Last fall I took my kids to Hermosa Beach. It was a big moment for me because the whole time I was playing professional volleyball, in my 20s, I dreamed I would have a family and live in Hermosa.

It’s a great beach town with top-notch volleyball. There’s proximity to good career opportunities in the LA area, and a culture of kids growing up with sand in their hair.

The day we arrived I realized that it might be really hard to leave. I worried that maybe I’d never go back to the farm. And the more the kids loved the water, the more closely I looked at For Rent signs. I thought maybe I could split my time between the beach and the farm.

But then something happened. We didn’t miss only The Farmer (who doesn’t like to leave the Farm). We missed the animals, and the feeling of being in a cozy warm house surrounded by snow.

Which made me realize that when we think about relocation, we think about the wrong stuff.

1. We focus on what we gain instead of what we lose.
When people think about relocating they think almost exclusively about what they will gain by going to the new city, but psychologically we are affected much more by what we lose.

For example, if we sell stocks high and win, the emotional impact is less than if we sell stocks low and lose. We hate losing, and we are hard-wired to care more about what we lose. So instead of thinking about what you’ll gain by moving, think about what you’ll lose. What will you miss? Because that’s what you’ll think about the most.

Think about what you are actually willing to give up. Each relocation is really about giving up stuff that you have now that you won’t have later. Getting new, fun stuff is going to be great. But knowing what you can do without is more important. And more mature. Because the most adult decisions in your life are ones that put severe limits on other possibilities.

2. We underestimate the commute.
I know this one very well. You think you have something that outweighs everything—the big house, the fun job, the good schools—for me it was living on a farm.

But if that entails a huge commute in order to get everything you want, well, then the truth is you can’t have everything you want. The commute makes you more unhappy than any of that stuff can make up for.

3. We waste time visiting in person before moving there.
When you decide where to live, it should be based on the essential issues—proximity to people you love, ability to earn a living, and so on. These are questions you can answer online, or with a phone call to a friend or relative.

To try to find out if you are a cultural fit by visiting is absurd. It is impossible to get the sense of a city from just one visit. A large city is different block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, and you could not get a taste of all of them in a visit. You will have to read about them and trust statistical analysis in order to choose.

So a visit to a city gives you a skewed view and will simply mess up your decision-making process by giving too much weight to sketchy data. Wherever you decide to move, a good real estate agent will know exactly where in the area you should live.

4. We overestimate the raise.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman summarizes decades of happiness research this way: “It is only a slight exaggeration to say that happiness is the experience of spending time with people you love and who love you.” (via Jonah Lehrer in Wired)

So then it should come as no surprise to you that if you are relocating away from people you love in order to get more money, you should think twice.

Nattavudh Powdthavee of the University of London did the computations to show that you need to get a raise of $130,000 to compensate for the happiness you will lose by moving away from friends and family.

5. We think we are an exception.
Look at the demographics of the city. You are normal. You are regular. You are going to become the mean of your demographic. It’s the law of nature. Average is average because that’s what most people are. You make your life overly complicated by living in a fantasy world where you are not typical.

Once you accept that, you can use research to its full benefit. For example, even if you earn $500,000, you will not feel rich if all your neighbors earn a lot more than you. This is the law of financial happiness – that it’s relative, not absolute, and you feel best when you are an average earner in your community. Too high and you feel like an outcast, too low and you feel desperate.

The same is true of city living. Cities are not appealing to normal parents. This is because marriages do not stay together when two parents need to earn huge incomes. Women simply do not want to have their kids raised by nannies. This means that only families where there is a single wage earner in the very highest of brackets does city living look appealing. Otherwise, the compromises a family makes to live in a city leaves them short on benefits. (If nothing else, parents who work all day and tuck kids in to bed every night have no time or energy to enjoy the cultural benefits of a big, expensive city.)

6. We trust a cost-of-living calculator.
The problem with this tool is that it gives you information you can’t use. You need to know which city will make you happy, not which city will save you $20,000 in housing costs.

Let’s say you’re thinking of moving from San Francisco to New York City. They’re both really expensive to live in, so the difference in your salary isn’t going to matter. You should probably think harder about their cultures than about money; very few people fit in well in both cities, and most feel like they belong in one or the other. A calculator can’t tell you that.

Now let’s say you’re moving from New York City to Los Angeles. You’ll save money on housing, of course, but you’ll need a really good car.

In L.A., a BMW is totally reasonable. You’ll end up spending more time there than in your apartment. In NYC, however, owning a BMW is commonplace only among millionaires. For most New Yorkers, having a car like that is absurd—they just don’t drive enough. But cost-of-living calculators don’t have a “BMW: yes or no” option.

7. We overlook key research.
When I relocated from NYC to Madison, I did tons of research. I knew everything about happiness and economic development and I knew what I was getting into even though I never stepped foot in Madison before I moved there.

But I ignored a crucial piece of research: The schools. I simply could not believe that the schools were as bad – relative to the rest of the country – as all the data showed. It’s a university town, I reasoned. It’s liberal. They must raise taxes a lot for schools. I couldn’t believe it. But it was true. And I ended up having to leave Madison because the schools were so bad.

Then I moved to the country. I paid a lot of attention to the research about optimizers. People in the country are generally content with a relatively simple life with few options. City people complicate their lives with lots of choices for all the best stuff, but that doesn’t make them happy. And you become like the people you live with. Really.

So I decided to become a content, country person by moving to where they live.

It turns out that choosing a location is a lot like choosing a mate. What you decide to overlook ends up being the most important part of your decision. You know what is going to be hard about the life you are choosing and you know that you are deciding to ignore it and go ahead with the choice anyway. We never really know if we are making a good decision or if we’ll have to get over it.

118 replies
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  1. Tracy Russo
    Tracy Russo says:

    I live in a suburb or Rochester, NY. and My husband and I want to relocate, with our 4 kids and grandson to a small town- suburb like area down south- maybe florida, alabama, nc, or sc. Just dont want the snow. wouldnt be leaving any family behind- grandparents are passed, other siblings dont live in the area so that isnt an issue. My issue is how wwould I start to investigate what towns would be best for us> I would be looking for a highschool for 2 of my children and work for the rest. We paid 215K for our house here but want to have a smaller mortgage as my husband would like to retire and work a job mainly for benefits. I would work part time. We want a small town feel, housing in the range of 150K -189K any ideas to get me started? I would be very grateful I dont know where to start. Thank for any info you would like to share!

    • penelopetrunk
      penelopetrunk says:

      Start by looking at school districts. You know you want warm weather. It’s hard to find good public schools in affordable suburbs in the states you are thinking about.

      Probably if you find the list of suburbs you can afford with good public high schools (that’s how to judge a school district – by the high school) you will find that you have only about 10 choices.

      You will be able to quickly eliminate 5 of those choices for emotional reasons (like, you will feel too out of your element for some reason).

      Then look at the suburbs that are left to figure out which one’s offer amenities you care about. Those will probably be where you best fit.

      Penelope

  2. secret agent girl
    secret agent girl says:

    You make some good points—for a certain perspective, life stage, and goals/values.

    I’m posting this because I’d actually love to get some ideas from others.

    We are currently in the process of deciding whether to move from our very large metro area in the northern midwest. Top reason is not wanting to deal with Real winters anymore at our age, nor winter’s shortened daylight. (Not a true SAD response, so the lights don’t help.)

    #1 is excellent! More specifically, we focus on the positives we’ll gain and the negatives we’ll lose at the expense of considering equally well the negatives we’ll gain and the positives we’ll lose. (And it also gives rise to a more complicated evaluation as it brings in apples and oranges…and bananas and kiwis.)

    #2 (see #5) – one of us telecommutes, one of us is a solo entrepreneur and will create an acceptable commute by buying a house near finding a long-term office, after living in the area for a while.

    #3 – I’m uncertain about this one. Don’t different cities have different styles / tones / paces / atmospheres? Is that actually a trivial concern in the bigger picture?

    #4 (see #5) – telecommuting salary stays same and the professional services spouse will set fees within the going rate for the area.

    #5 is true to a point. However me & spouse *are* an exception, just 3 examples: We are middle-aged (this isn’t the exception) and child-free (this is). We are Humanists/Free Thinkers and don’t want to be stuck somewhere without access to same. We both have advanced/professional degrees and are highly intelligent (as measured by the dubious “IQ” concept) and while we are also “regular folks” we do require some contact with the same.

    #6 is good advice. We do look at them, but take it with a grain of salt. We’ve been using City-Data for some of our research. We do care about housing as one of us (the healthcare carrying one!) wants to go part-time within a few years. So, cross off CA as I’m not willing to live in a shack.

    #7 – I’d love to figure out my blind spots in what key research I’m overlooking. And pointers to where I can undertake it!

  3. Sasha
    Sasha says:

    Does anyone have any advice for trying to relocate across country and find a job? Does one need to lie and say you are actually in the new town? It seems like they can find that out in a background check. They seem to be more interested in local candidates, even when I stress I would pay for my own move.
    I just cannot afford to quit and go live in the town in order to interview because of overhead.

  4. Jenna
    Jenna says:

    I love Penelope – she has some wonderful perspectives and ideas on people and the basic decision-making process we each go through. I am so excited to have found this site and plan to devour each entry. Our family relocated to Montecito, CA last year from rainy Bellevue, WA…and although the weather is FANTASTIC – we forgot the most important people and traditions in our lives would be left a few states behind. It has been a challenging year for sure – and our minds are still not made up as to staying or going…our future is a blur. Santa Barbara is a seductress – but our family is strong and maybe we won’t melt in the rain after all. Keep writing – you have so much to say!

  5. Martin Worthy
    Martin Worthy says:

    Thank you for the tips. Sometimes we think that we should move because living somewhere else will save us money, but it’s really our happiness that matters. What would we spend that extra cash on, and would that make us more happy than we are now? Very true points to consider.

  6. Leaving Philadelphia
    Leaving Philadelphia says:

    I read your post with great interest because I am relocating from Phila. to SF with my husband. He has one of those “once in a lifetime career opportunities” that he would be crazy not to accept. I have been laid off for over a year so while I do have some ” say”, in reality I don’t have much “say” because I am not bringing home any bacon. With that said, I am terribly, terribly sad about moving. You are so right that when the prospect of a great job with more money is waved in your face, you tend to overlook all that will be lost when you agree to move. I have tried to explain this to my husband but to no avail. I also agree that people tend to overlook the real cost of living which for us will be extremely high as Phila COL is no where near the COL for SF. Perhaps the saddest part of the move is that I will be leaving my support system — I am very close to my mother and my sisters. My children also enjoy a very close relationship to them as well. I try to explain this to my husband and other friends who think I am crazy for not wanting to move but they look at me with a “girl, you need to grow up” look. I thank you for putting into writing what I am feeling.

  7. Pascal
    Pascal says:

    I think it is possible to see things differently. Facing challenges and adversity and overcoming them is actually a nice “feature” of living!

    I am looking forward to moving to a totally different culture and time zone. I know I’ll lose direct contact with all my friends, but I know I’ll make new ones. I will lose the quiet single family house for a crowded apartment, but the adaptation process is part of the “FUN” !

    I agree it is very important to think about ALL aspects of moving, not only the little things you will gain, but it should not be a stopping you from making the Big Bold Move !

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    css homeward bound says:

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  9. Kristine Gohsman
    Kristine Gohsman says:

    This may be extremely late and may not get a reply, but I found your post, and I can’t help but ask for advice because your article is exactly what I am struggling with currently. I too am from WI (western suburb of Milwaukee), my husband and I moved to Chicago ten years ago for work, and I feel that for the past eight years I have been ready to move back (we now live in a suburb that we can afford but is 45 minutes from his job). My husband likes his job and makes a good salary, and I know that is why he doesn’t feel the same way that I do about moving back. My thoughts are like yours; I miss my family, I have kids now that don’t see their grandparents, the cost of living here is high, and it seems my husband buys me nice things to convince me it’s a better life here. I don’t need those things, and I wish I had him around more to help out (again long commute). I can’t seem to abandon the idea of moving back. I don’t care about having less money nor do I care about having to go back to work to supplement our income and be able to live there. Do you have any advice for convincing my husband to move back or for me to make peace with the idea that we will never move back?

  10. Ann
    Ann says:

    Kristine, I have been in your shoes. My friends who are married and have 2 kids moved from a bigger city back to where their family lives in much smaller city in PA. They wanted to be closer to family as well. They stayed for 6 months then moved back to the city. They found that in PA they still didn’t see their family so much. They also found that they had been gone so long they were not into the PA way of life any longer and missed things like Starbucks and people who were more like them.
    I also just moved from LA bk to my hometown. You will find things have changed so much and your friends are most likely the ones you have made now in Chicago. Remember what you are leaving bc you will miss that for a while.

    • Kristine Gohsman
      Kristine Gohsman says:

      Thanks for the response and advice. I still have many friends in WI, and I often feel like I am on an island in Libertyville with my kids while my husband works in Chicago everyday. I will definitely weigh this decision heavily before making the choice to stay or go back. All of the cards would need to fall into place career-wise for us too.

  11. Johnny
    Johnny says:

    Y on earth would you focus on lack… None of us are average… You just have to have the balls to step out of your comfort zone. The average is determined by the average mindset. If u want to be happy,Choose to be.

  12. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    This post hit home for me. I found myself the primary breadwinner mom with two young children under three. We had lived in Washington DC (loved city life), then moved out to the country 50 mile out to be near my family and where I grew up once I got pregnant. It was great for the kids to see their Grandparents/Uncles/Aunts often, but it was not great for me to commute into work over 50 miles including time on the beltway. The tolls were $14 A DAY, no joke. I spent $600 total commuting each month. That, and I found myself bored with my career and with the lack of amenities out there. There were no jobs in the immediate surrounding area that would pay me enough, or be good for my career. I decided I needed change and started applying for jobs in the slightly different career direction I wanted. It came down to two options: 1. a job for a world famous company/corporation making just over six figures in Manhattan (a 20% raise) or 2. A job in the same field making in the $50’s (15% less) but for a public university in a small college town down south with great benefits. Most people I think would have jumped on Option 1. But, with little kids – I wanted to get away from the ‘rat race’ not join a bigger one – which I felt commuting from suburban NJ to NYC daily would be. I felt moving to NY would be even more $$ then DC. So, I did all the numbers and found I would still come out ahead financially taking the smaller salary down south. I sacrificed 1. the ‘big name’ job and the adventure that comes along with living/working around NYC and 2. The fact that I would have still been driving distance from family in DC if I took the NYC job. So we moved down south. Now, I go home and have lunch with my littles every day, I can leave work to see them in a play and be back in an hour. I see them every morning. I have a 5 minute commute to work, and there are no globs of people everywhere. There is more to do in this small college town then where I was in the $$$ countryside outside of DC. My house cost nearly half. Overall life is less stressful, and we are happy. However, I am not even one year in, and do still wonder if I made the right choice for my family and our future. I *think* most of the reasons why I would have taken the NYC job were superficial.

  13. audy
    audy says:

    Good site,We did the same.
    now we are on EfamilyMatch.com
    Its the first meeting site for families…
    Great job and good luck

  14. Catherbo
    Catherbo says:

    Just a note for those of you mentioning Charlotte NC as a place to get away from Traffic – HAH! Are you serious? Charlotte is one of the worst areas for rush hour traffic that I have ever lived in and I have lived in DC, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, that’s right. Take a closer look at your morning commute. In addition to the heavy traffic, you also have very narrow lanes, poorly constructed highways, and zero public transportation. You can take the city bus or a small train metro to a very, very limited area, probably not anywhere near where you plan to live or work. Charlotte has other things going for it, but “lack of traffic” and “easy commute” are not it. The metro in DC is much more conducive to commuting – stay there if possible and ride the metro. Good luck!

  15. Zeeh
    Zeeh says:

    This is a great post. I came across months after I rejected an amazing job offer at the largest bank in the world because I did not want to relocate.
    The money was more than I have ever imagined having in my life, but my gut would not let me do it. Reading your post made me realize that my gut was right. Money was not going to make me happy living as an international in Utah with no family, friends or connections to the culture.

  16. Lukas
    Lukas says:

    What helped for me to recover after the relocation is visiting different cultural events in new city. I went to the theatre every Sunday and it not only helped for me to integrate, but also improved my knowledge of new culture.

  17. kenneth
    kenneth says:

    What a web site! It really took me a few seconds to realize just what everybody was really talking about. I recently moved, get this, from the Island of Hawaii to Albuquerque New Mexico. Why? Who knows. It sure wasn’t the scenery, the traffic. The climate? You gotta be kidding! From the so called tropical paradise to the dust bowl? Paradise is so a state of mind. Everybody has a different opinion on just what it is. I felt that I was talked into leaving Hawaii because of so called opportunities here on the mainland. Not true. I always worked in Hawaii. Supported myself, paid the bills and sort of enjoyed the lifestyle. But it gets expensive to live in paradise take it from me I did it for over 25 years. Most folks think when you say Hawaii they think of Honolulu. But I lived on a different island what’s known in the tourist industry as the Big Island in a small rual town of Kailua Kona, population of around 10-11,000 people. A good 200 miles from Honolulu. Yeh a real Mayberry atmosphere only in paradise. I really miss it. I’ll be the first to admit it. Although it was a real small town it had the Wall-mart, the Kmart, the Burger King, Macy’s and Target all the things that one would need to survive. There weren’t many jobs to go around but one could always find a way to make a living. Man I miss that lifestyle, but really that’s what it’s all about. One’s lifestyle. I made a big mistake making this move but God-willing I’m going to get back. I left a lot of good friend there.

  18. BA
    BA says:

    I really like this article, and I will peruse the comments for sure. But I have to say, I don’t agree with the statement that “women simply do not want to have their kids raised by nannies.” Currently I live in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and we need to decide if we should stay here and have a kid, or move back to the States. The abundance of affordable childcare, including nannies, in this country makes it very tempting to stay. If I had a nanny, she wouldn’t “raise” my kid, and it seems very nice to know I wouldn’t have to schlep my kid to day care every day, which I know from my family and friends can be exhausting. I just feel that in an article where there are so many thoughtful points, this generalization about women hurts the overall credibility of the text.

    • John
      John says:

      I can see your point however, I personally disagree. Parents need to raise their kids or at least one parent should be primary. A nanny or a daycare is a poor substitute for parent child bonding.

      More and more due to economic inequality and both parents having to work to survive you are seeing communities that previously did not use nannies are now.

      However, most send kids to daycare which is probably the cause for autism and behavioral issues more than vaccines, TV and junk food.

      Parents need to be firm, present, and kind, but with the stress of our bottom line consumer driven global evolution many large communities are producing cold selfish tech consuming monsters, because everything but the parents are raising their kids. They simply do not have the time or energy for it.

  19. John
    John says:

    Hi Penelope I wanted to tell you that your list is great and clearly comes from experience and tremendous thought.

    My wife and I have researched for 4 years and visited several potential places and there was always a big negative.

    Your post identifies key reasons to consider a move, family/loved ones are very important.

    These people although irritating at times are a significant part of anyone’s happiness. As long as they are descent people.

    So moving far away could make your happiness gauge go down further.

    Focusing on what you lose is the other big factor.

    What you will gain may not compare to what you lost since you are not as familiar with the exciting gain until you spend some time with it.

    There are so many factors to consider which can paralyze you to making a decision. Air quality, crime, schools, beach/lake access, nearby city, housing costs, culture, natural disaster issues, water issues, political corruption….wait that’s everywhere.

    My 1st piece of advice to anyone is better to buy a trailer on a low crime area with good schools then a brand new 4 bed 2.5 bath in a high crime poor school district especially if you grew up in the former.

    Great topic!!

  20. lovetxheat
    lovetxheat says:

    We moved from TX to Toronto 7 months ago. Our life in TX was incredible but my husband commuted every week to TO. We made changes and decided to leave friends and an incredible lifestyle behind. Well, we are planning on moving back next summer. We lost too many valuable things. He added 1:30hrs of commute a day which he did not have and our family dynamic worked better even with the traveling. The kids have adapted but coming from hot weather (Mexico-Florida-Texas) and being relocated to Canada was not an easy task. Even when we have embraced winter sports and remained active, the weather has significantly affected our lifestyle. We are all very outdoorsy.
    Thank you for your post. It is always nice to know others think similarly or have gone through the same. Tx was our home for 8 years and we can’t wait to get back.

  21. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    The trouble with this article is it assumes we all have the same goals/desires. I live in the country, have for the past fifteen years and I am more than ready to give it up. I am ready to not have to drive twenty minutes for a gallon of milk. I am ready to have culture practically at my doorstep. My husband decided to go back to college with the intent of our trading the country for the city, we currently spend a lot of time traveling to the city to do the things we enjoy doing with our kids.
    What we didn’t count on, however, was being offered the opportunity to move to a city we had never before considered. My husband’s job is being transferred to Denver, a city we hadn’t put on our “short” list of places to live. Now we are faced with a new set of considerations. Yes, it has the culture we wanted. Yes, the proximity to outdoor recreation that was high on our list is great. It is also more than fifteen hours from our family. That’s huge but at the end of the day it is also a great opportunity to see a new region of our country. A chance to expand who we are as people. If we don’t go I think we will always look back and wonder if we missed a great opportunity.
    So for some of us, what we gain will far surpass what we leave behind, those long commute times the article mentions, for us we have that just to get groceries and for my husband to get to work, a half hour both ways everyday whereas in Denver there is ample housing near where he will be working.
    It all comes down to lifestyle. For some staying outweighs going, for others, it’s the opportunity we’ve been waiting for.

  22. Christina
    Christina says:

    Hi.. Leaving the place we lived in for so many years can be a painful one. So, it takes time to get accustomed with the new place. Thanks for sharing this lovely and useful blog. Really liked it.

  23. Joe
    Joe says:

    I moved from the town I grew up in to Phoenix, AZ after I got out of high school, even though it meant leaving my friends and family, I didn’t care, I hate cold and I hate snow and cloudy rainy weather, and my family and friends couldn’t make up for that, I guess I am kind of selfish that way. I don’t really have any friends here, but that doesn’t matter to me as I’m not a social butterfly by any means, most of the things I like to do are things you can do by yourself. At least I’m not cold or depressed anymore

  24. Sherry Richardson
    Sherry Richardson says:

    Calah- While there are so many instances when moving is a good thing; in our case it was not. I had posted several months back about moving to Charlotte. You nailed it when you said: I have money etc. But no family close by.

    We have since moved back to Florida and now know this is home. Less money – yes but sheer happiness. We truly did not realize what we had until we moved away.

    I would encourage anyone wanted to relocate to STRONGLY weigh pros and cons! Family, continuity, all should be huge factors!

  25. Miami Realtor
    Miami Realtor says:

    I am a realtor here in Miami Beach, and I could not read this article without nodding my head and thinking of several clients and family members that have fallen into the pitfalls outlined in this article, including myself!
    When looking at apartments or homes, the large amount of space and bells and whistles (sub zero fridges, fantastic views) will not make you happy even several months down the road, in comparison to being in a community and location that you like. Finding yourself in your car more-so than not is not only exhilarating, but expensive (gas guzzlers aside!)

    As a realtor, I try to understand what type of lifestyle my clients have, and then place them in communities, neighborhoods that will fit their lifestyle – For example, if they are used to walking to a lot of places, there are several neighborhoods here in Miami that have sidewalk restaurants, salons, grocery stores, etc. Or if they enjoy running, many areas have scenic running paths that are great for runners to enjoy after work.

    The truth is, your area is as much of an influence in your life as your friends and family when relocating, as it makes you feel as if you are connected to a part of society, culture, etc. Living is beyond the four walls, and high end furnishings tend to mask that reality.

  26. MF
    MF says:

    Penelope, do you have a list of reliable and useful research tools for learning about and comparing different locations in USA? Preferably dealing with culture, lifestyle and average age of residents? Thanks

  27. Ty
    Ty says:

    I am in a real serious situation here in NYC and would like some advice.

    I moved to NYC from VA to pursue a career in international development (I was in the Peace Corps). I didn’t have a job lined up and realized it’s more difficult than I anticipated to find a job here with no “hard” skills and little work experience (despite having a Master’s degree- in sociology albeit). I never wanted to move here deep down in the first place but I was in love at the time with a wonderful woman who had just gotten a job here. Since then, the relationship fell apart unfortunately- it was too much for both of us with the move and work.

    Anyway, I went out on a limb, tried to pursue my passion and after living in 3 different apartments since arriving here last September I’ve realized I hate everything about the city and am looking to move back to live with my parents and work and save my money. Thing is, I have no job lined up and just started a job here in February (pays well but I have a commute of almost an hour and half).

    I feel trapped but all that is keeping me here is fear really. I need to make a decision fast. I feel depressed all the time and I have no one to blame but myself for a reckless decision. I miss home and family and the beach and mountains dearly. I’m blessed to have options and I try to tell myself that every day.

    I’m single with no kids. 27 years old. Do you think I’ll be okay moving back or that I should stick this thing out?

  28. Simone
    Simone says:

    I disagree. I think its of the uptmost importance t visit a city before you move there. You can listen to what people say, but in reality thats just their opinion and different people like different things., OR… you can go and see it for yourself.

    I was looking to relocate and my aunt and cousins had suggested Seattle, WA. I had not even thought of Seattle as a possibility, but they seemed to really think I would be a great fit. The cost of living was high, yet there were plenty of jobs, I would be earning a higher wage, lots of people my age, parks, beautiful scenery. My big concern was the rain. So I spoke with several people about it. “But you’re from the north east, you’re use to terrible winters… the winters are mild and it’s just rain, but if you look at the figures its no more than say Boston, or New York.”
    I did more research. I listened to more people tell me how great Seattle was. I still was unsure… but the idea seemed like more and more of a possibility. So when a mix up happened at the airport and my flight was somehow got rerouted to Seattle, I was stoked. I called up my aunt and decided to stay for a few days.
    I remember that feeling as soon as I left the airport, took a taxi downtown and took walked to my aunts house. I remember thinking to myself… Mehhhhhh… I knew right then and there it wasn’t for ME. Yes it was a beautiful city, great people, wonderful restaurants and scenery… but the more time I spent there I realized it just wasn’t for me. There are many people who really love this city, and it is for them. Just not for me. Go out there and see for yourself!

  29. Chris
    Chris says:

    I moved from Charlotte, NC to Oklahoma City two years ago. Charlotte was a perfect fit for me and I loved everything about it, I just hated my job. I found a great job in Oklahoma City and was focused entirely on that. I was also excited to be closer to family. I didn’t place proper weight into the relationships I had developed with people in Charlotte and the fact that I lived in a beautiful area with adequate cultural amenities and easy day trips to the beach/mountains. I am now in a glorified small town, bored out of my mind with no friends thanks to the fact everyone here either gets married at 19 or is a high school dropout. I moved from a beautiful climate with hills and tall trees to the dusty great plains where there just isn’t much to look at, period. I’m closer to my family but still far enough that I can’t just go visit for dinner. I have relocated several times but I would have to say this was one of the worst mistakes I ever made. Hopefully its just a stepping stone towards bigger and better things and that I don’t end up trapped here. If I have to be here even a few more years, I will become a very bitter, angry person even moreso than I already have become.

  30. Ginger
    Ginger says:

    Such a great discussion!

    My husband and I grew up in a small town in northern WI and could not wait to leave. We wanted to see what else was out there for us, finding a job here did not thrill us; after graduating college my husband got an excellent job opportunity that brought us to Pittsburgh, PA. We said yes immediately!

    When we first moved to Pittsburgh I hated it, I had no friends; being an introvert doesn’t help, I could not find a job and I was so far away from family and friends. About 6 months into our move, I found a job, we bought a house and made friends through meetups, neighbors and co-workers; which was so hard for us since we are kind of a quiet couple, which we had to get over. It took some time but it became our home and we became comfortable and happy for the most part. We loved it there.

    Then we got an idea to sell everything and move to Florida where my husband got another job offer. I love the beach and warm weather so we went while I was 5 months pregnant with our first child. Same thing happened, after the romance of the beach and warmth wore off, I did not like it. Again it was hard to meet friends since we moved to a smaller city than Pittsburgh. Since I didn’t bother getting a job since I was pregnant and due in a couple months, I started going to the gym and volunteering at the humane society to try and meet people. Once I had my son I joined a mommy group and quickly made friends. It was starting to feel like home but my husband hated his job and we could not sell out house in Pittsburgh we decided the best thing to do was move back to Pittsburgh. So we did.

    Once we settled back into our old home in Pittsburgh we really settled since we had our family starting. We were content, even though now that we had a child being away from family in WI was still hard but they came to visit pretty often, about every other month we had visitors. Then I had my second son, it was getting harder on us as a couple. We had no babysitters, because I was very particular about who watched my sons. We had no date nights and I was getting burnt out, hey my sons are a hand full.

    My husband got a work at home opportunity and we decided to move back home to WI, which by the way was the hardest decision we had to make because we made some close friends with kids the same age. And we were very comfortable there.

    We wanted our kids to grow up in a safe place with great schools and be able to be around grandparents and cousins. Here we are, we have been back in WI for about 1 year and I am slowly adjusting to being back here. I had a really hard time being back even though I missed family I forgot about the things I did not like living here.

    My kids love being close to family though and right now that is all that matters to me. On the other hand I struggle with what they are missing out on if we stayed in Pittsburgh or raised them in Florida right off the beach. I have a feeling we will be moving again, not sure when maybe after the kids are done with school or if this winter is as bad as last!

    It seems like every time we move, I immediately forget about all the things I hated and focus on all the things that I miss. Ugh, I feel like I have a relocation disease or something.

  31. Tristan B.
    Tristan B. says:

    We just did two major cross country moves, I SO wish I had read this article prior, it would have saved me much heartache.

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