It is official. We are “Movin on up. To the east side”.
We finally settled on a new location to call home: Liberty Lake, Washington. A couple months ago, I published a post comparing Santa Clarita to Liberty Lake and after some thought and weighing the pros and cons of the region our family made the decision that this will be our new destination (or at least a long term layover).
Over the last couple months, I have been sharing the news with friends and family and what immediately follows are a string of questions. Often the same questions, but the one comment that seems to be a common theme is their desire to also leave California. The reasons California is not as attractive as it once was are varied and require a separate article to explain. Let me get back to the questions people have been asking and will touch on some of those reasons in my explanation. Here they are:
What about your family and friends?
This is a tough one. In weighing the pros and cons of moving away from the area, my only item on the con list is leaving friends and family. I have lived in the same community for the last 34 years and have family members, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and familiar faces all around me. My wife has lived in this community for about 25 years and my daughter for all of her 9 years.
We all wish that we could talk all (ok most) of those people into moving with us, but unfortunately not everyone is able or desires to move. So, this will continue to be a con for a long time.
However, there are some pluses.
- Having so many important people in SCV keeps us connected to the community and will be good reason to return often.
- The fact that our business is mobile means we can travel any time we want.
- There are 2.5-hour direct flights from Spokane to Los Angeles every day.
- We really like road trips.
- Technology keeps people very connected. While it is not the same as in-person visit, staying in-touch is fairly simple these days.
Another plus is that we won’t be totally alone. We already have some family that lives in the region. Between my wife and me, we have 4 sets of parents. Half of them will also be moving to the area shortly after we move; with other family members considering a move to the Northwest at some point in the future.
So, even with the pluses it will be by far the hardest aspect of moving; we will miss a lot of people, but we will make it work.
Why did you choose that location?
Some of the criteria for a new city included:
- Small town but not too far from a city
- Four seasons (yes – we want some cold, snow, and rain)
- Area has to have many choices for outdoor activities
- Close to snowboarding
- Low cost of living
- Not in California
Over the years, we have camped or driven through much of the Northwest and really like the surroundings. At one point Oregon and Utah were candidates. However, we have family near Spokane, Washington and thought it might be good to consider a location where we already know a few people. One of my cousins from the region suggested we check out Liberty Lake, WA. We took her advice and spent a few days there getting a feel for the community and it felt right. It also looked good on paper; fitting all the requirements for our new city. (see the data here)
What will you do for a living?
My wife and I are in the web development business. We have spent the last few years structuring our business model to allow us to be mobile. The goal was to be able to travel and still be able to make a living. Our efforts have been successful and resulted in a business that allows the freedom to live anywhere in the world. Of course, the model isn’t perfect and we will keep tweaking it, but we are at a point where our core business is not dependent on our physical location. It only depends on us having a computer and Internet access.
Some of our clients are currently local and like knowing that we are just around the corner. However, we have never even met many of our clients that are just down the street and we might as well be on another planet. On the other hand, we have other clients spread across the United States that feel just as local as those who are across the street. Phone, email, and instant messenger keep us very connected. When the need arises for face-to-face meetings, there is a daily commuter flight from LAX to Spokane.
In summary, we will do the same thing we do now.
Why would you want to move from Santa Clarita?
Most people understand why we would want to leave California, but some have pointed out that Santa Clarita (SCV) is very nice community and a very desirable place to live. I agree. SCV is relatively nice and desirable. The level of desirability is one of its drawbacks. Over the years, the community has grown tremendously. There are now 150,000+ more people here than when I was kid. I am thankful for the growth in population as I made a living off the increase of home-building and businesses for many years. In addition, my wife was one of those 150,000 that moved to SCV. However, it has hit a tipping point where additional streets can’t help the traffic and the other side-effects of reaching 200,000 residents can’t be reversed. I congratulate Santa Clarita for maturing into a thriving community which many desire.
A local marketing campaign refers to Valencia (the part of SCV where I live) as “Awesometown” and another states “Where Awesome Lives”. The bottom line is I am just not that awesome.
Here is a short list of reasons why it is time for us to move on.
- Too much traffic
- The air is bad (just a theory- too many of us have allergies and headaches)
- Need a change of scenery (34 years is a long time in the same place)
- Crime is increasing in and around the area
- High cost of living
- No longer has friendly small-town vibe – people seem stressed and edgy (could just be me)
- Can’t easily go into the city (Los Angeles) due to traffic and amount of people living around SCV
- It rarely rains (maybe that is why the air is bad)
- It never snows (this might get old in our new city)
- You can’t wear long sleeves on Christmas or Thanksgiving
So, we will move to a community with about 7,000 people and be one of the stats that annoy some the existing residents. I know we are selfish hypocrites.
You do know it snows and rains there, right?
First, most people think of Seattle when I tell them we are moving to Washington. Seattle is on the west coast and has a different climate than the city we will be living. Our place of residence will be near the Washington and Idaho border on the east side of the state.
Yes, it does rain and snow much more than it does in Santa Clarita, but remember that is what we are looking for. We are not really beach goers or sunbathers. We tend to like winter sports and prefer sitting around a fire in a cold cabin than lounging by the pool.
We chose this city because of the fact that it gets some rain and snow. For the most part, it doesn’t appear to get the kind of cold, snow and blizzards they get in Minnesota or Chicago. It is relatively mild amount of snow with plenty options for snowboarding in nearby mountains.
When will you move?
We plan to move at the end of this school year, mid-June 2014. Of course, there are many details to work out and that date may change, but that is the current target.
Of course, we will say goodbye to family and friends before we go.
It will be difficult to leave family and friends, but we are excited about the upcoming adventure. I am sure I will have more commentary in the coming months.