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Hello all. I am from Jackson, Mississippi, born and raised. But I left as soon as I graduated high school and got a job here in Hawai'i. I've been here for almost 11 years.
Basically, I am trying to figure out if I should move back home to MS or stay here in Hawai'i. For most people, it's obvious that I should stay here in Hawai'i. I'll get right into that now.
So, why I love Hawai'i. Great weather, excellent diversity of people/cultures/food, tons of military here, best space-a terminal in this area of CONUS, free pickup soccer games every single day!, hardly any "dangerous" crime, no dangerous animals, very few mosquitos, we have jobs, world-class library at UH manoa!
Negative points: I have no family here except my girlfriend, all the food is imported which means no cheap fresh food/no raw dairy, super expensive to live here, can't afford a farm here, traffic is bad, gun-control, difficult for me have pets
Why I love MS: family/friends are here, cheap living/land/houses, hunting, no gun control, easy to live life all alone, school band culture!, girl-to-guy ratio is wonderful in MS!
Why I don't like MS: bad weather!, bugs, "boring", race issues still exist, very very few diversity/culture, tons of dangerous crime in my hometown Jackson, food, not a lot of military like Hawai'i, very few jobs, absolutely horrible libraries/education
So, it kinda all boils down to this. I want to have a farm and live the MS country life but here in Hawai'i. But there is no way that I can afford to purchase land, build a home, and have a farm here. It is just far far too expensive. But in Mississippi I can afford it. I can afford to build the house I want AND have over 10 acres to do what I want with it! And I want to have a farm with all the animals that I want on it and my firearms and home school my kids. But I also want to be pretty close to a ton of diverse peoples like I am here in Hawai'i. Chinese, filipinos, koreans, japanese, tongans, samoans, hawaiians, chuukese, marshallese, vietnamese, etc. etc. I haven't visited MS one time in the last 11 years but from reading this MS forum nothing has changed it seems.
So, If I decide to stay in Hawai'i then that means no farm and I'll have raise my kids the traditional way, which I abhor. I'll have great weather and tons of diversity though...
If I decide to move back to MS then I'll be able to have the farm I dream of and raise my children just like I want to. I'll be able to hunt and grow my own food as I see fit. But I'll have to finally start being careful of my surroundings at all times and carry my firearm with everywhere not only because of the dangerous potential criminals but also because of the many dangerous animals that are in MS.
I am really truly having a very difficult time making up my mind about this. I actually want to leave Hawai'i because raising my kids the way I want to on a farm by myself is about the most important thing to me. But I abhor being cold any time of the year (MS gets cold) and I loathe mosquitoes with a passion.
What are your thoughts on this all? Thank you in advance!
Speaking to you as someone who has been many places, I can assure you that there are many more places in the world besides Hawaii and Mississippi. I don't believe it would be necessary for you to live in Mississippi to find happiness as long as you are close enough to travel back and forth, and that includes a large territory.
Mississippi is, indeed, an inexpensive place to live. Land is cheap, taxes are low, and there is ample opportunity for you to build the life style you describe. But is all comes with the price you described.
I am perfectly happy in Mississippi, but one reason for that is that I'm older than you. Another reason may be that I traveled the world and lived many places between 1963, when I graduated from high school in Jackson, and 1998 when I found my way back.
To me, it felt good to be back. Maybe you'll feel the same.
I agree with Listener. It doesn't have to be MS v. HI (your "MI" in the title threw me because I live in Michigan now and couldn't figure out why a thread about MI was in the MS forum ). There are a lot of other states in the union. I've lived in five of them, and MS is my least favorite for the very reasons you mentioned. Our area in MI sounds like the perfect match for you, but it's far from your family. I don't think you're going to find what you are looking for in MS - maybe Huntsville, AL or Nashville??? But, I have never seen the diversity you seek or the acceptance of that level of diversity in MS.
My recommendation is to come "home" for a visit before you decide.
The way I see it you have two less than ideal choices.
One option is to make do in Hawaii. Do container gardening, raise chickens and rabbits (if the local law allows), and try to like a small scale sustainable life in your current environment. It is do-able, just maybe not ideal. You get to keep the climate, and the cultural diversity, and you can still go along way toward living independently.
If you decide to move back to the mainland, you will have to weigh a lot of factors. As far as cultural diversity and the sustainable lifestyle, I would look at the Pacific NW. If you need to stay in the south because of family, Chattanooga, TN is pretty progressive, reasonably diverse, and open to a lot of local, sustainable living. Huntsville, AL is pretty diverse, but once you get out to the country, it gets real redneck, real fast.
I wouldn't worry too much about the crime and having to have a concealed carry. Once you get out far enough to have acreage, crime gets pretty low, and unless you are in Montana, or Wyoming, or somewhere like that, wild animals are not much of a threat to people. If you raise livestock, you will probably want a shotgun to discourage dog pack, or coyotes, or racoons and possums in your feed, but I grew up in rural AL, and have lived in MS, and semi-rural PA and TN, and I have never needed to shoot anything other than paper targets or coke bottles ( you do have to watch those coke bottles. Devious little critters )
The other thing that may play a role is what you do for a living. I worked in MS for a while, but when I left that job I had to choose either to leave the state or do something different, because I have a pretty specialized field and skill set. If you have a specialized field, you really want to stay somewhere where there are multiple employment opportunities. Chasing jobs around the country really sucks. My wife and I had to sell our mini-farm (and my beloved 1964 Ford 2000 tractor) and rejoin suburbia because of it.
As others have said, you are NOT limited to only Hawaii or MS. I grew up in a rural area in central MS (west of Starkville) then graduated MSU with a civil engineering degree. My first job was in Jackson, but my wife couldn't find a job in her field there (electrical engineer). So we moved to Kansas City, MO. When our first child was born many years later we had been looking for some place closer to home, but we both agreed that we did NOT want to move back to Mississippi. The primary reason was the same reason we'd moved away to begin with; few job opportunities for a family with two different engineers. The secondary reason was that we didn't want to subject our son to Mississippi's absolutely horrid public education system. When her company opened a new office in Chattanooga, TN, we jumped at the chance. It was back in the "south" (and yet considerably better weather in the summer), better public education (my son's magnet school was named best in the country a few years back), and only 5-6 hours drive from "home".
I'm not saying that you should move to Chattanooga (even though I'm the second person to mention that city in this thread... weird), nor am I saying you should or should not move back to Mississippi. Just saying that there are other options. You probably wouldn't want to farm around Chattanooga (too rocky, land too expensive), but maybe up in TN east of Memphis. Alabama isn't much better than Mississippi. I don't know anything about Louisiana or Arkansas just across the river other than they are very agricultural, but I do have a cousin who lives in Jonesboro.
You could live on the northshore of Lake Pontchartrain in metro New Orleans. You could have a farm, be far enough away from the city while close enough to it, and be on the short side of a quick drive up I-55 to Jackson.
I was under the impression that all of New Orleans is pretty bad... I'll have to look into that area.
I hate that people think that. It's not 1994.
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