Thursday, January 12, 2012

Making a Thoughtful Choice on Where to Live

On Tuesday before heading to the gym I did what I usually do on Tuesdays and Thursdays (at around 5pm). I grab a pre-gym snack and watch 'No Reservations' on the Travel Channel. I TiVo it so it also tapes older episodes. Yesterday I was pleased to discover an episode on the Hudson Valley. I immediately pictured rolling hills, woods, and farmland. I've never spent time in the Hudson Valley but in my mind that's what it looks like.

I was not disappointed. As usual, Anthony Bourdain led the viewer through what it's like to live in the Valley. There were towns that time forgot. Towns where once a Nuclear power plant moved in, people and progress moved out. There were families who are hanging on to old traditions and embracing new ways of gathering and cooking. There was a backyard feast involving Korean food (looked amazing) and a very bright 10-year old girl reading college neurology class textbooks for fun.

The scene that stuck with me was this one. Bourdain sits down at a restaurant that has New York city on the horizon. It's on the water and he's eating with Bill Murray (of all people, right?). It turns out Mr. Murray lives near to that restaurant and has been friends with the chef/owner for 25+ years. Murray explains that he is passionate about living in New York City but he finds it can get nutty. He jokes that in the summer if you clear your throat or cough people will think you're insulting them and freak out.

Murray advises that it's important to carefully select where you live. He wanted to be within visual distance of the city but have his own privacy and peace. It's easy to forget how a comedian like Murray can also be very wise. Everything he said made sense. It was also clear he was passionate about good food, good wine, and supporting local businesses (being loyal to this chef for a quarter century in fact).

It's easy to see a show like 'No Reservations' as just another "let's eat food and drink a ton in a foreign country" type show. It's really not. Bourdain always teaches us about the culture, the people, and the traditions. He supports fresh and local ingredients and different was of doing things. He's rude, he's funny, and a brilliant writer while really making a lot of people angry. He's just, you might say, a normal New Yorker. Coughing the wrong way and getting people to think he's insulting them.

Bill Murray brings up an interesting point. Why do we live where we do? It made me glad I spend 2 weekends per month in Maine. Fresh air, woods, wilderness, and nice people are often refreshing after living in MetroWest for all these years. Why do you live where you do?


  1. I live where I live because I can NOT see the city. I have some nice woods for hiking right behind my house(still on my property). When I look out my kitchen window in the evenings I can see the most beautiful sunsets over the gentle slope of a hill. I can take a walk down our (gravel) road and never be passed by a car most days. I don't hear car alarms, horns, sirens, people shouting. I DO hear the wind, birds, the noise of the water in the creek, the rustle of leaves as a deer or squirrel runs through the trees. I can breathe fresh crisp air and look up into the sky at night to see all of the stars and many times I see a shooting star. I don't live anywhere amazing, just 30 miles east of Kansas City, MO but it is my little piece of happiness. Plenty of room for my girls to run and explore without worrying about a car or stranger hurting them. The only other place I would like to be is somewhere where I could see the Rocky Mountains...if I could just move one to my back yard I would be in heaven!

  2. Charlie, you have just described my perfect day. :) I love going to Maine and not seeing another soul for days. Having space for your girls to run is your own slice of heaven. :)