This archived forum used to be called 'Peatarian' (in reference to Ray Peat).

Peaty Places

From a health perspective, which countries /areas in the world would you consider to be the ideal place to live?

I guess some criteria would be:
-̶H̶i̶g̶h̶ ̶a̶l̶t̶i̶t̶u̶d̶e̶
-Pleasant climate
-Access to high quality foods
-Friendly/open minded people
-Water, electricity and at least some form of internet access
-The possibility to actually find a job there (or a high speed internet connection that would allow you to work online)
-Preferably English-speaking country

I do realize that there probably is no place that fits all of the above criteria.

Are you happy where you live right now?
What place do you think would help you become healthier and happier?

asked Feb 8, 2015 by skally
edited Feb 8, 2015 by skally

High altitudes are colder by nature, so you have to figure out if you'd rather be in a warm place or a high place.

I have tried high(er) altitude living in the past. Despite being in rather poor health, I have the privilege of having sufficient funds to drop out for a while. So I rented a shack in Switzerland, at above 6,000ft which is about as high as it gets in Europe. I stayed for approximately 3 months, and was prepared to stay longer, but the climate had a noticably negative impact on my health, while the expected benefits failed to materialise. Of course, living in a godforsaken alpine village was pretty depressing too, so that might have been a factor as well.

I found that humidity, rainfall and cold affect me negatively. Southern Germany near the Alps, where I currently live, is quite bad in this regard. I feel best in dry & warm countries, ideally by the sea and with pristine air. When I was in Greece, Croatia and southern Italy my health improved quite a bit.

i seem to recall a study (or some studies) showing a positive association/correlation between altitude and suicides (&/or depression).
a google of 'altitude depression' or 'altitude suicide' gets plenty of hits.
Utah seems to get a special mention.
& here was one 2011 pubmed article (which i have not read); Positive Association between Altitude and Suicide in 2584 U.S. Counties

as i say, from memory, it is correlation & theories of causation.

I read a while ago that those effects are mostly due to middle-aged men not able to find a partner in those places.

What about Ashville, NC? It's the best combination of highish altitude and warmish weather that I've found.,_North_Carolina

"The climate of Asheville is a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), resembling the rest of the Piedmont region of the southeastern U.S., but with noticeably cooler temperatures due to the higher altitude; it is part of USDA Hardiness zone 7a."

9 Answers

If you're white and native english speaker, job is never a problem in non english speaking countries.

For that criteria for example you could go to Antigua, Guatemala and live in high altitude in small spanish town eating shrimps and tropical fruits and coffee grown in volcano grounds. Swim in the springs that come from the mountains. Work in phone customer service to Greyhound buses or Orbitz in Guatemala city (900usd possible). Many expats, touristy town, english only is fine.

Or go even deeper and live with the indigenous people and yoga folk in Lago de atitlan. Eternal spring weather (Even higher altitude + close to equator). Room 5 usd a day maybe monthly 70-100usd. Kayak at the lake. Internet is well available.

Some guy already mentioned Quito, Ecuador. Peru, Kenya... I'm sure there's plenty, plenty of places...

Explore on your own and if you find a place that you don't know why you quite like it but don't want to leave, stay for little longer. No shame in using countries like prostitutes. It's just which particular prostitute(s) makes you tick. I guess Mexico is Peat's bitch.

answered Feb 9, 2015 by Baltasar

South America does sound nice.
Always thought you have to be fluent in spanish in most of the countries there since a lot of people don't speak english

Yes/no.. i dont know. LISTEN.

Walk/hitchike barefoot from germany to South of Spain without spending any money. Eat from trash. If/when you survive revaluate if you want to exile to nutritious food, sun and "good" people. Or if it doesnt matter anymore...

Why not consider West Texas? The altitude is 2-4,000 ft, people are friendly, the weather is mild-to-perfect year round, and the vibe is peaceful.

Marfa might be a nice place to live:

Well, ok, maybe not. The isolation could be a problem. But there ARE creative, interesting people there, and it could actually be less stressful to live around fewer people. For a while in the late 90's I lived in the Tx hill country. It was ok for a few years. You can buy most staples at any store , order what you need online and even grow some of your own food if you want. That could be amazing. I bet you could find some raw dairy products and locally grown produce also.

answered Feb 13, 2015 by raintree

pboy approves

A mountain within walking distance of a beach.

answered Feb 8, 2015 by Anon

Walking distance would be nice :) Some places with driving distance exist in California but the drive will probably kill you from stress ..

I havent seen anyone so far getting healthier by moving to a higher altitude. And we've had a couple of peatarians do that so far (quite a big step if you just do it just for the purported health reasons). So I would strike that off my list, while points 2-4 are more of the important ones.

answered Feb 8, 2015 by Bukowski

Thanks for all your answers.
Since one could simulate high altitude with breathing techniques and it seems like nobody here actually gained any health benefits just from moving to a higher altitude + the fact that high altitude places usually are remote, small and cold mountain towns, it seems reasonably to cross that off my list.

If you want an English-speaking country with the above criteria, I guess that leaves you with:
-South Africa
-A tropical island preferably not in the pacific (fukushima)
-Some of the warmer states in the US. Going to need your input here (especially the "access to high quality foods" part)

answered Feb 8, 2015 by skally
edited Feb 8, 2015 by skally

I live in Australia. Apart from altitude, a great number of places would meet the remaining criteria. I've travelled to many places and can't think of a better place to live, but I'm probably biased.

I believe some of the agricultural parts of northern New South Wales and southern Queensland (like Toowoomba or Stanthorpe) would be very peaty - warm days with lots of sunshine, grass-fed lamb and beef, fresh fruit, friendly people, a couple of hours drive from the coast, good employment prospects and with internet access to boot. And you'd still get an altitude of around 700-800 metres, although I doubt there's any benefit.

I have actually been to australia (melbourne).
Really liked the weather in the summer there, but the winters are definitely to cold for me. To be honest I thought the city and a lot of the people living there kinda had this wannabe european hipster vibe. Not really my thing.
What about Brisbane or Sydney? Or would you generally not recommend the bigger cities?

Ok, so your criteria are:
-Pleasant climate
-Access to high quality foods
-Friendly/open minded people
-Water, electricity and at least some form of internet access
-The possibility to actually find a job there (or a high speed internet connection that would allow you to work online)
-Preferably English-speaking country
- No hipsters

That makes things a bit harder....

But seriously, what size city are you after? The places I recommended are more rural but large enough to have all the modern conveniences and are not too far from larger population centres. I wouldn't describe any large, modern city as 'Peaty'. I like Sydney but it's not well designed and can be chaotic, I couldn't live there. I've enjoyed Brisbane from what little time I've spent there, and it's reasonably warm in winter. You've also got Cairns if you're willing to risk the odd cyclone.

I live in Brisbane (like 30 mins away from the CBD) and it has a pretty good temp all year round. There are also a lot of local markets around if you're into that thing. Queensland is good in that there is plenty of nature-related shit to do, good supply of seafood and easy access to good beaches.

It also becomes rural not too far away from the city. I grew up in a town called Dayboro which is about 50mins from the CBD and would be considered a farming town by many. My grandparents used to own a small dairy and later a small cattle farm in the area. I used to smack the cows with plastic tubes and yell random noises at them to get them to the dipping station as a kid -- good times.

The city really just needs to be big enough to have some decent job opportunities and access to high quality seafood / dairy. / fruit.
I would actually prefer living a little bit outside of the larger cities.
Queensland does sound nice.

I would consider clean air.Iceland is the cleanest country in the world.

answered Feb 13, 2015 by Illusion

Boulder, CO or even Denver would be a good bet if your definition of 'pleasant' climate is a bit flexible.

Big Island would be a dream as additionally it has mountains, coffee, tropical fruits and beaches.

answered Feb 8, 2015 by inflamed

Ecuador would probably be a pretty good bet. Access to seafood might be limited. In Quito it has a very high altitude and a stable temperature of around 13 degrees. Of course you'd have to learn Spanish and the jobs might not be as easy to find.

answered Feb 8, 2015 by Mountain

You also have to factor in various visa requirements of said countries - if you are an EU citizen, it wouldn't make sense to go live in San Diego. For some reason I get the sense you are a resident of the USA, meaning you're better off there or in Latin America - but visa situations can generate a lot of stress in almost every country that you're a foreigner.

I've heard good things about Ecuador being a very cheap place to live, and you could choose to be by a beach or in the mountains. I imagine New Zealand would also be a great place to live, except for the visa issues. Melbourne in Australia consistently ranks as the most livable city in the world. Nice climate and not too far from a beach.

Those are all places I have never been. My favourite places I've visited are Italy - Sardinia, Portugal - Lisbon, San Diego - USA. I love surfing and girls in bikinis, so I'll trade CO2 for those any day. Same as I'll take genuine Italian cooking over a Peat-centric diet. Plus I figure the sea contains a lot of nutrients, along with all the unfortunate toxic residue, but some benefits.

I did not like South Africa, it still has massive problems, and while most people are friendly, there are many people in desperate situations willing to do almost anything to relieve that desperation. Hence the crime, gated communities, and general paranoia.

A lot of the world speaks English now, plus, it has been shown that learning a second language helps open new neural pathways in the brain, keeping it active. I would be less inclined to dismiss non-English countries. At the end of the day, you'll know where you feel happiest, and if you have a little funding, no harm in travelling and getting a sense of where you could live and how you could work there.

answered Feb 9, 2015 by PTP
edited Feb 9, 2015 by PTP

I'm actually german, english is my second language.
There are a lot of nice places in southern europe, but it's really hard to find a job there.

Visa definitely is something you have to take into consideration, but it's doable for the US or australia.

Well you did mention the possibility of working online, which would give you a much greater range. Another place I've never been where English is an official language is Malta. Meant to be some good work opportunities there. But sounds like your best bets are going to be Australia or California.