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Where Should I Move?
My lease in Halifax is up on September 1st and I have given formal notice to my landlord that I will not renew it. I am leaving Canada to travel the world.
My current problem is that I have spent the past few weeks browsing apartments in every country and still haven’t made up my mind where to go. The purpose of this article is just to kick ideas around and to get some feedback. The other purpose is to test out the new “polls” feature on Substack, which was rolled out last week:
So, this article will conclude with a poll. Not binding, of course, I am just curious to see what the poll will look like and curious how polls work on Substack.
I am 29
I have no possessions or attachments. All my stuff fits into one suitcase.
Length of stay: I will book an Airbnb condo for at least 2 or 3 months, and then see how I feel. If I enjoy it, I might stay in that country indefinitely, and if I am not feeling the vibes, I will just continue on to my next country.
The most important factor is the cost of living.
I am currently paying $1900 CAD per month for my mediocre one-bedroom apartment in Halifax, and I would like to pay a fraction of that. I can live like a king in a 2nd-world country while paying $600 CAD rent per month. So my budget for rent is roughly $600 CAD.
While traveling the world, I will be working on Substack full-time and focused on trying to grow my subscriber base. After one year on Substack, I have 2,426 free subscribers and 62 paying subscribers:
Note that the dip/lull in the middle of this chart is when I “left” substack to go work for the Daily Caller for a few months. But now I am back on Substack full time, growth has resumed.
Soon I will reach 100 paid subscribers, then I will work on 200, then 300… incremental goals. At some point, it will become enough money to live and support my travels. Until that point, I will slowly be burning money. So, I am really betting on myself to succeed on Substack. I have no other choice.
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I really want to live in Buenos Aires but I hear that Argentina is imploding. It is hard for me to tell if Argentina is actually imploding, though, or maybe they exist in a constant state of perpetual implosion.
Rio or Sao Paolo would be cool, but I am afraid of getting murdered.
I also don’t want to learn Portuguese. It seems like a hard language and useless outside of Brazil/Portugal. I would much rather practice my Spanish.
I also speak fluent French, but France is too expensive, and all the French colonies are too murder-ey
People keep suggesting Mexico, but again, I am afraid of being murdered and kidnapped.
My Mexican friend told me “I mean in Mexico they would not kidnap you if you live in a safe part of town and also as a foreigner people know they can’t mess with you”
that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence
Belize, Costa Rica, Panama
For whatever reason, these countries seem safer and more attractive to me than Nicaragua, el Salvador or Honduras even though they are all geographically next to one another. It would be chill to go chill in Costa Rica and sit on the beach.
I hear Medellin is now a hipster/backpacker/digital nomad mecca.
Here are all the condos available in Medellin on AirBnB, most of them seem pretty nice:
I hear Chile is gorgeous, and it is the richest country in South America, but I don’t really know anything about the country. I can’t name any cities besides Santiago.
This is a wildcard. Might be fun to spend a few months in Havana.
Portugal or Croatia
These two countries are probably my leading contenders.
Maybe a bit too close to Ukraine for my liking. But I would like to go to Warsaw or Krakow or wherever.
Greece/Montenegro/ Albania/Bosnia/Serbia etc
This whole region is affordable and attractive
This whole region is affordable too, but seems a little random. Like, “yeah i live in Latvia.” Idk. Hard to get excited about it.
Haha, just kidding
I always mix these two cities up, but they are viable. I wanted to go to Prague or Vienna but those are a little out of my price range.
A little too close to Syria and Iraq for my liking
I am almost 100% sure if I go here I will inevitably run my mouth and get locked up for insulting Islam or Erdogan. I won’t be able to help myself.
I was originally excited about Asia, but the more I think about it, I am not wild about it. The cities are probably just a tad too foreign for me, and I would probably just hang out with ex-pats. I refuse to learn any Asian languages. Too hard.
I am also worried that I will stick out too much… like, I hope this doesn’t sound conceited, but I am a 6’4’’ white guy with blonde hair. If I walk to the corner store or whatever, I don’t want to deal with people staring at me. I would prefer to blend in and go unnoticed. It is hard to blend into a crowd of 5’0’’ Hmong people.
Bangkok is probably the only city in Asia I would seriously consider.
My main concern is that I floated the idea of Bangkok to a couple of people, and they immediately made jokes about sex tourism, and told me people would think I was a pedophile
I know people’s opinions shouldn’t matter… but I am still self-conscious about this stigma
I hear good things about Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi… but again, meh.
If I found a cool digital nomad retreat or whatever in Bali I would be open to it. I haven’t really looked much.
Other (Phillippines, Cambodia, etc)
Kierkegaard’s Leap of Faith
Throughout his writings, the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard reiterated an emphasis on the individual learning how to make a choice so that they may avoid getting lost in the (in)finite. Kierkegaard concludes that when a person is faced with a choice that cannot be justified rationally he therefore has to leap into it.
Of course, Kierkegaard’s Leap of Faith argument is about believing in the Christian God, but if you will indulge me for a minute, I can’t help but butcher it and twist it to narcissistically make it about my travels.
Actually, I am not so sure his leap of faith argument is completely about God and Christianity. I think he was probably just an edgy dude dealing with existential dread, and he viewed the world through the lens of Christianity since he was raised as a strict Christian. I suspect if he were born in the state of Punjab or Uttar Pradesh, he would find a way to make his leap of faith argument about Krishna rather than Abraham. If he was born in Greece thousands of years ago, he would’ve made it about Zeus.
This was the same time he wrote, “Marry, and you will regret it. Do not marry, and you will also regret it. Marry or do not marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the stupidities of the world, and you will regret it; weep over them, and you will also regret it.”
He may as well have been speaking directly to me here: “Move to Bangkok and you will regret, do not move to Bangkok and you will regret it.” Albert Camus, in his Myth of Sysiphus, also had the same whiff of suspicion that Kierkegaard’s leap of faith can be applied more broadly than to just religion. Camus likens the Kierkegaardian leap of faith to the leap for meaning. I guess I am trying to find the meaning of life and self-actualization, then.
Kierkegaard says that forward movement in life is not primarily a function of our rational capacities but our will and our trust. In Fear and Trembling, he writes, “One must go further, one must go further. This impulse to go further is an ancient thing in the world.” For me, part of “going further” is realizing that I am stuck spinning my wheels in Canada. For me, setting out to travel the world is a journey not from one geographic location to another, but in life.
Kierkegaard says that the embrace of the infinite requires sacrifice. Of everything, you knew before. The man you were. The life you led.
Kierkegaard points to Abraham sacrificing his son on a mountaintop as a sacrifice to God… for me, it involves sacrificing the idea that my future lies in Canada. Instead of being angry and bitter at clownworld and blaming the Canadian government, blaming the weak Canadian people, blaming the liberal media, or blaming elite academics for making Canada what it is, it is perhaps best if I just move on with my life and leave Canada behind. I am opting out. There is no future for me here. The country is dying if it is not already dead. There is no use getting all wound up over the corpse of the country I once loved. I will set out to make my fortune elsewhere.
I think this travel will be good for my Substack career and will help me grow as a writer. If my dream is to be a writer and to travel the world, why not reach for that and try to become extraordinary? If I have to start out by living in a cheap second-world country to support my Substack habit because a second-world country is all I can afford, then so be it. I feel lucky to be able to take this risk since I have no family to support, no debts to pay, and no earthly ties.
To take that risk that makes no sense, yet makes us feel alive and self-actualized, to me that is the essence of Kierkegaard’s teaching. So… I am just going to pick a new country, move there, and start a new life.
If you have any specific suggestions or travel tips, I am all ears. Leave a comment.
Bonus poll: where do you live? I am curious where karlstack readers live.
** Note: apologies to my African readers, if you exist. The poll feature is capped at 5 choices.
** Note: I wrote this article on Canada day when I was half-drunk and didn’t really bother to proofread it. I probably should’ve slept on it for another day and edited it with fresh eyes, but whatever. Excuse any typos.