I used to answer “meh wherever,” but things are changing. I have more and more grey hairs in my beard, though people are not noticing because of how light in general my hair is. I’m a bit more desperate about swiping right. I even managed to chip my kneecap in the Karakoram (apparently) which made just walking straight tough for a month let alone climbing stairs (or mountains) (it’s better now). I got addicted to watching house design videos on a certain evil website this time, and that got me thinking and planning.

What am I looking for? Good access to mountains. Where I currently live in Tokyo, reaching the nearest trailhead is about two hours by train if lucky with transfers and three if I want to hit the trail early (which I do of course), which makes four to six hours “wasted” on transit every dayhike (which most of my training hikes are). While from Tokyo there are really good overnight buses to various trailheads, for the less popular ones it can get silly expensive and it’s not cheap for the major destinations either.

So in general I’m looking for a trailhead within an hour walk distance where I can get at least 1500m altitude gain total, and 2-3 hour (public transit or car) access to mountains preferably over 3000m. The high mountains serve as an escape from the summer heat and as a practice ground for snow/ice mountaineering.

What else? Work. I architect web-based products for a living and while working remotely is a standard at this point, being in the same (or at least close) timezone is very advantageous for meetings. So even if I’m not in the country where my employer is based, being close timezone-wise is a must. Considering my opportunities this covers Europe, the Americas, east Asia and Oceania, though I’m not so sure about central Asia (so there go the Himalayas)…

What else? Safety. I grew up in the post-communist collapse of a former industry town so I don’t need babysitting, but I’d rather my kids (if I ever have any) don’t have to watch their backs every corner. I figure the kids would adapt quicker than I would though after living so long in Japan. Japan is as safe as it gets, but I’d rather not move to Detroit or Baltimore.

What else? Affordability. I know it’s “lucky” from a global point of view that in Tokyo I’m paying “only” 1/8 my pay for rent (it’s still more than anyone should be paying for housing, ever), and I’m willing to double or triple that to create a family home. Fuck capitalism.

What else? People. Oh I hate how crowded the Tokyo area where I live is. I can hear the people in the next house brush their teeth and I can smell their dinner. But not having a soul around for 50km is just as bad. Imagine if I break an arm and have to drive an hour to the nearest hospital—how about no?

What else? Climate. I know, we’ll all be boiling in the rising sea in five years. But this day, the difference in the summer between the concrete jungle that is Tokyo and a more green town is clear. It may be just as hot in the day, but not having concrete you could cook an egg on at 10pm cover everything is big.