NROP: Where Should I Move To?

Growing up, I live among people who grew up, lived, and died in the same city. More often than not, they would spend their entire lives in the same neighborhood. A busy street divided the area into two unequal parts. One consisted of older homes and the other was where new homes popped up. If you were from the older part but married someone from across the street, chances are you would ‘upgrade’ and move into their family home. Marriage – the golden ticket! As I write this, I laugh because it sounds like I grew up in the middle ages.

Although my parents tried their hardest to make me like the neighborhood, I never really felt at home. I often wondered if it was because my parents and I were not from there, unlike all the others, or if it was something else. I cringe when I recall feeling like I had been made for bigger and better things. It is not the other residents were not. They were just content with staying in their perfectly cozy bubble. I wanted to explore the world, meet people from all sorts of cultural backgrounds, and set my tastebuds on fire by trying different cuisines.

Even though growing up I would tell my parents that I wanted to get out of there when I became an adult, I do not think they really believed me. Or, they just thought they would convince me to stay in due time. When I moved out, they were surprised but took it calmly because they thought I would return soon enough. Well, I did not. The traveling bug that THEY infected me with proved stronger than they thought. No, I did not backpack through a third-world country. Instead, I moved to a place that I knew and felt comfortable in. I thought I would stay there forever. Well, I did not.

Fast forward some years. I like where I live currently, but I have this feeling that this is not going to be my forever home, which makes me wonder where I will find myself next and what would have to happen for me to return to the place from the first paragraph.

My partner is pretty happy with staying where we are. Most of their life is tied to this place. I think it is important to acknowledge that, for many, people are what either makes us move or keeps us from moving. And for them, people are what makes them want to stay. It might seem harsh, but I see this as a limitation of sorts. It makes me think back to the people that were born, grew up, and died/will die in that same part of town from my childhood. Do they ever regret not exploring their full potentials just because they had everyone they had known in that very area? Yes, I also think about the flip side – Do they wonder if I wasted my life searching for something that was right there and then? I will probably never know their answer and they will not get to know mine. Like with anything else, the truth is probably somewhere in between.

As of right now, I do not plan on moving. However, I would be lying if I said that I never think of that potentiality. In fact, due to some unusual circumstances of mine, I think of it probably more often than an average Joe. There are the places to where I would move out of some sort of obligation, places that would make financial sense for one reason or another, as well as those that I would like to move to just because.

While some might label me a pessimist (I maintain that I am a realist), I do like to search for silver linings in every negative situation (learning from it is a big one). While the COVID-19 pandemic brought a lot of bad, I believe that it also delivered some positives to us. One of them is the ‘work from anywhere’ benefit.

In January of last year (pre-pandemic), I wrote an article entitled “I don’t wanna go down to the basement about tiny living spaces that were becoming a trend in the densely populated metropolitan areas. Before the pandemic, it was “obvious” that if you were serious about your career, you would move to a big city. There, you would live in a tiny apartment, grateful for not being stuck in traffic for two hours each morning and evening. You sacrificed the suburbs, which you thought (just like me) was where dreams went to die. In the city, you were close to everything and you were going to rock it!

Recently, I read an article, from which I learned that small towns are offering monetary incentives to those that are willing to move into their neighborhoods. Apparently, a nonprofit organization in Arkansas offered $10,000 and a mountain bike to qualifying individuals if they were to move to a certain area. There are different reasons why certain parts of the country would pay people to move there.

“Some (…) are trying to create a pool of high-skilled workers to help fill job openings. Others aim to build up a skilled workforce to attract companies. Still, others are combating longstanding population declines or are looking to fill new housing complexes.”

Yahoo Finance

I have to say that I am rather happy to see this happen. I felt like the cities would drain the life of many people in exchange for a promise of something that was elusive. The odds were stacked against people from poorer parts of the country that were not able to travel to and live in a big city. If there is potential talent everywhere, companies can choose to set up wherever, without worrying about bribing city officials for tax breaks, etc. To me, it seems like a win for the company (find cheaper places), for the employee (freedom to settle wherever they want), and for the towns that were mostly overlooked until now (taxes/economy).

The article lists different states as well as the perks they offer. It is not always cash. There are tax breaks for student loans, free food (limited), free activities (like zip-lining), and more.

While the countryside has never been my go-to, I am more and more aware of its benefits, compared to the concrete jungle that is the downtown of a big city. The moment we got notified of taking our work home last year, I knew that people would seize that opportunity to move to where they felt more comfortable. Many people moved out of apartments into homes to be able to accommodate their home office. Many moved into the suburbs to be able to sit in their gardens while they attend a Zoom meeting. I believe that is one of the factors that caused housing pricing/housing demand to go up. If there is no commute, there is no point to live in a tiny apartment on top of one another.

Now, of course, many people are being brought back to the office but many are putting their foot down, happy with their new living arrangements. I find it interesting that my boss would like me to be at the office as often as I could, but yet would not object to me working from a different continent if I needed to. That, of course, would be only temporary (not for more than a week or two).

  • If you could pick any place, where would you choose to spend the rest of your life?
  • What influences your decision to move (or not?)
  • Would you be able to keep your current job if you moved to a different city/state/country/continent?

Stay golden,

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72 thoughts on “NROP: Where Should I Move To?

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      1. It is more Larry than me. he has this fantasy about living abroad, although I am REALLY disgruntled with what is going on in the USA at the moment. For the moment, Oz (Australia) is off the table. To much crap going on down there.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I haven’t been following much news (other than constant lockdowns and protests) regarding AU, so I’ll trust in what you say.

          Is he thinking Europe? Yea, I’m definitely worried about this country.


          1. Right now the two tops on our list are Spain, Mallorca and Portugal, but who really knows. I am VERY concerned about the future of the USA. SCARY stuff going on right now, but sadly, it is happening everywhere. So I don’t really have an answer as to where to go.

            Liked by 1 person

          1. Life is NOT normal at all down under. Australia has one of the toughest lockdown policies in the world. People are being arrested for going outside and walking their dogs. They are forcing people into “camps” if they are unvaccinated. People are being beaten and pepper sprayed from the cops if they are not wearing their masks. it is like NAZI Germany, and Australia is supposed to be a free country. It’s just sickening what’s going on down there.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. The power of the media to influence perceptions overseas is amazing as it is nothing as you describe Jeanne, as I am Australian and I live here, although in one state there have been a few ugly protests mainly involving right wing activists, which have been highlighted in the media, it is nowhere near the Nazi Germany that you describe. Certainly not in my state and in most of the country. In that one southern states they did have a long lockdown. But we and most of the country have moved freely around for the past two years, not even needing to wear masks for the most part as we have had no Covid cases. We have only been in lockdown for four weeks at the start of Covid last year. But you are right about the borders – we were closed, but now two of the states are open to international visitors. Our state is opening up to international visitors December 17. The videos you have seen have unfortunately led to people thinking the worst. And this is an example of the power of propaganda! That is where the media is acting like Nazi Germany and you and lots of others can only go by what you see. I don’t blame you for thinking this way but it is incorrect.

              Liked by 2 people

                1. That is the state that has been having problems. I am up north in Queensland. We don’t have any Covid and the pandemic has been handled in a way that life in our bubble has continued as normal. We do have to do hotel or home quarantine on our return, if we left the state, but that depends where you go. We can travel to other states and return without quarantine if they have no Covid, which happens with Western Australia and Tasmania and until recently, the Northern Territory as well. The hotel quarantine facilities also are not bad – It might be difficult not being able to leave the hotel ( you can exercise outside your room) for two weeks, but for many months the Government paid for people to be housed in the Hilton, Marriot, Novotel hotels! Not bad if you can get five star accommodation for free. Not fun if you can’t go out, but at least you have a roof over your head and three meals a day provided free.

                  Liked by 2 people

                    1. I believe you now have to pay for quarantine. The lucky ones who returned last year was paid for by Government. Perhaps the meals may still be provided. Each hotel negotiates a contract with the Government so the costs may differ. Hotels at the coast (beach resorts) are also on the list. Not a bad place to spend two weeks if you have a beach view of Surfers Paradise, I guess.

                      Liked by 1 person

                1. Interesting that the report has said that they were pro-vaccination protests as well as anti vaccination protests. People do have the right to protest. I was in a protest about a parliamentary staffer being raped in parliament house myself during the pandemic. (We wore masks). However, my area has no protests and Australia is a huge country with many people. The protests are but a very small minority and some of the protesters have been exposed as extreme right wing nutters who are on the Government watch list! Not people I would want to associate with. There seems to be a lot of misinformation about the vaccine and this frightens those who protest. Most of the people are full of conspiracy theory or as I was told by someone the other day – he refused the vaccine because one of the ingredients has the word Lucifer in the its name!
                  Over the course of two years, a few protests here and there is to be expected and spread over our large country – are to be expected. I like that we have that freedom. There have been some protests in Victoria where police acted roughly, but these are definitely the rarity rather than commonplace.

                  Liked by 2 people

                2. But rest assured, if you were an Australian and you wanted to come home, you could,e ven when the borders were closed. I knew of many friends that returned home during the last two years. It was getting a seat on the flights that was the problem for many. Plus the cost of the flight was expensive and now the passengers have to pay for quarantine too, which means people don’t come home because they can’t afford the quarantine cost. Some left during the pandemic and continue to do so, then want a free plane ride home paid for by the Government.

                  Liked by 2 people

              1. (Social) media is a big reason why people from different corners of the world think they know better what’s going on in other countries than the people living in those countries. People from outside of the US think about things in our country a certain way even though they don’t actually live it. It goes both ways.

                Liked by 2 people

      2. Australia’s borders are now opened with the exception of a couple of states, which open Dec 17. Our country was slow in getting vaccinations – the leader back the wrong horse and so until we are close to 80% vaccinated we had to wait…. come on down. Life is normal where I live. No Covid at all. But when the border opens on dec 17, it will come.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. You wrote a most insightful statement here: “I think it is important to acknowledge that, for many, people are what either makes us move or keeps us from moving.”

    I consider no place “home”. Not since I left my childhood residence. Walked away and never looked back.

    Maybe “place” is a large part of who we are. Or the absence of place, perhaps, just as impactful.

    I’d move to New Zealand in a heartbeat.
    Wife won’t go. I’ll just languish here, dreaming and then dying.
    Like you, I could work from the Moon if that option were available.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Isn’t it funny how some ‘walk away and don’t look back’ while others can’t bring themselves to even entertain that idea?

      Interesting… I consider myself rather flexible and I figure I can call any place ‘home’ only if I make it that. But, if I think about it deeper, doesn’t it mean what you said – that no place is “home” in that case?

      “Languish here, dreaming and then dying” sounds morbid but it also made me chuckle.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Interesting post, mainly because the subject of moving has been on my mind for a while. I’m still tied to where I am for at least another year, but I’d move to the countryside in an instant if I could.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s fascinating to have all these people tell me that they consider moving, too! I’m so used to people staying in one place that it’s all quite a shock.

      What is it that ties you down for at least another year? Work? Lease?

      The countryside is definitely experiencing a Renaissance, in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It does seem that some people are wanderers and others cling to one place, tooth and nail. I’m just coming up on forty years since I left home to go to university, and I suspect if you had asked me back then whether I was a homebody or a wanderer, I would probably have said homebody, and been wrong.

    I went to university about 90 miles from my parent’s house, and six years later got a job in the area, which really upset my mother who wanted to know when I would be “coming home”. I really couldn’t explain that I was “home”, even after I bought a house near to my job.

    Move on a few years and I met my partner and we moved to a village ten miles out of town. On another ten years and we downsized to our current place, a small farm about 200 miles away. Part of that move was possible because my employer was prepared to let me work remotely and just make that 400 mile round trip once a month to check in at the office. Now we have no “day job” and just enough money to get by.

    I can’t imagine moving from here, the closest I think I’ve ever felt to being a “real home”, but who knows what the future will bring?

    Oddly enough, I was talking to a chap from Ireland the other day, and the problems of tracking ancestors when they’re also wanderers. As it happens, a chunk of my ancestors moved from Ireland to Wales/Scotland/England in the late nineteenth century. My father has tried tracing some of the genealogy but it’s not easy with people who move around a lot, change their names, and don’t always spell their names the same way.

    It’s tempting to think I got the wanderer gene from my father, because he’s the sort of man who is at home wherever he is, but then I should have got the homebody gene from my mother who refused to move house until the day she died.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “which really upset my mother who wanted to know when I would be “coming home”. I really couldn’t explain that I was “home”, even after I bought a house near to my job.” You have no idea how true that rings. I have to say that it broke my heart a little when I realized that ‘home’ was not where others thought it should be. But then, I had to learn to get over that if I ever wanted to live an independent life.

      You say this current place of yours makes you feel “closest” to what you’d call home, leading me to believe that it’s not it. That makes me wonder if it’s a good think or a bad thing. Does it mean that we will never find that magical place or just that any place can really be THAT place?

      My parents were both pioneers in the sense that they were the first generations in their families to move far, far away. (At leas in the known to me history.) It’s funny how they did that but then, in their old age, regretted that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I suspect the feeling of “home”, or the lack of it, says that I am a natural wanderer, or that I’m an awkward devil who never quite fits in. 🙂

        It’s interesting that so much of my father’s side of the family were wanderers, that my sister lived and worked in Germany for ten years and after our mother passed, our father upped and moved to a flat that suited him better, and so far as I know, all of the South Wales branch of the family have now moved out of Wales.

        None of us seem to know how to stay put.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad you’re back! Now stay please 😉

    When I was the age of 15/16, I was in a group of friends, 3 boys and 3 girls. We always said we would marry each other and remain living in the same town in close proximity of each other and meet up every week.
    I think for some of us it might have been a joke (definitely for me and the guy I was supposed to end up with), I think for another pair it was more a physical attraction and the third…. well they are actually married now with two kids still living in the same town. But they only started dating about 10 years later.

    I have moved a couple of times. I am so ready to do it one more time.
    I would be happiest surrounded by nature and preferably no people around me (just J).
    I won’t go mad, I swear.
    Actually, I just realized, I haven’t talked to anyone face to face i. 1.5 year ( other than J, doctors, and people working in stores and restaurants).

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I keep wanting to stay but it doesn’t seem to be working out all that well 100% of the time. Thank you for your encouragement!

      Hahah! I remember some of my friends in primary school telling me who they were going to marry… and they did! Quite scary. Not sure if it’s true love or … ??? In college, me and my 3 friends talked about coupeling up and staying best friends forever. We all ended up with different people and I have not really had contact with them since uni.

      1.5 years no face-to-face interactions? Sounds like a dream!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. There is no doubt people make places. I think i would love to reside one amongst these two places; in the Himalayas and near a river, a source i can sit, hear the sound and more often just go for a swim. Come back home and make sure to keep writing my heart out everyday.

    Nara x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s nice to hear from you, and such a serendipitous post. I just got back from a long weekend with friends. We were visiting one of our group who has moved to a small town some five hours away. She’s trying to convince us all to move up there with her. For A, people make the place. For me, it’s people and my environment.

    I’m very attached to my physical stuff, my routine, and my space. The idea of moving is hard. I like having my park, and my stores, and my insider’s knowledge of place. Plus, family is here: the idea of leaving my children is hard. They can leave me and head off into the world and that’s fine. It is as it should be. But me going, and leaving them permanently behind feels wrong.

    I guess fear and love are my biggest influencers. On the bright side, being on disability means that I, too, can work from anywhere 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t imagine moving somewhere where I would not like the environment. No matter who was there. Well… that’s not true. I might move, but I’d be miserable.

      I know what you mean about being attached to your space. That’s what I miss about the previous cities I lived in. Certain spots that I visit whenever I go back. I take solo walks to sponge those moments so they can last me until I am able to visit next time.

      It’s interesting to hear that you wouldn’t mind your children moving away, yet you would feel bad if you were to move away from them. That seems to be a very mature, understanding, and caring approach.

      Stay golden!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sam, you hit on some thoughts that have been playing on my mind ever since I had kids. I’m only in Helsinki because of my family. When I was in my twenties, I didn’t think about other people and didn’t really miss anyone. I guess it’s GOOD that I now have people who are important to me, and keep me here, but on the other hand I feel misplaced. This is not my home, but it’s becoming my kids’ home.
    Where would I move? Hawaii, the Mediterranean, or Australia. Realistically, though, the Mediterranean is the only option of the three which I don’t need a visa for.
    Currently, I could work from anywhere, but who knows. Management at my company are talking about how much “we all miss seeing colleagues face to face”, which I interpret as “we’d like to see you back at the office because after all this time, we still don’t trust you when we can’t see you.”
    It’s funny because I was always saying (way before Covid) that hey, why can’t I just take my laptop and work from Thailand all winter? And everyone laughed at me. My employer would never allow us to. And now, suddenly, we can – except that travel isn’t as easy due to the pandemic and also I have kids now. Then again, it would be great for my kids to live somewhere else in their childhood – like I did – so I guess it’s mostly my significant other who is holding us back! We have different dreams and expectations of life. It really should be something you ask on the very first date!!! 😀 “If a pandemic enabled us all to work online, location-freely, would you move abroad with the rest of the family – by the way, we would also have kids by then!?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hawaii, the Mediterranean area, or Australia sound like great places to live! I’ll take the Mediterranean cusine, in a Hawaiian setting, with an Australian atmosphere, please.

      “we’d like to see you back at the office because after all this time, we still don’t trust you when we can’t see you.” DITTO! It’s absolutely insane… I actually went in to work recently and observed two things: 1)due to an ‘open door’ policy (and paper-thin walls), everyone can hear what is going on in the surrounding offices (no privacy and VERY distracting), 2) people mostly kept to themselves and just focused on their own work (i.e. no difference than if we were at home). I pray that they will see the light soon…

      I believe that if kids have the opportunity to live in a foreign place when they are young – it will be of great benefit to them. Too many people worry about uprooting them from environment they feel comfortable in (weird).

      Hahahha! I totally agree with your 1st date questions!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve always live in about a 30 mile radius from where I was born and up until recently I thought I always would. In the past two years the subject of moving out of state has come up and I have to admit that there are things might happen that would cause us to do so. Never say never!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As with many of your articles, this one resonates with me. You make some keen observations about the promises made by the different living situations– the city promises excitement and success, while the suburbs promise peace and permanence. Whether or not those always deliver what they promise is a separate matter.

    It seems that there is an interesting conundrum among young people these days, in that many want to go out and “experience the big, wide world,” yet when it comes to work, they would like the freedom to stay hunkered in their apartment/house. And with the way some employers are doing things, this is becoming possible. Previous generations did not have the option. They had to choose either the mobile lifestyle or the stationary lifestyle. But today young professionals expect to have their cake and eat it too, as they do in other areas of life. This is not necessarily a bad thing in the workplace– in some ways, it’s a wonderful opportunity– but having the ability to tailor-make one aspect of life can sometimes lead you to expect that in every area of life. And well, that’s not real life.

    As someone who craves adventure and yet cherishes stability, I find myself at an interesting turning point too. It used to be that we had to sacrifice one for the other, but maybe in this remote age that won’t be a dilemma. I think the important thing is to decide what/whom your priorities are, and decide what you are or aren’t willing to sacrifice on behalf of those priorities. What/whom, in the final analysis, will we regret having not given more time? What/whom will we wish we pursued more fully because of its innate value (not just the pleasure it brings us)?

    I hope you find a clear path ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was just thinking of you yesterday, wondering how your projects were coming along.

      “(H)aving the ability to tailor-make one aspect of life can sometimes lead you to expect that in every area of life.” I have not thought of that, but you are absolutely right. Two years ago I would have been fine with working from home one day a week. Now, I struggle with going to the office once a week. I can’t think of other things that I would like ‘tailor’ at the moment, but I’m sure those will come with time.

      The analysis you mention is definitely a ‘must-do.’ However, I find that sometimes the answers to those theoretical questions are different than those in practice.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, the answers to our questions are much more easily said than implemented! What we *think* is most important to us is often not reflected in the choices we make each day.

        The projects have been going swimmingly– some incredible connections have opened up as well! I’ll be back in the blogging saddle pretty soon here, and will finally be catching up on other folks’ articles. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I grew up in a small small town where everyone knew everyone else.. and it kinda seemed like the place where dreams didn’t die because you couldn’t even dream unless it was of bright city lights of the capital city which never sleeps, Harare.
    Now that been in Harare, hmmm turns out up close the lights arent as bright oh and due to loadshedding we have turned off the bright city lights and for most what has become the Zimbabwean dream is to leave Zimbabwe *sigh*
    From before the pandemic when someone would ask me where I would want to live I would say pretty much anywhere I had peace of mind an internet connection and reliable electricity… and with the pandemic and uptake of remote work, well it seems to be achievable… now I can dream again of travelling all over having coffee from quaint lil places and writing about it…
    Some people prefer to be grounded and others, well the world beckons


    Liked by 1 person

    1. “it kinda seemed like the place where dreams didn’t die because you couldn’t even dream” what a profoundly sad, but beautiful line.

      Yours is a great example of how what we want isn’t always what we need. Sometimes what we think we want turns out to be what we DON’T want. The grass is always greener…

      The world beckons… Stay golden!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Tough reflection. As someone who is in the midst of moving out yet staying in the city where I was born and raised, it’s definitely something that makes you realize that there are sooooo many factors that play into why a person chooses something closer to downtown, suburbs, forest or farm! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I lived in the same house the whole time I was growing up (21 years) when I moved to another city to work. I lived there for 4 years and couldn’t wait to move back “home”, It wasn’t the place, it was the people. My husband and I moved into our third home after only 5 years of marriage. I told him the only way he was going to get me out was in a box. Well, I am still here 33 years later. I am a homebody and love the neighbourhood. It is a suburb of the city I grew up in, so not a concrete jungle, but a still close to the city.

    So, now, why are you considering a move? Not sure what it is like where you are, but here, housing prices are so crazy!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even though you say you’re a homebody, it also sounds like you just found the right place. You could have refused to move from the first or second house at the beginning of your marriage.

      I’m not considering a move hard. Moving has been in the back of my head my whole life. There are time periods when that thought is mostly dormant. It’s not that I don’t like where I’m at, but I love exploring, and that is what tries to pull me somewhere else. Interesting to hear that the housing prices in Canada are crazy, too. Yes. I’ve put my next move on hold because of that. However, that is a … short move (staying within the same area, just a different building). I’m wondering above moving somewhere else. A different state, a different country, etc. The motivation isn’t fully there yet, but it seems like it’s brewing.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Interesting! I was always wanting to travel, learn more, when I was growing up too. And I do wonder if those people who stayed know what they were missing by not travelling. I’m so glad people are putting their foot down about working from home. It will be great for women, minorities etc if there is a real shift in the ways people can work. I would never go back from freelancing! If I could live anywhere, it would be in a small town on the coast here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think not knowing what it is they are missing by not traveling helps. Some of them might like to wonder ‘what if,’ but if you don’t know what’s out there, you can’t really miss it all that much.

      I totally agree with your sentiments regarding working from home and a small coastal town!


  14. I’ve lived in the same city all my life and don’t plan on moving. Hopefully I can move into a bigger place one day as you mentioned the wfh option is one I enjoy a lot. You bring up some good points in this post but I do agree that the answer is somewhat in the middle.

    Liked by 1 person

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