Not happy with your current locale? Feel that you are missing out on something better? You are not alone, it is a pretty common complaint that I get emails about. Just the other day I received this email from reader Janet:
“I just read your post about moving to New Mexico and it sounds lovely. How did you and your wife decide that was the place for you? My husband doesn’t want to move, but I am feeling like we are stuck in a rut in our current town and I want more. How can I decide where to go?”
First off, I am not one to give marital advice, so I am hoping that your husband is going to go with you on this journey! My wife and I were in this together since the first time we visited our current town on vacation – we could not stop talking about it ever since we left. After some careful consideration, two more visits, and lots and lots of talking, we made the decision that we felt was best for us. This town had everything we wanted – clean air, lots of outdoor activities, tons of nature, different seasons, no traffic, organic restaurants, and reasonable real estate prices. We had the luxury, because of what we do for a living (I work from home and she is a teacher), to have the time to travel all over the Southwest the last couple of years checking out different towns before settling on this one. We felt it was the right decision for us, and so far, we were right. So what are some ways you can make that big life change to find your place?
1. Take some online quizzes. Websites like Find Your Spot can help to narrow down your wants and needs to a manageable list of places to look into. While my current town was not in my quiz results, a bunch of towns around it were, so it seems to be pretty accurate. Just be honest with your answers, do not answer a certain way trying to alter the results!
2. Take lots of trips. If moving out of your current town or city is a big priority for you, use vacation time to check out different areas that you think would be interesting to live in. What use is a vacation if as soon as you get home, you hate your location again? Use the time wisely to investigate new locales.
3. Narrow down your choices. As soon as you have checked out a bunch of places of interest, start narrowing them down by your desires for your “true life”. If schools are important to you, set aside towns that don’t have good schools. Need to golf every weekend? Be sure to keep a town on the list that has a great golf course!
4. Contact the local chambers of commerce. Ask for city information, real estate costs, employment rates, etc – anything that would be of interest or concern to you. Ask them for a tourist guide, as often that will have local businesses and restaurants listed that you can check out as well.
5. Ask around. When visiting each town, ask the locals what they think about things like schools, crime, jobs, lifestyle – you will find most people are more than happy to talk about their own town!
The biggest ones for us were visiting a bunch of different places and talking to the locals. The people around here had nothing bad to say about our town; they were all so happy to be living here and could not imagine their life anywhere else. That is a far cry from Los Angeles, where most of the people you would ask would have something negative to say. But whatever you do, realize that A. the grass may be greener on the other side, but it probably won’t be as green as you think it will be, and B. spend the time necessary to find your place. When you put in the effort to find your place, the end result should make you very happy!
Have any of you made big life changes by moving to a new town? What was the process you went through? Was the end result what you thought it would be?