So, about my move…

On Tuesday I posted that I was considering moving, and the response was beyond overwhelming.  I was in San Juan for the day with very limited internet access, and once I actually got online there were nearly 200 comments. This is incredibly touching, so thanks to all of you that showed such interest and provided such great suggestions. The Deal Mommy even wrote a post entitled “There will never be another 22 (or 32, or 42)! A response to @OneMileAtATime, and a challenge for you!”

I was planning on responding to each of the 200+ comments individually, but after getting started I kind of realized my comments function isn’t all that practically designed for responses to 200+ comments, so instead I’ll address them here.

I’ve read each comment several times and will focus on responding here to the ones that ask questions and that I can add value to. Though of course all comments are much appreciated and will be considered.

Wouter writes:

Are you sure NY is out? For a ‘creature of habit’ moving to a place with close relatives nearby is much and much easier than going to live somewhere all on your own. Additionally, it’s easier for your parents, they’ll only have to fly to one city to visit their children.

Something else to consider would be moving to a new city / country every 4 months or so. EG NYC in the summer, then Berlin/Munich, then Singapore/Bangkok/Bali, etc :-) .

I’m not ruling New York out long term, though short term it’s not the first place I’d like to move. New York is a bit too hectic for me at this point, and a bit too expensive as well. Eventually I’d consider living there, but not at this point. And I’d also eventually consider moving around permanently (like you say, three places a year), but I’d first like to see how it is being away from family “full time,” while still being only a domestic flight away.

My parents actually eventually want to retire in Germany, so if they do I’d consider living over there at least part time.

Bill writes:

Why not Miami? Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and South Beach all offer lively areas for the young, are much nicer than Tampa, have convenient access to a major airline hub, and warm weather. Plus, you’d only be a few hours away from your parents by car – let alone flight.

Interesting. I don’t know why, but Miami has never been on my list. As much as it’s an interesting place, I’m looking to move somewhere else to get a complete change of scenery, even if it’s only for a year. I don’t really know anyone in Miami and I don’t think it’s enough of a change of scenery to warrant the move… at this point. If nothing else I love mountains, and that’s one reason I want to get the heck out of Florida.

frekwentflier writes:

Have you considered living outside the US? Books like The Four Hour Workweek and sites like extol the virtues of living in other countries where the dollar goes much further than it goes here (especially in Southern CA).

I agree with others, you’re young, you’re primary source of income is from online marketing, you can live and work anywhere there’s an Internet connection! I would *love* to be in that situation!

Definitely something I’d consider a year or more down the road. But at this point not something I’m quite ready for yet, especially since I want to be sure my parents survive without me. 😉

Jamison writes:

Los Angeles – great starting point for Mileage Runs, Mistake Fares, best AA hub ;) 5 hours to the east coast, 5 hours to hawaii, 8 hours to asia!

You know, being close to places isn’t really a selling point. 😉

Only eight hours to Asia? That doesn’t sound like a lot of miles! 😀

Kirby A writes:

Another vote for LA, and not at all because I live there. ;) I’m a young person, and yes it is expensive, but I live on a student’s budget and I still manage to get out and do fun things all the time. Traffic isn’t really an issue if you’re a savvy driver (which I have no doubt you’d be) and it’s a beautiful place to live. I recommend it. :)

Yes, I’m a very savvy driver.

DavisCalifJrB writes:

You should consider Santa Barbara. Great climate, they have an airport, and it’s gorgeous there. Close to everything CA has to offer. University towns tend to have a great age mix for long term livability.

Are there any places your folks enjoy visiting in the states that might make the transition easier for all of you? Will give them a great reason to visit and you’ll enjoy your time together much more.
You will get closer to your parents as they age, so don’t overlook that. They are not on the planet that long..

Seattle area is nice when the weather cooperates if you can adjust to it. If you enjoy cloudy gloomy rainy days, coming from FL I would think you wouldn’t like such depressing weather.

I’ve traveled a lot over the years. Still love coming back to CA to live. It has great variety from mountains, ocean, city life, nature and variety of climates that make it a great place to live. There is a price for everyone. Don’t let that scare you away.

I’m sure they’d like visiting me wherever I am, though the problem is that they own a couple of small businesses that require them to be there just about every day. That’s not to say they couldn’t visit, though it’s definitely a lot tougher for them than others. I’m sure they’d enjoy anywhere on the west coast.

Alan writes:

I also live in Tampa and honestly, I have mixed feelings about it. I met a lot of great people from my gym (you live in N Tampa right? You know crossfit sparta? It’s on the corner of Bearss and Nebraska – lots of USF students/grads there) and so it’s been fun but I certainly travel a lot (from normal people standard, not flyertalk/blogger standard). The thing about Tampa before I started traveling was that it sucks. Even other parts in Tampa like Hyde Park, downtown, etc are ok at best. I live in Harbour Island and I can’t wait to get the hell out of there.

But… it’s close to St Pete/Clearwater – it’s not unreasonable to make a last minute trip (driving *gasp*) to Miami. The winters are mild. So I guess in a way, I’m starting to like Tampa for what it offers considering I get to get away from it almost anytime I want to.

Definitely true, and I’m often too quick to dismiss St. Pete and Clearwater. The thing is I’m not a huge beach person, so the area probably doesn’t offer as much to me as it would to others. My mom tries to convince me to go to the beach just about every weekend, and I say no every time. If I go to the beach for a day I look like a lobster.

LarryInNYC writes:

I’m with @DealMommy. You have no commitments, I assume your parents are still relatively young and healthy (that is, they’re probably my age) and you have a completely geography-free career. In fact, your career almost requires you to spend half your time in hotels anyway.
So why not become a hobo for year or two? Use your parents address as your home address and rent apartments by the month in whatever city you’re interested in (or whichever one presents the best mileage running opportunities in a given season).
You could spend a month in Rome, followed by a month in Bangkok, then Lisbon, then Miami, then Munich. Go to the temperate cities in the summer and in the winter retreat to Mexico or even Melbourne, Sydney, Buenos Aires, or Brazil.
I’m assuming that a peripatetic existence appeals to you since you pretty much live one anyway. Why not make it official and become Lucky, No Fixed Address?

This is interesting. As much as I like being on the road, the thought of being “homeless” is still pretty scary. The destination and journey is more fun if you have a home to return to, even if it’s not much. So in that case I’d probably still keep my apartment (which isn’t all that expensive), since at a certain point I’d probably go crazy being in a different bed every night. But I like this idea…

Nic writes:

“I don’t like cities where it snows for months at a time, so I’ve eliminated the Northeast. I don’t like the middle of the country because it’s not ideal for travel. And that leaves the west coast.”

I can’t find Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte in you map.

This is what’s kind of funny, because I think half of the moving “game” is mental. I had never really considered anything within a two hour flight of Tampa, not because I don’t think they’re interesting places, but because subconsciously they don’t seem “different” or far enough away to warrant a move. Though maybe I should consider them.

Chontzy writes:

Hey Ben- I would agree with Stuart and consider the Bay Area, you’ve got two International airports, great climate,and loads of smart young adults out and about. The cost of living is ridic, but given your travel sked you could rent a decent room and not feel claustrophobic, tough but worth it IMHO. Your independent lifestyle would fit in well in these parts and I’m sure you’d meet lots of like-minded peers to hang with and get inspired by. Would be happy to talk more if interested!

As much as I like the Bay Area, it’s never a place I’ve considered living, perhaps for all the wrong reasons. Guess I should reconsider…

Jason H writes:

Well.. you’ve already eliminated a few major cities with a fun vibe as “fly over country” so I guess suggesting the Denver/Boulder area would be moot.

Have you considered a US Territory? Perhaps the US Virgin Islands?

The major issues with the USVI is that flights are really expensive, so it wouldn’t support my travel obsession very well. Sometime (way) down the road, definitely something I’d consider, though.

bluto writes:

I won’t suggest where you should move to (or not) but I do have a piece of advice: ask your landlord to switch to a month to month lease, and offer to give 60-90 days notice if you ever move out. If you’ve been a good tenant, they probably don’t want to lose you, and having 60-90 days notice is enough time to find someone. Month-to-month lets you mull this life changing decision over a bit, rather than trying to figure it all out in a week.

My apartment complex is run by a national management company, so they’re pretty inflexible. I have to give 60 days notice and they have a month-by-month plan, though it increases the rent by about 40%.

HDR writes:

Have you ever considered D.C.?

I can’t say it’s somewhere I’ve ever wanted to live, though maybe it’s time to take another look.

gregorygrady writes:

Why don’t you use all those airline miles and hotel pts of yours and move around to a different place every couple weeks for a year? You could try ~25 different places, both in the USA and internationally. If you really like a certain place, stay there longer, get an apartment for a month, etc. If I had your job and nothing holding me back, I would love to do something like that. You could even go to Hawaii and stretch your hotel pts twice as far by getting a room every odd night and then every even night you can sleep in the hammocks outside on the grounds. :-)

Hah! As crazy as it sounds, I just might…

Ann writes:

If I could live anywhere, it’d be London. But I haven’t been to New Zealand yet, so what do I know?

Where *you* should live-well, that’s another question. One only you can answer.

So here’s some questions you can ask yourself to help determine what’s best for you:

1. Flip a coin. Stop. Don’t look at the answer. Which choice are you kind of hoping comes up?

2. Look back from your deathbed. Imagine you’re 80 or 90 or 135,but you know, kind of sick of the whole living thing. From this position, which choice would you regret, or regret more?

3. Fear vs. Love. A bit theoretical, but in general, chose love over fear. This can be kind of tricky,though; we almost all have some both fears and desire involved in everything. But where you would live if you knew six months from now, the weather was nice, you could easily afford everything you needed, your social life was fantastic, your relationship with your parents was great, etc.

4. Say yes. This is an impromtu “rule,” but it can be a powerful one. But frankly I was a little hesistant to say it to you, because you have so many adventures and experiences outside of Tampa. Only you can decide if you should choose it in this situation.

So those are totally shamelessly stolen from an article Martha Beck wrote a long time ago, and I couldn’t give you the source of the top of my head. And one of those decision-making exercises might not even be from that article. But I digress.

One other thing to remember is that almost all decisions are reversible. And these two choices clearly are. You could spend a month or a year in Seattle, or Portland, or LA, or all three, and Tampa will still be there. Likewise, those places on the West Coast aren’t going anywhere.

As of now this almost exactly sums up my thought process.

Evan writes:

So I am guessing I can’t talk you into Chicago?

I don’t think I’d survive the winters…

hobo13 writes:

How are you going to execute this move in the next month? Don’t you have travel booked for the next 330 days? It seems like you’d need to decide TODAY that you are going to move to X in Sept 2013, and start setting up your travel plans from there.

Surprisingly enough I’ve more or less kept my schedule open as of now. I actually have two months to make the move, though, as I just have to provide notice of whether I’m leaving this week, and then have till November to actually move.

Ced writes:

I am really curious now…sorry for my indiscretion but…Is your income entirely derived from your blog and/or travel consultancy?

If so, congrats! That’s amazing to enjoy the freedom to live anywhere.

Regarding your move, I think you should give more thoughts to NYC. We had 1 day of Snow total in Winter 2011-2012, so far from “months”! And the weather is pretty good otherwise, lots of sun. In terms of culture, it’s like living abroad, with so many folks. I am foreign but feel at home in NYC. For travel, obv three large airports. And finally for traffic…well it doesn’t matter, no real New Yorkers owns a cab. So you can save that gas and insurance and parking, and use subway/trains/buses to your travel adventures?

To answer your first question, yes. And as far as giving up a car goes, while the savings are substantial, I wish I would have thought about that before signing a three year lease just a few months ago…

Apu writes:

Lucky, that first pic of yours is from India… how about actually living in India and giving that a try?

I loved India. It may just have been my favorite place I’ve ever been. But I’m not quite ready to move there. Definitely want to visit again soon!

puck writes:

How about a new poll question to see what your readers recommend?

Almost tempted to put this entirely in you guys’ hands, though I have a feeling I might end up regretting that. 😀

Brian writes:

What kind of nightlife do you like?

Sleeping in my W bed. Yeah, I’m that exciting.

Simon writes:

Have you considered Guam?

I’ve never been, so can’t say I have. And don’t think it’s an especially economical place from which to travel.

Nick writes:

Then I guess Port Richey would out of the question? They have a Hooters there, though.


To sum it all up, here’s what I’ve am leaning towards and learned:

  • Portland is out of the picture… for now.
  • Seattle is a bit cheaper than California, has beautiful mountains, and the weather sucks most of the year though is amazing part of the year.
  • In California I should really consider San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and everything inbetween. That’ll only make things tougher!

But here’s what it really comes down to for me — I need to get the west coast “out of my system.” I’ve lived on the east coast my whole life and have always been interested in living on the west coast. I don’t know if it’s better than the east coast or not, but I feel like I’ll be wondering until I actually try living there. If I move anywhere else and don’t love it I’ll be kicking myself and saying I should have moved to the west coast. If I move to the west coast and don’t like it I’ll leave after a year and say “wow, I’m happy I can mark that off my list.” So I feel like it’s one of the few places I can move with no regrets, because it’s a place I’ve always wanted to try living… if that makes any sense.

Thanks again SO much to everyone for their help. Of course I continue to welcome suggestions, and will be sure to keep you guys posted. I need to inform my apartment complex this week that I’m moving out, and I’ve decided to go through with that. That leaves me about ~60 days to finalize my move.

Filed Under: Advice
  1. Just go. Stop overthinking it, pick a random (American) city and go. It will be an experience you’ll never forget and those are the best :-).

  2. Lucky, I really think that you need to think more about the positives than the negatives in moving to a new location. This way you’ll have a wonderful time no matter where you end up.

    I was going to put in a vote for Asia somewhere, but mileage runs are just that much more difficult here.

  3. Late to the oarty, but I have only ever lived in Wisconsin and Austin, TX. Can’t go wrong with either of those. I also spent a semester in Anchorage. You would get the mountains up there and the winter wasn’t as cold as expected, but the darkness was rough. Don’t be afraid if winters, it isn’t bad and can actually be fun with the right attitude, a pair of skis and ice skates.

  4. Move to Denver.

    1) There’s beautiful mountains.

    2) The weather is great. 300 days of sunshine a year. Summers are a good temperature (80s usually)…not as bad a Florida. And it hardly ever snows in the winter, except in the mountains. Winter temps are also moderate.

    3) It’s cheap.

    4) It’s a hub for United, Frontier, and Southwest which = competition and therefore cheap fares.

    5) Lots of great cities within driving distance (Aspen, Boulder, Telluride, etc.)

    6) Lots of outdoor activities. I’m not really an active person (I prefer to stay in a W bed all day), but there are a lot of active people here.

  5. As a Seattle resident, I wouldn’t say weather “sucks” most of the time – it’s just somewhat unique. Either Atlanta or NY each get more rain than Seattle (by volume, not frequency). Similarly, the climate is very moderate temperature-wise. It’s just a somewhat personal preferences question on what you think about optimal weather.

  6. Bay Area!! Can’t beat the amazing weather, laid-back attitude, diversity, entrepreneur atmosphere, and tons of great restaurants. Yes, rent is ridonkulous right now, but you can probably find a cheaper place outside of the city. Plus, SFO is pretty nice 🙂

  7. P.S. I’m sure your fellow Seattle readers would be happy to welcome you to our corner of the country. Feel free to send email/post if you have questions on neighborhoods/etc.

  8. Florida has no state income taxes. That has to factor into your decisions. If you move to another state that has state incone tax, you’ll instantly have less money per month.

  9. Another reason for SoCal: You have the mountains, desert, and beach all within 2 hours driving distance. I’m not a huge beach guy either, but living in the suburbs of orange county is great. And lots of universities and airports(i.e. young people and travel).

  10. I moved east (maryland) to west (scottsdale) and loved it for close to 10 yrs but I had to move back east for work. I much prefered the dry heat, no issues with snow and 9+ months of great weather. The cost of living was also much better. Being a sports fan I really enjoyed the 2-3 hr earlier start time for many events.

    Good Luck

  11. Pick a place and go. Stop over thinking this. If you hate it you move again, no big deal. When I was job hunting in Grad School I had to pick a few places I was interested in moving to. I ended up in San Francisco (I had only visited once before accepting a job here). It was the best thing I did. It was a total adventure and it paid off, I have built a great life here. Don’t over think it and be adventurous!

  12. I’d suggest 1-2 months in each west coast place and then you can make a decision. Let me know if you choose Seattle. It’s a great city.

  13. Don’t know why Portland was ruled out. Care to explain? (Im across the river in SW Washington and PDX is 15 mins away)

    Also, why not Vancouver BC?

  14. West Coast is the Best Coast!

    That being said, come to San Francisco! Although, LAX provides more flight options, SFO is a much nicer airport. But, if you go to SoCal definitely LA > San Diego!

  15. Thanks for your indepth message about your pending move.

    My suggestion, which is my current Flyertalk signature.

    Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.

  16. There’s something to be said about moving to the other coast just to get it “out of your system”. When I moved to DC it was actually REALLY good for my parents – they had to start reading instruction manuals and everything ;-). It actually made us a lot closer too.

    When it comes to the actual move, don’t be shy. It sounds like several of us have done this several times, and it seems like most folks would be happy to show you around their cities.

  17. Late to the “advice party,” but I moved from Texas to the LAX area (Manhattan Beach) about 13 years ago and — other than a few brutal traffic jams that had me questioning my continued existence — I haven’t regretted it for a minute.
    As for travel, I’m 15 minutes or so from LAX, about 30 minutes from Long Beach, 45 minutes from Orange County (John Wayne) and an hour from Burbank. That’s 4 airports within an hour drive, and a 5th if you add Ontario (about 1:30+ away).
    Plus, I look out my window at an amazing beach/ocean everyday. I’m not a swimmer, surfer or beach volleyball player, but if a walk by the ocean can’t calm you down, I don’t know what can.

  18. Welcome to the west coast! We need a west coast centric blogger. Trips, lounges, hotels centered around SAN/SNA/LAX/SFO/SEA just to mention a few. We all look forward to hearing about your new adventure.

  19. I wold HIGHLY recommend Seattle or San Diego and Say AVOID LA like the plague! I’m from Seattle, lived in SEA, LA, and SD and SD is by far the best. Big city, lots of beaches, tons to do and more. Only problem is small airport. However lots of connecting flights (More miles?) and LA is only 1.5 hours away!

  20. Honestly New York has the best flight connections, and its the center of the world.
    But if you want West Coast and better weather than Seattle, then go try Vancouver, BC.

    Don’t move to LA, its got too much smog, why not go somewhere else along the coast like Orange County

  21. Isn’t it funny that you can do a round the world trip for a year, and not have to think twice about it.

    Yet the prospect of actually moving somewhere (a single city) is so much more difficult mentally, even if you are just trying it out for a year.

  22. I really like Chicago as a place to possibly live, in the US. Seems many people have that smaller town mentality, but a big city attraction there.

    My other choice would be Vancouver. Sure it is not in the US. But is different enough from the US, without getting that duck out of water feeling.

  23. I just wanted to say that I totally get you on needing to get the west coast out of your system. I had a very similar situation after college. There are many places to work in my field in SoCal, but I wasn’t sure I’d like living there. On the other hand, I felt like I had to try it out, instead of just making a judgement having barely even been there (I grew up in Michigan and went to college on the east coast).

    In my case, I took a Master’s Degree at USC. I lived in Playa del Rey (right up the road from LAX) for 9 months. I strongly disliked it, would never want to live there on a permanent basis. But I met some awesome people, had some great experiences, learned a lot about myself. In hindsight, I wouldn’t make a different choice.

    Oh and by the way, I was 22-23 years old.

    So I say do it. Now’s the time. I get it. I think you’ll be glad you did, even if it’s not your forever home. And not that you lack for people to chat with about this, but if you want someone to talk to, shoot me an email.

    By the way, I also say that if you love mountains so much, you should come visit us here in the Denver front range. You are welcome any time.

  24. Ben –

    Move to LA. Sign a 6 month lease.

    If you determine it does not suit you, you can move to SD after your lease expires.

    My case: Born in NYC, grew up in the suburbs, high school further suburbs. Great time. College in Boston. Graduate at 23.

    My thinking at that point: I don’t know where I want to go, but I need to go somewhere.

    A college friend gets transferred to San Diego, moves in to a place and has an extra room.

    That was all I needed. Wrapped up business in Boston, put all my belongings in my car, and headed west.

    I also thought: What the heck, if I don’t like it I can always go back.

    But I loved, and still love, living in California. No offense to the other 49, but this is the best state in our nation. (for me!)

    10 Years in San Diego, and then circumstances brought me to the Bay Area, which I now believe is the best place in the best state in our great Union.

    Coming from Tampa, stay south and warm. From what I can tell from reading you, LA might be a little more your style. So start there.

    But, if it isn’t, you’ll have learned more about CA and which other cities might be more appealing to you.

    Bottom line: Go for it. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

  25. Go for Seattle with a backup choice of San Diego if you decide you hate the weather here.

    I moved here 4 years ago from Ohio and love it. I’d recommend living close to downtown and just enjoy everything the city has to offer. Yes it gets dreary and overcast in the winter, but it’s not as bad as everyone says, we just have to keep saying it or more Californians will move here and drive up the real estate prices. Bonus no state income tax, though the sales tax sucks you can write it off as you would state income tax.

  26. Interesting, I’ve lived in California my whole life and feel that I still need to get the east coast “out of my system”. So I totally know where you’re coming from.

    One thing I would say that I haven’t really seen said here yet is that you could almost think of California as it’s own country, rather than just another state in the USA. It’s so diverse because it’s a hub to so many places and is adjacent and/or close to many countries that have vastly different cultures. I mean, you probably don’t need it with all of your crazy travels and all, but it’s a great place to meet different types of people, create new experiences, and open your mind without having to leave all of the comforts of the States. 🙂

    I will also say that being a California native, you don’t really hear many stories of people moving here and *NOT* liking it… we kind of just have it too good here. Beaches, weather, good food, pretty girls.. the list goes on. 🙂

  27. I think the only choices here are San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, or Santa Barbara. Maybe San Luis Obispo.

    Who wants to live in northern CA? 😛

  28. L.A. is beautiful? This is news to me. I’ve lived in Moscow, Tokyo, New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and L.A., and L.A. has been the most unattractive and intellectually atrophied place I have ever had the misfortune of living. Fine for a visit but one can do much better for living.

  29. I recommend making a decision matrix and applying weights to the different variables which are important in making your decision. Then at the end of it, based on the results, if you’re happy with the top choice, go with it.

    However, if you were wishing it was a different one or start adjusting the weights to make the answer a different one, I think you’ll know your answer that way as well.

    Good luck and for just 1 yr, you can’t go wrong.

  30. If I were you, I’d move to Dubai. I’ve always wanted to live there, and not only because I love EK! It’s a great city, and I want to live there sometime in my life.

  31. San Diego is your kind of place. Not too big or expensive, so it wont be a shock on your wallet or your driving skills. Enough culture to stimulate you. Near the ocean, the desert, and a bigger city , LA. The best thing is the cleanliness , the weather and the people. It is a healthy city to live in, which from your recent posts seems to be important to you. :). It will help balance out your sitting in airplanes so much of the time and eating all that food and diet coke! 😉 If you choose SD, contact me, as a designer I’ll help you set up your pad.

  32. Come to the Silicon Valley. You already work in tech and spend much of your time promoting your digital self. Come to the place where this is happening all the time. Weather is exceptional year-round, you have SJC, OAK, and SFO at your disposal. Palo Alto is paradise on Earth.

  33. Lucky- I’ve been there done that so to speak. There are some great beach communities that you will love in LA and SD. Hermosa Beach in LA is awesome. Manhattan is beautiful as well, but too expensive. Pacific Beach in SD is terrific as well. You are at the perfect age for those spots. I can give you more tips if you want to plan a trip to check them out.

  34. I’m interested as well in why you decided to cross Portland off the list? I’m also 22 and have been living in the SW Washington area (Vancouver,Wa) since I was a kid. I haven’t travelled extensively around the Left Coast or anything but I do think Portland would be a great location for a couple reasons. Obviously there are a bunch of people our age here and there are a ton of things to do no matter what your other interests might be but beside that what I’ve also come to find as a geography student (and travel enthusiast) is that Portland is situated in a great location on the map for traveling purposes. Sure PDX isn’t a major airport but it does have 1) nonstop flight to most major airports 2) reasonable fares most of the time 3) and most important… if there are better fares somewhere else on the west coast you wish you could have acted on, you can, because for only 9000 avios RT you could fly to YVR,SEA, and SFO and for 15000 avios SAN,LAX,LAS, or PHX on AS. Finally, most people think it’s always gray outside for 8 months of the year but it’s not. More then half the time there are periods of sunshine because the clouds are always moving since Portland’s situated along a gorge which a breeze blows through all year. I guess all I can really say is you wouldn’t know unless you tried living here for a year. lol.

  35. Baz Luhrman once said “Live in Southern California, but leave before it makes you soft..”

    He also said — Wear Sunscreen! (perhaps an SPF 50 to avoid the Lobster look?)

  36. Ben,
    Here’s a consideration and then a suggestion.

    FL = zero state income tax
    CA = up to 9% state income tax

    Someone else suggested using your parents’ address as home and just wandering. Why not use your parents’ address, at least at first, and take a short term lease on the west coast? If you decide that you don’t like CA and leave earlier than a year you will have saved X months of rent and substantial income tax.

    I have not read all of the comments on both posts about your move so this may be redundant. Why not Vegas? Reasons to consider:

    Lots of flight; lots of connections through the west coast to get that “500 mile minimum” extra.

    Spectacular natural beauty including mountains (Sierras or 12,000 foot Mount Charleston which is just a few miles away), desert including Death Valley, even the Grand Canyon very accessible.

    Very affordable housing right now… you could probably rent an equivalent place in Vegas for 1/2 or less what it would cost in SFO or L.A.

    Talk about vibe!?!

    NV state income tax = zero

    West coast an hour away or less via McCarran

    If you want to drive anywhere you can be outside of Vegas in 20 minutes or less. If you want to drive out of the L.A. basin figure a minimum of two hours to get out from anywhere near the coast where the airports are.
    In fact my sister lives in Westminster, CA in the LA area. Looking at a map you would think LAX would be a reasonably quick drive, maybe 30 to 40 minutes on I405. Not a chance. If she goes to LAX at very off peak times of the day she figures an hour. During most of the daylight hours she has to plan for 1 1/2 to 2+ hours to drive the 35+ miles.

    So wherever you move to consider the time it will take to reach an airport. Since you do that many times a year and don’t particularly like to arrive early you ought to make that a factor in your decision.

    Hope this helps.


  37. I’ll just modify what I said in the previous thread. The Bay Area is the best part of this country. Full stop. And though it’s not their hub, AA just moved themselves into the finest terminal in the country at SFO.

    Disclosure: I grew up on the west side of Los Angeles County, mostly in Redondo Beach. The person advocating SBA is misleading you; flights in and out are expensive.

  38. I say take advantage of your parents and DRASTICALLY cut your living expenses (rent, utilities, no state income tax, food, etc.)

    Move back with them, they would love to have you! You fly around and travel so much anyway why pay rent and all the additional expenses this entails????

    Instead, SAVE your money and get into a mega investing plan. You have so much money rolling in from the cc aff app links, open yourself an Individual 401k Plan and fund it to the max for several years now that you are so young! Keep adding to your savings and investments as much as possible. Do that for several years, live in hotels or extended stay apts in places you like to check out and keep doing so until one FEELS like home.

    You could be set by age 30. Or be well on your way by age 25 at least.

    Maybe I should forget about my own blog and start helping you all travel bloggers with your personal finances…But you guys are so cheap you will never pay my fees, lol.

    Good luck on what you decide. I think I have the best idea by far. If you sit down and calculate how much you can save EVERY month doing it my way & what this can do for setting you up for a fantastic foundation for the long term…you will stop fantasizing blowing so much money living elsewhere. If you need a date, just get a hotel suite somewhere & say you live there, lol.

    I thought your Santiago W review was RIGHT on. I complained and got back 10k of the 20k for my two nights. Makes me a feel a little better.

    Take care,


  39. I currently live in Kansas and will be making the move to LA in about a month. Im really excited, but every time I think about it I get really nervous! I have been in KS too long and I also need a change of venue and want to get the west coast out of my system. So here’s to moving to the west coast.

    I might be looking for a roommate to keep costs down! hit me up if you want more details.

  40. Hmmm… I say why move? FL has really great ticket prices, and the rent is not too bad!! You don’t have to worry about much, plus if you ever want to go to LA, go and rent and apartment for a month, while keeping your stuff in TPA. In fact, that’s what I’d recommend. Keep your home and your stuff in TPA and rent nice places around the world as temporary bases.
    When you get tired of it, go home!!

  41. Nope, state income tax does not dictate where I live.

    I lived in Hawaii for 12 years because of the climate, in spite of HI’s 8 1/2 % state income tax rate. Taxes were not the reason I left either.

    But to not consider them as a factor when they approach 10% is not prudent in my opinion. Look at it this way. If I make $100,000 per year and live in CA I’ll be paying $6,000 to $9,000 to CA depending on my personal details. In NV for example my state tax would be zero.

    I think that at least considering spending $6,000 to $9,000 on my travel instead of what folks in Sacramento or wherever think is appropriate is simply prudent. For $6,000 I can take one or more truly fantastic trips. Why would I not consider it?

  42. I made the move from Toronto to Seattle 8 years ago and have never regretted it. It is truly a beautiful part of the country since you are surrounded by mountains, lakes and trees everywhere.

    If you want to know more about Seattle, I’m happy to chat.

  43. If you’re going to live west then you’re likely thinking about SF or LA, right? LA takes a really long time to get used to and it’s a TON of driving around, so you have to consider that. Seattle also seems nice.

    End of the day, though, New York city (even with the cold, the taxes, and the insanity) is the most fun place on earth anyone could choose to live!!

  44. I live in London, but would love to move to South Florida or Arizona if I had an American visa / green card.

    In your case, I’d vote for Arizona. It’s west (albeit minus the coast), the Sonoran desert landscape (including mountains!) is gorgeous and unique in the whole world. Although I prefer Tucson to Phoenix (prettier, not quite as hot, more progressive), the Valley of the Sun is probably more convenient for travel, thanks to Sky Harbor.

    So there you have it! Now, where should I move… and when will America let me, a perfectly normal European citizen, move in? :o)

  45. Taxes aren’t usually a factor in where to move but when you consider that Lucky’s income isn’t going up, it has to be a factor. It’s less money he has to spend on travel.

    I would look at the cost if living index calculators and see how it works for you.

  46. I’ve lived in NY, San Diego, and the Midwest.

    People either love or hate LA. And I think the people who love it just want to suck more people into the suckiness that is LA.

    I’d live in San Francisco if it wasn’t so expensive.

    I’ve lived in San Diego the past 4 years and there’s a reason it’s called America’s Finest City. But it’s not as exciting or culturally or culinarily stimulating as many other cities though. I miss NYC for those reasons. Great place for young people. And if you are single, there are a lot of young, attractive, fit people here.

    Don’t listen to the people who say the weather in Seattle doesn’t suck. It does.

  47. In response to Jason H and also Lucky with regards to the USVI…Lucky hit it right on the head, it’s expensive. You’re looking at $100 minimum RT to SJU and that only nets you 1000 miles if you’re an elite and a paltry 396 if you’re not, then to get someplace in States you’re looking at MIA which hovers about $400 RT in Y though on the plus side upgrades almost always clear out of STX and since we have no catering you don’t have to worry about over eating on the plane!

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s incredible and we love it here…it’s just not a good home base for travel!

  48. The one other piece of advice I’d give you is to move someplace where you can afford to be “in the mix” – downtown-ish or in a unique community.

    After all, what’s the point of moving to LA or SFO if you’re just going to live in some random suburb that could be Anywhere, USA?

    In that regard, Seattle and even moreso Portland rate highly. I don’t know what your budget is, but finding your own apartment in a central neighborhood in SF or LA would be very expensive.

  49. I saw your doppelganger on the bus this afternoon, so maybe *don’t* move to Seattle – there isn’t room for two of you in this town!

    I kid, I kid. Move to Seattle. We’ll be glad to have you, even if we don’t act like it.

  50. One of the reasons I love to read your blog is that you are a thinker and a planner. Therefore I have an idea. Since you are getting some pretty well-rounded advice on here, why not take it a step further and drill deep with this terrific network of readers that you have built up? Here is what I mean:

    Whittle down your cities to the top 5 or so… a manageable number. It sounds like you are leaning toward the west coast but just in case maybe you should throw one or two non-west coast cities in there as a wild card.

    Then ask your readers (we are a loyal bunch who want to help) to arrange a day for you in each of those five cities to try and pitch you on their city.

    The one caveat that I would ask, is that if you use this idea, please let my city be one of them!

    I live in a city with the busiest airport in the world, the largest airline hub, with dirt cheap, non-stop flights to all over the world (that should immediately give away which city I’m in). We are an Olympic host city, with tons and tons of young people (right out of college and still in college). Your dollar goes a long way here (you could easily purchase or rent a condo in a sweet high-rise), and the Appalachian Trail starts about 80 miles north of here (so we have some mountains for you).

    We also have four distinct seasons here (unlike Florida).

    I love the west coast too and frequently travel there from here. We have dozens of non-stop flights leaving all day long to all sorts of west coast cities for very cheap prices.

  51. As a East Coast transplant to Seattle, I’d would suggest you exercise some caution before coming here. The qualities that make this city nice – the people, the mountains, the weather – can be found in Portland, OR as well as Vancouver. For better or worse, the “Seattle Freeze” is a real phenomenon and consequently it’s difficult to build a social network here. I’d say go for Portland, SF or Vancouver.

  52. Hello Ben – I live in Santa Clara, CA (40 min from SF). Weather here is great. The reason why I stay here, it is close enough to Yosemite (about 4 hours), so that I can visit multiple times a year. Good luck with your choice!

  53. OK, one last suggestion wa-a-y-y-y outside of the box but very doable.


    Why not live for three to six months in one of your two favorite places on earth?

    You’d be in Berchtesgaden on all of your days at “home”. With all of it’s charm and all those wonderful food and drink shops waiting just a block or two away in any direction.

    You could use your parents’ address as home.

    You can rent a one-bedroom apartment there (Ferienwohnung as you know) for Euro 1200 per month for a negotiated 90 day or more rental.

    You could fly in and out of Munich as quickly as you will be able to reach LAX or SFO from many places that you might live. SLZ is very, very close too even if it has far fewer choices than Munich.

    You’d be in Berchtesgaden.

    If for some wild reason Berchtesgaden ever gets old then drive twenty minutes to Salzburg; an hour to Innsbruck; forty-five minutes to the Chiemsee, Mondsee, St. Wolfgand See; an hour and a half to the Grossglockner; two hours to the Sud Tirol in Italy, etc., etc., etc.

    Think of all of the airlines that you can try that don’t ever fly to the U.S.

    Did I mention that you would be in Berchtesgaden?

  54. hey ben,
    i’ve lived all over the usa [i’m old]. Cant beat the East SF Bay, laddie!
    SF is damn cold. it would kill you after Tampa! And it’s a BIG CITY not the intimate place that it was 30 yrs ago. The East Bay has whatever you want: many microclimates; many multicultural areas; funky Beserkeley; staid Peidmont [not for you!]; blue collar, low cost san leandro; etc, etc.
    but for you why not Walnut Creek- a real sleeper. a satellite city. not too big. not too expensive. on BART, so you can do SF whenever you want conveniently. But the best part: it has a terrific singles scene with many foxy hip young women employed in WC’s many white collar firms. cost of living not anywhere close to SF. warm climate. close to the sierra nevada [hell, learn to snowboard!]. And it’s on its way to becoming quite multicultural- the hallmark of the bay area. “cmon over”!!!

  55. Sacramento area or Davis, CA. Great airport. Close enough to SFO as a second home airport (amtrack and BART).
    Tahoe is 90 min away, SF is 90 min away.
    Flying out of the new terminal at SMF is a joy. Cheaper than the Bay area with less traffic.

  56. I live in Seattle but lived in MD for 20 yrs and miss it. You can live in west central MD and be within 50 mins from IAD, DCA, and BWI and be in some beautiful country with cheap living. With all of those MR opportunities…. Check into it…

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *