Let’s play a game: What country would you choose to live in; where would you refuse to go?

A family we know has joined the United States State Department and essentially they could be sent any where in the world. I don’t think they are allowed to say “No” to a country but I think they could mark off some countries that they weren’t really comfortable with. I think they could also list some countries they preferred.

They are a white couple who adopted Asian babies so they are obviously concerned about the safety of their family but also wanted to choose a place where their children wouldn’t face overt racism.

My other thought other than racism is choosing a country where women’s rights are protected. I don’t think I would want to take my kids where women were treated as second-class. On the other hand: Would that be a formative, eye-opening experience for them?

I wonder if military families face the same sort of decisions? I think they have even less say about the countries they are sent but I guess the family can always choose to stay home. Michael’s mom took the family to Italy and Germany for several of his Dad’s Army tours but she refused to leave Augusta when he was sent to South Korea. I think he was stationed right on the DMZ so she said she would see him in a year. Good luck.

Michael and his brother both loved their time abroad and are still very tight with friends made in Europe. (Michael’s brother is considerably younger and did even more tours in Europe than Michael did.)

So without being mean or racist, what countries would you feel comfortable moving your family to? What countries would you mark off the list as “No Way?” What would be your criteria for choosing a country? (Pretend you can speak the language and that most likely the kids would be educated in an American or International school of some sort.)

54 comments Add your comment


April 8th, 2014
12:23 am

I grew up in Fayetteville, NC back when it had an army and an air force base and don’t remember the family EVER going to Korea when the dad was stationed there.

Back on topic, I couldn’t do the extreme north (Greenland, Iceland, Sweden, etc.) as I can barely do winter in GA. As for political situations in countries, I would LOVE to go to South Africa sometime, but would like for things to settle down some more first. Being multiracial, I’ve been told in some places here in the States that it wasn’t really safe for me to be there, I wouldn’t want to be at the wrong place at the wrong time somewhere else.

I hope that your readers are respectful enough to respond to this with appropriate answers, but to be honest I’m a little afraid of what some will come up with.


April 8th, 2014
6:33 am

I would move to Ireland….beautiful country, friendly people, speak English and treat Americans with respect.
I would not move anywhere in the middle east. There is no way I could live anywhere that women are treated second class, period.


April 8th, 2014
6:45 am

Michael’s father was probably stationed near the DMZ not DMV. However, I cannot decide which would be worse.


April 8th, 2014
6:47 am

We have a house in Jamaica already so we have plans to eventually move there on a more permanent basis. I have to agree with @Beck in that anywhere further north simply won’t work due to the colder weather. Off topic just a bit, we have three families of friends who are from South Africa and we have visited once. This was three years ago but I don’t personally feel you should have unusual concerns regarding your potential travel there.
And yes, Ireland could be a second choice for us although the cold and damp weather is a downer and, second to that, we could be happy in Germany.
The Middle East is certainly out of the question as is Mexico, Central, and South America.


April 8th, 2014
7:01 am

I love this topic because we are in the process of moving our family to Spain for 3 years for my husband’s job. He is from there, so it’s not “exotic” to us, but it hopefully should be a good experience. Personally, I would love Germany (have visited several times and loved it), Ireland or Italy. Even though I don’t love the cold either, I would go to northern Europe also because they are consistently listed as countries where people are happiest and since it would be temporary, I would tolerate the cold in order to enjoy the experience.
The places I would not go is to the Middle East or Russia… too much craziness in those places. @Me, I think it’s interesting that you listed Mexico because my sister-in-law (in Spain) got pregnant at the same time that her husband took a job in Mexico. She refused to go with the baby (she was preparing to move before she got pregnant). I have to say that I agreed with her. It depends on the place in Central and South America.


April 8th, 2014
7:07 am

A lot for me would depend on the circumstances. You can live pretty much anywhere if the compensation is more than adequate for that country. Meaning, foreign service used to pay very well and it covered a lot of fixed costs such as housing and transportation, so you could be very comfortable and save a lot of money. However, I don’t think that happens anymore.
I don’t believe I could live anywhere in the Middle East however. No amount of money is worth living in a disgusting place that treats women as 2nd class citizens.


April 8th, 2014
7:15 am

I would still chose the good ole USA!!!

I would, however, NEVER go to Iran, Iraq, Russia. Or Mexico.


April 8th, 2014
7:22 am

Good grief I can’t take it anymore – simple basic grammar seems to be sorely lacking in this blog! Amazing that it seems to be acceptable in this day and age to be unable to string a sentence together correctly. I would hope you meant to say “They are a white couple WHO adopted Asian babies”.


April 8th, 2014
7:30 am

My criteria would be good medical care available and a comfortable standard of living for my retirement. My first choice would probably be Scotland or Ireland, then Costa Rica. There is a large ex-pat community in CR. In the best situation, it would not be too hot, but a good temperature at least part of the year for gardening.


April 8th, 2014
7:34 am

When I finished college in 1967, I took a freighter to Australia…following a dream. I met and married a Queenslander, and we began married life in New South Wales before coming to Georgia. Chris’s mother was Cornish, and I was to spend extensive time there in the 1990s. I came to say that I could live happily in three places: #1The Lizard, Cornwall, England; #2 Tenterfield, New South Wales, Australia (I never got finished living there); #3 Oglethorpe County, Georgia (where my ancestors settled in 1785–though the area was Wilkes County then). Seven years ago, we moved to the Beaverdam community of Oglethorpe County. My husband (now deceased) called this the best place he had ever lived in all his life. Me? I love it here—being granted one out of my three choices “ain’t” bad. I am blessed.


April 8th, 2014
7:35 am

Catlady – my parents just moved back to the States from CR. They lived in the Central Valley and it was rare that it got above 80 degrees. It’s just a matter of choosing the microclimate you’re comfortable with.


April 8th, 2014
7:36 am

I chose the USA because all of its freebies and opportunities. You can’t get rid of us and if you try you be branded with shame and hate. We refuse to go back home.


April 8th, 2014
7:54 am

YES: Switzerland or Austria (those mountains!), Tortola (that ocean!), or Span (those cities!).

NAH: Saudi Arabia (that oppression!), Sudan (that turmoil!), or Venezuela (that economy!), not so much .

MEH: Japan (that language, that food!), New Zealand (that beauty, that culture!), or Mexico (that proximity, that weather!)

Blue Fish in a Red Lake

April 8th, 2014
7:59 am

While I’m not a real fan of the cold, I could see a temporary stint in any of the Nordic countries, but the British Isles have always fascinated me too. Those would probably be my top choices.

Low on the list would be middle eastern countries where there are just too many people who would be happy to kill you based on your home country.

Having visited there when my Dad was stationed there, and even though there is a language barrier, I would not mind South Korea. I was there for two weeks in 1989 and stayed both on base with my Dad and off base at various sites – but my memories mostly involve some beautiful places we toured by train, many smiling and friendly people, and yes, a rather sobering visit to the South Korean side of the DMZ. With the current NK leadership, SK is likely a more perilous place to be, but it seemed very westernized overall.


April 8th, 2014
8:04 am

I’m curious — in what countries would their Asian children be most likely to face racism? One of my children was adopted from China, but we have not traveled outside the U.S.with her yet (other than the time spent in China, of course). We hope to travel more when our kids are older, and it would be good to know where we can expect to encounter racism.

We haven’t noticed much racism directed at her here in Georgia, but people occasionally say tactless things to/about her. They usually aren’t trying to be offensive, so we try to respond with grace instead of outrage. I’m not sure how we would handle blatant hostility or discrimination, especially if we were in an unfamiliar country.


April 8th, 2014
8:09 am

TWG…this is an interesting topic! I am enjoying reading the replies.

I have only lived in the US and visited all 50 states. I have visited four cities in Canada and 4 border towns in Mexico. In my travels, I meet folks who say they would never live anywhere else. BUT they have never been anywhere else. I find it odd that they discount places they have no clue about.

I cannot speak of living in other countries because I have no experience even visiting there. This is on my to do list. My daughter is taking Italian and wants to visit Italy. My background is Dutch and I want to visit The Netherlands. My husband wants to go to Ireland.

It is intriguing to see why people want to live where they do. I am content in metro Atlanta, as the climate is enough of a change to get a glimpse of all seasons. One thing no one else mentioned is the availability of food ( well catlady did mention gardening). In Atlanta, we are blessed to have all sorts of food available and within a reasonable price. I visit other US states whose grocery stores make me sick. They are dirty and the produce is awful, as it is perhaps too expensive to ship things to the area that people would not buy.
Would food access play a role in where you want to live? How about educational opportunities? Transit? Ease of travel back to the US?

We have visited Hawaii 3 times but I do not want to live there. Too far from everything we are used to and enjoy.

I am in the panhandle of Texas and heading back to New Mexico. Today, I will visit Santa Fe, as it is only one of the major cities I have not been to in New Mexico. I wish I had someone to tag along but no one could join me and thus I am going alone. It is very dry out here and certainly quite different from ATL!


April 8th, 2014
8:25 am

We have traveled all over as a military family…I love experiencing new places but I am always glad to come home to the US! My husband spent a year in Bahrain (an island off the coast of Saudi Arabia) and it was very interesting…I enjoyed visiting, and they are fairly modern/liberal for a middle-eastern country. Don’t think I’d care to live there forever, but a year or two wouldn’t be bad. I got some beautiful rugs and jewelry out of that trip:)

We are in the midwest now, and this winter has done me in…I’ve decided I prefer heat and humidity to weeks of unrelenting cold and snow. I’m a bit of an Anglophile and would probably enjoy the UK, although I think the weather would get to me. I love continental Europe and would be happy to live there for awhile to take advantage of the travel opportunities–we’d like to do a tour in Italy or Spain before my husband retires. The military still provides a COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) dependent upon where you are stationed…certain countries are very expensive to live in so you’re compensated for housing, etc. accordingly. I imagine the State Dept. would do the same. Asia does not really interest me…we have a huge Navy presence in Japan and many friends I’ve talked to loved it there, but it would not be my first choice. My husband has spent quite a bit of time in Central and South America and has enjoyed it; I’m more ‘eh’ on those places.


April 8th, 2014
8:28 am

I would chose Ireland, Australia, Switzerland..Like others, I don’t think that I would want to live in any of the Middle Eastern places.

I have visisted Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Holland and Luxemborg (sp) and I enjoyed all of them..A little closer to home, I have been to Canada and the Bahamas..I really think that I would like to visit Peru also..

I would want to have freedoms that we have heer in the US, good medical care and security for my family..The ability to go and see things and learn..


April 8th, 2014
8:53 am

@FLNavyWife – right there with ya’ on the midwest winter. I’m soooo done with it. Ready for the next relocation.

I have never lived outside the US so no experience there. Australia has always been my “dream”. Interestingly, the hubs briefly mentioned an opportunity for us to move to Dublin, Ireland. I have NO desire to live in the Middle East, Russia or Africa. Hubs is prior Navy, spent three years on a carrier (pre-our marriage) his stories are interesting.

Great blog topic

April 8th, 2014
8:54 am

Where would I move?

Holland or Jamaica……..I know, two extremes on the opposite end of the spectrum, but in Holland my daughter would expereince incredible culture ( not to mention being aboule to travel throughout Europe on the train).

Jamaica………….well it says it all; the only down fall would be hurricane season, but the chance to live off of the land would be a dream come true!

NO WAY to the Middle East; to afraid of conflict and what could happen while out shopping one day.

Great medical care, freedom, education, and the culture would be deciding factors for me!

(the other) Rodney

April 8th, 2014
9:12 am

I’m happy here :) BUT, for the sake of discussion:

I think I would love Iceland or Greenland or any of those. To a point. I’m sure I’d like the south of France (I could TOTALLY do a country farm). And, a Caribbean island would be nice, too – regardless of the country it belongs to.

I wouldn’t even consider moving to the middle east – even if it meant my job. Or, a number of the countries on the Continent. What I see in the news keeps me from there – the human rights violations are beyond the pale. And throw North Korea into that mix, too.


April 8th, 2014
9:27 am

Korea is a “remote” tour for most of the military so it’s unlikely Michael’s mom “chose” not to go but rather they do not provide for families so unless the military member is high-ranking and going to be there longer than a year, the military does not pay for families to be there… It’s a 1-year tour for that reason.

I could probably live in any European country though I’ve only ever actually been to Sweden (beautiful country, friendly people). I don’t think I would like the cold winters they have in the north but the summers are absolutely incredible. Plus if it was only a short time, I think I could survive anywhere.

My husband and I would like to retire to central or south america or even the Caribbean. As long as you embrace the culture and don’t put people down, most people are very welcoming. Plus the cost of living is so much less. The medical care isn’t always the best nor do you have the easiest access so certainly that’s something to consider.

Just sayin.....

April 8th, 2014
9:35 am

The place I would never go??………The Peoples Republic of California


April 8th, 2014
9:44 am

TWG, I do remember when we took out kids to Tijuana ( sp?) . We went to San Diego, to see the zoo, and then decided to cross the border. That was at least a dozen years ago. They did not understand why the children were begging for even a quarter. It was an eye opening experience for them to be told that while we always have food in our pantry, others may not. While they are expected to go to school, not everyone had the opportunity.


April 8th, 2014
10:35 am

Anywhere in Europe. With their train system travel between countries is much simpler than anything we have. I’m a history nut so being able to actually visit the places and the museums would be a dream for me.


April 8th, 2014
10:37 am

Ireland is where I would choose to live. Although being a native of GA I would have to adjust to the winters. China, Korea, or the Middle East would be no. We had friends growing up whose Dad worked for the State Dept. They had to go to boarding school and had to be on the US compound when they visited (their Dad in Saudi) and said it was interesting.

South America, probably Argentina.

MJG our church sends kids to Tijuana every year to build housing. The missionaries always come back more appreciative/changed in the heart about the food/house etc. My oldest may go next year (if we can raise the funds) and I do think it will be an eye opener for her too!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 8th, 2014
10:40 am

DMV — hahahahaha – Great call Buckhead Girl — that’s called writing at 10 p.m. — Also Jaynie I had who there and the damn computer said it was that and at that point I went hmmm and let the microsoft word have it’s way –


April 8th, 2014
10:59 am

I would love to go somewhere exotic – Figi, Bali, Thailand. Anywhere with a totally different culture so the family can get a really new and different experience and there must be a decent school for the kids.

hockey goalie

April 8th, 2014
11:11 am

Taking laws, language, culture, geography all into account I’d vote for: Australia, Canada, Germany or Finland. Although, my wife and I both said after honeymooning there that the Riviera Maya (Cancun, Playa del Carmen) part of Mexico is actually quite livable if you chose your location well.

hockey goalie

April 8th, 2014
11:14 am

There’s many American-hating countries that I’d be very uncomfortable being in (without Canadian flags pasted all over me) but the only absolute NO would have to be North Korea. They actually managed to take Orwell’s 1984 and make it a reality. Yikes.


April 8th, 2014
12:09 pm

MJG I think we take a lot for granted–that everywhere will have the conveniences we expect! Youngest daughter is in Belgium right now. She has been there and the Neatherlands for 12 days and loves it. Saw the Van Eyck Atlarpiece yesterday–incredible!

Beck, younger daughter and I explored Costa Rica 5 years ago. I was surprised, with that climate, that I did not see more gardens. Where/how long did they live there?

My children have all traveled around England and Scotland, and my son around Ireland, too. They tell me I would be at home there, and I believe it.

This is off topic, but there are a few places I’d like to visit besides GB: Greece, especially Crete, maritime Canada and New England, and the UP of Michigan. Don’t know if I will ever get to, but that would be my travel bucket list.kp

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 8th, 2014
12:09 pm

MJG — people are very reluctant out here to drive in to Mexico now — I think people feel pretty safe flying into resort towns — but people in PHX used to drive to Mexico beaches all the time and now none of our neighbors do – I never hear of any families driving in anymore.


April 8th, 2014
12:18 pm

I agree with Just Sayin, I just recently escaped from the clutches of the totalitarian state in California. I am so thankful that I have been granted refugee status by Georgia.


April 8th, 2014
12:34 pm

We have a lot of “opportunities” to go abroad for job assignments; latest “offering” is Egypt. Nope. I’ve already told my boss no thanks for all the Middle East countries that are on the list. Now, if he said Italy or England, sure. Other than that, no thanks. If he offered the Caribbean, I’d take the offer. Warm weather is delightful even though hurricanes are not.

Meh, I’d rather stay here than take the chance that I’d have to go to a Middle East assignment.

For Real?

April 8th, 2014
12:36 pm

@Techmon, just curious, do you know the islands in the Caribbean where the cost of living is much less than the US?


April 8th, 2014
12:59 pm

@TWG….drive into Mexico?? With all the illegals swarming north across the pseudo border, that would be like a salmon swimming upstream against current, only to die there!!!


April 8th, 2014
1:14 pm

I think I could live just about anywhere as long as there was an end in sight. I loved living in China last summer, that was a wonderfully eye-opening experience. I did put my foot down when my husband was doing a stint with the World Bank about 20 years ago — they wanted to send him to Yemen, and when we realized that he would have to go everywhere with armed guards because the national sport there was kidnapping Americans — I said no way in hell. I’d even like to try Russia is like, only to have a better understanding of how and why they think the way they do. Not terribly interested in most of Africa — too many sudden civil wars for my taste.


April 8th, 2014
2:23 pm

I live in Buford, would consider moving to Hog Mountain, GA.


April 8th, 2014
2:59 pm

DB, not pickin’ atcha, but do you think all of “them” think the same way? I mean, like all of “us” Americans do? Haha

Mother of 2

April 8th, 2014
3:48 pm

I agree with DB, I’d go anywhere as long as it was only for 1-3 years. I’d prefer a country where women and men were equal, but I would consider the Middle East for a short stay. The only places I would absolutely not go to are those with unstable governments.

Hidden Agenda

April 8th, 2014
3:59 pm

Wouldn’t want to go to any country working for the US State Department. They cause WAY too much trouble in foreign countries to ever feel safe working for them (but then I would NEVER work for the federal government). As for countries, Switzerland would be at the top of the list if I could afford it. Holland would be wonderful too. Closer to home, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, and Uruguay are all already on the planning list. This ship is sinking.\fast.


April 9th, 2014
1:01 am

Go to Germany: So many relaxed people I’ve met from there, no end of compliments about the country from people I know who’ve visited. Very life/labor oriented country favoring people over hierarchy, and very mature in the war is a bad venture attitude. Very set hours to set time aside for family and the enjoyment of life, solid healthcare, nice architecture, very close to other countries to visit on vacations or getaways. Fewer insane/irrational laws restricting personal freedom, never imagined I’d be saying that.

Not go to: Darfur region of Africa and any country remotely close to it (Libya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Somalia, Uganda). I would tend to bundle most Middle East countries in with that as Religions/Tribes at war are just not a healthy place to be IMO even at the best of times.


April 9th, 2014
11:12 am

Places I would live: Thailand, South Korea, Kenya, Panama or South Africa

Places I would consider living: Dubai, Australia, Costa Rica or New Zealand

Places I would not consider: Much of Northwest Africa, Many places in the middle east

I love to travel. We plan an international vacation every other year. We will visit Australia/New Zealand in 2015. Not sure if by cruise or land yet since we are just in the planning stages. The only thing we have completely nailed down is that we will go for three weeks.


April 9th, 2014
12:43 pm

I would choose Italy. I would not go to Alabama.


April 9th, 2014
12:46 pm

Would love to live in Scotland (where they speak English, sort of) or Belgium (where we could learn French and German).
Would not want to live in Mexico, India, or any of the unsettled Muslim countries where armed gangs are the rule of law.


April 9th, 2014
1:24 pm

I’d choose the USA…reason why is despite the way our current administration is running or ruining things, we are still the best country where we enjoy freedom and liberty. So many others don’t have that luxury. So for where I wouldn’t go, any dictatorship middle eastern country will do, or North Korea.


April 9th, 2014
1:24 pm

Pro: Amsterdam or Cuba
Con: South Africa or North Korea


April 9th, 2014
3:19 pm

This game is toast. On to the next topic, please.