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Tired of the rat race, looking for relocation advice

Tired of the rat race, looking for relocation advice

Old Oct 14th, 2001, 03:23 AM
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Washington DC, a tough town? It is one of the friendlist places in the country. I can't tell you about all the times I have acrried on conversations with people on the METRO and with neighbors. I consider Washington DC to be one of the nicest towns in America. The south, now that is where people are unfriendly and work 14 hours a day.
Old Oct 15th, 2001, 06:36 AM
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I would suggest Denver or Austin, Texas. Both are fairly good-sized cities with lots of activities yet more laid back and friendly than DC.
Old Oct 15th, 2001, 03:02 PM
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I also work as an accountant in D.C., but my work day is 9-5:30, every day, with about 5 exceptions during a 12-month period (maybe I'll have to stay until 7!). There definitely are accounting jobs in DC where you work 12-hour days: my husband has one of those. So he makes lots of money and I don't. It's a choice.

Anyway, I know what you mean about mean people. A woman yelled at me this morning because I told him that he parked in a tow-away zone.

I would suggest looking at small college towns. They have all of the appeal of small towns, with a lot of different cultural events going on at the college. Most of the ones I know are in Pennsylvania: Meadville, Dickinson, etc. There was a thread on here several months ago about good college towns, and it had a lot of good information.

I was pleasantly surprised by Kansas City when I visited. Great city, a lot going on.
Old Oct 15th, 2001, 09:31 PM
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I second Spokane, WA. It has four seasons, none of them extreme. Lots of trees and lakes. Traffic is fine, great restaurants, great recreational opportunities--someone you know will have a boat/lake place/place in Seattle, etc. Seattle is close enough to visit on weekends. The people are extremely pleasant and the cost of living is very reasonable.

I also like Boulder, CO., which is close enough to Denver to be able to access all the things a big city has to offer, but the cost of living is more expensive and the people, in general, aren't quite as open and friendly as are Spokanites. More of a diversity of attitude and lifestyle in Boulder, I think.
Old Dec 19th, 2001, 11:09 PM
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Are you insane? Cincinnati is not laid-back. It is easily one of the most uptight communities I've ever lived in. I would vote that it is probably the MOST conservative Republican capital of America. Plus, we have one of the highest murder rates per capita in the country. Traffic is a mess because of the way the roads are mapped out. And Ohio drivers are notorious for their bad driving in all the states surrounding it: Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Indiana, & Michigan (they have coined the term Ohio driver due to this lovely phenomena). ON top of that, all that major companies that would once have drawn people to this area looking for good jobs are now laying people off or on the verge of closing (P&G, International Paper, Formica Corp., CSX, etc., etc.).
No way. I'm looking to move AWAY from here.
Old Dec 20th, 2001, 12:05 AM
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I agree with the original poster about DC I lived there for 5 years and it was both amazing and hell. People are snobby and it is a matter of where did you go to school? ( ivy league or similiar is the correct answer) where on the hill do you work? ( someone influential and controversial is the correct answer) and what part of town do you live in?(Georgetown or Foggy bottome area or the hill itself. It doesn't matter that you make 15,000 a year and live with 4 roommates)one wrong answer and you were out!!!! I remember meeting a friend for drinks after a grueling day at the office and I was early and she was running late, I casually asked the guy sitting next to me at the bar " How was your day?" his response "I have a girlfreind!" I explained that I was making polite small talk and that I was not trying to pick him up and he smiled and said " your not from areound here are you?" NO I am from Chicago, oh the midwest people are friendly there! yes but you are obviosly from the northeast corrider becauese you are a Jerk!! I live in europe now and I love Germany and the freeedom to travel, explore new cultures and be tax exempt for being an american citizen living abroad. Good luck on your quest for sanity. Do not even think about Huntsville Alabama that is hillbilly heaven.!!! with absolutely no redeeming quality of life not to mention a Neimans or Saks to shop in.
Old Dec 20th, 2001, 04:48 AM
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I'm always suspicious that such questions are just "research" for a column or article you're planning to write, but here goes anyway -- I'll do some of the up-front thinking for you:

Remember the trade-offs. You sound like someone who should stay the heck away from the northeast in general, and when you talk about having manners and being laid back, you sound like the south or parts of the midwest to me, but be careful: your idea of manners may not be the same as theirs. Laid back would also be the west coast (what about San Diego, Santa Barbara?), but the manners thing is a particular biggy in the south.

Now then, you also sound like someone who's ready to leave big cities, leaving you with small cities or college towns if you want white-collar jobs. You are going to lose some of the richness of cultural activities, decent public transportation, and diversity of population and opinion when you head out to a smaller municipality.

So you'd better think about whether you want to be where everyone thinks like you or where you may be in a serious minority. University towns tend to be liberal and sophisticated but obsessed with whatever is happening at the university. Small cities can be almost as provincial and narrow-horizoned as a small town, with limited interest in or tolerance of "outsiders," "carpetbaggers," or northeasterners who talk about the city they came from. After living Washington, you're going to be startled at how little people elsewhere know or care about what goes on in Washington and how much hostility there is toward it. And remember that small cities tend to be surrounded by rural areas, and you aren't ready for how conservative -- maybe politically but certainly socially -- those areas are.

I might suggest Atlanta, but it may turn out to have a number of DC's disadvantages without the attractions (horrible traffic, pollution, and no Kennedy Center or Georgetown). Otherwise, sure, try Charlotte (too many guns and "gentlemen's clubs" for me) or Raleigh or Richmond, but I'd check into seriously funky Savannah. You'll be an outsider forever, but you may find otherwise it has a lot to offer, they just keep it quiet because they don't want anyone to move there.

Otherwise, consider non-Microsoft Seattle, Omaha if you don't mind the cold, Columbus if you want a decent mix of Univ. and city.

Two other thoughts: Chicago bustles, but the whole clock is set about an hour earlier than the east -- no I don't mean it's on Central time, I mean that even tho' it's on Central time, most activities begin and end relatively earlier -- dinner is at 5-6 no 7-8, for example.

And what about Canada -- I think Toronto would fit your description and is still a world-class city. And Vancouver is that an more, with a better climate.
Old Dec 20th, 2001, 06:09 AM
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Original poster Cathy,
You have gotten a lot of thoughtful, detailed suggestions. Can we get some feedback from you, please??
Old Dec 20th, 2001, 06:37 AM
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Now that you've considered the rest, how about another look at the best. DC and NYC, tough towns? Depends on your strength, I suppose. Here, you can carve out your own existence ... easy or tough, smooth or rough. No offense to the other cities and towns mentioned (I've been to most of them ... fine places, all) ... but I prefer a place where my state of mind, dreams and imagination have freedom to move and roam, where I stamp my own identity on my own existence. DC offers that opportunity. Anyone who automatically perceives DC as simply a back-stabbing political mess has either been stuck in traffic a lot or suffered from folk on the Metro who refuse to move to the center of the car. My suggestion: reorganize your life to travel during off-peak, and visit us on the weekends when you can watch the folks who are really suffering ... tourists. It could even be that the world of accounting and other sciences predisposes people to a view. Nonetheless, lets hear some more good words about DC, this fab horizontal world, and of course, the most vertical of them all, NYC. Tough love towns!! Ciao
Old Dec 20th, 2001, 07:18 AM
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Oh, L, sometimes I really wish you had another existence.... the DC booster in you gives you away as young and less experienced with life around the country than you should be to give advice, sometimes....and this wasn't a request for reasons to stay in DC. If Cathy wants to leave, that's ok for her, doesn't mean you're a dope to stay. But if you tell her she's wrong about why she wants to leave, that does make you a dope.

I loved DC for the 15 years I lived there but left about 20 years ago and come back frequently for visits. I miss it, and there's a lot still to offer. But the explosion in traffic, chaos, mean-spiritedness is overwhelming, esp. to someone who still feels it's somewhat "home." I can absolutely see why Cathy might be weary of the scene, and she may be in a time of her life and a professional situation that wouldn't allow her to step off the treadmill if she stays in DC.

I happen to think she's right about how nasty political life has gotten, which makes DC nastier than ever. (I also happen to think that historically it was the GOP that set the standard for dirty pool, dirty tricks, and dirty politics as S.O.P., but I'd be willing to bet a year's salary that plenty of people wouldn't agree. And now it's moot anyway, because we are in a full-scale war of politics over morals, ethics, principles, values, integrity, or even common sense in which Dems and GOP are both ugly -- it's just the GOP has been in power lately and so they are able to do more damage.)

But I would warn Cathy that some of the ugly toughness comes from the home districts of all those in congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, etc. Tip O'Neil's famous "all politics is local" is applicable in that I think we have nationally more nasty. So she may be able to run, but she won't be able to hide.

As for the "gentleness" of the South? Sorry, Kann, but they just know how to stab people in the back behind closed doors, with a smile on their face as they do it.
Old Dec 20th, 2001, 07:32 AM
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If you say so, JJ. I especially liked paragraph one. You seemed to start out with some okay assumptions, all inaccurate, but hey, okay by me. But by golly, the ole anti-DC diatribe just had to slip through. Does everybody hate politicians ... or are there just a bunch of folks who know zip about how our system works. Sorry, but living here only places you in class ... you still have to study. You will get your wish about that other existence, at least. Regards from DC, and arriverederci.
Old Dec 20th, 2001, 08:06 AM
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Contrary to opinion registered above, Boston is a very cutthroat city. With over 5 million people in the metro area, higher rents that most of the country (Boston real estate is much more expensive that DC, but suburban Boston real estate is probably less expensive that DC suburban real estate)

Boston has horrible traffic and literally some of the most angry people of anywhere in the country. Traffic is probably better than DC, but there are more "chokepoints" than in DC with absolutely ridiculously bad traffic. Ever heard of the "beantown frown"? Move here and you will.

In Charleston, SC I was amazed that random strangers would stike up conversations with each other while waiting for a table in a restaurant. In Boston you'd be beaten or at least laughed at for initiating such conversation.

On my 30 mile commute each day, I expect to be flipped off at least once.

My 800 square foot dumpy apartment is worth $500k on the real estate market (I could never afford to buy it however, I rent and I get a great deal)

Workdays are long. I work with driven, ultra competitive, brainiac (or so they think!) types, nobody at work is friends, and we're worked to the bone.

Boston, NYC, DC all share the east coast mentality. Boston is a beautiful town and I love it here, but based on your criteria I'd recommend looking elsewhere! If you're looking for less stress, and an easier lifestyle Boston isn't the answer. Go west or go south my friend! Charlestown, Santa Fe, Denver, Portland, and dare I say L.A.?
Old Dec 20th, 2001, 08:13 AM
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I think the friendliest people are in the midwest. Saying that, I think Indianapolis and Milwaukee are two of America's best secrets. Great arts scenes, relatively clean, and very friendly down to earth people.
Old Dec 20th, 2001, 08:30 AM
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I feel somewhat qualified because I made the move you're contemplating. When I lived there, Washington was rat-race central, and had little soul because everyone was from "somewhere else" and living in bland suburban communites where they didn't talk to their neighbors. The town had its good points, but not enough to outweigh the bad.

So, where did I go? Philadelphia. Cheaper, more diverse, more interesting neighborhoods, access to beach and mountains, nice scenery west of the city, and decent -- though not perfect -- weather.
Old Dec 20th, 2001, 08:37 AM
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I lived in the midwest for 30 years, and would argue against it. Alot depends on your lifestyle, but if you value seeing the sunshine once or twice from November to March, skip it! I love Chicago and Minneapolis, but the weather keeps me from moving back. I will also tell you that most people find it harder to make friends when they move to the midwest. Most of the people there have lived there forever, have established circles, & don't go out of their way to include new people in them - although it's true that they're friendly enough, that's not the same thing.
What I WOULD recommend is Denver. Population of the metro area is around 2 million. It includes a large number of people from somewhere else, so everyone's gone thru the process of finding new friends & being included & makes a pretty good effort to help newcomers do the same. Of all the 6 places I've lived, it's the first city where my neighbors came over on moving day with introductions & snacks! And I think the lifestyle is hard to beat. The city has really come into its own in the past 10-15 years, with some fun & vibrant neighborhoods, theater(won the Tony for best regional a year or so ago), and a good variety of restaurants. Needless to say, being at the foot of the Rockies means we've got year-round outdoor recreation. And the weather is wonderful, so we can enjoy it! 300+ days of sunshine per year, with winter temps often in the 40s & 50s & once in awhile even tipping as high as the 70s, summer is hot (80s & 90s) but dry so quite bearable & always 10 degrees cooler up the hill. It's a great place to enjoy the outdoors year-round.
The work environment obviously depends on the company you join, but most people here place a lot of value on leaving time to get out & play.
Hope that helps, happy hunting!
Old Dec 20th, 2001, 09:26 AM
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yeah, really? west philly is certainly a land of milk and honey. but just over the ben f. bridge is nj - and atlantic city, beachtown of this northeast. and the mtns. in the poconos. quaint area. sorry, philly, but i been there, done that. can't sell that laugher to me.
Old Dec 20th, 2001, 10:22 AM
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Probably the cheapest debating trick in the book is bring up two or three negatives and try to use that to make a point. Bottom line: Phil, your comments about Philly are inane. Why not say Wash. is no good because of Anacostia, or NY's no good because of the South Bronx?

Sure, let's neatly skip over Philly's Avenue of the Arts, South Philly's restaurants and neighborhoods, Stone Harbor, the Rehobeth area, four major sports teams playng in (soon) three new faciltiies, Chestnut Hill, Manayunk, Society Hill. I could go on an on, but if your focus is on the Ben Franklin Bridge, Atlantic City, etc., you gotta big problem.
Old Dec 20th, 2001, 10:26 AM
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aw, come on, philly, they bash washington all the time and cite traffic or politicians. and i heard anacostia has it all over west phila, especially along market - nice train station too - check out union sometime.
Old Dec 20th, 2001, 10:52 AM
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In response to the Denver suggestion, I like Colorado Springs better than Denver, which is too much of a big city at this point.

My advice has more to do with preparation for relocation: Set yourself up to move to your new home as painlessly as possible when the time comes.

It's going to cost a big pile of money whatever you do. Start saving as much as possible. Get your house/apt/whatever ready to vacate. Get rid of everything you can and simplify as much as possible. When you're looking at a cross-country move, you don't want to transport one more item than absolutely necessary.

When I moved for similar lifestyle reasons 5 years ago, I had not done those things. It took a good 3 years for our family members to get back on our collective feet. If we had started preparing a year or two in advance, we could have handled the change much more easily.

By the way, we are now VERY glad we made the move.
Old Dec 20th, 2001, 05:24 PM
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Hey, where's Cathy?

Yes, everybody hates politicians EXCEPT for their own representative (altho' I daresay a few NC votes aren't all that thrilled w/Jesse). Truth is, esp. after the time I put in on Cap. Hill, State Dept., etc., it's the staffs who impressed me with their hardwork and devotion, but all you have to do is find yourself at a party where everyone has 12 agendas and climbing all over each other to be in, cool, well-connected, and "on the make" (not sexually), and you wonder what you are doing there. If you are not in the Congressional clique, the diplomatic clique, or the Admin/White House clique, you are unimpressive to those people.

Outside of DC? A huge electorate who is tired of politicians assuming we're idiots who believe everything they say, who can be suckered into believing pious "we're going to be bipartisan about this," and who fail to vote them out because we've bought what they sell. Somebody tell the politicians that they keep being voted in because they were the least awful on the ticket, and we had no decent other choice.

Cathy: pay attention to what Bostonite and Monica have to say. "Friendliness" is a relative thing, and it's not the same as friendship.

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