites for this reason. We were docked downtown, the people were friendly, they had live local music, live theatre and more all within walking distance. That reminds me, I should see who’s hiring there.
Cities are actually fun. Its the sprawling suburbs and associated traffic I don’t like.
- All those years I thought I had a dislike for cities. Turns out it was the suburbs and urban sprawl and how far apart everything of relevance is that drove me nuts. Good thing I bought a boat to learn the truth.
Not too downtown for peace and quiet.
- Seeing as it is up in the air if we will still have a boat to fill this requirement, it is nice to have a relatively quiet place to sit in your backyard.
Ideally more than 8 feet between houses, just in case we swing at anchor.
- More seriously though, I don’t want to repeat our old house where the kitchen and dining room windows of 4 houses lined up allowing you see straight through. We had nice neighbours, but really, why even bother with the windows. They don’t want to see me have my morning coffee in my underwear and I feel the same about them.
Walkable to a bakery or grocery store.
- We loved being able to stop in quickly for fresh lettuce or bread at the bakeries in some of the french islands. Sure we will do most of our grocery shopping with a car, but why hop in the car to go pick up one fresh ingredient. Suddenly that $3 item just cost you $8 and was a hassle to get.
Nearby natural areas or at least parks for walking with Magnus (about the only amenity our old house had)
- I enjoyed hiking for a few hours on the weekend mornings in the winter with Magnus. I used to contemplate the news I digested with my morning coffee in a quiet and beautiful scenery. I do the same now, I’m just not trudging through the snow. I don’t want to give this up, and I’d like to get into cross country skiing too when we get home instead of just my other sporting hobby of downhill skiing.
NO commuting. This sucked my soul and wallet dry.
- I’m convinced people really do underestimate what it costs to commute in a car. Here’s a hint: the government posts the rate per km that your employer needs to give you when you drive your car for business – and it isn’t so you make money off it.
- As for the sucking your soul dry, if you like sitting in traffic daily you should be warned there is something very, very wrong with you or your home life.
Transit and cycling options to places of employment.
- Oh how nice it would be to read then news in traffic on the way to work, or ride your bike from door to door. Or maybe I’m just saying this because I’m just jealous of those superior lady drivers I regularly saw putting make-up on during their commute or those guys in the family minivan with the newspapers unfolded across their steering wheels.
1 car lifestyle
- Hey, if you can take transit to work or walk or ride why not? That second car money could cover a weekly Friday dinner out to enjoy the place where you live and an annual vacation. Although if you walk or ride you might live longer so you’d better plan for a longer retirement. Maybe the second car is cheaper after all.
Local farm markets that grow or raise quality produce or meats.
- Why North Americans put up with all the genetically modified crap that Europeans don’t is beyond me. I have become much more aware of it since we visited the french islands. Heck you can get a bakery sandwich for the price of a Tim Horton’s one, but they use real ingredients, not processed crap. If Tim’s made the switch I’d eat lunch there a couple times a week. Fortunately, I know local farm markets exist. Chrissy was good at finding them in the KW area where we once lived.
A city with waterfront would be great, but…a Hobie Cat might suffice.
- There is something about walking along the water that is just simply therapeutic.
- But, I did get a lot of the same benefit sailing a beach catamaran before we ever contemplated buying Altera.
The place also needs to be affordable without sacrificing the rest, so Vancouver is out -at least until their housing bubble pops.
- I don’t want to have to chase money. I’d much rather just be an average engineer as far as salary is concerned if the work and coworkers are interesting too.
Strangely enough, Waterloo has neighbourhoods that we know meet most of those requirements, the transit and waterfront being the weak links. We could end up closer to where left from than I ever would have guessed.