The Great Escape

Rediscovering life in Palawan Philippines

Why I’m giving up the City Life

Goodbye city life. It was fun while it lasted.

Why would anyone want to give up a nice, civilized life in a big city for a third world country existence?

I used to live in downtown Toronto for 15 years in a townhouse surrounded by condos and row houses. With so many people living close to each other you would think we’d know the neighbors really well. The reality was besides a couple who lived directly behind us we knew little about anyone else.

At first the area had an edgy vibe, which I liked, being that it was on the border of Parkdale, a gritty, and sometimes scary neighborhood filled with new immigrants. We had hookers up the street (always harmless but amusing) and colorful characters who often talked to themselves (also harmless and amusing). Over time the area became hip, then fashionable. Trendy bars and retail began to replace the quirky owner operated shops that I used to go to. Derelict buildings made way for concrete lofts. To me the area had sold its soul to developers.

But you can’t stop change and life is about change. It’s about letting go and moving on.

“The Chef” and I decided to move to the edge of the city to a neighborhood that had a small town feel. It’s a funny thing, downtown you can’t escape seeing people but you seldom make eye contact. In our new neighborhood you seldom see anyone but when you do you smile and greet them. You get to know the people on your street and hear their stories.

We all share the need to feel connected, the need to belong.

We thought we’d be happy but something is still missing. We are conditioned to believe that if you work hard you will reach your dreams. But it seems working hard is not good enough. Dreams are becoming unaffordable, as we need to dedicate more time and money to our basic living. To me the city has become a dream killer, a cold environment filled with stress and negativity. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’ve outgrown the city or the city has outgrown me.

It’s time to explore new opportunities and ideas. It’s time to find new passion.

So for the next chapter in our lives, ‘the Chef’ and I have picked an island life in the tropics to live simply and rejoice in each day. Don’t think each day will be just another day in paradise. I’m a Capricorn and a realist so I ‘m not deluding myself. Any place you go to will have it’s own problems but we’re willing to take the challenge and rediscover ourselves and the world around us.

Don’t be afraid to give your dreams a chance. Give yourself a chance.


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20 thoughts on “Why I’m giving up the City Life

  1. Why not starting in the woods in Canada? That’s how I started very early in Germany (see my blog “Waldschrat”). There you can think about: Am I realy the person to live isolated? Without the comfort of western urban life?

    • We love the nature here in Canada and we did think of moving away from the city but it’s just not financially feasible. “The Chef” has more to say.

      Hallo tom, nochmals the chef hier,
      ich lebe hier schon seit 25 jahren, habe mit meinen autos die ich besessen habe hier schon ueber 1.4 million KM gefahren.
      Ich habe sehr viel gesehen hier und ausgekundschaftet. Der einzige grund warum man hier nicht im wald leben kann ist es ist 8 monate winter hier und das kann man lange nicht vertragen. Dies ist meine meinung, ich waere jetzt bereit dies aufzugeben, und fuer sonne eintauschen.

      • Ich habe den Winter auch noch keine Minute vermisst. Das ist verständlich. Aber kannst Du Dir vorstellen, dass Du Dich irgendwann nach kühlen 20Grad sehnst?

  2. I keep repeating myself all over the blogosphere of kindred spirits who have either made the leap, are leaping or want to leap: dream it, plan it, do it. Can’t wait to hear of your adventures!

  3. You should check out the first journal from Alaska. You might like the city-less atmosphere up there:

  4. Picture says it all.

  5. Welcome to my world. I’ve visited the Philippines 5 times since 2005 and decided after the 5th trip in 2011 to sell everything I couldn’t ship here and took a 2 year lease in Taguig (Global City). It may not be exactly living in the “woods”, but it is still adapting to a new way of life. I am currently visiting family and friends in New York for a month, but I cannot wait to get back to Manila. I have the hardest time convincing Filipino friends here in the States that proper planning and discipline can make living here in the Philippines a lot easier than they think (I only have one friend interested in returning here).
    Of course, it’s important to have a partner that is of the same mind 🙂 Much success and happiness to you (both).

  6. I live in the city of Southampton,UK. was born in the New Forest a small village called Lyndhurst. Many years in the country, I just cannot like the city, it is cold, most people seem cold and hard. I have lost connection, as you say, but my dream is to move back to the Forest but cost etc stops that…one day, maybe..;) thanks for share.

  7. Know where you’re coming from – I packed up and moved to Sri Lanka to live – it’s the sixth, I think, relocation in my life. It’s been fantastic, and I mostly still thrill to the notion “I live in Sri Lanka”. and marvel at the beauty of the place, the richness of its culture and traditions, the complexity of its society. But it struck me, a while ago, after I had a fall and broke my ankle and ended up with my leg in the air for several months that it’s not home, or rather that I will always be considered a stranger here. And of course that’s right: I stick out like a thumb. That’s ok, I never really believed I was anything other than a foreigner.
    So what’s happened that I say I “mostly” thrill to the notion of living here? I think it’s something about that Wanderlust Gene, or the human roaming instinct. I took myself to Venice late last year – a gift to myself for my perseverance, and to practice walking somewhere where I had to walk and wouldn’t mind the pain (you can see, I’ve got a ‘thing’ for Venice). Leaving, and coming home was every bit as wrenching as returning “home” after a trip/holiday always has been. Why, do you think? I think it’s because Venice had become the exotic, other, location, and “exotic” Sri Lanka, my home.
    I think I’m saying “Go for it”, but don’t burn all your bridges, especially financial ones. Options are nice things to have in life.

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