Dreams do come true. People win jackpots. The odds might be slim but anything is possible. If you were lucky enough to win that seven-figure progressive jackpot, playing the slots at an online casino, would you up sticks and relocate?
In our quest to help you channel your inner boy scout and ‘be prepared’ for the big day when Lady Luck comes-a-callin’, we’ve scoured the Internet and compared comparisons, to bring you the top five liveable locations on the planet. The countries that score highly for happiness, health, security, and lifestyle. These are destinations where life doesn’t get much better, every morning is beautiful, the cotton is high, and the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye.
Bags packed? Passport found? Let’s go (in no particular order):
1. Costa Rica
Finding that perfect place to live is not an exact science. There is a multitude of different criteria that combine to create a ‘happiness index’. The Central American country of Costa Rica is far from wealthy but its citizens enjoy a mid-level income (enough to satisfy basic needs) and a long-life expectancy of nearly 80 years.
The country has no army and has reallocated its military budget to education, health, and pensions. Add to this the fact that Costa Rica produces 99 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources, and is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, and you have everything you need for a guilt-free green sustainable retirement.
All this and hundreds of stunning tropical beaches, beautiful jungle, and friendly people. If it all gets too green, you can fly to Miami in two hours. Paradise found. Or, as they say in Costa Rica: Pura Vida.
Another country hitting the top spot in many surveys is Denmark. It scores very highly on life satisfaction, with high levels of social fairness, gender equality, and family support. New parents enjoy 52 weeks of parental leave. The Danes have embraced a social democratic approach to progressive public policy with a strong labour movement.
There is also the food. Denmark is now one of the world’s top foodie destinations and home to Noma – one of the world’s best restaurants. Copenhagen embraces sustainability not only in its food, with many restaurants having their own onsite farms, but also in terms of transport; 50 per cent of all urban travel is by bicycle.
If you enjoy a Danish pastry, enjoy stunning scenery, and relish the idea of living in a country where the citizens have a single word – hygge – that means cosy, comfortable, content, and charming, head for the fjords.
Topping several polls is our second Scandinavian country. According to the World Health Organisation, Finland has one of the best-decentralised health care systems on the planet. Nearly 90 per cent of the population are happy with it, as well as very low levels of crime and poverty.
It also has the best education system in the world, with free university access and low-interest student loans. Throw in 36 days holiday per year, and an open honest government, and you can see why this progressive country is a great choice for the jackpot-winning nomad.
Of course: in the summer, you enjoy long, endless, days of sun. In the winter, the opposite is true as the sun barely rises. However, you can console yourself by watching the Northern Lights, indulging in a sauna, and gently beating yourself with vihta: aka birch twigs.
4. Canada and New Zealand
These two countries both feature in the top ten lists of places to live. Beautiful, empty, full of wildlife, and ripe for exploration; the perfect destination for the jackpot winner who loves the big outdoors.
Canada is the most prosperous nation in North America, a positive, friendly, population with a reputation for tolerance and hospitality. It’s the second-largest country – by area – in the world, extending from the Pacific to the Atlantic. In between, are diverse cities and breath-taking scenery.
New Zealand is also spoilt for scenery, with some of the most dramatic locations in the world. From active volcanoes and glaciers, to lush green hills and tropical beaches. If your idea of fun is white water rafting and bungee jumps, welcome to the land of adventure sports. Both Canada and New Zealand have very good land to people ratios. If you need a lot of room to swing that cat, you can find the space here.
A £1 million win on the online slots will get you a very long stay in any Disney hotel. If you opt for Disney’s finest hotel, the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, you’re good for 2,000 days at £500 a night. Although, a long-stay discount would probably be available.
For that, you’re just one step away from the Magic Kingdom, located on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon, with a perfect view of the nightly firework display over Cinderella’s Castle. The five-star hotel also has a restaurant where the kids can dine with their favourite Disney character.
Five years of Mickey Mouse? Well… it’s an option. Wherever you decide to go when that jackpot drops, just remember to send a postcard back home to the ones you left behind – or just bring them as well!