I can move anywhere! Where should I move that’s affordable and full of nature?

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I can move anywhere! Where should I move that's affordable and full of nature?
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Any advice or resources for choosing a place to live for another Californian being priced out of her area? I’ve been going through a divorce and living with my parents temporarily while saving money to get back on my feet. I have no children and no special job holding me down, so the possibilities are endless for starting over again.

I feel like I’m ready for a change of scenery, and anyway could barely afford to live on my own in my hometown (the Bay Area) or where I spent my entire adult life and lived with my ex-husband (LA). I keep trying to find this magical place to make my home and I’m not sure it exists.

I need a place with an affordable cost of living, and I’d really prefer a place that has lots of trees and hiking options, and isn’t filled with Trump supporters. Does such a place exist?

I can’t really afford to take a road trip to explore, but I obviously do want to visit my potential new home before moving, so narrowing down my options is necessary. Any advice would be appreciated!

This is a question I think about a lot. I love where I live in Chicago. It’s got amazing culture, mostly Democrats (albeit surrounded by an otherwise red state), but the weather is not my cup of tea. I’m pretty much stuck for the time being, but that doesn’t stop me from daydreaming A LOT about where I’d move where the weather is finer. And now you have that chance to go anywhere you want!

I can see why you’d need advice. There are hundreds of amazing cities in the U.S. and elsewhere that would take you into its arms with love. I just don’t know where they all are. I took it to our readers over at Facebook since they always come through with amazing advice and I knew this question in particular would spark some interest.

Unfortunately, they recommended… well, everywhere. There’s no one right answer here, but there’s tons of food for thought. Mull it over and definitely give us a follow-up on where you end up. I know we’d all be interested.

The Midwest

Minneapolis, MN. Progressive, artistic, an amazing city parks system, and access to some of the best hiking in the midwest. Also: very close to Canada! If we weren’t tied to the Bay Area through work, friends, and jobs, I would be moving there tomorrow. – Elka

I moved to Minneapolis-Saint Paul 14 years ago for these reasons and have never looked back. Bonus: the job market up here is booming right now and it is a hub for Delta so you can fly almost anywhere non-stop. And don’t let the winters scare you — they can be brutal but MSP has a ton of activity options. – Dawn

I second Minnesota. A co-worker just moved from LA to Minneapolis for almost the same reasons and is very happy with her choice.

Also, we have all the trees and hiking plus more, and a similar liberal/conservative distribution like California. – Jennifer

Western Montana! Inexpensive housing and beautiful mountains. Not everyone is a Trump supporters. – Kim

I can’t meet all of your qualifications, but if you’re brave enough to venture into the Midwest, we have an incredibly low cost of living and lots of wilderness to explore. It’s true, you can’t avoid the Trump supporters here, but you’d be surprised by the diversity of ideas you’ll find in the cities and college towns here. Plus you could actively vote against Trump supporters on their home turf! – Jana

Michigan! Find any shoreline and stay there! – Lindsey

Pacific Northwest

Former socal resident here. After both my husband and I got laid off from our jobs, knowing we’d be unable to purchase equity in any land or homes in SoCal, we began to job hunt outside of California.

We ended up in Washington, just outside of the Seattle area. While it’s not entirely free of Trump supporters, it’s got beautiful hiking and camping areas. After a year and some change, we saved up for a down payment on a house and bought a home. We love it here.

I’m of the opinion you’ll never find a place that doesn’t have folks with differing opinions, political or otherwise… but we’re good here. And I’m not going to let those who espouse hate keep me from enjoying it. – Michelle

Parts of Oregon. Outside of Bend maybe or in the Willamette Valley. – Miranda

Several friends who have moved from the Bay Area to Portland and nearby areas in Oregon are recommending that to me. – Trystan

And one vote against Portland in particular:

I live in Portland, Or. Ten years ago the mass gentrification started and people were forced out of their homes mainly for financial reasons, and then a new flux of people moved here, mainly from California. What was once a beautiful city is now an overpacked sardine can, and the prices on rent are so outrageous people are being forced to move, and the amount of homeless people has quadrupled since four years ago, and while we have resources to help it just isn’t enough.

I take busses and light rail to work everyday, and the shifts I work used to mean that transit was not overcrowded, not anymore! This place is crowded all the time, and rush hour never stops.

As strange as this sounds I wish more people would move to red states that are planning on moving, if enough people moved to these places it might help the voter outcome. – Sarah

The Southeast

First, I’d suggest maybe getting a cheap RV and traveling. Second, we always welcome more folks in Asheville, NC, but bring your own job, as we don’t have a lot to spread around. – Annie

Asheville, NC or thereabouts. Asheville specifically has probably an even mix of 45ers vs not, though the surrounding areas are pretty red heavy. – Nikole

Roanoke, VA if you don’t want to deal with Northern winters but still want some seasons. In the city is blue. – Samantha

We have AMAZING hiking in Arkansas. Look up the Buffalo River area. Also, just look up hiking in Arkansas. We lived in San Jose for a very long time. We could no longer afford to live there and we were sick of having to spend half the day we had planned on hiking on getting the hell OUT of the Bay Area to do so. We now live in NW Arkansas and it’s absolutely NOT what you think. Research our area and I think you’ll be VERY pleasantly surprised. Not to mention our art scene is OUT OF THIS WORLD! Check out Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. – Lori

Northeast & New England

Vermont! Burlington, VT has as close to a city feel as you’ll get in VT, but still feels like a small town. Progressive with great hiking all around! – Meghan

Western Massachusetts! – April

Ithaca, NY! It’s AMAZING! – Risa

Oh, Canada and elsewhere!

“Lots of trees and hiking options, and isn’t filled with Trump supporters.” sounds strangely like Canada to me!

But, I know moving out of the country isn’t exactly affordable either, so I’d second Vermont. – Ive

Yeah, I was going to say this sounds like coastal BC or parts of Alberta’s rockies! – Kiran

Do you have to stay in the US? Why not consider moving to a new country? Canada has been mentioned, but there’s also Western Europe: fantastic quality of life, good healthcare, and definitely very few Trump supporters. Bonus: pretty much every European country has amazing scenery. – Lou

Comments on I can move anywhere! Where should I move that’s affordable and full of nature?

  1. I had the same dilemma and ended up in Baltimore, MD. It’s cheap, definitely liberal, lots of nature. Could be warmer but you can’t have everything I suppose.

  2. > It’s true, you can’t avoid the Trump supporters here
    > While it’s not entirely free of Trump supporters
    > Asheville specifically has probably an even mix of 45ers vs not
    > definitely very few Trump supporters.

    Imagine – wanting diversity but then finding different political views to be just such a burden. If you want to move out to where I am, north-east Ohio, that’s great. It’s nice here. But please leave the bigotry behind.

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