As a digital nomad, I get to pick anywhere in the world I want to live. Recently I’ve grew fond of Dallas, Texas and I’ve been asked several times on my reasoning behind Dallas. It’s not as common of a pick as other cities (someone asked me why I didn’t move to Hawaii) but a lot of thought has went into why Dallas. Before I dive into Dallas, I should explain why the US. Being Canadian, I’ve occasionally (not often) been asked why the US?
I decided on America because:
- Unlimited opportunity. This could be a book of its own but things like the market size play a big factor here. There’s money here and a lot of people with it. Even look at something as simple as shipping. In the US I can ship a book for $3 or so. In Canada, that same book costs $20 to ship. You can see how someone in e-commerce would struggle in Canada.
- Cost of housing. The average house in Toronto was $1.35 million CAD in April 2022 whereas Zillow pegs the average Chicago home at $320,442 USD. These are two very comparable cities. Dare I say more?
- Weather. Snow is scenic but it’s also dangerous and makes life difficult for no reason. The salt from the roads ruins cars, shoes – everything.
- Ease of living. This is kind of tied into weather but America has everything. If something is invented, it comes here first. We don’t wait for it to come to this country. We have it and we had it first. Medicine? Comes here first. Then it comes to Canada about 5 years later.
Those are 4 random points that came to mind about the US. Let’s move onto what I planned to talk about, why Dallas?
I think it’s first important to open our eyes – nowhere is perfect. Every city that you think is awesome, someone is looking to escape. So let’s first look at a complain from someone who hates Dallas.
Why not Dallas
Why even consider Dallas? How is it even on a short list? I’ve been here since 2018 and am trying to relocate ASAP. It sucks balls. It’s flat. There’s barely any nature. It’s too hot. The drivers are assholes and dangerous. There’s a lot of crime. People are not nice. Everyone has a gun and are eager to use it. Did I mention how hot it is? Its a sucky place to live for kids. The mosquitos are insane. Allergies! One of the worst place for allergy sufferers in the country. Super high property tax. There’s a bunch of people waiting for the second coming of JFK Jr – that’s just weird, man.
I think we’ll break this down piece by piece.
Most people don’t live in mountains. Colorado is nice. Lots of people vacation there for that reason but to say a city isn’t nice because it’s not mountainous is wrong. There are plenty of great cities without mountains.
It’s a city, of course there’s no nature.
This is fair. The heat is bad in the summer. The heat can also be dangeorus like snow.
The drivers are assholes and dangerous
When I think dangerous, I think Chicago drivers. I think driving I-90 north heading into Chicago. People are driving fast, and swerve across manly lanes. In conclusion, you get this in any city. Toronto is notorious for it too. In fact, Toronto is the only place where I’ve seen people pull over and get out of their car because of road rage. It happens in the US too – it happens in cities.
There’s a lot of crime
You can basically just look at stats to understand this. Most major metro areas in the south have a lot of crime.
People are not nice
This is a city thing. People tend to be on edge in cities. Again, visit Chicago or Toronto.
Everyone has a gun
This seems more of a dig to America rather than Dallas.
Mosquitos and allergies
I grew up in a marsh so I can’t really say this bothers me but I guess it would bother some. This is definitely a first-world problem.
High property tax
The idea here is that since there’s no state income tax, it levels out, and it does.
People are weird, but checkout Florida.
In no order, this is kind of how I thought about choosing my next city.
I enjoy the sunshine. I don’t like getting pale in the winter and hibernating. The idea of waiting until summer to do an activity is not something I’m fond of and where I’m from, summer is 3 months and hibernation is close to 8. The thought of having two garden seasons per year? Awesome.
So split the country in half. Let’s look at the sunny portion. Anywhere that’s red, orange or yellow is good. I’ll stay away from the blue and purple.
Now I’m not someone who likes to go out a lot but I like having the option. I don’t like waiting for events. I want to have the option of going to an event every night of the week if I wanted. I want something for my guests to go do if they’re in town visiting, and being from Canada, I’m expecting a lot of visitors and I expect them to stay at my house. I work long hours, so it’s nice if there’s a big city with things to do.
I also like the idea of friends passing through the city for events. Being a digital nomad, my friends are spread out. If I plop myself in Dallas, there’s a high chance they’ll see me rather than 90% of other places in the US.
Sports are also a huge part of entertainment. I like hockey, but I’m sick of cheering for the Toronto Maple Leafs because I just can’t afford going to games that often. Tickets are often 10x the price. Not to mention, Canada doesn’t have football like the US. I’m really looking forward to Cowboys games.
Now we’re able to get down to a list of cities which is something we can work with. Working left to right, I can explain why I didn’t choose other cities, because realistically, that’s how my thought process was for much of it. It was a process of elimination.
Cost of living
Looking at the 3 California cities, COL comes to mind. California has beautiful weather but the costs of living are very high. I lived in San Diego a few years ago and I’ll never forget whenever I drove to Vegas for a weekend, I would try to get pass the state line to Nevada because gas prices would drop $1 per gallon. California is a big economy but it is losing some of it’s talent. It’ll be strong for years to come but it just doesn’t make sense. Maybe if their economy crashes I’d reconsider going there because the weather there is unbeatable.
Phoenix is really hot, but as they say, “it’s a dry heat.” However, it’s a desert. It’s a different lifestyle than what I’m used to growing up. There’s no grass. People don’t go outside midday. It would be kind of culture shock to me so I would have to live there a bit before diving into any consideration of long term.
Family and lifestyle
Las Vegas has a lot. Actually, it has everything. It’s an incredible city but it’s just not ideal for a family. Not that a family is on the horizon (it’s not) but it doesn’t really make sense to me to park myself in the biggest party city in the country at this point in my life. Besides, Vegas flights are incredibly cheap if I decide to go.
Miami is also a big party city, which is why I decided against it as well.
Cities where families live also have more stability in home prices. Vegas is too reliant on tourism. During the pandemic, the city was very quiet.
I like places with population because population breeds opportunity but it also breeds things to do. Carbone has 5 locations – New York, Dallas, Miami, Las Vegas and Hong Kong. Those are big cities.
Population has things like auctions. There are stores. There’s a booming used market on places like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. You don’t have to buy a brand new – well, anything – because someone’s selling it in these cities.
This in turn is why I chose to not go to North Carolina. There’s just not enough going on there. This would make sense if I was about 40 and less motivated.
This leaves us with Dallas, Nashville and Tampa, which were basically my top picks. My other top picks are:
- Charleston. Amazing but just not enough going on. Atlanta and Jacksonville are each 4-5 hours away.
- Austin. Similar to Charleston, not enough going on but at least Dallas is a reasonable drive.
- Pheonix, specifically Scottsdale. It’s a nice spot but I chose to remain on this half of the country because family.
- Denver. Colorado is awesome, but I think I’d be mad at myself if I moved somewhere with snow.