Question of the Week #05
It’s week five and Randy Salazar asks, “If language wasn’t a barrier and you were offered a job anwhere in the world, where would you go and why?”
Language isn’t the only barrier to living abroad, and a job isn’t the only reason to move.
I grew up in Eastern Canada and though I am glad I moved to the United States, I think sometimes about reconnecting with those roots. My wife is from Taipei, and though she has spent most of her life in California I know she’d like to strengthen her cultural ties as well. We have two boys who share both of our heritages, including connections to the UK and Portugal. All of these variables would be important considerations.
Professionally speaking, there are a number of urban centers in the US where design plays a vital role. San Francisco is certainly one — and is arguably principal among them. That’s one reason I love it here. New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington DC and Los Angeles are some others. In Canada Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are probably the two most vibrant areas for design. Internationally one’s mind turns to European cities like London, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Brussels, Barcelona and Prague, Asian capitals like Taipei, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore, and Middle-Eastern emirate Dubai. I don’t really know too much about design in Africa and Australia, but Cape Town and Sydney come to mind, respectively. Lima, Buenos Aires and Mexico City bring us full circle, back to California.
Honestly, I think the San Francisco Bay Area is just about the best place to be practicing design right now. It’s the center of the technology and innovation that is shaping our culture. The food and left-leaning politics suit me well. As does the weather and geography. I think not being from here influences my perception somewhat.
At one time or another I’ve imagined retiring to Canada, Italy, Thailand and the UK, but those are fantasies based on lifestyle rather than any creative of family consideration.
So… to answer your question: When I was younger I might have considered living any of these places — and Santa Monica, Seattle and Portland. Those were days when work was my primary motivation in life and experience was the fuel that powered my creativity. These days I’m more concerned with finding the right long-term environment in which to raise my children. Our choices are limited by a desire to stay close to our families. We think about safety, schooling, diversity, cultural exposure, etc. As our lives evolve and these contexts change, so will our options. For now though, we’re exactly where we want to be.