Part 4 of 4: FINDING A HOME. When left home, we left with the hope that we’d find the city for us. We’d walk the streets and feel comfortable. We’d savor the foods and feel fine if we got fat there. We’d see the homes and picture ourselves in the future. It would feel like home. After visiting more than 200 cities, where have we decided to settle? Follow us on the second Wednesday of each month to discover what traveling the world taught us about where we want to call home.
Having realized last month that we want to live in a place with good restaurants, strong community and an affordable cost of living, where do we want to live?
My wife has made it clear that ¨life¨ will decide where we actually end up. I don”t think it’s a coincidence that ¨life¨ is just one letter removed from ¨wife¨ which I think is what she really means… Even so, since I am technically one-half of this marriage, I have my own opinion! (I can hear my parents, in-laws, and husbands the world over groaning). OK, let’s pretend, for the remainder of what I’m going to say, that I get a vote in where I live. Thinking through all the options, in the USA and abroad, there are only two (and a half) cities that stand out as places I’d like to lay down roots.
Chicago. I’m as surprised as you are by this one. In fact, I never considered it until I was researching business schools and realized: Chicago is the perfect city for us. It offers the options of a big city: a wide selection of jobs, restaurants, and entertainment options, yet is close enough for family to visit via a short flight or reasonable drive. The benefits don’t stop there…taxes are lower than most of the country, the airport has inexpensive flights to most of the world, and there are high-quality public schools. It’s clear that Chicago offers the best of everything for us.
Summit County or Aspen. When it comes to choosing happiness, one of these two cities would be the easy choice. As I’ve learned on this trip I really want to live in the mountains…something Colorado offers in spades. The reason these two cities stand out are the small town vibes, mountain activities, and close proximity to Denver’s airport. Each city is not perfect for working within the city-limits, but the quality of life trumps the commuting woes. A friend of mine that consults from Aspen has told me countless times that he wouldn’t trade his life for opportunities elsewhere. If life lets me pick a place to move to for living life itself, it’d be one of these two places.
That’s it, after visiting hundreds of cities the world over these stand out as places I’d like to live. Logic screams, ¨Chicago¨ while my heart cries, ¨Colorado¨. Guess the wife will have to decide…
Giving the indecisive person in the relationship the choice of where to live seems like a dangerous proposition, but I’m happy to weigh in on the two places that top my list of cities to call home. Part of what makes me so indecisive is that I like to gather all the facts before making a decision, it makes me more confident that I’ve made the right decision. So, it comes as no surprise that the two places I am most interested in calling home are cities I’ve lived in before. I know they meet my criteria and I enjoyed living there in the past.
Minneapolis. This is an obvious choice for me as I have lived there my whole life and my family and friends call it home. With over 85 miles of off-street biking and running trails it would be easy to get my exercise fix and I already know the producers that I can get my veggies and meat from. It has an affordable cost of living, relatives and friends close by, an excellent art scene, great schools and four seasons- you appreciate summer so much more after a long winter. While Chicago might be a great compromise, Minneapolis is a top contender.
Healdsburg. California is a long way from Minnesota, but this little city just north of San Francisco stole my heart years ago. I have close friends that live nearby, the local food movement was practically invented here and I know I would be happy living in the middle of wine country, just a few hours drive from the mountains, the ocean or the metropolis of SF. The job options may not be the best, family is far away and affordable living is not really what California is known for, but there is something about this town that makes me want to call it home.
When we head back to the U.S. in a month for the first time in almost three years we’ll be spending time in Minneapolis, but ¨life¨will determine where we end up. Who knows maybe it won’t be any of the places we imagined.
What do you think? How did you choose where you live?