One point of wonder for me about the United States is that our country has such a variety of climates and geography, all available inside our borders. Whether you prefer living by the seaside, at the foot of mile-high mountains, among the prairie dogs or amid a skyscraper jungle, most people eventually gravitate to the area of country where they will be comfortable.
I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve lived in many of these areas. We spent the better part of a year in Missoula, Montana, with the Rockies and Glacier National Park as our backyard. We had more than a decade in south Florida, with the Keys and the Everglades to explore. Pennsylvania has many points of interest as well, being a few hours from Niagara Falls and several big cities with diverse populations.
We’ve visited so many more, and I’ve always had a hankering to return to the Taos, New Mexico area. Oregon and northern California were also appealing. New Orleans was fascinating (we visited pre-Katrina), but even then I’m not sure we would have wanted to relocate there. The saying about those living in Florida getting “sand in their shoes”–i.e., always needing to return– is one that rings true for me also.
How do you decide?
Work obviously necessitates making sure you can be employed in your particular field, at least if you have a family to take care of. I must confess, as we approach 20 years here in the same place, I’m envious of those with no real estate, no ties, who can pack all they own in their car and head out for new adventures with just their hopeful attitude in their pockets!
Health concerns are next on the list. The Cabana Boy reminds me often that fibromyalgia sufferers would do better out of the cold and snow. On the other hand, Pennsylvania has outstanding coverage for kids on the spectrum, and that’s not something to drop lightly.
With economics at the forefront of everyone’s outlook, that’s something else to factor in. My work is more likely to grow here; the Cabana Boy could easily find work in a hundred other places. But we’re both working here. Sadly, that’s more than a lot of folks can say. B tells us that in a recent class of her environmental ed students, 40 percent of those kids’ parents got laid off in the same week. It’s not something we can take for granted any more.
Neither are basic necessities like fresh, clean water. I’ve become sensitized to this subject lately, and I find we are living in one of the few areas in the country–maybe the world–where we are pretty much guaranteed fresh water year-round. (Probably because of all this stupid SNOW. But it serves a purpose besides making us miserable.)
So we’re here now. And we’re doing okay. We’ve got our eyes open for possibilities, though. What other kinds of fascinating places are out there yet for us to explore? Let us know!
And here’s a shout-out to Janie over at the Carnival of Family Life–thanks for featuring my post!