Hi, I used to be a backpacker, went alone to Hawaii and met another backpacker...now we got a 10 month old baby! So travelling is going to be different for us from now and on...
I have a problem I'm looking for advice for. We are looking into moving somewhere, and either living in a eco-village (modern) or even starting an eco-resort on our own. I'm a photographer and also a healer, so the resort would doubble-function as a photo-location.
I've searched eco-villages all over the world, and most of them have something "weird" about them and aren't really located in the kind of climate or area I'm looking for. I'm from Sweden and I've promised myself to never live in a cold climate again. (I'm very happy swimming in the ocean every morning and even our baby swims!) Australia have some interesting modern eco-villages, but it just seams like my spider-fobia won't do well there....
So now to land... my husband loves Thailand, but he was there backpacking now almost 8 years ago...Thailand is an option, but I'd have to be somewhere where things aren't over-run by tourists, yet has an international atmosphere. Fiji is interesting, no poisnous animals, nice weather, friendly people...BUT there is NOTHING there, not even one health-food store...that means our little boy would grow up very lonely.
Love the little town of Paia in Maui (Hawaii), but it's sooooooo expensive with any piece of land there that it's just out of the question.
OK, so here are the criterias for THE place (wherever it is)...
Land on beach, or close to beach... with warm waters...
International atmosphere - but NOT too touristy
Health foods, spiritual openess, smiling people, all that is a plus
Safe for a child to run around (without getting eaten up or stung by various creatures)
Nice area for photography
Still decent pricing
Preferably close to a beautiful town with a health-food store and nice, spiritual modern hippies like us... he he
Takaka, south Island is the place for you, no palm trees, but plenty of green.
Kicka, if you are ruling out Australia because of your spider phobia then I gotta say your NUTS. I don't know anyone that's been killed or even bitten by a deadly spider. Even if you were unlucky enough to get bitten, they have an anti-venom for it.
Just thought I should let you know in case that was seriously the reason for ruling us out, it's really nothing to worry about.
Now to answer your question I think Keralla, India could be the place for you. People are friendly. Most places aren't touristy. Palm trees. Warm water/weather. Cheap. Safe. Nice for photography. Spiritual openness and plenty of health foods, medicines and dread locks.
There you go, all your boxes ticked!
Nice with more Swedes!
I'll have to suggest Uruguay. The most beautiful beaches I've seen in my whole life, it's wild and outstretched, the light is fantastic... (I like photographing too) Climate is perfect, people are super friendly and laid-back, I don't think there are any dangerous/poisonous animals. It's not touristy at all, most tourists in South America skip Uruguay on their way between Brazil and Argentina. Although you do meet travellers, and it really has got that special international feel to it. It's cheaper than Argentina, awesome seafood too.
Another option would be Ecuador. Eco-resorts are already quite numerous there though, which might be a good thing or a bad, I don't know (?)
Or are you just looking for places "down under"? I mean, Northland, New Zealand does have all that you want too, safety, beaches, palmtrees, warm climate (I wouldn't say hot). And no nasty animals at all. But it's a lot more expencive to live there than it would be in South America!! Well, yeah, still cheaper than Sweden of course (although I paid a lot more for my flat in Auckland than I've ever did in Sweden).
Fern1- Thanks, Takaka sounds great! How is the weather there? Do you know if dolphins go there? (I have a special connection with dolphins...)
Ikey- I know the spider thing sounds silly... but I've heard from my Aussie friends how they'd find quite large spiders every day in their house in season... I'd just hate to be paranoid every day... it's not the fact that they are poisonous, it's more that they look really freaky and feed my fobia... my husband is also not stoked about that new tiny jelly-fish off your coast which is supposed to give you the most horrible death ever... sure, if you live there you don't think of these things because they happen rarely, but I'd just hate to be paranoid about something... it's hard to explain phobias because of the fact that they just don't make sense... so yes, I guess I'm a little crazy
Susanna- are you Swedish too? Hejsan! Got to check in to Uruguay and Equador... how would it be for a baby growing up there? New Zealand is sounding really great, but how is the weather there, I heard the north is cold?
Great input you guys! Thank you soooooooo much! Keep recommending!
North of Auckland in New Zealand is great, weather wise. They call it the winterless north. (So expect average temperatures of 10-15 degrees during the day during winter (but with the possibility of some chillier days every so often), and 25-30 during the summer.) Lots of dolphins near the Bay of Islands, too..
Thanks Sander! Any specific place around North NZ? Sounds alittle cold, but fine...as long as sun shines and it's mostly above 20 degrees...? How is eco-living there? Spirituality? Takaka sounds awesome, but it's cold there right?
Just thought I'd mention why we're having a hard time finding THE place...
OK, we live in Miami Beach (Florida, USA)... we swim in tropical water every morning and back again at sunset. South Beach is beautiful- every street is cute with art-deco architecture. I have friends from India, Brasil, Africa, Sweden... basically from all over the world. It've a very international atmosphere. From where we live, we can bike or walk everywhere, even to the beach. We can also walk to the main drag where there's tons of good restaurants. Downside- weekends are overcrowded- we don't even go to the beach here in the weekends...super-expensive, we could sell our house and buy 20 acres of beachfront in Fiji for the same price AND build a thai-style dream house on it! And most important- this is not a place for a child to grow up... we want him to be able to roam freely and feel safe.
THE place has to beat this, we could sacrifice some, but there'd have to be gains in some way...see our dilema?
I don't really know for eco-living or spirituality. Doing some random googling, I came across this list of stores selling eco-food. The Northland towns in that list are Whangarei, Kaikohe and Kaitaia (and maybe one or two others that I didn't spot immediately). Pak 'N Save and New World are just general chain supermarkets, but the others might be pure eco-stores. (That site also has a list of eco-friendly accommodation and businesses.) I have no idea of how representative this is though, or if these places pay more than lip-service to the idea or not.
I'd suspect that Takaka does indeed get its share of nights below zero each winter, although that region is supposed to have really good weather for South Island standards.
Jajemän, jag är svensk också!
But if you live in such a great place now, why do you want to move?