This featured post was brought to you by Sam Peters
Nobody but nobody thinks that moving is fun. In fact, it’s probably a safe bet to say that most of us avoid moving like the plague it is. Still, sometimes you have to move. Maybe you’re moving for work. Maybe you’re moving for family reasons. Maybe you’re simply sick of your stupid town and its stupid stuff and you really want something new and, luckily enough, your job is portable (or something you can find anywhere).
If you’re really lucky, your new town or city will be decided for you. Maybe you have to transfer for your job or you’ve found a new job that requires relocation. Maybe you’re moving back to the town you grew up in to take care of a family member (or you just really miss it). But what if your options are open? How do you find your next home base?
Do you like the weather where you live? Are you a hot and sunny person or a cool and rainy person? You might not think that matters, but when choosing a new place to live, it matters a lot. Think about it: if you hate the rain, why would you move to Seattle over San Diego? If you love the beach, you wouldn’t move to Omaha or Cleveland. If you love the snow, you wouldn’t move to Albuquerque.
If you have the choice of living anywhere, obviously you want to make sure your kids go to good schools. What kind of learning environment do your kids need to thrive? Which schools are ranked the highest? There are lots of great tools out there you can use to figure out what the schools are like in your potential new cities. You can look them up on Greatschools.org. You can check out the listings of the best public schools that get put out by US News and World Report.
We all, from time to time, daydream about living in a very tiny town where nothing really happens and everybody knows everybody else—like Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls. Here’s the thing, though: there is a difference between a small town that stays small because that’s how the residents want it to be and a town that has stayed small because it is stagnating or attached to a dying industry (like a lot of former “timber towns” in the Pacific Northwest). You want to see some growth, even if it is small or slow going. Otherwise, you’ll probably just have to pack everything up again in a year and find another new place.
Once you’ve picked a state and a town or city, you have to decide where in that town or city you should live. This is tricky. Unless you live close enough to drive over and check the place out firsthand, you’re going to have to rely on other people to get you the information you need. Some of this you can find out yourself through census data and hanging out on local forums. Some of it is easier to get through a specialized service like the Local Records Office (this is particularly true if you do not have a lot of time for browsing forums).
It’s a lot to consider and if it gets overwhelming, remember: you can always close your eyes and throw a dart at a map! Just make sure your spouse, kids and pets stand behind you when you do it.
Photo credit: Gavin St. Ours via Flickr