31 Jul 2013

The crisis of choice

After a week in transit, Cornelia and I arrived in Vancouver, where we planned to live and work for awhile.

Vancouver is not as nice as Amsterdam, and that's a bit of a letdown.*

Now we face a crisis of choice over whether we should stay here, go back to Amsterdam, or go somewhere else. It's too early to say what we will do, but it's a bit annoying to put everything on hold for the sake of re-evaluation.

Our "crisis" is a problem that many people would love to have. Most people cannot live in another country. A subset of those can't even leave their city due to constraints over work, family, money, and so on.

But that's not our situation. We are lucky enough to have the choice of starting in several different places. That choice needs to factor in many influences (it's not even raining here!), but the big idea is that the choice we make should be better because we have more options** and because we do not have to "do the right this" as much as "do what works for us."

Bottom Line: We need some time to think creatively about our potential paths. Stay tuned.
* My trip through California, conversations with many people, and the lack of progress on water issues already had me on alert.

** We do not face "a paradox of choice" i.e., as when the mental stress from choosing among many options makes you worse off than if you only had a few.


Joel W said...


You should stay in Vancouver at least long enough for me to buy you a beer or a coffee!


ktenness said...

The bicycling community was great in Davis. I was quite disappointed when I moved to Walnut Creek and the city had absolutely no interest in improving conditions for bicyclists. However, it was also a great opportunity to make a difference. I feel Danny and I are making huge leaps and bounds after starting Bike Walnut Creek.

My point is: living in the place with the best fit doesn't always encourage your true potential to come out.

Good luck with your decision. Danny and I had the same "problem" after finishing our 2 years of traveling.

RM said...

Suggest you travel to the Yukon before you settle on a decision. Time will provide perspective. Suggest also you visit the Gulf Islands since you are nearby, and possibly Vancouver Island. You're right - it's not even raining yet, but it won't start for another 8 to 10 weeks.

David Zetland said...

Thanks folks. We'll persevere for awhile, to learn more details.

Eric said...

For your amusement.
I have to move my companies. I wanted a defensible way to pick the right community. So, I created a formula, based on discussions that you and I have had about economics. The formula ranks possible places in ways that are important to me and my employees. It also creates 'NPV' across a number of categories like hospitals, libraries, and scenery and then adds these values together.
The formula will not really make the choice, but it certainly has clarified what the issues are and how important each one is.
Good luck.

David Zetland said...

@Eric -- make sure you include non-quantified quality data. Lots of smiling people in Amsterdam! :)

Eric said...

That has been the very interesting part, how to quantitate the usually non-quantitated attributes. What are thousands of smiles worth? How do you compare that to government behavior or beautiful mountains?

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