Living in Seattle(ish), Day 365(ish): now what?

Living in Seattle(ish), Day three(ish): 10 things I’ve learned
Living in Seattle(ish), Day eight(ish): regret in a screenshot
Living in Seattle(ish), Day 18(ish): Time for the mortuary, and I’m a bad driver

Living in Seattle(ish), Day 193(ish): where do I begin?
Living in Seattle(ish), Day 270(ish): boba blues

Life is an amazing journey. My “living in Seattle(ish)” posts are probably already a bit off topic for a travel blog, and this post will be somewhat off topic for this series. You’ve been warned.

Today marks my one-year anniversary in Seattle, and as I plot my next “move” in life I can’t help but reflect a bit.

I graduated college just over two years ago, and remember how frustrated I was my senior year of college. Actually, I had exactly the same feeling my senior year of high school. I’ve never had ambitions of some lofty corporate job, but rather I always just kind of wanted to do something I was passionate about and stick to “my own thing.” So in high school I was probably a complete idiot when I only applied to two colleges, and as luck would have it I got accepted to one, because I don’t know what would’ve happened otherwise.

My senior year of college was no different as I started looking for a job. While I’d like to think I’m fairly entrepreneurial, I’ve never actually had what others might consider a “real” job. I’ve been able to support myself doing my “own thing,” but my senior year of college I guess I expected that would come to an end, because that’s what society kind of dictates – when you graduate from college you go and work for someone else. There’s of course nothing wrong with that, but I just couldn’t imagine doing it every day of my life.

And in what was both a blessing and a curse I wouldn’t actually find a job after college. Admittedly I didn’t apply to even a dozen places, but I’m just not very good at putting on a fake smile and pretending that I love working on teams or that my biggest flaw is that I’m too detail oriented or work too hard, as you’re told to say in interviews.

Not finding a job was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me. Because one morning I woke up and it clicked — I didn’t have to work for someone else.

It has worked out amazingly well, and I owe it all to you guys. Seriously, what I do isn’t all showers and double beds in the sky, but at the end of the day there’s nothing greater than being able to wake up and do what you love every day. Some days I wake up and tell myself I’m going to take a day off and not do anything work related, but then I realize that what I would do in my free time is the same thing I’d do while “working.”

So seriously, all I can say is thank you a million times over to all of you for making it possible. Not just for reading, but for the amazing interactions I’ve had with many of you over the years.

The reason I bring this all up in the context of a post about living in Seattle is that a bit over a year ago I decided I wanted to move somewhere else. I went to school in Florida and had stayed in Tampa because that’s where my parents are and I loved being close to them and being able to spend time with them, though I also realized that long term Tampa wasn’t for me.

I looked at places to move, you guys provided some incredible feedback, and ultimately I decided to move to Seattle. Or more accurately, as all the “actual” Seattleites point out, “you don’t live in Seattle, you live in Bellevue.” It’s amazing what a couple of miles of water between two pieces of land can do.

I’ve chronicled my life in Seattle through several posts linked above, just sharing observations from a transplant that went from the far end of one coast to the far end of the other.

So now a year is up. When I moved here I decided I’d stay for a year and reexamine at that point. So what did I end up deciding? I’m potentially ready to move to another city, though not quite yet (and no, it has nothing to do with Lufthansa first class service being pulled from Seattle next year. When my apartment was up for renewal I was only given the option to renew for six months, and that actually seemed like a blessing in disguise. I can stay here a bit longer and figure out what I want to do without committing for an entire year. So I did that, and will stay in Bellevue till at least next April.

Truth be told I don’t really have much keeping me in Seattle anymore. I had a few reasons for wanting to move to Seattle, and at this point the only reason to stay is that I actually really like the city. Despite the non-ideal weather for three quarters of the year, the Pacific Northwest is absolutely stunning, Seattle is a gem of a city, and the summers are just more beautiful than anywhere else in the world I’ve ever been.

So what’s going through my mind?

I don’t like being so far from my parents

My parents have always been my biggest supporters, and always encouraged me to do whatever the hell I wanted. Not because they don’t care, but because they want me to be happy. And the least I can do is try to return the favor as much as possible. After having recently traveled with my mom to Bali and dad to Germany, I remembered how much fun it can be to spend time with the people you care most about. I’m almost tempted to move back to Tampa to be near them, but I also know that Tampa won’t make me happy long term. Therefore I’m committed to traveling with them as much as possible or at least visiting more often. But being so far from them is something that frustrates me about living in Seattle.

I like life on the west coast

When I first moved to Seattle one of my biggest frustrations was the time zone. I’m not really an early riser, so if I start my day at 9AM that’s really noon on the east coast, and I’m spending the first half of the day just playing “catch up.” That can be a bit frustrating at times. I’ve tried getting the whole “get up at 5AM” thing, but it just doesn’t work. Especially when the weather isn’t nice and all you want to do is stay in bed.

I’ve also realized, though, that life on the west coast is different in other ways too. While it has kind of become the norm for me, when you go back to the east coast you realize just how different it is. Even though I live in a ridiculously corporate city, I don’t remember the last time I saw someone in a suit. People are friendly — “Seattle freeze” friendly — but still friendly. There’s just something less hectic about life over here, and it’s kind of nice.

Bellevue vs. Seattle

So people make fun of me for living in Bellevue, and that’s totally fair in every way. Seattle is a really amazing city, and Bellevue is kind of the corporate sister city and is quite possibly even more sterile than Singapore.

Without traffic Bellevue is only a 15 minute drive from Seattle, yet I often don’t cross the “bridge” for months at a time. I’ve been doing it a lot more lately, but the more I go over there, the more I realize  I often take for granted how easy life in Bellevue is.

I’ve been in Seattle a lot lately and the number of drunk homeless people and dead rats on the street can be unpleasant at times. I mean, for that matter even parking in Seattle is a challenge. In Bellevue I can park anywhere without worrying about whether my car will get stolen or hit.

The other day I did paid parking in Seattle, and this young guy with a pouch of Capri Sun hanging out of his mouth backed up in a parking lot at what must have been 25 miles an hour, and would’ve hit me if I hadn’t literally jumped away from behind my car. Then he proceeded to park right next to my car, make an “herbal transaction” with someone that was standing there wearing a hoodie, and kept going.

As much as I like going to Seattle, I actually kind of like places like Bellevue, where life is pretty worry free. It’s kind of how I love to visit New York City, but I don’t think I’d ever want to live there.

I really want a dog…

While I’ll save this for another post, I’ve realized what I really need is a fluffy companion. Unfortunately what I do is probably worst suited for having a dog, which is the issue. But I still really, really want one.

What’s next?

So where’s next after Seattle? I dunno. The big challenge I have with moving anywhere is that I’m on the road in the sky more than half the time, so wherever I live is really only a part time residence. It doesn’t make all that much sense to live somewhere crazy expensive, as much as I like Los Angeles and San Diego, for example.

I guess I’ll see where my life is in a few months. Circumstances are constantly changing, so sometimes it makes sense to live one day at a time… and this was day 365.

Filed Under: Travel
  1. Would it make sense for you to move to Dallas? I’m no huge fan of Texas, but it’s an AA hub and no more than a 3 hour flight from just about any domestic city (and a quick hop to Tampa). The weather is generally decent albeit with blazing hot summers, and the lifestyle there can be very Bellevue-esque — you can live in Uptown Dallas and be nominally in the heart of the city, but you’ll get inexpensive corporate quality-apartments, clean streets, and all the Bellevues-and-whistles that come with semisuburban living, too. And whatever your political leanings, Dallas proper is at least cosmopolitan and somewhat sophisticated, and way more tolerant than other places in the South.

    Just a thought – as a Westerner, I think you should stay on the West Coast!

    Too bad you’re anti-Sky Team — Salt Lake might be a good option for you, especially if you love the outdoors.

  2. Another good choice might be Denver; great lifestyle and very clean etc. city.

    I’m personally partial to PDX still, as it’s great for mileage-running, cheaper than Seattle, and a very interesting, fun young city. But it has some of the same problems as Seattle.

    Austin might be another choice. Any middle of the country city is going to be not great for MRs, but at least in Austin you get the free 500 mile segments to connect to any Texas hub.

  3. Personally i would consider MIA or just north of miami. Everywhere on the west coast is super expensive-face it the west coast i california. Portland weather is similar to seattle but not as bad but its not a hub and its still too far from your parents which seems like your number 1 issue. Mia is aa hb and within an hr flight from you parents. Your gunna have to give up west coast to be by your folks. The first suggestion of dallas isnt bad because its cheap! But fl you will save on income taxes.

  4. I second the notion of Dallas. I moved here from NYC a little more than a year ago. While summers here are searingly hot, the rest of the year is pretty mild, and usually sunny. Even better, just like WA state, there’s no state income tax. You’ll probably still have to do some positioning flights to travel internationally (they have some foreign carriers, but the best availability tends to be on AA, and we all know flying US airlines internationally is gross).

    Plus, if you move here, we can finally land an FTU or some other conference. I mean, every other major travel hub has gotten an event except this place — inconceivable!

  5. Hey Ben,

    Why not stick with Seattle? Cap Hill is wonderful and less full of dead rats than Belltown, plus it’s much much safer. I also have a wonderful dog walker I could put you in touch with 🙂


  6. Bumping into you in Brussels and discussing a dog did seem comical at the time, but I can see the appeal. Heck if Brian Kelly somehow manages it, then there must be a solution!

  7. There are many great travel bloggers, but you are my favorite. Your writing style is interesting and engaging, and you travel as much as I wish I could. Hope you find a new city that meets most of your criteria!

  8. Please don’t get a dog. I’m sorry, but your lifestyle and a dog do not mix. You’d end up putting the poor thing in the kennel more than you’d be with them. Dogs are not a toy, they are family members. If you need to get your dog fix, volunteer at the local animal shelter when you are home and offer to walk the dogs, play with them, etc.

  9. You have “Austin” written all over you. Perfect fit in every respect. Major AA and UA hubs are only a short flight or drive away.

  10. Hi Ben

    Since you hold EU citizenship, why not try to live on the old continent for a change? 😀


  11. I agree with #1 and #3, I’m a (mostly) life-long Texan and think it would be good for you. Most places have that laid-back feel like you describe in Seattle, property is cheap and there’s lots of options. Given your job/hobby, either DFW or Houston would be prime. Maybe you could swing Austin too, it’s better-connected than other non-hub Texas cities. I have lived in Fort Worth and recently moved to the Houston area. My only recommendation if you look into the DFW area, is don’t just limit yourself to the Dallas side of the metroplex. Fort Worth is just big enough without being a monster city; it has a walkable, livable downtown with plenty of arts and other entertainment options.

  12. I live on Queen Anne and don’t recall seeing many dead rats. Maybe the tunnel construction is causing them to flee the underground. 😉

    I love Seattle. I travel a lot as well and nothing warms my heart more than seeing Mt. Rainier when returning from a trip.

  13. If you like the Seattle vibe but want something closer to East coast with decent connections, Denver sounds like a good choice. Though probably need to start liking United. Or as mentioned Austin is pretty cool.

  14. Lucky – its been great reading about your experiences in Seattle — I was there last weekend in fact, its a great city. It makes sense to move around since you do have that flexibility.

    On the having a dog part. We have one, he’s two years and one month old, and is great! But it is hard when we have to board him. Its less hard when a friend can watch him. The joy you will get from having a four legged friend is absolutely awesome.

  15. Looking forward to seeing you narrow down your list of potential home bases. If you moved to DC, I’d offer dogsitting services!

  16. I’ll throw out three cities for your consideration, based on a combination of closer proximity to your folks, affordability (since you’re not there very often), and stuff to do:


    All three are much closer to Tampa than the west coast, and pretty easy trips down there. They’re all fairly affordable (at least you can find parts that are), and all three are growing cities, young people moving in, lots to do if you want it, but not too big or overwhelming if you don’t want it. Just my two cents as to where I may be looking if I were in your shoes.

  17. I promise, you will hate living in Dallas. Which selfishly could make for some hillarious entertaining blog posts. My vote is for San Diego!

  18. Austin, Austin, Austin! Winner on every level other than being West Coast. Closer to parents, very dog friendly, more affordable than some options, the weather does get hot, but isn’t dreary, etc, etc, etc.

  19. Dallas? No way, you’re what, 23? You need a vibrant city with lots of young people, and vibrant scene.
    I would encourage you to live somewhere you don’t need a car (NYC, Chicago, Boston, DC) and really experience urban life.

  20. Hey Lucky,
    Why not just be a full time traveler? Of course you’d have to spend more than 8 hours at a hotel… :-p It’s a different thing but I love it. And the best part is that we get to go see our parents and family for as long as we want.
    Maybe not your cup of tea… but we do it as a couple (mostly at ICs) for pretty cheap. More money to spend on MRs for LH F. 😉

    I told a friend I wanted a dog once, and he told me I’d have the most miserable lonely dog ever, in short. I assume you travel as much as I did then… But I thought about it and decided against it. But maybe you’re looking at slowing down here.

  21. Columbus, Ohio!! We’re super friendly- and the cost of living is very affordable. There are direct flights to SoFla (I know, I’m a transplant from MIA), and as someone who commutes for work regularly, the flight to ORD, EWR, and CLT are almost always available and not too horrendously priced.

  22. Somewhere in central NJ. Close enough to NYC without being in the city, close proximity to JFK, LGA, EWR, and PHL. A lot of people hate on NJ and EWR but they are just jealous.

  23. I agree that Austin sounds like your kind of town in all ways except that it is not a major airline hub. But as long as you don’t mind sometimes connecting through Dallas or Houston I think you will like it.

  24. It will be hard to find a place as comfortable as Bellevue since you have already experienced it firsthand. When I left Tokyo and returned to the States, I noticed for the first time the detritus and crime in many American cities. By all means, see the world and live in different cities, especially before getting “hitched.” (That really curtails one’s freedom.) Bellevue will still be here.

  25. I completely understand how you feel.

    I’ve lived in Tampa, as well as Cleveland, Chicago, and now San Diego. My parents are also in Tampa – and it can be difficult to get there from the west coast.

    There is a good vibe on the west coast. I like San Diego. I really loved Chicago, but if you’re having a hard time with the weather in Seattle you would hate it there.

    I also have a dog – and I understand your desire to have one. My dog is absolutely like family to me, but It DEFINITELY makes travel more difficult, but it is possible.

    My suggestion to you would be to overcome your fear of expensive cities. Anywhere worth living will be expensive, and living in the suburbs or some subpar neighborhood is not the same. There are ways to make it work, and it is worth it. Pick a place you really love (like San Diego) and embrace it!

  26. Another vote for Austin.

    Austin is great for young people, but you’ve got sort of everything here. Great restaurants, great people, great natural landscape, lots of outdoors things to do, very dog-friendly, highly socially liberal (Travis county voted overwhelmingly democratic in the last two presidential elections), and a very vibrant and growing LGBT community. And AA is the biggest carrier among the legacies.

    Downsides are that flying anywhere requires a stop, fares in AUS are sky-high these days, so no cheapo flying for the most part, especially on AA. And rents have skyrocketed as of late due to the immense popularity and population growth in Austin (we are adding 70k new households annually at current pace).

    Whichever option you choose, good luck with your next move.

  27. Just remember, the name ‘Miles’ is already taken… Although the tall blogger probably has some good ‘travel with pets’ advice… 🙂

    Lucky would be a good name for a dog (no offense!), but that is taken too…

    Maybe a guy nicknamed Lucky should have a dog named ‘Luckier’…

    As a biased NoCalian, I certainly recommend the Bay Area. Lots of places here similar to Bellevue (which I agree, is great), and three international airports within 40 miles of each other! Just think of the travel opportunities!

  28. I didn’t get the impression you were outright soliciting ideas of where to move but I see you’re getting a bunch of suggestions. I second Peter’s (good name!) comments and thank you for the introspective piece.

    When your folks get older, I suspect your feeling of wanting to be closer will increase but while they’re healthy (sore feet issues notwithstanding) you’re able to be anywhere. It’s cool to have such freedom!

    Congrats on Day 365! And for doing what you love every day while keeping us entertained. 😉

  29. i live in Dallas and agree wth #1 and #3 however, I don’t think this place is going to work for you. Mileage running on AA out of DFW is terrible since it’s their fortress hub and you’re not going to get a lot of deals around 4 cpm to get to exec platinum cheaply. Best to stick to the coasts where AA fares are more competitive.

  30. I vote for Denver. I lived in Miami for 5 years and that got me hooked on AA Exp. Miami has a nice lifestyle aspect to it, but the people are awful and it’s a constant party. I’m making it work in DEN with AA, despite being a UA hub. The people are super-friendly, cost of living is relatively cheap, and it has a large ‘town’ feel to it rather than a massive city.

  31. If a chocolate shake isn’t enough to convince you that Chicago is the place to be, I don’t know what will.

    By the way – thanks for all the award booking advice this weekend. Definitely enjoyed your presentations.

  32. How about Phoenix? You can do all the mattress runs there in the summers as you wish – and feel great about it!

  33. You might find it more difficult to leave than you think. Living in Vancouver, I understand that “fresh air” comment – nothing quite like coming back to the west coast, seeing the mountains and the water and breathing in nature on a sunny spring day. Seattle is no different. Go to SFO and you’ll get a similar vibe.

  34. I’ve been in Seattle for just over 3 years now and I’m enjoying it even more now. I would recommend staying a year longer and move to Seattle proper (Ballard or Queen Anne) for a more “authentic” experience. Having lived and worked abroad for a year, I would also recommend trying that. If you want to stay closer to your folks try somewhere in the midwest. I lived in Kansas City for a few years and flight times to either coast weren’t bad. Rent is cheap and time zone differences are less of an issue. I live in Kirkland now so let me know if I can help out in any way. Good luck and great blog!

  35. I only recently started reading your blog, so I’m not sure why I get to pontificate on your decision making about where you live, but I will anyway. 🙂

    I would second Suzzanne’s comment: There’s a lot more to the Seattle area than the sterility of Bellevue or the shadiness of Belltown.

    There are lots of incredibly livable neighborhoods that you might enjoy if you spend a little more time exploring them: Queen Anne, Fremont, even Phinney Ridge. All of these places have a lot more character, are a 15-30 minute bus ride to Belltown and not that far from Cap Hill, and yet pose no parking problems and absolutely minimal scary-person problems.

    Before you pick up and move town entirely, give the rest of Seattle a shot.

  36. October 14th, 2013 at 2:47 pm
    JetAway said,
    You have “Austin” written all over you.

    badger said,
    Maybe you could swing Austin…

    Jimmy said,
    I vote for Austin…

    MilesAbound said,
    …Austin is pretty cool.

    Andrew said,
    Based on a combination of closer proximity to your folks, affordability (since you’re not there very often), and stuff to do: Austin

    mommypoints said,
    Austin, Austin, Austin!

    Jack said,
    I agree that Austin sounds like your kind of town…

    AAExPlat said,
    Another vote for Austin.

    ^ I’m tempted to suggest Austin as well, assuming you’re looking for a domestic base that’s closer to your folks in Tampa. I probably wouldn’t bother with Houston or Dallas though even though they have much bigger airports. They’re missing the sort of charm and character that makes Austin unique and interesting.

  37. Hi Ben, I’m also an EU/Am citizen, like you. I’ve lived in many places in the world. i vote for Austin for you after reading your posts. I think DFW is too much city, and you’ll like the outdoor feel of Austin, plus with all the universities around there is lots to do.

  38. #1) Whoever said that you don’t need a car to live in DC definitely doesn’t live here. #2) Look at Austin and Charleston (SC).

  39. “I’ve been in Seattle a lot lately and the number of drunk homeless people and dead rats on the street can be unpleasant at times. I mean, for that matter even parking in Seattle is a challenge.”

    Far too many of the places mentioned above are just like that, with San Francisco being the worst of all. At 3 times the cost of living too.

    You’ve found a safe, clean urban place with 4 months of fantastic weather, reasonable prices, a quick cruise to an International Airport. Lucky for sure….

    However, you might need to live somewhere else for a year to realize what a mistake you made leaving Bellevue.

  40. I second the car in D.C. comment. Pretty inconvenient without one. Mobility would be severely limited.

  41. OK, I live in Florida, but hate Tampa, so can understand your dilemma. Why not move to Sarasota or perhaps Anna Maria island ?That is if you like living on the beach. Close to your parents to see them often, but not too close. I think being near your family is incredibly important.

  42. I’m going to go against what most people have been saying and say Portland, OR. Even though it might not be a hub for most major airlines, it is a major Alaska hub, and the city is amazing. The airport is my favorite in the U.S., and the scenery is awesome.

  43. So, what you are seeking is a relatively low cost urban / cultural environment, preferably on eastern time, in or close to an airline Hub, with good connections to Tampa (though I recall you once wrote that your parents were planning to retire in Germany). That narrows it down somewhat. New York, which I think you’d enjoy most, is expensive, as is Boston. Philadelphia sucks, Washington, DC (or its suburbs) are uninteresting. That leaves Atlanta, which has some nice suburbs, but the city itself is unappealing and you don’t want to fly Delta. So, while I moved to LA from the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area because I hated the cultural wasteland, uncentered, vacuous residents and humid weather, it may be the best option, unless you are prepared to move back to Tampa providing your parents agree to dog-sit while you travel.

    That said, as you know, I still think you should get an MBA at Stamford or Harvard and better position yourself for a post frequent flyer life.

  44. Gotta atleast give NYC a try :).

    There are doggie hotels … (or I could just take care of it too). Ha ha

  45. I rarely comment, but I think dallas, phoenix, or vegas might be good. 6 months. Takes you to the summer.

  46. It might just be me, but even before you moved to Seattle it seemed obvious where you belong, I saw Seattle as a transition phase… Ben it’s time to make the move NYC. We have three airports! What else could you want? If you lived in Queens – maybe near JFK – the rents are reasonable and you would be a short, cheap flight to Florida to be able to visit your parents more often. Resistance is futile! And us New Yorkers may seen gruff, but we actually are very friendly 😉

  47. I am a big fan of NYC! Although, of course, that’s probably the biggest counterexample to your second to last paragraph. 🙁

  48. Boston. Lots of flights to TPA from PVD and BOS. Because so many students live here there are lots of great ethnic restaurants, music, sports, housing choices, cool things to do all the time, it’s easy to get to NYC or WAS. Weather is pretty good year-round too.

  49. Ben, first off, thank you for a great blog. I would suggest you take a closer look at Chicago. I don’t know how much time you’ve spent in the city on your visits here, but it has a lot to offer. It is a major cosmopolitan city with all the benefits that come with it, making Bellevue look like a backwater. It is centrally located, has great lakefront neighborhoods, beautiful weather May through November (you can travel the rest of the time) and is an international hub. Good luck wherever you choose to live.

  50. Make a list of states without income taxes and sort through them. Or, consider the US territories in the Caribbean….where you can largely avoid even Federal income taxes. Or, while you are young and independent, what about someplace like HKG or SIN. Keep you income below us$85k, and you’ll pay almost no taxes.

  51. San Diego!

    Outstanding weather, laid-back west coast vibe, very dog friendly, and some amazing fares as a competitive spoke airport: I flew on about 150,000 miles on mileage runs this year out of SAN averaging 2.9 CPM (also helps that the airport is *downtown*). Also not far from LA, if that’s your thing.

    Since May I’ve been visiting a lot of cities in the US while nomading, but I still think San Diego is the best place for me, and that’s where I’ll probably move back to.

    If you decide to come down and check out San Diego, let me know and I’d be glad to show you around.

  52. You are facing the same we have had….twice. There is no decision you will make that won’t involve compromises – weather, quality of life, distance from your parents, hub access and life with a dog. Here is a strange suggestion – Orlando. You know the drill flying out of Florida (not great but not the worst), close to your parents, great place to have a pooch (would your parents dog sit?), cheap, lots of 20 – 30 year olds, laid back, lots of nature when you know the area, Trader Joe’s is coming in the spring… I would be really concerned about having a dog with no one to care for it when traveling. Kenneling is very expensive and doing it often isn’t fair to the pooch. Being close to mom and dad might take care of that issue. Good luck with your decision!

  53. Phoenix. Other than 4 hot months a great place. Scottsdale and other parts of the valley have a lot to do. Low cost of living and just a 2 hour drive to Flagstaff if you miss lots of trees. Do your heavy travel in summer and avoid most of the heat. Also Baseball spring training in March. Easy flights to Tampa.

  54. Great idea to move around since you’re young and able. I’d say hold off on the dog. I have two and travel a bit. It gets expensive to board if you don’t have fiends to help out. You want to be around when they’re a pup to bond. Otherwise you’re essentially the person taking “care” of the dog when you’re home. Unless you get a small one that can get in first class with you!

  55. IMHO, the first decision you need to make is whether you are going to get a dog. I highly recommend it. A good dog is a source of joy every day. But working a dog into a lifestyle that includes a lot of travel takes a lot of planning. If you get a dog then you need to live someplace where there is a good support structure for the two of you. That means either family or friends who are willing and able to dog sit, or a reasonably priced pet sitter or “pet resort” (kennel) where you can leave your pet with minimal guilt. Once you think about that you will probably have narrowed down the choices of where you are able to start the next phase of your life’s journey.
    FWIW, I have had various dogs in my life for the past 25 years, during times when I have done significant travel – some work, some fun. There have been times when it’s been a challenge to make arrangements when I travel, but it’s worth the effort for me.

  56. I know it not being a hub could be a problem and summers may be brutal ( so are Austin’s), but I say why not give New Orleans a shot. Great city for fun. Pet friendly. No need to mention night life.large influx of young people post Katrina.Close to home. Could be worth giving it a shot for a year.

  57. I think you should check out the Front Range here in Colorado- DEN is a major hub for several airlines, smack in the center of the country so it’s not too far to either coast. Boulder is a great town, but for cheaper and fewer frat boys I’d check out Longmont, Louisville/Lafayette/Erie, Golden, and Denver proper. The weather is excellent (over 300 days of sunshine a year), the food scene is excellent, there is tons of outdoor stuff to do year round, and with all the college kids it’s easy to find a dog sitter!

  58. Maybe you could move in with Richard Branson. He apparently just relocated to his private Caribbean island.

  59. Any thought about Portland? If you like the area – but don’t like to drive – it could be a good fit. It’s a beautiful city. Great food, ok nightlife for that size of a town. And you’d have PDX – a decent second tier airport – and Seattle in close-ish proximity. I lived in Portland for a bit and think you’ll save a few bucks over Seattle too.

  60. I had the same feelings about Bellevue after I visited SF for a week. I was happy to come home to clean air, clean streets and not having to worry about where to park or how much it was going to cost. It’s cushy and I like it that way!

  61. Fourth for Denver area (Aurora or Boulder). Great area, safe, snowboarding or skiing, and direct flight with Lufthansa to Frankfurt on a 747. Also have direct flights to London and even Tokyo now.

  62. Wherever you end up, make sure there’s good bobba (bubble tea!) around. Flights are easy to find..good bobba,not so much!

  63. I live in Dallas (Uptown) you might like it. Texas is general is not bad. No state income tax like Washington. I grew up in Chicago and still to this day think it’s the best US city out there. So Dallas, Austin or Chicago would be my pick.

  64. Since you’re an AA guy, then why not somewhere in South America? Lower cost of living, easy access to Florida (or MIA at least), etc. Maybe EZE like milevalue guy did, or Brazil for the govt ban on YQ.

    You have the exact job that lends itself to currency arbitrage, earning USD while spending peanuts, so why not take advantage of it?

  65. Remember: no state income tax in WA. 30 mins to SEA. Service by BA LH EK MU OZ BR KE NH FI. Let’s hope we’ll see EY TK or CX soon. An easy place to live and to travel from.

  66. Hi Ben,

    With an EU passport you could live anywhere in the EU.

    Berlin is an awesome city to live and work in, as is Munich. Both have ok travel connections.

    Paris isn’t bad either.

    London is the best obviously – vibrant foodie city, great hipster scene, lots of nice neighbourhoods. Only problem is the air passenger duty.

  67. Texas sucks. Do not move there. My dad lives in Ft Worth – there is nothing to do there if you don’t like the rodeo, the state fair or chili competitions. It’s definitely not a young person’s town.

    I’m from the Tampa area as well, and made the move to Philly 13 years ago and haven’t looked back. Being on the East Coast means it’s only a 2.5 hour flight to visit my family. Considering your dislike of urban “grime”, I don’t think you’d like any of the big East Coast cities for the long term, but you might consider a year in one. You might grow to appreciate some of the advantages of a really big city even if you move somewhere else in a year.

    Or for a real change, try Portland, Maine. I was there this spring and would love to go back. Very friendly, hip, charming, small town.

  68. Lucky – I love dogs, too, but….don’t get a dog unless you have someone who can take the dog in “like family” most of the time you are gone. When you’re gone more than you’re home, boarding or using a pet-sitter are just not fair to the dog.

    Re Austin – it makes Tampa look downright chilly in summer. How much do you like heat?? (I have some rental properties in DFW, and when an A/C goes out it’s a major crisis.)

  69. Lucky, have you thought of Scottsdale, AZ? It is beautiful here, parking no problem, close to Phoenix airport and lots to do! It is a bit warm here for three months out of the year, but the summer goes fast and it is gorgeous the rest of the time.

  70. As another transplant in Seattle from DMV area, I really miss home.
    DC would be a great choice for you if you want to stay stateside, Seattle-ish vibe, young people, urban life, international hub, 3 airports within 30 mins.
    But if I were you I am gonna live on the old continent, too bad corporate job has chained me in Seattle.

  71. I’m surprised no one has mentioned New York City! Sure it’s expensive, but especially for someone your age, it’s a fantastic place to spend a couple of years. There’s really no other city in the world quite like it, and the time zone is just what you need.

    It’s also very easy to get to Tampa – short flight, many options.

  72. If the AA/US merger is approved, Charlotte becomes extremely appealing to your criteria. Being able to book cheap East Coast hops to Tampa/New York/Chicago for 4,500 Avios (current New York / Chicago availability is awesome) is a big bonus for visiting family or friends or positioning for flights.

    As a hub for US airways you can at least get alot of places and is a great value for ANA awards which don’t incur a fuel surchage with US. Domestic ANA multi-city tickets or flights like CLT – PHL – MAN – BRU // ZRH-MUC-MAN-PHL-CLT for 68k ANA points in business class. CLT – MUC/FRA and back is also 68k ANA points.

    The cost of living is low and quality of life/seasons high.

    Downside is there isn’t much “alternative lifestyle” scene in a very corporate city. There is some, though, especially in NoDa, South End, and Plaza Midwood.

    15 minutes door to door from downtown or in-town suburbs to the airport, even in rush hour, is also a bonus.

  73. Lucky, do you really need to “live” anywhere? Just have your mail sent to your parents place and live out of your suitcase. You’ve got friends in the mileage community from around the world that would be happy to have you stay with them for a while. I would guess many of them even have dogs for you to play with. How many nights do you spend in your place in Bellevue anyway?

  74. Honestly, I think the world could be your oyster if you were open to a flexible living arrangement.

    As much as you’re on the road, you could have a tiny room somewhere in an expensive city like NY/LA/SF for not that much money. And your roommates would love it since you wouldn’t be there much. Think ‘flight attendant crash pad.”

    This would preclude you from having a dog, or really much furniture even. You really would have to embrace the nomadic lifestyle for it to work.

  75. The other advice is “Don’t move to a major urban area and try to recreate or expect a suburban life there.” Either move to the city center, or just stay in some low-cost suburban area like Florida or Texas. The suburban bedroom communities are for people with kids or older folks retiring from city life.

    And I can’t say emphatically enough… Don’t chose where you live based on a specific airport or carrier! I have a colleague who could live anywhere and actually chose Houston because he was a CO flyer and Houston is relatively cheap. He didn’t last a year. No offense to Houston of course- It just wasn’t for him.

  76. Oh, and my city of New Orleans is a great place to live, especially if you have a job that’s not dependent on the local economy. Great food and culture, with great night-life despite being a city of only 3-500k. Close to TPA by air, although you’d be slumming it on WN.

  77. @ Lucky – thank you for these posts. Went back and read all the past entries. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

    @ Benjamin Perley – I wish more people would move out of Houston. Due to the strength of local economy, we weren’t really all that much affected by the crisis and nowadays houses are flying off the market in a few days for more than listing price (at least, in areas I’m interested in). And another thing about Texas is that lack of state income tax is offset by high property tax rates (2.5% is a norm in Houston and some areas are 3-4%). Of course, if your household income is over a certain amount (IIRC, >$70K or so), it works out in your benefit.

  78. I’m with the nomadic lifestyle vote. We’ve been doing it for two years, and it’s great. By not having a permanent address,(our son takes our mail), you can use that money (rent, utilities, maintenance etc) to fund hotels. You would be traveling anyway for a good part of that time. Why pay twice? Your parents would probably be glad to be an address for mail, you could stay with them now and then, which would take care of the part of your wanting to see mom and dad. Maybe they would like a dog? If you’re not at your apartment all that often, why bother having one? Whatever hotel points don’t cover, often time Travelzoo specials will. We highly recommend it.

  79. Have you considered Ann Arbor? It’s very similar to Austin but more sophisticated and has a great East Coast vibe. I get that Austin tries to be different but at the end of the day UT architecture isn’t that nice (compared to UofM)and the East Coast vibe and student mix of Ann Arbor make it a nice place. Also you’re not that far from DTW.

    Note – I’m in Chicago but I get that you don’t want big city life and want a more suburban lifestyle (although Chicago is much more manageable the NYC). Rant: Also DON’T DON’T DON’T consider Chicago if you’re not going to live in the city proper. The suburbs here are just gross and you can find a better suburban feel elsewhere.

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