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How "good a fit" is the place where you are now living? How happy are you with your present living arrangement — your lifestyle and location? Is there an ideal place for you?

Is the location where you’re currently living aesthetically pleasing, intellectually stimulating and emotionally nourishing? Does it enable or prevent you from engaging in your passions or doing things you really enjoy?

Are you in sync with the dominant ethos? Or are you temperamentally a "Type A Personality" stranded in a mañana, “I’ll do it when I’ll get around to it” world? What’s your frustration threshold? Can you tolerate a lot or very little of it, without getting upset?

Are you a highly sensitive person who lives in a noisy, crowded, high-sensation environment, subjecting you to sensory and emotional overloads?

Spend some time to think about all this and other factors that might affect you, before you start rating the ten key areas below on a scale of 1 to 10 — 1 being worst, 10 ideal — along with your comments. Feel free to comment at length, since numerical scores, by themsleves, don't tell that much.

Please e-mail your ratings and comments to me at in this form:
1. Climate/Environment. 7 (your numerical rating). Then your comments. Make them as long as you wish. Then
2. Housing. 5 (again your numerical rating). Then your comments on housing, and so forth, until you rate and comment on all 10 factors. Please include your comments for all ten of the factors.
Next include your "Other Observations." Again feel free to make them as long as you like.
Finally, include the name of the place you're rating. Then your name, if you would like it to appear with the rating on this Web site at Great Places to Live and my upcoming book. If not, then please indicate this and I'll leave your name off.

And many thanks. Hopefully this will help you evaluate your present location in a systematic way and decide whether you want to remain or look at other options.

Rating Guide:

1. CLIMATE/ENVIRONMENT. Beautiful surroundings? Sunny with comfortable humidity and temperatures the year around? Any of the following factors present: air/noise/allergens or other environmental pollutants; annoying or dangerous insects or animals; overcast skies or rain for extended periods of time; tornadoes, hurricanes, monsoon rains, earthquakes, floods, windstorms, volcanoes, mudslides?
2. HOUSING. A variety of good, accessible housing available to rent, buy or share at affordable prices?
3. ECONOMY/JOBS. Do many interesting, well-paying jobs exist? Reasonable selection and quality of goods (groceries, prescription drugs, and for home and business) and services at reasonable prices?
4. SOCIETY. Is there a strong sense of community and neighborhood? Is the immediate community "organic," where you often do things spontaneously with your neighbors? How frequently and what do you do? Or is the dominant mode of relating "episodic:" you make appointments in advance for getting together. Is social isolation and "bedroom communities" the prevailing mode? Are you and your neighbors actively engaged in volunteer, civic and pro bono activities? Are locals and/or expats friendly and readily invite newcomers to participate in their activities?
5. CRIME. Feel safe for yourself and for your possessions on streets and at home, day and night?
6. RECREATION. Good selection of participatory and spectator recreational activities? If you love the outdoors, are there desirable places nearby to hike, fish, ski, hunt, swim … ?
7. TRANSPORTATION. Convenient, comfortable, easy to get around at reasonable cost without undue delays?
8. HEALTH CARE. Affordable, accessible and state of the art? If not, is there a fast way to get to a place where such care is available in case of emergency?
9. GOVERNMENT/TAXES. Stable, democratic, environmentally friendly and not corrupt? Taxes reasonable? Satisfactory municipal utilities such as water, power, telephone, mail, as well as UPS and FedEx services?
10. CULTURE/LANGUAGE. Is there a healthy balance between work and play, or does workaholism or mañana mind-set prevail? Are people on time and keep their agreements? Equal status accorded to men and women; all races and religions treated equally? Is there a vibrant, intellectually stimulating community? Any colleges and artists/writers colonies in the area? People meaningfully engaged? English spoken widely? Good local newspapers/media?

What's your total score? Anything below 75 indicates that you are not in an easy to live, supportive, nourishing environment where you can be happiest and function at your very best.

The question now is what do you do about establishing your great place to live?

You have four basic options.

The First Option is to decide whether your location is "fixable." Can you materially change some of the key factors to make the location suitable for your needs?

Option Two is to begin actively searching for your ideal place to live.

Option Three is to “get out of the box” and begin to think of your home location entirely differently – in an elastic rather than a static way.

Option Four is to become an Adventurer, who roams the world without a permanent home. For Adventurers home is where they happen to be at the time.

Or find three or four other like-minded individuals and come up with a plan to develop a community that enriches and nourishes.

These are some of the issues that I’ll be exploring in depth in my upcoming book, working title: Optimal Places to Live - Fun Spots to Visit.

But meanwhile, you don’t have to put your life on hold or wait with bated breath until the book comes out. You can start right now by clicking on options to find out what others did when they found themselves in similar circumstances.

If you already live in a great place or recently visited one, please send me a copy of your rating. And if I use it in the book, I'll mail you a complimentary, autographed copy. If you insert your name after Place Rated “By,” I’ll assume that I have your permission to include your name in the rating for this Web site and the book. Otherwise leave the space blank. If you have digital photos that are representative of the locale, I would be delighted to receive them. Just advise me ahead of time before e-mailing them.

Soon we'll have a database of location ratings, along with pictures, on this Web site and my book for you to look at. This will accomplish advance scouting for you, and will save you a lot of time and effort, by helping you to weed out the places that may not be desirable and help you focus on the most promising ones.

That's why I want to wholeheartedly thank in advance to all of you who will be participating in rating your places and sending them to me.

Copyright © 2010 Al Louis Ripskis All rights reserved

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