Where Do You Live, and Why Do You Love it?

by Katy on May 9, 2009 · 60 comments

I was coming home from the library last week and was thinking about how much I love Portland, Oregon. Sure it rains a lot, but that is tempered by beautiful lush gardens and a deeply green landscape.

I love our library system, distinct neighborhoods and awareness of green issues. I love our proximity to beaches and mountains; abundant thrift stores and independently owned business.

Portland is a great place to be from, and it’s a great place to live.

I have lived in Ohio, London, New Mexico, New York City and Chicago. But I came back to my hometown and have never regretted that decision.

Which brings me to the question:

Where do you live, and why do you love or not love it?

Please share your hometown in the comments section below. Let’s see how many cities, states, providences and countries there are in our Non-Consumer Advocate community!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”


{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Roxanne May 9, 2009 at 5:44 am

I live in Shreveport, LA and I love it. I love that I was able to buy a double-barrel shotgun shack in the historic district of Highland that cost next to nothing and generates income.

I love that everything I need is within walking distance. I love that I have great friends and neighbors. I love the art and the culture and how people are working to make this place even more artsey.

I love Mardi Gras.

I LOVE my screened porch out back.

I have lived in Vancouver, Toronto, England, Idaho, New England and Texas. Shreveport isn’t my hometown but I will stay as long as I can.


April May 9, 2009 at 6:30 am

Delaware, Ohio (my hometown). Left when I was 18, vowing never to come back. Lived in Chicago (loved), Portland, OR (loved but my lungs didn’t), Bay Area (decent), Stockton, CA (my boys were born there), then returned to Delaware in 1990 and have not looked back since!


Jinger May 9, 2009 at 7:12 am

I find so much inspiration where I live, in Austin, Texas, a city with natural beauty everywhere. My apartment is on the edge of a woodland meadow park designated as a wildflower site and yet just 5 minutes from downtown! Our spring fed swimming pools and hike and bike trails are treasures. And amazing thrift stores and library system too.

I grew up outside of Boston, lived in Denver in the early 70’s, then New Orleans for 33 years until 2005 when Hurricane Katrina washed my life away. After that, I spent a year in Tucson and came to love the desert landscape. And for the last 3 years, Austin, my new hometown.


Cheryl May 9, 2009 at 7:35 am

I live in Highlands Ranch, CO. Love it. I have lived in Honolulu, HI, Santa Barbara, CA, Mountain View, CA and Fresno, CA. The views here are incredible and coming from HI actually having 4 seasons is fun.

Definately great library system and so much free things to do outside…


Meg from FruWiki May 9, 2009 at 7:53 am

Yay, an excuse to brag about Gainesville, FL! 😀 My husband and I LOVE it here and we’ve really fought to stay here over the years.

It’s been named by various places as the best place to live, the best place to retire, etc. And I believe it’s well deserved. It’s been called the Berkeley of the south east and is often compared to Asheville, NC in terms of culture and overall atmosphere (main difference: – mountains, + easy to navigate roads).

Here’s why I love G’ville:

* It’s green. People here care about the environment. The mayor used to be an environmental engineer before she got into politics. People care about the environment enough to vote for all sorts of green measures. We have the best solar energy buyback program in the nation. There are lots of green minded groups and stores catering to the green crowd.

* It’s green — literally. Gainesville is known for its trees, particularly live oaks. It looks a lot like Charleston or Savannah with all the trees and Spanish moss. And generally speaking, you can’t cut down trees of a certain size — not without special permission. There’s also lots of beautiful parks, nature trails, creeks, springs, etc.

* Local food and other products. There are lots of farmers markets in the area and lots of farms. We go to a locally-owned grocery store that also sells a lot of locally-grown or locally-made products. Even my shampoo is made in the area.

* Southern hospitality and a small town feel. Despite being a good sized city, it really does feel more like a small town. People are very friendly here. And try to find real sweet tea in California! No problem here!

* It’s got a great downtown. I got to say, I love the architecture downtown, especially the new stuff. The recent trend has been leaning towards a New Orleans / Charleston style that looks great. And there are lots of great restaurants and shops as well as a farmers market every Wednesday and lots of free events.

* Transportation is pretty good. I complain that the bus system is designed too much for the student trying to get to UF, but it is a great system for a city this size — and it’s free to UF students due to subsidies from the school. We also have a very easy to navigate system of roads. They’re in a grid, for the most part. There are plenty of sidewalks and bike lanes, and even a few pedestrian under and over-passes. We even have nice medians. And though I complain about it at the beginning of semesters, the traffic really isn’t bad at all.

* Great schools. There’s UF and several other colleges. So, it’s easy to take classes for business or pleasure and there are always great events.

* Great hospitals. Plenty of great doctors to choose from.

* Diversity. UF brings in a lot of students from different countries and cultures. It’s quite a salad bowl. It’s easy to forget that leaving the city brings you into what could easily be considered the deep south. Perhaps it’s not so surprising then that Gainesville is a blue dot in a sea of red, politically speaking. But the best part is all the different cuisines represented in local restaurants!

* Low cost of living. Things are cheap here, including housing. California and New York prices blow me away. Not so here! My mom thinks our taxes are outrageous, but only because she lives in the county to the east on a dirt road. I prefer to live on a paved road with everything near by, but it’s nice to know we could move further out and save more money if need be.

There are a few cons to living here, though!

* It’s hot and humid. You might consider this a good thing, but can’t stand feeling sticky all day and night, though I’m trying to save money by using the AC only as needed.

* Not a lot of high paying jobs. It’s a college town, there’s tons of people looking for jobs, and most jobs are pretty much entrance level and for entrance level pay. There aren’t a lot of big businesses beside the hospitals and schools and — unless you’re a doctor — they don’t pay all that well.


Kristen @TheFrugalGirl May 9, 2009 at 8:38 am

I live in a suburb of Annapolis, MD, or Baltimore, MD…I’m kind of in between those two cities!

This area is beautiful and lush, and there are quite a few job opportunities here(although an awful lot of them are government related because we’re close to DC and Ft. Meade.

Unfortunately, it is a rather expensive area…we’d really prefer to move somewhere where the cost of living isn’t so stupidly high, but then again, it’s harder to find a job in those areas.


Tekla May 9, 2009 at 9:06 am

I live in Salt Lake and I love the weather, the mountains and the people. The library system is great also. The city is also pretty clean and the people are generally pretty nice.


Jess May 9, 2009 at 9:50 am

I too live in Portland, OR and I love that mass transit is such an accepted option, it’s almost the default. There is greenery year round. I can walk around my neighborhood and see elaborate gardens filled with native species and a minimum of manicuring. The school nearest my house is devoted to environmental education and they have tiny herb and veggie gardens for specific dishes (salsa, spaghetti, etc). Sixth graders across Portland are required to spend a week at an environmental ed camp, something most everyone I talk to remembers fondly.

I still dislike most of SW PDX though. No sidewalks!


Louise May 9, 2009 at 11:15 am

I live full-time on the road in an RV, and I love it. I can sample the advantages of any place I visit, and leave any place I don’t like.

My husband and I and our pets have visited most of the places the previous commenters listed. We enjoy using the local public transit, walking to funky little restaurants, and even using a different laundromat each time!

What I don’t like is answering the question, “Where are you from?” When we point at the RV and say, “There,” no one is ever satisfied with that answer even though we’ve lived in it for 5 years. People seem to really NEED to pigeonhole others based on place. They’ll walk around to the back to see the license plate and say, “Oh, Washington. What part?” But we aren’t from Washington, that’s just where the RV is registered and we file our taxes. It is our legal domicile.


Gwen May 9, 2009 at 3:30 pm

My husband and I are originally from Ohio but now live in Portland, OR. I’ve lived in Dallas, TX, Charlotte, NC and Myrtle Beach , SC.

We’ve lived here for 9 years this summer and love it. The rainy weather suits me just fine! Our home (condo) overlooks wetlands and right now I’m listening to a “jungle” of bird sounds including a woodpecker. At night we’re serenaded by frogs and occasionally hear coyotes.


Marci May 9, 2009 at 3:48 pm

I have lived most of my life in Easton, Pennsylvania. I was born in Sacramento, CA, and lived in a short while in Cincinnati, OH.

I like the proximity in PA to the mountains and the beaches, as well as access to many lakes and rivers.

Easton used to have that small home town feel; however, with the influx of people moving into the area from Northern New Jersey and New York, it is becoming too urban and crowded for my liking.

My husband and I plan on semi-retiring next year to Winter Haven, Florida to be closer to family and to live a simplier lifestyle by downsizing to a mobile home on a lake.


Angela May 9, 2009 at 3:58 pm

I have a love/hate relationship with Los Angeles, where I’ve lived for all but 2 of the past 25 years. When I used to drive through it before I lived here, I’d get stuck in traffic and my eyes would burn from the smog and I would wonder how anyone could live in such a hellhole.

Well, the smog and the traffic are still the parts I hate- although there is much less smog, there’s more traffic than ever. If I had a regular commuting type of job, I would go nuts. But since I mostly work from home, I can mostly stick to my own neighborhood and design my own life.

And after living here that long, I have come to really love it. Just a few things I love:
1) There’s so much to do that we can’t even keep up. My husband and I love going to plays and there are great actors here. We have learned all the ways to get the best deals at the best theaters. There are always great concerts in town, exhibits at the wonderful museums, always tons to do.
2) The diversity is great for so many reasons like having really inexpensive delicious ethnic food, listening to your landlord speaking Spanish with a Japanese accent, and meeting people from all over the world.
3) Fantastic hiking in the Santa Monica mountains that is part of the Pacific Coast Trail. About an hour’s drive outside the city, you can get away from everything and feel like you’re in New Mexico or Colorado, but with an ocean view. And seafood for dinner.
4) The weather never ruins our plans. It’s idyllic most of the year, although personally I would actually enjoy a little more rain. But we’re always thankful for our mild weather.
5) Delicious produce, especially avocados and strawberries.
6) So many different neighborhoods, each with a different character, to choose from. The sunset-strip, wanna-be actress, blond hair/fake boobs Los Angeles is really only a very small part and I’m never in that part of the city. I live in an area of retirees, artists, and Latino and Filipino families.
7) People are very active. We are always attending friend’s events like a film they’ve directed, a book they’ve written and are reading from, a play they’re acting in, a band they’re playing in, that kind of thing.
8) The best Mexican food and margaritas!

That’s enough for now…
Los Angeles isn’t synonymous with Hollywood/Beverly Hills and what you see in movies and TV!


Charyl May 9, 2009 at 4:48 pm

I too have a love/hate relationship with my hometown- Va Beach VA. Its got great thrift shopping, public library system, the beach… It is also “stupidly” expensive to live here because of the beach and military. May thru September is hell, but “off season” is a dream. Why do I do it? It’s the closest thing to home after growing up in a military family that moved every 2 years. I know the good, the bad, and the ugly. There is something to be said for familiarity.


A. Marie May 9, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Would you believe dear old dirty Syracuse, NY? Yes, it’s an ugly old rust belt town. Yes, the winters are horrendous. Yes, the place has a bad attitude about itself. But let’s look at the positive aspects: (1) Real estate prices here are very, very reasonable. (I work out of my home here for a small publishing company in NYC, and when my editor-in-chief jokingly asked me, “So when are you moving to New York?”, I replied, “When I can have my house and my land for what I paid for it in Syracuse, I will move to New York.”) (2) The land is lovely. My dead-end street in the city dead-ends onto a considerable green-belt area, and we have almost as much wildlife here as there is in the surrounding countryside. And if I want to go to the countryside, I can be there in 10 minutes. (3) Living here makes you tough. If you can survive 30+ winters in Syracuse–as I have (and I’m a Southerner by birth!)–you can survive almost anything. (4) Living here makes you appreciate your neighbors, especially now that it’s spring and we’re all coming out of our burrows. (5) And last but by no means least, there’s a thriving farmers’ market here, a world-class grocery chain (Wegmans) for when we absolutely must buy other victuals, and a Salvation Army superstore at the foot of my hill for most other necessities!


Gena May 9, 2009 at 7:45 pm

We live in Orange County, CA and CANNOT WAIT for our move to Portland! We’ll be moving in the spring of 2010!

We never were Southern California people [I’m from the San Fernando Valley and my husband is from San Diego], and we fit in FAR LESS in Orange County. We like to say we’re the bluest green people in this red Orange county. 🙂

As in all of SoCal, there’s simply no public transportation infrastructure, rarely is any neighborhood designed to be walkable, and people simply live to excess in most areas. There is no sense of ‘community’ here, and our current focus on frugality just doesn’t work in this area.

We’re so over it. Just waiting for my husband to graduate from law school [which is why we’re here in the first place!] and me to have 1. been at my full-time job long enough to look good on my resume and 2. finish my contract side job [fundraising campaign ends in December].


Renee May 9, 2009 at 8:46 pm

I live in a suburb of Little Rock, Arkansas. I hate living in Arkansas- too much racism and fried food!! But I did meet and marry my hubs here so that is wonderful!


Loren May 9, 2009 at 8:58 pm

I am originally from South Carolina, but now live in San Rafael, CA. I love where I live because I’m close to the ocean, can get to the mountains in a few hours, and am just 30 minutes from San Francisco. I love the exposure to all cultures, the awareness of sustainability, and the weather can’t be beat.


calimama May 9, 2009 at 9:07 pm

A topic that seems to really get peoples fingers typing!!
Like Angela, I currently call Los Angeles home. And like Angela, there are many great reasons to love it. Not least of which is that I can look in one direction and see amazing mountains (on a clear day, we do get them) and in the other direction I have the ocean waves.
I have lived in Toronto, Minneapolis, Michigan, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, the Yukon Territory and California. (and I’m not even part of a military family.) After everything I’ve seen my only promises were:
1) no more hard winters
2) I must have either mountains or ocean, both would be bonus

I have been blessed with both for the last 8 years and with a sad heart to be leaving such wonderful weather, I look forward to the challenges and joys of yet another adventure. We are planning a move to Portland (looks like I’ll be in good company). And I really can’t wait to wax poetic about that city too!


thenonconsumeradvocate May 9, 2009 at 9:17 pm


Wax on!

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


Titti May 10, 2009 at 12:02 am

It seems like I’m the first non American to post a reply 🙂 I live in a small town in the south of Sweden and I love this country because of its heritage and our beautiful nature. I also like my country because our general health insurance and public schools. There are alot of things that we could and need to improve in our country, as in any other country I guess. 🙂 Right now I’m totally in love with nature and how every tree and flower are budding. I’m also busy turning a piece of overgrown farmland into a lawn (to get voles to leave) and planning a vegetable garden. We live in an apartment but I love gardening. Thanks to my brother, who owns that piece of farm land, we can grow some of our vegetables there this summer. My dream is to be more or less self supporting on vegetables, at least during the growth season. I’ve read this blog for a while but this is my first comment. Best regards from one of your Swedish readers.


Non Consumer Girl May 10, 2009 at 12:23 am

I live in Sydney, Australia.

I have also lived in London, and Adelaide, Australia.

I had moved away from Sydney for a few years, but I missed it and moved back!

Here are just a few reasons I love where I live:

The weather is fantastic!
30 mins to the beach
lush green gardens
the fauna in my garden ( i have posted a photo of my rainbow lorikeet vistors today)
safe area
I can walk to everything that I need
so many things to do
so many opportunities, so many interesting people
great restaurants
the public transport system where I live works well for me
decent schools
fresh food, and a wide variety of food


Kate May 10, 2009 at 1:26 am

I live in a suburb of Seattle and I’ve learned to love rain and moss. Green is my favorite color, so I’m definitely in the right place. Seattle is gorgeous with many opportunities for outdoor fun – skiing and hiking are two that I rather enjoy. Also I love living where ‘socks with sandals’ are perfectly acceptable and ironing is always optional.


Cheryl May 10, 2009 at 5:27 am

I live near Kingston, Ontario in Canada. We live out in the country on a small piece of land. We enjoy peace and quiet, privacy, our garden, and no traffic jams. I have lived in cities before but, for me, country living wins hands down. Of course, living in Canada means we enjoy an excellent health care system, too.


Susan Lee May 10, 2009 at 5:43 am

After spending most of my life in Northern NJ, I moved in 1992 to SW Florida when I married my husband. It is beautiful here in our town, but because the cost of living was so low and homes easy to get, the crime rate is rising, especially among kids. Kids here have way too much unsupervised time to get into trouble because their parents are both working several jobs to keep up. Our town is in the adolescent stages of green with recycling, free compost, eco-events, produce stands, etc. Our largest “city”, Sarasota, has a beautiful Sat. morning farmer’s market and Whole Foods and is only 45 min. away. We were really into moving to this little town because it was very wooded and natural, but because it was so “out there” and cheap, so did alot of others. I don’t think there’s any perfect place to live, you just have to enjoy the good parts of where you are and tolerate the not-so-good stuff. So, I’m grateful when the bunnies don’t eat my lettuce and the bobcats don’t eat my dog!


Dawn May 10, 2009 at 6:36 am

I live in Northern NJ, just outside of NYC and I hate it!
It is so congested, the cost of living is crazy, and I have to drive everywhere I want to go because there is not enough local stores to walk to.
I live approximately 5 miles from where I grew up, but as soon as my youngest graduates HS (6 years) I hope to move. I am a nurse, so I do have some flexibility in where I go. I have visited New England and Colorado and loved them both.
I need to live in an area where I can do more outdoor activities (without the fear of getting run over), and a more simple, back to basics lifestyles. I hope to find it.


Nienke May 10, 2009 at 7:19 am

I live in a small village in the eastern part of the Netherlands. I love it because:
*It’s the greenest part of the Netherlands, and I love nature. The landscape’s just gorgeous, with lots of small forests and meadows with cows in them.
*There are cycling paths basically everywhere. I cycle at work (about 25 km a day) and while foreigners might call this crazy, it really isn’t over here (students are used to a lot more cycling).
I love these cycling paths, as they offer me the possibility to relax after work. (Not to mention that my country is flat and thus ideal for cycling!)
*The mindset of the people is really down to earth. People tend to say “Don’t stand there talking about it, just fix it.” I also like how straight-forward people are. And yet I adore the fact they are not at straight-forward as in Amsterdam, where people can be just plain rude.
*It’s not the capital of fashion. While people might notice I don’t update my wardrobe every season, they don’t blame me for it.
I have lived in Friesland (the north of the Netherlands, but almost a country of it’s own) in France (six months only) and at this time I partly live in Belgium, in my boyfriends hometown. While I consider moving to Belgium, I have found my roots are so much stronger than I thought. (That explains my enthousiastic response to your question!)


marzapan May 10, 2009 at 8:16 am

I live in Richmond, CA. On paper it doesn’t seem so hot. High cost of living coupled with a high crime rate, lovely! But it has its charms and I have come to really love it. Many beautiful parks and hiking opportunities. Great, affordable ethnic food. Two fantastic arts organizations that make visual and performing arts instruction available to all kids. Lovely, mild weather and just about as diverse as you could imagine.


Linda May 10, 2009 at 8:48 am

I live in Peabody, KS. which is about 10 blocks by 10 blocks square, with a population of maybe 1,200 people. Before moving here 35 years ago, I lived in almost all of the western states, including Hawaii. When I married and moved to Kansas with my husband, there were a few summers when I threatened to just get in the car and drive northwest until daytime temps dropped at least 35 degrees. When we first moved to Peabody I had to get out of town and spend a couple of days a week in any nearby city, small or large. Now I realize and relish what we have here: incredibly resilient and resourceful people, 4-6 weeks each spring and fall that are absolutely glorious, excellent volunteers of all kinds that keep our little town humming, exceptionally reasonable housing costs, and safety and security one can take for granted any day or anytime. I love the contrast between the our dependable, unchanging little town (including the countryside nearby) and the intense ups and downs of nature and the weather in these parts. Go Small Towns!


Pat May 10, 2009 at 10:55 am

I have a love/hate relationship with Jackson MI. I have lived here my entire 50 years and yes, it is a great place to raise a family. But, the people here are very backwards thinking. High speed rail – nope they don’t want it. Recycling centers – nope most would rather use the landfill or just dump their trash on the roadsides for others to pick up.

But it is in short proximity to other larger towns, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Flint, Toledo OH to name a few. A 4 hour car or train ride and you are in Chicago, which is great. Museums, parks golf courses, outdoor concerts, hiking trails – Jackson provides all those and more. They have a wonderful News Year Eve celebration downtown which is geared for families. And the Christmas parade every year is truly not to be missed; even when it is so cold your eyeballs hurt.

But Jackson has been hard hit with this recession. There are job closings in the paper all the time. We have a high crime area within the city which is so scary you have to be extra cautious whenever going near the downtown section.

I plan on moving in the next 10 years after I retire and (hopefully) and sell my home and property and either moving west or just a bit further south (Indiana) to save on heating bills. I’d like somewhere where recycling is not new or unusual, where rain barrels are accepted and hanging out laundry on a sunny day is the norm not the exception. Mayberry?


Tara May 10, 2009 at 11:01 am

Daphne, AL Where??? On Mobile bay about 20 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. It may not be the greenest community ,it is however trying to become more environmentally aware. We run our garbage/recyclying / utility fleets on Recycled oil and we have a great grassroots group who has been getting grants to add sidewalks everywhere.

The weather here is great if you like heat and don’t like cold. We only have a few nights of freezing temps a year, so it is a gardeners paridise, three growing season, and we can grow a lot of subtropical and tropical fruits here. It is balmy though with as much rainfall anually as Seattle( ours comes down in droves however).

It still has a small town feel with a lot of conviences of a larger metro area. I’ve lived in NYC, The Hudson Valley, Charleston, SC and New Orleans. We came here to have kids and raise them in an area where they can play in the front yard with me not having to worry. Most people don’t lock there doors. The biggest draw for me is my parents are a mile down the road and they get to spend time with us almost daily!


Becky May 10, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Colorado Springs, CO! Lovely hiking trails, majestic mountain views, casual laid back lifestyle, just enough snow to not make you crazy, and tons of sunshine. I love where I live, come visit Katy!


Kathy May 10, 2009 at 2:15 pm

I’m a native Vermonter, living in Massachusetts, about forty miles west of Boston. I live on a lake, and very much enjoy that. Our four seasons are beautiful, but winter is definitely too long. I love having mountains (the Berkshires), city (Boston), and ocean within an hour or two from here. Cape Cod, Maine, and New York City are also very accessible. Our winters are more than offset by the fact that I like the politics here in New England. I’m very proud to be in a region of the country where gay marriage is legal, for example.


sabrinajl May 10, 2009 at 3:18 pm

I’ve lived in Sacramento, CA; Tucumcari, NM; San Diego, CA; Lemoore, CA, and then back to San Diego, where we currently live.

Unfortunately, I do not love it. It’s too expensive and too crowded. I’d love to go back to NM, which is home to me, once my husband retires from the Navy in 5 years. He grew up there and hates it though, so we’ve decided that Colorado Springs, CO is a good compromise. That way we aren’t IN NM, but we are close enough to it that we can visit our families regularly.


KC May 10, 2009 at 3:18 pm

I live in Wellington, New Zealand and have done so for the last 30 years. For me it is a love-hate relationship. Wellington is known as the windy city and for good reasons! But it does mean we don’t suffer from smog and our winters can be dull, dreary and cold. Our city isn’t cycle-friendly which makes for interesting times as a cyclist.

On the up side, our public transportation is pretty darn good, we have fantastic restaurants and cafes, plenty of events and concerts to attend, we’re close to a major wine region and we have access to locally grown fruit and vegetables at various farmers markets. Our waterfront area is the place to be on a sunny day and there are lots of walking / mountain biking tracks very close to the city.

I can’t imagine living anywhere else!


Sarah Williamson May 10, 2009 at 3:34 pm

I am from the Northwest (born and raised) and was forced to leave 9 years ago due to health complications. I lived in Arizona (welcome to the heat of hell) and now San Diego. I truly HATE Southern California and cannot fathom why anyone in their right mind would choose to live here and put up with all this. I would give a lot to be able to live in my beloved Northwest again but it is off limits to me, due to my health. Move back to sure and quick death, is the delicate way my doctors put it after years of struggle.
Coming from a progressive thinking city (Seattle), where recycling is a way of life, ditto carrying your own cloth shopping bags, having intelligent people as friends and neighbors is a given, the nearly frantic “party down dude!” mentality here is just relentless and everywhere. The only food coop in the entire county is nearly on the border in one of the most unsafe areas around and difficult to get to. Housing is shoddy and ridiculously priced. People seem to be oblivious to the dirty air and filthy ocean, not connecting the very high cancer death rate and their food, water, air etc. The violence that spills over into San Diego from Mexico is no joke.
Finding like minded people is difficult. I am just much happier living around creative, mindful, positive people. I miss the VALUES and ETHICS. It is a prison with a balmy climate here.
The massive fires come every few years and we are just about all “toilet-to-tap” here. Why would anybody choose to live here? It’s because they believe this myth that life is easy here, it’s all one big grand vacation, with lots of fun!fun!fun! at the endless beach parties and infidelity as a way of life is not considered unusual.
So if you like superficial people, overcrowded conditions, the constant sound of cars and trucks, lines in any situation and concern for your personal safety, not to mention dipping into the ocean or the bay waters and coming up with human excrement on your skin, well, then this is certainly the place for you.
As I said, I could not imagine anything more wonderful than to be able to live in my own part of the country, where you can eat good salmon, grow a garden, enjoy the rainy days, and live an empowered life.
sign me, Miserable in Margaritaville.


penelope May 10, 2009 at 5:36 pm

i live in Connecticut and i dont like it one bit. it’s too quiet. i prefer new york city….the city that never sleeps!


Francine May 10, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Boise, Idaho! Great place to be! Have lived here four years (previously in Farthest Northern California on the ocean – cool and wet wet wet (60-80″ rain/year), Washington State’s dry east side, Southern Oregon, inland Far Northern California, and Central California). Weather is moderately hot and very dry (tho not like AZ or NM), and light snow in the winter, but plenty of snow for ski area in the nearby mountains. Lots of year-round activities. Boise is pretty “isolated”, and it takes some driving to get anywhere, but that’s part of the charm. However, Boise is very behind-the-times politically and environmentally — as is Idaho in general — but things are changing. Think of any other big city (~200,000) 25/30 years ago, and that’s Boise. 😀


Kristie May 10, 2009 at 8:12 pm

I live in the North Dakota badlands, and I LOVE it. I stand on my porch and watch some of the most spectacular sunsets God has ever created. I look at the ranch across the road from me, and nothing has changed in over 100 years. You can still see wagon ruts in some places in my area. No matter where I look when I step outside our little lake cabin, I am amazed by the beauty. If I am not looking at the ranch and the funny way that the cows act, I am looking out at the lake with the movie set looking badlands behind it, watching the pelicans and Canadian geese go back and forth. Drove into town today, and right in the creek was a pelican, just sitting there pretty as you please. It was an amazing thing.

This land is still wild and wonderful. It is the land of Lewis and Clark. You can feel the adventure this must have been. This is the land of Teddy Roosevelt and the “wild west” that the badlands were when he lived here. He wrote that he would never have been president had it not been for his time in North Dakota. You can find arrowheads and Calvary buttons. We live history. We have Fort Abraham Lincoln, where Custer was stationed and the fort he left out of for the last time. We also have an amazing, deep and rich Native American history and culture.

I did not grow up here. I guess it is true what they say that a transplant is more rabid about promoting their adopted state than a native. I am a walking billboard for North Dakota and proud of my state.

I grew up in a small ranching/military town on the California central coast. I met this really wonderful guy who happened to be in the Air Force when I was 17 years old. We married when I was 18 and our adventure began! Over our 21 years of marriage, 18 of those years were spent moving from place to place as a military family. I have lived all over, including New Mexico, Oklahoma, overseas in Turkey and North Dakota. North Dakota was love at first sight, and we were stationed in this state 3 times over those 18 years, because we could not get enough of her. We miss our family desperately, but there was never a thought of where we would go when my husband retired. We knew we would come west, but that we would not leave North Dakota, so here we are.

Our children will have a very firm foundation as they go on in life. They have spent most of their growing up time here in ND, and those North Dakota values of humility, hard work, frugality, practically and a love of nature, will be something that will always be in their blood no matter where they go.


Jessica Wolk-Stanley May 10, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Wah! I want to move to Portland!


Tracy May 11, 2009 at 10:06 am

I loved reading all your posts. What fantastic descriptions! I love living in Dearborn, Michigan, the hometown of Henry Ford and the home of the assembly line and the American auto industry. (Despite all the recent problems, Ford’s still doing OK!) My city is very walkable/agreeable to bike riding, with a produce market and other stores we use daily within a mile of my house. I live in a neighborhood in which the newest houses were built in the 1940s, and the streets are lined with mature oaks and maples. People in my neighborhood are very “neighborly” and go out of their way to share a cool drink in summer or lend a hand with a backyard project. My city of 100,000 has four well-stocked libraries, including the two-story, block-long Henry Ford Centennial Library, 28 parks with eight swimming pools, and a civic center with several pools and workout facilities. I live a couple of blocks from Greenfield Village & The Henry Ford Museum, which is always interesting and fun, even after visiting many times over the years!


Jeanine May 11, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I don’t particulary like where I live.

No industry, the “good-old-boy” system still rules. No culture, very few activities, free or otherwise. What more do you expect from the Deep South?

What I do like about where I live is the availability of hunting and fishing. Those are activities that are not, by any stretch of the imagination, free, but the lessons learned are worth every bit. Plus, it’s fun. And this area is pretty. We are very close to various waterways, and they are beautiful. As far as being green, not really. We just got a recycling plan but it’s very limited, and actually charges you if you recycle too much. Go figure.

The public school systems suck, but the colleges are plentiful and affordable.

No lie….the downtown area has a bank, a mason hall, a closed down rec center, a fire department, a police station, and maybe 6 open shops, two of which are bailbondsman. That’s it. Not a single eatery, fast food or otherwise. It’s very sad.

I miss living in the city….I’ve lived in Phoenix and Chicago. Loved….love…..anything that’s not here.


Sarah Williamson May 11, 2009 at 12:51 pm

It’s incredibly interesting to hear perspectives from people in other parts of the country. Jeanine, where do you live?

How do we get stuck in the places where we are unhappy? What keeps us there? Our career? Family ties? Health issues? What significant ways can we turn bad conservation and wasteful habits around in places of deep resistance?

When I first had to move to San Diego, two things really stuck out: the sheer volume of Barbie blondes, to my eye one indistinguishable from another, and being sneered at for the first five years when I used my own cloth shopping bags. As if I had just fallen off the turnip truck. It was an attitude that I found just astonishing, until I also learned that recycling your trash is not mandatory if you can hide behind cc&r’s or live in an apartment building. It is slowly slowly changing, but honestly, this area is drowning in a lot of preventable trash and garbage, and flooding itself with precious water to keep the pools filled, the sprinklers running…
Trying to teach more responsibility to earth matters here falls on deaf ears. Get this: I went to a city water discussion, a town meeting. The discussion was on the water and trash, and they served everyone water in small plastic bottles. HELLO!!!!!


WilderMiss May 11, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Vancouver, BC Canada. I love the proximity to mountains and ocean and all the amazing outdoor opportunities they present. I love living in Canada. I don’t care for the rain, the winter (except on the mountains), the city, and the high cost of living.

I’ve also lived in San Diego, Ca – WONDERFUL, mostly for the weather and laid back people. And Copenhage, Denmark – also an amazing place to live although I was there for only a short time. Must be the most biker friendly city in the world.


Wendy May 11, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Like Dawn and Susan Lee, I am originally from Northern New Jersey. I hated it. It was crowded and too expensive. I could never go back. I now live in upstate New York in the Binghamton area (About an hour from Syracuse.) I agree with every point A. Marei made about the area in his/her post, and the affordability can’t be beat. I am very happy here. Although I am quite envious of our friends who have posted from Sweden, The Netherlands, and Canada regarding healthcare. The lack of access to medical care for the self-employed if you fall into the wrong income & age bracket in the US (too high and too young for a public plan) does detract greatly from quality of life.


Jennifer May 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm

I live in Los Angeles and I like it quite a bit. I hate the traffic but I love the weather, the people, the ocean breezes, a different farmers market every day of the week & more. But we’re moving to CT in the fall.


Julia May 12, 2009 at 8:33 am

I have lived in the Seattle area all my life, with the exception of half a year in Austria and Germany. I’m really sick of it and wish we could leave. Yes, it’s beautiful. I love the mountains and water and rain, and how green it is. But the cost of living is ridiculous, the traffic is awful, and I’m tired of worrying about when the next big earthquake will hit. (We had one when I was 6 months pregnant, it was 6.8 on the Richter scale and though that was not the first, or last, one I have experienced, it was certainly the most terrifying.) We have an elevated roadway and a floating bridge that the authorities are pretty sure cannot survive a big quake—and yet they just keep arguing about how to fix them. Seattle is notorious for stuff like that. Yes, we are very progressive politically and very “green”, but it doesn’t make up for not being able to afford the kind of home and land that I dream about. My husband has worked for the same company since he was 19 (he’s in his early 40’s now) and he refuses to leave them and this area. And hey, I’d love to get away from my unhelpful family and psycho mother-in-law. Sometimes, I wish I’d never come back from Europe after college…free health care, great beer, chocolate cake
Katy, thanks for the free group therapy 😉


Julia May 12, 2009 at 8:40 am

Wow, after posting that rant, I guess I could use some anti-depressants from that free health care! 🙂


Betsy Talbot May 12, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I have lived in Seattle for 3 years and love it (previously lived in New Mexico, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts).

My townhouse overlooks Lake Union, the downtown skyline, and even Mt. Ranier on clear day. The people are friendly, progressive, and less interested in what you do than who you area. I can walk or take public transportation to just about everything I need – in fact, I only put about 5000 miles on my car last year!

Recycling and caring for the planet/self/greater community is a given, and I love that. Mountains, trees, water, clean air – it is absolutely gorgeous here, even with a light rain most days.

Things I don’t really love are that so many in Seattle want it to stay a small town and oppose the infrastructure improvements that would make it more livable. You can’t ignore the growing population and density and hope it will go away! People are also not as direct as on the East Coast, and there seems to be a lot of passive-aggressive activity in politics, driving, and general interaction.

I’ll be here another year and have already made a list of all the things I want to see and do before I go!


Julia May 13, 2009 at 7:41 am

Wendy—that insurance premium is just outrageous! It makes me so sad that people have to deal with health insurance issues instead of just going out and living the best life possible. My son and I have health issues that aren’t covered by our insurance because my husband’s employer chooses to not cover them. What the heck?? Why is this legal? Unfortunately, I don’t know much about the current situation in Germany and Austria any more—it’s been 20 years or so since I lived there. Just doing a quick web search, I see that I was wrong when I said in my earlier comment that the health care is “free”. People do have to pay into the system but it’s a sliding scale and it doesn’t depend on where you work, or if you work, and I’m guessing that all illnesses are covered, even if pre-existing. Maybe other Europeans or Canadians will leave comments about their health care systems and enlighten us. At least you’ve got some lead time to figure out what to do—Good luck! But how sad that you are contemplating leaving your own country just to have affordable health care. I hope that Obama’s plan can change things for the better and make that unnecessary.


Wendy May 13, 2009 at 9:01 am

Julie, thank you for your kind response.

What I do know about other nations with universal healthcare is that it isn’t free but it is affordable via taxes (not unlike public schools, fire, police, and Medicare in the US) so that everyone has access despite that employment situation or portfolio and no one ever looses their home due to an uninsurable illness. We should not be surprised that a fragmented, for-profit system is going to cost more than a not-for-profit universal pool of people. I know that my family would gladly pay $300 or $400 in extra taxes each month for access to doctors, dentists and medicine when necessary.

I know of a family from NJ who lost everything due to an illness (their baby) that expenses passed the insurance cap. Right now my sister-in-law, who has MS, can’t stop working because she wouldn’t be able to wait the two years Disability’s Medicare to kick in. Over the past year, I have begun to wonder where all this freedom is that we always hear about (is it only corporate & marketplace freedom?). Sick people stuck to jobs they deplore for the healthcare, and not being able to be an entrepreneur unless you can make enough to afford a private insurance doesn’t look like freedom. Frankly, I am scared that we are just one illness/accident away from financial ruin.

I like Obama, but believe that the insurance industry has a grip on our government and media (via sponsorship) not unlike the grip the mafia once had on labor unions. Sadly, I think the hardworking people of the US are stuck with the insurance middleman no matter who is in office. They are one middleman/toll collector that will not go away peacefully….And who can expect them to cosndiering the billions in profit they make each year?


mw May 13, 2009 at 7:59 pm

I live in Los Angeles, and I don’t love it. I know there are better places to live, with higher standards of living and a better quality of life. But I try to make the best of it, because what use is it to complain about where I live?
Because I am raising kids here, I decided (long ago) to be a good role model and embrace my community the best way I know how. So I hike a lot, buy produce at the Farmers Markets, reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible. We see the consumerism around us, mixed with complete poverty, and talk about it. We support public schools, the library and local arts culture. We have used the beach in the summer as a backyard; endless, cheap fun for the kids.
If I could choose to live somewhere else I would, but I want my kids to have a happy, well balanced childhood. Attitude is everything.


Jeanine May 14, 2009 at 7:22 am

Sorry for the delay Sara Williamson……

I don’t feel comfortable giving out my towns’ name, but I do live in the deep south, and close to the Gulf of Mexico. This is one of the areas that was hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina, but you never heard about us on the news because New Orleans dominated the media.

If I had my way, I’d go back to the city…especially after living there and knowing what I know now.

I left this place for a better job, with the same company, and better oppurtunities. I had to come back because my husband is the only male child left in a family of 6 sisters, and a father with failing health. I also came back because my parents are older 78 and 83 ( I’m adopted) and their health is not great either. So, yeah….I would say family obligations keep me here.

There is a metropolotin city about 30 minutes from my town that I would LOVE to live in, Mobile AL….(I think someone above mentioned it) but I’ve been at my job for 10 years (I’m 30), and in this economy, with my lack of higher education, I’d be deathly afraid to move because I am the primary breadwinner in my family.

Like I said…I don’t particulary like where I live, but there are things that make it bearable.


Bill May 18, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Hi all.

I live in NE Alabama on Neely Henry Lake. My lovely wife and I moved here from Las Vegas 3 years ago. We both love it here. Primarily, we love the people, the slower pace and the lower cost of living.

Hope you all love where you are.


Meg October 18, 2009 at 12:10 pm

No, not crazy. I just know my facts. “UBER EXPENSIVE” compared to WHERE?! Compared to outside the city limits? Yeah, sure. It’s almost always cheaper to live in the country than in a city, but you give up a lot of things that some of us like. For example, my mom complains that Gainesville taxes are high (not that she has to pay them), but the road where she lives isn’t even paved and she spends a lot in gas getting places, like to Gainesville where she can get decent medical care.

Compare it to other cities, though! Seriously, go to any cost of living calculator and compare to other cities. Compare to California and New York for some serious perspective. But even compared to other cities in Florida such as Orlando and Jacksonville, Gainesville comes out cheaper. Is it absolutely the cheapest place ever? No, of course not! But you get a lot for your money here.

And fyi, in MOST places I know in of in the U.S. there is an electric monopoly. However, GRU is owned by the city — not by an outside, profit-seeking company. Theoretically, that should help control prices. So, I’d really like to know how you came up with the idea that our electricity in the state (I have some family and friends that beg to differ).


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