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- This topic has 182 replies, 40 voices, and was last updated 8 months, 2 weeks ago by Bonzo.
Jun 21, 2022 at 6:13 am #3752991David HartleyBPL Member
@dhartleyLocale: Western NY
I’ll add that Bellingham is fantastic if you can tolerate the rain. My wife has family there so we visit every couple of years. I love the downtown area – lots of great restaurants, and it is close to some great backpacking destinations. And for visits north, Vancouver is an inexpensive bus ride away. Downside as far as I can tell is driving on I5 to the Seattle-Tacoma airport ;-(. I really really hate driving on I5 anywhere close to Seattle.Jun 21, 2022 at 7:38 am #3752999HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: The West is (still) the Best
Getting a payout is a plus. You could rent or visit a bit making sure to hold mail or forward mail to family, but seeing as your old address is being demolished .. set it up quick.
Outdoors .. independent outdoor stores.
PNW with access to I-5 and, if not wanting to put up with the traffic, AMTRAK (there’s multiple daily regional trains, plus the daily Starlight from Los Angeles to Vancouver BC) sounds pretty good. I know Portland still has a number of independent outdoor stores. Was there last fall when rain hit, .. finishing a “dry spell”. Seems a lot of areas south of Portland/Timberline got hit with fire hiking-wise (the PCT is still closed from the highway to Bend to almost Timberline), but there’s ample airports to fly to hike around the US and even world (plus Amtrak).
Think northern real is becoming a little bit more popular as some Sunbelt people, following the water resources debate, retire to where water is plentiful and cheap.
Think any locale will have its weather “extreme”. If I had to do it all over again, think I’d focus on getting rich to have a southern and a northern residence. Then there’s wintering in Latin America (our winter is their summer .. and Mexico City temperatures get livable). Get with the State Department, ex-pat/US travel forums, and avoid the bad areas. Even SoCal/northern Baja can get chilly if winter storms hit and mid-winter is when AZ has one of its rainy seasons.
extreme drought in the Southwest
Definitely going to be a problem though some humans are pretty ingenious in making some solutions. San Diego has started some ocean desalination via reverse osmosis, and many interior cities from Las Vegas NV to El Paso TX have bought distant water rights just waiting on pipelines to be built. Especially older people like the sun for their final days, bringing doctors, nurses, and a wide array of supporting cast of service workers. I’m not seeing any politician in that area saying “no”. On the contrary a ranch is claiming 100 years of groundwater outside Phoenix AZ and that’s forecasted to propel the entire metro up in the population stats. Young people are headed to Phoenix too, attracted to year long BBQ on the porch weather. Of course they may be BBQ’d themselves if electricity fails in summer .. read a few weeks ago the power companies requested users minimize electricity during the day (rented a place in Tucson that had roof solar panels .. pretty nice as the panels also shaded the roof).
Phoenix and Tucson have an independent gear store each but not sure how they’ll fare against REI, Amazon, etc.. in the long run.
I kind of like San Francisco’s ordinance limiting the storefronts of national big box/fast food places to allow local competitors tbh ..the Bay Area has a number of independent Sports Basement stores to compete with a plethora of REIs.
Speaking of which, Dallas has an independent gear store (Whole Earth iirc), a surprisingly good multi-county rail system, and even airports connected to public transit. It’s more take a mountain bike out in the pickup truck sort of outdoors (except city biking in the gentrified southeast part of the city), but there’s airports. May be too close to your present locale though. For anyone else, Texas is putting in water pipelines to transfer rural water to the metro areas (cities, burbs). Of course it won’t be free …Jun 21, 2022 at 7:50 am #3753000BonzoBPL Member
@bon-zoLocale: Virgo Supercluster
I’ll add that Bellingham is fantastic if you can tolerate the rain.
Yet it only has one more inch of rain, annually, than the national average. 50 fewer days of sun, though.
We definitely put Texas off the list this past year when we were there for a couple of weeks; great scenery, nice people, interesting blend of cultures, but a bit too religious for us, in practice. Lately there’s been some lawmaking in Texas that we really don’t agree with, so I think it’s better that we stay out of that area. That’s one of the major factors that was driving us towards the PNW or New England; lower levels of religion, overall…and when you’re in a demographic minority, that kind of thing starts getting important.Jun 21, 2022 at 8:37 am #3753002Ray JBPL Member
Bonzo, I’ve been in Texas since the mid 1970’s and agree with you. My dad’s family was here in Texas as railroaders for over 120 years now. Around the major cities there is a high level of tolerance but elsewhere….. And our political leaders….. There’s a Meme circulating “Come and Take Them…..”.
The State College idea. Great idea but also could broaden out what you might consider. My 90 year old mom still lives in Denton Texas (15 minutes from me) and she and dad moved there partly because it was a “College Town”. Mom loves young people and credits them to keeping her happy and upbeat. She even swims and walks at one of the two universities in town! Her family was from the Altoona PA area and several cousins worked for Penn State in State College. It’s a nice town. Mom just had enough “Mountain snow” by the time she graduated high school so left the area. But a college town usually offers a lot in the arts, in things like public transportation. And usually has High Speed internet as a city priority.
Decisions decisions!Jun 21, 2022 at 9:13 am #3753006Murali CBPL Member
How about Colorado? I am not sure about water – but, has everything for the outdoorsy person. Mountains, CT/CDT/lots of backpacking options, snow, mountain biking, 4 wheeling etc. Having lived in Austin for almost 32 years now, we are getting tired of the heat (though you do get used to it and know how to deal with it). Having done the CT, I just loved the access of CT/CDT from so many small cities. Mountain bikers, dirt bikers, 4 wheelers – it was amazing to watch the diverse set of folks exercising on various sections of CT/CDT.
Seems like Colorado will be better than Utah/Arizona from heat perspective.Jun 21, 2022 at 9:22 am #3753009No Limu, just DougBPL Member
@sleepingLocale: The Cascades
“Downside as far as I can tell is driving on I5 to the Seattle-Tacoma airport”
Bellingham has an international airport (for Canada mostly), you don’t need to drive to Seattle-Tacoma airport, you can take a shuttle to it (or other West Coast destinations) from Bellingham.Jun 21, 2022 at 10:14 am #3753017AK GranolaBPL Member
Alaska used to be very much “live and let live.” All kinds of people from all kinds of religious/political/social backgrounds, but we all helped each other. If a car was broken down on the side of the road at minus 20F, you stopped to help. Community events were a mixing ground, but people held their more controversial views to themselves. Then, 2016. There is so much turmoil now here as everywhere. City, borough and school board meetings can be shouting matches. Attacks on education and educated people. It’s not quite like Texas or Florida, but it has been on the increase. I’m happy to say there are a bunch of nasty bills in our legislature that seem to be permanently stalled. But how long can that last?
We do have a lot of poverty. That’s everywhere in America, afaik. We could end it tomorrow; we have the wealth, but we don’t want to.
Still, the Alaska community is generally helpful and kind. The focus on sharing and loving the outdoors is still there. We need more like-minded people moving here, hint hint.Jun 21, 2022 at 1:34 pm #3753121No Limu, just DougBPL Member
@sleepingLocale: The Cascades
If you’d like to get a real idea of whether or not Washington could be ‘your’ place, and if you and your partner want to take a week off to investigate, you can crash at my house to save hotel costs if:
— You don’t mind a messy house. I’m a slob.
— You don’t mind sleeping on a queen-sized aerobed
— You don’t mind a sweet pup who sheds 24/7/365.
I live in Arlington, which is about halfway between Bellingham and Seattle, so easy to check out both areas, as well as areas north/east where the Cascades are.Jun 21, 2022 at 4:17 pm #3753267jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
Doug, Take them day hiking up to Cascade Pass! Have you ever been to Sahale Arm? somehow I missed that.Jun 21, 2022 at 6:21 pm #3753297
The obvious answers would be Santa Fe, Flagstaff, Boulder, Burlington, Northampton/Amherst/Hadley, Marin and Sonoma Counites.
Nixing the primo outdoor settings but going with progressive, artsy, intellectual areas: Madison, Ann Arbor, Austin, even Lawrence KS.
You say Alaska is a possibility. You’ll vote for a lot of losing candidates, but describe a very libertarian outlook which Alaska has more of than elsewhere. There are locally artsy communities (Homer, Talkeetna). Yes, Alaska is far from existing family and friends (“We can get anywhere in three flights, but it takes us three flights to get anywhere.”) but the advantages we found were:
1) Cheap land prices. Spectacular pieces of land are affordable and nice pieces of land are almost free by coastal standards. This hugely effects your quality of life when you’re not working the first 25 hours of each week to pay the mortgage. We’ve both worked part time most of our years here, volunteered in schools a lot, taken lots of vacations and kept stuffed money into the bank account quite unlike professional couple peers in LA, SF, SEA, NYC who worked 50-60 hours/week to scrape by.
2) world-class recreation all around. The backpacking, hiking, canoeing, sea kayaking, BC skiing, hunting, fishing “trip of a lifetime” kind of activities is just another weekend here. And, when you live here, if you planned to go halibut fishing on Saturday but the seas are a little rough, just hike inland and be on the water the next week when its sunny and flat calm – we’re locals! – we live here and can pick the best weather for our fun.
3) in small towns, you get connected very quickly. Reach out a little bit and you’ll find people of similar interests – outdoor recreation, community theater, music jam sessions, open mic nights, pub-quiz trivia nights, music in the park, art shows, etc. And you can make more of a difference. In California, the Senate President never called me nor did the Speaker of the House. I can contribute in the schools in ways I enjoy and add value, but probably wouldn’t have been able to in a large city with large school with less flexibility.Jun 21, 2022 at 6:32 pm #3753298matthew kModerator
There are a lot of compelling arguments in that^ post.Jun 21, 2022 at 6:43 pm #3753300Murali CBPL Member
Isn’t there lot of snow to deal with in Alaska?Jun 21, 2022 at 7:31 pm #3753309AK GranolaBPL Member
Snow is part of the recreation. Snowshoeing, skiing (both kinds), snowmobiling (we call it snowmachining), dog mushing, winter camping. Sorry, snowed in, can’t go to work today.
And summers are dazzling. 75 F and sunny today with a breeze. Cycled to work and back today on an off-road path. The hardest part is choosing a recreational activity of so many available within an hour’s easy drive or less.
On the small town thing; it’s very easy to get elected to local office and move up from there. You’re not really competing against highly qualified people, most of the time. Which explains our current House race.
Gosh David makes me want to move here again. I guess that’s why I’m still here despite it all.Jun 21, 2022 at 8:25 pm #3753314jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
“Gosh David makes me want to move here again.”
Others are making me want to move to Bellingham again…Jun 21, 2022 at 9:55 pm #3753329DanBPL Member
How about Colorado? I am not sure about water – but, has everything for the outdoorsy person.
These aren’t the Droids you’re looking for.Jun 21, 2022 at 9:57 pm #3753330Tom KBPL Member
“Yet it only has one more inch of rain, annually, than the national average. 50 fewer days of sun, though.”
The cloudiness does tend to get to people, some quicker than others. The antidote? Something most people on this site already do, no matter where they live: Go out for a hike. Cascade Pass is a great option, all the way up Sahale Arm even better. But it tends to get a bit crowded, and there are dozens of other choice hikes less populated within easy reach. Sourdough Mtn, Easy Pass, Trapper Peak, Lookout Mtn, to name a few in the Highway 20 corridor; Excelsior Peak, Church Mtn, Goat Mtn, Yellow Aster Butte, Skyline Divide, to name just a few in the Mt Baker Hwy corridor. And then there are the Chuckanuts and Blanchard Hill just outside Bellingham, which offer dozens of trails accessible year around. No reason to get depressed with all these natural anti depressants available at a very reasonable price. :0)
I won’t get into the I-90 corridor just outside Seattle, because it has been overrun in the last decade or so, and it just isn’t much fun to hike there anymore. A tragedy, for sure, because there are some world class day hikes there.Jun 22, 2022 at 4:25 am #3753336BonzoBPL Member
@bon-zoLocale: Virgo Supercluster
So, here’s the thing about Alaska: we would both move there in a heartbeat, but it would be – and I’m laughing about how accurate this is – exactly three flights from the one career that we’re trying to keep. My partner’s company is on the East Coast of the US, and at current we’re literally eleven minutes from their headquarters…so if that job is going to be maintained – and we really, really want to keep it – we have to stay within connecting-flight distance. Although it doesn’t seem like it’s much closer, Seattle seems to be a much easier/faster flight back to this portion of the US…so some serious ingenuity regarding travel would have to be implemented. Granted, we will be back in our current area a couple of times a year no matter where we move – both sets of older parents are within a few hours of each other, here – but it’s not always going to be possible to schedule work trips with family visits; likewise, the company will probably pick up the cost of tickets within the lower 48, but as soon as we said “Well, there’s always Alaska,” more than a few sets of eyebrows were raised in uncertainty. So, when we pressed on that issue, the company effectively said “if it’s in the lower 48, we can make it work”…so although there’s been no definite “If you move to Alaska, we can’t keep you” declaration, we’re aware that it’ll probably end this job…unless we can find a way to make it work, somehow. I’m changing jobs no matter what – I’ve been on the design side of manufacturing for the last eight years, and in architecture for ten, before that – so I’m ready to do something else entirely, but until we figure out where we’re going I can’t really start making plans…so we don’t have my career to fall back on.
rubmybelly – Don’t tempt me, man: I’ve stayed on the air mattresses of the finest hovels, with the absolute best of canines. But in all seriousness, that is a very generous offer; I will let you know what our schedule ends up being, and whether or not we will be in that area. ;)
Dan – you’re correct…those are not the droids we are looking for. Colorado was right at the top of our list regarding outdoor recreation and access, and then we started looking at prices and recent trends; the result was that nobody needed to warn us away from Colorado. It handled that itself, and in spades.Jun 22, 2022 at 12:06 pm #3753378Kevin BabioneBPL Member
I’ve enjoyed this thread and wish you and your partner the best in your move, wherever you end up. A couple of thoughts:
Jun 22, 2022 at 1:46 pm #3753396Ron Bell / MLDBPL Member
- Burlington, VT – I have a daughter who went to school at UVM and has stayed working for the university for the past 5 years. We love it there, but housing is expensive.
- State College – I grew up there. You can’t go wrong and the traffic is really terrible only 6-7 days a year (and the locals quickly learn to avoid going out until kickoff and are home by the end of the 3rd quarter). As posted above, there’s lots of outside opportunities to do whatever you want. But, if you’re thinking about central PA, I’ll suggest where I am:
- Lititz (Lancaster) PA – The cost of living here is still reasonable and, in spite of being a historically conservative region, we’re doing a lot of progressive stuff, including being very welcoming to refugees. We’re about 1:15 from Philly, 3 hours to NYC, and about 1:30 to Baltimore. You just have to get used to the horse and buggy traffic…
This topic is so interesting! Being a economic pesimist and worst case scenario planner, I suggest staying close to that primary job. At least for the next few years. Plenty of great places in the New England area. (I’m guessing that is where you are now.) A multi cityscape exploration lifestyle and good financial plan could be 6mo – 1yr term housing/apt rentals and then sample 2 to 4 different cities in that NE region over the next 2 -3 yrs.Jun 22, 2022 at 2:12 pm #3753401Jon Fong / Flat Cat GearBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Good point. AirBnB Business has been huge the last few years. People are relocating for months at a time; working remotely and discovering new places. Go be a Nomad until you find what works for you. Good luck.Jun 22, 2022 at 3:40 pm #3753420
“You’re not really competing against highly qualified people, most of the time”. That explains my four successful elections.
“Three flights to get anywhere.” Our daughter just flew ANC-Newark direct last night and while we can take a twin-prop into ANC, we usually drive in (it’s a beautiful drive). But that’s during the summer with more connections: non-stop ANC to SEA, SFO, LAX, LAS, ORD and DEN year round. Direct to ATL, EWR, Iceland and Stuttgart only in the summer.
If you were trying to make Alaska work for connecting flights, some pretty rural parts of the Mat-Su valley are 90 minutes from ANC. Girdwood is like a mini-Aspen (only real ski resort in the state) and 40 minutes from ANC. Seward is 2 hours and looks like a Swiss mountain valley if the lake at the bottom was salt water full of salmon and whales. Large cheap lots are all over Sterling and that’s 2.5 hours drive from ANC (and 20 minutes from the OTHER national, wilderness canoeing area that isn’t Boundary Waters). Then, since you can hit SEA, PDX, SFO, LAX, DEN, or ORD on a non-stop, you can get anywhere else in one more hop – just set the filters for that on Travelocity. 1.3 million miles on Alaska Airlines since I got here – this state is severely lacking in the toxic-waste sites that kept me busy for 30 years. “Serious ingenuity about travel” is right. I cleaned up a toxic plume at the Portland airport by hopping on a 11:50 pm flight to PDX landing at 5:15 am, working the day at the airport, and taking the next red-eye home. I was commuting to work on a 737. Admittedly, that was easier to do 15 years ago in my 40s and I try hard to avoid back-to-back red-eyes now.
There’s also the time zone thing. CA is 3 hours behind the East Coast. Alaska is 4 hours. It’s annoying when someone in the NY office calls at their 9 am, but it’s my 5 am. Even if they wait until their 11 am to account for PST, I’m still in the shower or my bathrobe feeding the dogs. My son did his quantitative analyst Wall Street gig from our cabin during a WFH period and just got up early. Then at 1 pm, you’re off work and can take a long hike in the 10 hours of remaining daylight. So, if you’re trying to make it work, maybe she commits to sign in at the home office by 7 am M-F (and quit at 3 pm)! Scope out the ISP options when selecting a location. I was getting 7-11 Mbps from our ISP but had two professionals, one high school and two college students working from home so sprung for a different ISP at $149/month and got 150 Mbps in our residential area all day long until the early evening when the neighbors came home to stream Netflix and porn. But our work/school days were done by then.
There are weekly win-win-win moments during which I’m walking the dog, on the ocean beach in front of our house, looking at 10,000-foot glaciated volcanos across the salt water
while on some stupid conference call which means I’m getting paid to do so. I’m happy, the dog’s happy, the other folks don’t know.
Oh, and our 13 forested acres with that view? $103,000 in 1998. Worth more now, but I’ve paddled past Bill Gate’s house on Lake Washington. He’s a got a much bigger house, while I’ve got a much nicer lot and view.Jun 22, 2022 at 4:16 pm #3753423David HartleyBPL Member
@dhartleyLocale: Western NY
“This topic is so interesting! ” – I agree – probably because few of us get this opportunity, but many have thought about it. Most people end up tethered to a specific location due to jobs or family. The freedom to choose with so few constraints is a fun problem. (Very exciting… as a luggage problem – sorry I couldn’t resist the Joe vs the Volcano reference).
Another college town idea – how about Ithaca NY? With both Ithaca College and Cornell University, very progressive and diverse (there are a few resident hippies looking for the 60s). Arts and entertainment options are pretty good – Ithaca College has well regarded drama and music programs – you can buy season tickets to their shows. Situated in NY States finger lakes region, which I happen to think is pretty great. There is a local Wegmans store (something in the Northeast that people seem to like). Syracuse NY is the closest city, Rochester a bit further (2 hour drive). A 3-5 hours gets you to the Adirondacks, the Catskills, and many trails in PA. A few more hours to Vermont and New Hampshire or West Virginia.Jun 22, 2022 at 4:27 pm #3753427RatatoskSpectator
I’ve got a house right outside of Shenandoah NP I’ll sell you. Guaranteed impervious to rising sea level!
On the real, it’s neither my obligation nor my privilege to steer someone else’s choices, but I’m following this thread with interest, as I’m cashing out and re-gypsy-fying my lifestyle in the very near future. I’m not sure I can leave Virginia, but it’s decidedly not progressive outside of the cities. Having said that, take a peek just west of Charlottesville, and the surrounding area – it’s just as rapidly becoming unaffordable like everywhere else, but it’s a nice spot that hits all your points.Jun 22, 2022 at 5:46 pm #3753433
“rapidly becoming unaffordable” can also mean “a good location to buy a house and watch it appreciate”. Move every 10-15 years, and if you can anticipate what spots will become most desirable, you could finance your lifestyle off the real estate market.Jun 22, 2022 at 9:35 pm #3753451RatatoskSpectator
^Between you, me, and the NSA guys monitoring us, I haven’t had a real job in a good long while.
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