Thursday, August 23, 2012
"Living" Around the World
We've just returned from five days in the Bay Area, and in addition to having a wonderful time, we fell in love, and are determined to spend a month next year in beautiful Mill Valley, located just over the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County.
I've actually been thinking about ways to "live" somewhere else without physically moving there for quite some time. After giving thought to different ways this might be accomplished, I've landed on doing a long term vacation rental, primarily via the website VRBO.com. This site has been around for quite a while and is recommended frequently on other travel sites. In addition, the site contains extensive information and photos about each property, including traveler reviews, one of my primary methods for researching where we might want to go or stay.
In the case of Mill Valley, we have two options - stay somewhere small that has knockout views of San Francisco Bay, or for the same price, somewhere a bit larger with views of the mountains. Right now I'm leaning toward a smaller place with views of the water, envisioning the bliss of taking in the views and the sunsets, along with a glass of wine, after a busy day of hiking, biking, wine tasting or sightseeing. We're already used to living in a small space when we're out in our camping trailer, so I suspect even the smallest of places will feel palatial by comparison.
The other issue would be establishing a month's worth of activities to keep us busy. My initial thought is to plot out a week's worth of activities, and then vary how we do them each week. For Mill Valley, I came up with hiking, biking, wine tasting, going into San Francisco, sightseeing around Marin County, taking classes at a local Buddhist learning center, and spending one day in town exploring and taking care of chores.
The cost would be anywhere from $2,500 - $4,900, depending on what type of rental we landed on. Additional costs would be pretty negligible - primarily gas and sightseeing costs. Groceries, eating out and basic entertainment are already built into our annual budget, so those would remain unchanged, and hiking and biking are free. The Buddhist Learning Center is almost free at $5.00 per visit, and our gym membership here extends to the facility in Mill Valley, so our indoor workout costs would remain unchanged as well.
So, anyhow, that's the plan. If all goes well, we'll branch out and begin to do the same in other locations we'd like to "live" in as well. On my list already is Santa Fe/Albuquerque, Portland, Denver and Seattle in the USA, as well as New Zealand and Costa Rica. All of these places offer a diverse option of both city and outdoor activities, meaning we'd be able to easily bounce back and forth between the two as we wish.
Have you done or given thought to doing something similar? Where and how did it go if so?
9/1/12 Update: We've booked a 600 square foot guest house with mountain views, for a 30 day stay in the spring of 2013. The apartment includes laundry facilities, WiFi, Entertainment media galore, and a parking spot. Ultimately, price won out over bay views - final cost came in at $2,470.