Well, Round 1 is over and the response to Pretty Smart Villages has been amazing. Thanks to those who have participated.
For those of you who are unaware, our family has created a little research adventure called Pretty Smart Villages. We are asking anyone and everyone to cast your vote for the world's greatest place to raise a family. And once the survey is complete, we will then travel to these places to see if they live up to the hype!
You can learn more and TAKE THE SURVEY HERE. At the end of 2011 we will announce the top 10 vote getters and our family will travel to these 10 places to report on what exactly makes them great places to raise a family.
(Update: 2012: The survey is no longer in the works. We were in over our heads. To see where we are at now in our quest to travel forever, click here.)
The survey has been public for just 7 days and already we find ourselves asking more and more questions about family life around the world. Your answers have us thinking, and that is great.
Ok, no need to delay it any longer. If the survey ended today, the first place we would be going is . . .
The Top 10 of April 7, 2011
1. France. Holding a very slim lead, living in a small French village seems to be very intriguing to people. Based on the votes so far, the French seem to be very involved with their children and the schools and government are supportive of families.
2. British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver, with its nearby skiing, strong healthcare system and diversity is a solid option. However, we also had a vote for Northern B.C. which has many of the same benefits and a strong sense of community.
3. Eastern Long Island, NY, USA. An hour ride from New Your City, farmland, and world class beaches at every turn. The location is ideal.
4. Malta. I have to say I do not know much about Malta. But they had the second highest voter turn out in the world til 1995. People who vote care. And it is an island in the Middle of the Mediterranean. Not Bad!
5. Chile. From all I have heard, Chile is the place to be in South America. It offers everything. It is affordable and modern, but cultured and historic at the same time. The diveristy of its landscape may be unmatched in the world.
6. New Zealand. Again, an island location with strong historic roots. New Zealand may be the one place that gives Chile a run for its landscape diversity.
7. Tokyo, Japan. Despite the Tsunami, the people of Japan will of course remain stoic and prosperous. The Japanese minimalist style is great, but I do worry about the cost of living.
8. New England, USA. Well, we live here now. I can tell you New England offers great seasons, good schools and lots of outdoor options. It can be pricey, but a good place to raise a family.
9. Istanbul, Turkey. Our voter described Istanbul as "one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen - both for the physical landscape and the sincerity of the people. It is safe, but exotic; foreign, yet familiar."
10. Finland. Finland boasts the highest tax rate in the world with a high performing economy. Something is working. And they live for the forests.
There you have it people. Round 1 is complete. Keep the votes coming and we will update you again shortly.
Thanks again for your participation in this project.
All the Best in your Adventures!
The Great Family Escape
Thanks to Eric-P for the pic from flickr. Annecy - Huate-Savoie, France