The Shallow Person’s Guide to Moving Abroad

by Maria Magdaleena Lamp August 18, 2017

A list of 5 superficial things we all want (and where in the world you should travel to find them).


Isn’t this what we all really want? (All photos via Shutterstock)

If you’re considering moving to another country, what are you looking for above all else? Spiritual enlightenment? A job with great parental benefits? Economic freedom? Safety? Political stability? If so, this article is not for you.

(Political stability, schmolitical schmability, am I right?)

Instead of any of that meaningful stuff, are you after fast internet and more leggy supermodels traipsing around than you can comfortably shake a stick at? Do you like your beer cheap and your beaches tropical? You’ve come to the right place for some fantastic data-based travel advice.

So here are some countries you might want to move to, based on extraordinarily superficial, arbitrary, and vaguely sexist criteria that I just made up: attractive people, fast internet connections, cheap beer, tropical beaches, and a combination of all of the above.

Disclaimer: I’m not saying non-shallow people shouldn’t want to move to the following places. These are all fantastic countries!


1. Hot dates

When it comes down to it, aren’t we all just looking for love (and by love, I mean lots of attractive people to go out with)? Your best bet, logically, is to live somewhere where the numbers are in your favour.

Looking for a surplus of beautiful ladies? Latvia and Lithuania are the countries for you, with the most female-heavy populations on the planet.

We’d like to think all Latvian women sit serenely in dandelion fields at least once a week. It just feels right.

Both of these small Baltic states also happen to figure on the list of countries with the highest number of fashion models per one million people (31.08 and 38.09 respectively). That particular list is topped, however, by neighbouring Estonia (73.88 models per one million inhabitants), the world’s foremost model factory. Clearly there’s something about the Baltics that’s worth investigating.

Looking for handsome fellas? Men now outnumber women globally by more than 66 million, so you can pretty much plant yourself anywhere you want, to be honest, but India and China might be good places to start, statistically speaking.

2. Fast internet

You can learn a lot about a person by the way they react to slow internet. Most of us have experienced that gut-wrenching, I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-me kind of horror of a connection letting us down at the most inconvenient moment. (Buffering? What the hell do you mean, buffering? What year is this?)

What if we could all live in a world where that never happened and no-one ever had to see our true colours? South Korea already lives in that world, topping the list of average internet connection speeds at 26.7 Mb/s. Sweden, Norway, Japan, and the Netherlands complete the top 5. In any of these countries, you can forget the meaning of the word “lag”. Think of all the things you can do with the time you’ll save!

This article has nothing at all for the soul, but it does have this photo of Seoul. Close enough.

3. Cheap beer

Few phrases in the English language have the effect the words “cheap beer” have on a thirsty traveller. The promise of a cold one at the end of a long day is enough to make a grown man weep. If an affordable pint is your top priority, the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan awaits!

There also appears to be some perfectly tolerable scenery around, but what is the majesty of untamed nature compared to reasonably priced alcoholic beverages?

Bhutan and Burundi are next on the list, making for an intriguing top three of countries you might want to visit anyway, cheap beer or not. If you like your brew European, try your luck in Ukraine, the Czech Republic, or Belarus. Of these three, Czechia in particular is also famous for the quality of its beer, so we might be onto a winner here.

4. Tropical beaches

Some people claim not to mind winter, rain, and all sorts of horrible, horrible stuff like that. Those people don’t know what they’re talking about. Life is prettier in colour, and that’s what sunshine is for. Naturally, where there is sunshine, there should also be beaches on which to enjoy it.

To increase your odds of stumbling onto a tropical beach, you might want to consider moving to Indonesia, which boasts the world’s second-longest coastline (after Canada, which — as much as we love it — really doesn’t qualify here). With 33,998 miles of coastline, all of it conveniently located on and around the equator, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

But how many adorable beach huts are there per mile? Why aren’t we funding these studies?

Alternatively, you can give the Philippines a chance — 22,548 miles of tropical coastline is nothing to complain about either.

5. All of the above?

Is there a country in the world that ticks all the boxes? Where is the shallow pleasure-hunter’s El Dorado? The Holy Grail of mindless hedonism? Sadly, it looks like there are always going to be trade-offs, and you will simply have to mix and match your priorities.

For example:

With the cheapest beer in Europe and the 4th-highest concentration of women in the world, Ukraine should be your top choice if you’re looking for dates, and a nice cold pint that goes easy on the wallet. Furthermore, the country’s Black Sea beaches are legendary, if not entirely tropical (subtropical is a kind of tropical though, right?).

The Black Sea coast. Also pictured: our complete denial about any military conflict in Ukraine (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter). Still keeping it shallow over here, thanks!

If, however, you’d rather sacrifice the beaches and the cheap drinks, preferring instead to go on a quest for pretty ladies and speedy internet, you’ll feel right at home in Latvia. The Netherlands and Sweden qualify if the concentration of international top models is more important to you than the overall female-to-male ratio. If those of you looking for men are feeling left out at this point, men actually outnumber women in Sweden, making it a great destination either way.

There are countless ways in which you can be superficial, and they can all lead to great adventures in beautiful and inspiring places all around the globe. But be warned — having too many wonderful adventures can cause you to become less shallow, so travel at your own risk!


This article was written by a self-proclaimed feminist and rain-loving winter person. Go figure. (She does, however, also love cheap beer and fast internet.) Hit 👏 to help others in their shallow pursuits!

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