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Old 08-08-2014, 08:26 AM
Location: Metter, GA
2 posts, read 1,837 times
Reputation: 10


Hello all!

I am on CD quite a lot, lurking different areas and themes, but it's time I reach out to the masses for help. Bare with me, I'm wordy.

I'm finally at a point mentally where I'm over the area I'm in. It's a very small, depressed, deep south town. There's VERY few jobs (when I got laid off from my last position it took a year to find ANYTHING) and no resources for my son who is on the spectrum. I currently work at the "mecca" for employment. There's nowhere else to go, because this is it. I'm a mom of a 9 year old son. If I want any quality of life for him, it's now or never. Dirt roads and small towns have their place, but at this moment that place isn't in my son's life. He needs centers and resources that we simply don't have around here. One day we'll get back to our roots, but it's time to find our place in life.

I'm 30, single parent, no degree but I do have some college and am starting classes soon. I've held a lot of jobs thanks to previously being married to the military. I've been a retail manager and worked in theme parks. It's made me flexible. I currently work at a state University, and if I were to relocate at this exact moment I'd try to find another University to work at because the tuition assistance is worth it's weight in gold. Before this I was a graphic designer. I wasn't the "housewife with a free cracked version of photoshop added useless drop shadows to everything" designer though, I worked in-house (and freelanced on the side) for a number of places over the past 10 years. I also have a party business where I do face painting and birthday party event planning. Creative outlets are my love, but where I'm at now offers nothing by way of design jobs. I am as close as I can get right now, handling our University's publications. I'd like to stay within this realm and not return to retail and that type of employment, but I will if it pays the bills. With that said, I'm more focused on an area that I can move into and gain a livable wage. I'd love to do what I do, aiding the tourism industry in some way; bridging all of my experience into one wrapped box.

My son is 9, and he is homeschooled. I'm not against an excellent charter school, but I do not see myself thrusting him into a public school system at this time. We've been badly burned there and he does much better one on one. I hope to bring someone with me to live-in, so I'll cross the childcare bridge when I get there (if I do).

My dream location:

Surrounded by mountains, think Banff; affordable, extremely artsy, cultured, tons of free events and festivals, accessible nature that is also available to people who aren't the next Bear Grylls. (I.E we'd love to learn winter activities but we're not the most athletic of the bunch), walkable downtown area that is safe to live in for someone like me. I've never lived in a walkable neighborhood so it's something I'd like to try. I'm accustomed to a 30 minute commute down backroads so if the walkable and safety don't go together (seems to be the theme) I'm okay living somewhere safer and driving everywhere. With this said, I also enjoy growing my own food and grass... so I'd live in apartment, but renting a small cottage is more my style. We'd love four seasons, or at least something more than "humid, real humid, hell has come to earth run for your lives humid, and the one day a year you can wear a light jacket" ...and if I can just get this in an area without risk of a major natural disaster that would be greeeat.

Size wise: I'd like no smaller than 50k people, and I'd like it to not close at 8pm. I'm single and would like to at least find a semblance of a life. I'm not a bar hopper, but I think certain things add culture so I don't want to say it's not important. I'm more of a movie in the park, music at the river, etc type of girl.

Weather: I can't deal with tornadoes. I live in GA and while we don't get slammed, I'm a bucket of nerves the entire summer season when the clouds start rolling and the temperature drops. I'm just a wimp when it comes to them and I've been through 2, that was enough. This rules out any area that gets them frequently even if it ticks every box on my list. I'd rather have advance warning of impending doom, but I know mother nature has other plans usually. We'd love somewhere that sees snows regularly in the winter, but it doesn't have to be an arctic tundra. I'm fine with heat, but not the 98% humidity that we get down here. I like breathing when I leave my house, and I hate carrying a knife to cut through the air so I can do so.

People: Everyone. I want to be around different cultures and walks of life, and I want to be inspired by people different than me. I'd like to find a group that I can fit with, but since I don't have a group now I can't tell you who that would be. I love thrifting, yard sales, etc, making my own stuff, music, art, but not being pretentious about it. I'm just as well at my house with junk tv. I am a vegan, mainly because I can't have dairy and just don't care for meat, but as long as I can access a co-op or whole foods type store for the basics I will be fine. Also, I'm religious but that shouldn't be relevant.

Okay, permission to laugh. I'm sure that's the dream of most people, right?

Either way, I thought you guys might be able to throw some ideas out there. It doesn't have to be a major metropolis but I just want things to do on the free/cheap, things to inspire us and places to get away to that aren't 6 hours away. We're stuck with no way to move up in life where we are, and while it's home, it will still be home if I get tired of this new place. I know CD loves to tell people to stay put, but this is one of those situations where staying put will hurt us in the long run. I won't move until I have a job in place and have crunched enough numbers to know I can afford it.

TL;DR- Mountains, Culture, Arts, Affordable places to live, Interesting people who are interesting without being stuck up, Good programs for a child on the spectrum.
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:11 AM
56,648 posts, read 80,952,685 times
Reputation: 12521
Denver and Salt Lake City may work. Perhaps Colorado Springs too.
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:37 AM
Location: Phoenix metro
20,005 posts, read 69,423,575 times
Reputation: 10115
Prescott, AZ! I think it sounds absolutely perfect for what youre looking for.
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:28 AM
Location: Howard County, Maryland
5,677 posts, read 3,651,343 times
Reputation: 16618
Originally Posted by CreateLife View Post
We'd love somewhere that sees snows regularly in the winter, but it doesn't have to be an arctic tundra.
Originally Posted by Steve-o View Post
Prescott, AZ! I think it sounds absolutely perfect for what youre looking for.
Well, maybe not "absolutely" perfect! Though, to be fair, it does snow there.

OP, it might be easier to first eliminate places that you know won't work. You stated that you want to eliminate (or at least severely reduce) the threat of tornadoes. Take a look at this map:

File:Tornado Alley.gif - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You'll see that the West is far safer than the East and Mid-West, so you would probably want to concentrate your search there. If you do want to remain in the East, and also have mountains, it looks like West Virginia or New Hampshire are your best bets. (Whether or not these areas might have the other things you're looking for is debatable. If you want to consider WV, try Morgantown first, as it's the home of West Virginia University.) Parts of Virginia might also work; I think that Harrisonburg (home of James Madison University) might have some of the other attributes you're looking for.
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:59 AM
21,196 posts, read 30,388,339 times
Reputation: 19627
In my opinion your criteria leads to much less costly moves closer to your current locale in places like Charlottesville, Knoxville or Morgantown which offer employment options at large universities and tick all of the boxes on your list.
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:41 PM
Location: Metter, GA
2 posts, read 1,837 times
Reputation: 10
I do see the trend that it would be more affordable to stay on my own coast. I haven't ruled it out, but the west has a draw on me that I can't explain. WV is beautiful so I may look into that, but I am quite interested in some of the suggestions on the other side of the country. I wonder how much of that is my quest for the different and how much is a justifiable desire for that region?

The logistics of the move aren't on my radar right now as this is the very beginning stages, but I know I will be going with only what fits in my small SUV and maybe a small pull behind trailer. I don't have furniture as I am caretaker over a family home, so that does help with the cross-country aspect when thinking ahead since Uhauls aren't the cheapest thing to do.

I've seriously considered SLC, so that makes me feel good to see it suggested. My only apprehension there was not being clear on how "artsy" it actually is and I haven't had time to really assess the earthquake risk. I do think most of the front range in CO is out though, because I know they still get quite a bit of storm activity.. and the fear is a huge factor for me. I'm going to look into these other suggestions (particularly the AZ suggestion.. AZ blew me away when I drove across country).

I appreciate the responses thus far and look for to what more folks have to say!
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Old 08-08-2014, 01:39 PM
Location: Portland, Oregon
2,438 posts, read 4,226,586 times
Reputation: 2626
The Northwest could work for you - Portland or Seattle, or one of the smaller cities with colleges - Eugene, Corvallis, Olympia, or Bellingham.
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Old 08-08-2014, 02:16 PM
1,709 posts, read 1,675,691 times
Reputation: 1838
Maybe Santa Fe or Albuquerque could work for you? They're right by mountains, and Santa Fe in particular has an artsy and hip reputation. If you're looking for employment in a state university, the University of New Mexico is located in Albuquerque as well. They're close to each other and are connected by the highway and a commuter rail system, so you could live in either and take advantage of what the other offers. I think either would work well for you.
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:07 PM
Location: Arvada, CO
13,238 posts, read 24,433,481 times
Reputation: 13010
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