Screw grad school, I want a castle. Imagine: You are in your swimwear, lounging by the side of the pristine blue pool. Your housemate approaches with a twinkle in his eye. "would you like anything to drink?" he asks you? "A martini. Shaken, not stirred." you reply. He smiles. "But of course." he says, handing you a glass. . . . After a while, you dive into the cool, refreshing pool and swim a few laps and then towel off, and head to the castle's electronic music studio.
At €3 - €7 m, and with like 20 bedrooms, these castles are surprisingly affordable for a group of co-buyers. Less than Bay Area housing. We could have a lovely library, some music studios, a darkroom, extra bedrooms to grant to guests. Plus all the cachée of being able to speak about your château in the south of France. (I'd also consider along the Rhine or Italy, but southern France has the advantages of nice weather and being in France).
But how to pay the mortgage? Due to some treaty some place, it's possible for American citizens to start companies in France with a minimum of paperwork. A castle-based consulting company? Also, some of the rooms could be rented to tourists.
Imagine yourself sitting by the pool with your laptop. Having tea in the library. Strolling among the turrets. Riding a scooter to the village to get some baguettes. Introducing yourself as "Crane, Mitch Crane" (or use your own name.) Skiing in the Alps every winter.
Well, I've talked myself into this, but my Berkeley equity is less than 10%, of the castle value, which may not be enough for a down payment and my income by itself definitely can't cover the payments and upkeep. You want to own 10% or 25% of a castle! You want to live near Nice!
I've always been a fan of community living. Sharing books and equipment with trustworthy people, being a part of a creative community means cross-fertalization of ideas. If you like to write stories about the future, you can help inspire the music of the future or vice versa.