Thursday, May 5, 2016

living on spec

The Writer's Circle 30 day writing challenge 5th day asks us to write about "a place you would live but have never visited." That's been my life for a while now. I've moved to many places without first visiting. I actually enjoy the process. I start by looking at maps, to get a sense of geography, sections of the city, neighborhood names, proximity to water or other topographical features and highways.

I look at cultural offerings and local attractions. I look at colleges and universities in the area. Then I look at real estate listings to get a feel for affordability. This can entertain me for hours, or it can slam the door shut on possibilities. For instance, I'm reasonably certain I'll never live in California. Too pricey for my East Coast retirement check.

Sometimes an article will prompt me to look closer at a potential home. I recently read an article about ten lesser known small towns in North Carolina. I quickly zeroed in on Washington, NC. Although I was born in NC and later returned to attend high school and college, I've never been to the Outer Banks area. "Little Washington", as it's called, to distinguish itself from D.C., is located at the northeast edge of the Pamlico River, which leads out to the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, it's a harbor town, within reach of beaches. Home prices were very doable. I like it!

But how can you just go to a place where you don't know a soul? I'm often asked that by people who have stayed in the same place for many long years. You volunteer. You go to church. You make regular visits to coffee shops, florists, bakeries, and restaurants owned by locals. In the South, you're a "newcomer" for YEARS. But people get used to seeing you. Pretty soon, you're part of the scenery.

So yes, I would uproot and move to Washington, NC tomorrow. Or Savannah, GA. Or Asheville, NC. Or Austin, TX. Or Seattle, WA. Or Portland,OR. (I have visited some of these.) Honestly, there are only three things that would keep me from moving to a place: snow, high housing prices or extreme conservatism. When the wanderlust strikes, I'm gone!

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