Why do I live where the air hurts my face

This morning on my journey work with blowing snow, crap roads, and -31 wind chill, I asked myself this question.

The place I live is not the most economical or FI-friendly. There are plenty of cheaper AND warmer places to live on the planet. Why do I live here? A popular meme comes to mind:

cartoon of why do I live where air hurts face
Credit to depressedalien.com for for original artwork

Alas, alligators, snakes, nor stupidly large spiders are the reason. I mean, it doesn’t hurt that there are none of these attempting to enter my home.

But when I REALLY think about it, here are the reasons.

    • Family. My parents are here. My husband’s family is here. This is really #1. If I could up and move our families to another, better locale, it would happen in a heatbeat! Of course the dads would complain, but like, small price to pay while mom, Hubs and I drink Mai Tais on the beach. Yeah, I know this is a romanticized view of what would likely happen. Well I don’t care and this is my blog. Harumph.
    • I really like Canada. I like the attitude of the country for the most part. I like the freedom**. I like the great standard of living**. I’m willing to pay more in taxes and cost of living for these things. The weather is not the greatest, I fully admit. Now I have thought of moving to a place in Canada with better weather (BC, I’m lookin’ at you). **I realize these things may not apply to everyone in Canada. We still have work to do to ensure all Canadians have equal rights, freedoms, and opportunities.
    • Hubs actually likes winter, and well defined seasons. He isn’t into summer-esque weather all year round. That said, could I maybe talk him into a more relaxed winter as we might experience somewhere slightly closer to the equator. Also I should note that the air only hurts my face about 3 months out of 12.
    • Healthcare? This would be something to consider if we move to another country. To be honest I’ve never explored healthcare options outside of Canada. I know for sure in some places we would be worse off, but perhaps there are pockets of world where we could be equally-good off, or better off. We’ll likely have to pay more than we would if we stayed in Canada, so that will affect our expenses during FI.


  • Side note: I enjoy living (relatively) coastal. I love the beach. There is something appealing about the fact that I can be ON THE OCEAN, possibly eating cake, within an hour. I grew up in a port city, both of my parents grew up in a port city, their parents grew up in a port city, etc. etc. I think it’s just in my blood now. This is something that could easily be achieved in a warmer climate. Sorry, landlocked places, you have lots to offer. REALLY YOU DO! Plenty of people don’t care about coasts. Or, they are just happy enough with lakes. *shrug emoji*

What are the post-FI options?

    1. Stay here forever. I don’t think I wanna do this.
    2. Move to a warmer climate and stay there forever. Again, Hubs isn’t too keen on this, but we might be able to find a slightly more temperate and agreeable location.
    3. Become a “Snowbird”, either before (if I can find a work-from-anywhere gig) or after we reach financial independence. Or even when I reach “barista-FIRE”, or what I like to call “semi-retirement”. For a definition of barista-FIRE, and other types of FIRE, please visit this excellent article on How to Create a FI Plan. While you’re at it, maybe create a FI plan if you haven’t already. Snowbirds are what we call Canadians who summer in Canada, and winter somewhere warm. Often these individuals own property in attractively cheap southern locales so they can just zip to and fro at the beginning and end of winter.  I’m sure you are wondering: are Snowbirds judged by those in Canada to be “softies”, and those in their winter homes to be “annoying temporary immigrants”? Yes. Do I care that much? No. Am I convinced that this is the way? No. Although being a Snowbird has it’s appeal to be sure.
    4. Travel around nomad-style without any particular home per se. I like the idea, but I imagine at some point we would tire of this and want to settle somewhere for most of the year.

What I need to know is, what are YOUR plans? Do you already live in the *perfect* place for you? Are you all set up fine and good a la Mr Money Moustache? What will you change post-FI regarding your locale? What ideas am I missing that I should consider? Please let me know all your smarts in the comments below!!


12 Replies to “Why do I live where the air hurts my face”

  1. I guess BC is out! We don’t have alligators, but we have snakes and spiders!

    We had a tenant move from Alberta into one of our rentals, text us after a couple days in her new home, telling us she almost burnt down our house when she saw her first wolf spider.

    This past summer, a roofer redoing our sunroom roof (single story) almost jumped off the roof when he saw a black widow spider. Perhaps being a roofer isn’t a good profession for him.

    The rattle snakes are in the interior of BC which I have never seen.

    Like you, I want to be near the ocean, so I doubt I will be moving anywhere that isn’t within at most 1 hour drive to the ocean. And I don’t deal well with extreme cold. The 1 week of winter (0 degrees and snow) was brutal. I couldn’t do that (or colder) for 4 months!

    1. BC is most definitely still in! We have both wolf spiders and black widows here, but no rattlers. I can deal with this though if I stick to the coast. I should probably start looking for property now. Haha! As I said if it were not for family here I would live somewhere else!! The summer is lovely though 🙂

      1. Yes you should definitely be buying now 😉 But I like investing in real estate so I am bias. Port Alberni is growing and appreciating fast but still has affordable homes. And Powell River has some affordable homes too. I hope you eventually make the move!

  2. I am definitely ready to leave Canadian winters behind!!! My husband and I both would prefer to be on the beach somewhere! We’re a military family so we didn’t have much say in where we are posted. I do enjoy living in Ontario but can’t wait to reach FI and head out on the ocean! ⛵️🌞

  3. Cool post! I think we would definately keep a foot in Québec, but would enjoy planning at least 1 to 3 months slow travel to warmer locations to escape at least some of the winter. We both enjoy some nice winter days and activities like ski, but snow from november till march or april is just too long, so cutting part of it with a nice trip would be best of both world for us.

  4. Come to BC! The ‘winter lite’ here is definitely tolerable (if you can take the sometimes-endless greyness and rain).

    I, like you, am tied to where we live because of family. So I totally get why you stay put, even when the air hurts your face, ha ha.

    When you’re ready to move, it would be cool for you to maybe live the van or Airbnb life for a year or two, trying out new locations every few weeks. That would be pretty darned fun and a great way to really experience life in a new location.

    1. That WOULD be cool. I like the idea of BC more and more, especially during the winter months. I wish it was a bit closer but once we are there we don’t need to go back for a long while.

  5. Well, clearly I’m as biased as the comments above…LOL But really DON’T MOVE TO Vancouver Island!! It’s amazing, but unfortunately far too many people are realizing that.

    That aside, we are planning to Geo-arbitrage in 3-4 years. It makes sense from accessing our equity, and also moving closer to older family. Our location won’t have the best winters, mostly grey, rain and fog. But the beauty of the geo-arbitrage is we won’t have to spend all winter there. I have no desire to own outside Canada, I’ve traveled enough to realize, I usually don’t want to go back to the same place. Slow travel is the way to go. Find a spot for a month or two and live like a local. We’re also not beach people, so I have no interest in a ‘tropical Island’. We did live in Bermuda for 5 years, so I know what that’s all about.

    A quick note about healthcare. You would be surprised how affordable it is in some other countries. Most of the guys I worked with chose to have their dental work done while we were at work in Peru. Significantly cheaper, no difference in quality. I’ve also been in clinics overseas that are very much up to our standards. You especially find this where there is a strong ex-pat community. Which, you’re pretty likely to find in most desirable locales.

    I think I find, as I get older, I am just happier being at home anyway. I like my stuff, my place, my things that entertain me. That could also be because I have traveled for the last 20 years!!

    Cheers, MM

    1. That’s sad re Vancouver Island…because it’s totally ideal in terms of my wants and needs. Geo-arbitrage sounds fab. I think we’d do well with a slow version of this. I am totally a beach person, so Bermuda for 5 years is right up my alley. However having been once, I fear it isn’t too FI-friendly in terms of expenses. I’m glad you are happy at home, and you sound like my dad. hehe. Glad you got all the travelling in early, we’ve done some but not enough for my tastes.

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