Peak Oil? Economic Collapse? Maybe the universe is trying to tell you something. Maybe it's Relocation, Relocation, Relocation.
With many people predicting a serious economic depression, and others equally--or also--concerned about the approaching depletion of oil production ("Peak Oil" - For full information, see Dry Dipstick at www.drydipstick.com), you might consider moving to a quieter, more sustainable, less oil-dependent location.
Of course you might be fine living exactly where you are now. It's certainly easier to stay where you are than to move. No one can predict, certainly not with certainty, where the best places might be to deal with the future. Many observers think that large cities are definitely not the best location. Others suggest that any town dependent on water and food that comes from a large distance may not be ideal. They suggest a small town with adequate water and nearby farms. When it comes down to it, no one really has the foggiest idea, so you're on your own.
If you wish, you can run off into the hills, create a mountain fortress, and be a dyed-in-the-wool, nobody-come-near-me loner. Others believe that if a true survivalist is someone who wants to survive, the best way to do that in the 21st century is in a community. (If you're really into survivalism, we suggest you check out www.survivalist.com.)
The choice is yours. If you still have the time, we can suggest resources for finding a place to live both in the United States and in countries around the world.
Inside the United States
If you currently live in the United States, you might want to consider simply moving to another state rather than going abroad. Things generally get much cheaper when you move away from the coasts, and the quality of life can be very good. Plus, they speak English there (more or less) and you can usually get all the stuff you're probably used to. (Assuming stuff is still available.)
There are a number of excellent web sites to help you in your search for a place to move to. Moving.com's (www.moving.com) city profiles provide information on hundreds of cities. The profiles include cost of living, taxes, home costs, insurance costs and quality of life factors such as population, crime, weather and education.
Moving.com can also help you find real estate and arrange for moving logistics. You can even compare the profiles of two cities of your choice.
BestPlaces (www.bestplaces.net) lets you compare two cities from a list of over 3,000 places in the U.S. You'll see a comparison of nearly 100 categories. BestPlaces offers neighborhood profiles for every zip code in the U.S., in-depth profiles on over 85,000 schools, a cost of living calculator that compares cities and determines what salary you'd need at a new location to maintain the same standard of living as you have now. Plus you'll find crime rates for over 2,500 U.S. cities, most and least stressful cities, and climate profiles for 2,000 cities worldwide.
You can even take a "Find Your Best Place" quiz to determine your own recommended best places to live. BestPlaces also publishes the book "Cities Ranked and Rated", with detailed information on over 400 metropolitan areas in the U.S. and Canada. You might also find the Most Livable Communities website helpful (www.mostlivable.org/).
Our favorite resource is FindYourSpot (www.findyourspot.com). It offers a fun quiz (it'll take you less than 10 minutes) with great questions, and it produces a list of two dozen cities that fit your quiz answers. Results for each city include an attractive downloadable four-page report with an insightful overview of the character of the area and information on climate, arts and culture, recreation, education, housing and cost of living, crime and safety, health care, and earning a living. You'll also find links to currently available jobs and housing, roommate services, recommended city-specific books, and travel deals if you'd like to personally visit the city.
Outside the U.S.
Wondering where the best country is to move to? We suggest that there is actually more than one "best country" for you. You find them by:
1) visiting every possible country and seeing which ones you like best, or
2) researching every possible country, zeroing in on those you feel most attracted to, and then visiting those countries. We suggest that the best way to begin is to use the Web, particularly the sites we list below.
Bottom line? Visit a country and spend some time there before making the actual move. Most experienced expatriates suggest living at least six months in your host country before permanently moving there. And remember, you're not going to live in an entire country, just in one specific place in a country. You don't have to love the entire country to be able to find that one special place just for you. You're looking for a region, a city, a town, even a neighborhood where you can find the qualities you want in a new home.
Here are some websites that should help in your quest for a new country.
Boomers Abroad (www.boomersabroad.com)
A website devoted to giving you the best and most comprehensive information available on the Web about beautiful (and affordable) warm coastal countries, how to get there and how to live there. Whether you're looking to be a retiree, a working expatriate, or simply a visitor, Boomers Abroad is your place on the Web for Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Uruguay.
Expat Communities (www.expatcommunities.com)
A directory of more than 110 countries with sizeable English-speaking (and usually international as well) expatriate communities. English-language websites, organizations, online forums, meetups, local newspapers, and books of interest to current and potential expatriates. These websites will give you, or link you to, all the information you'll need to decide if a particular country might suit your needs and deserves future exploration.
Expat Stuff (www.expatstuff.com)
Wherever you end up living as an expat, you'll need stuff. And information. And services. This website is an excellent directory with a focus on the endless variety of information, services and tools you'll need to enjoy life and create your own income while living abroad. You'll also find information on such things as communication, health insurance, obtaining a passport, links to country information, and general expatriate blogs and websites.