Author Topic: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!  (Read 4862 times)

Apocalyptica602

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Hello all,

So I'm rapidly coming up on a crossroads in my professional and personal life and could use some advice, particularly from Nebraskan / midwestern mustachians.

I'm finishing up a 3-year 'developmental program' at work, which has a purpose of developing the next generation of engineering / manufacturing leaders at my fortune 500 company. So far I've moved through Maryland, New Jersey, and Connecticut. I've chosen to remain relatively close to NYC because that's where my girlfriend (now fiancee!) was living until I sorted out where I was going to end up.

However now we're looking at the next stages of our life and she's willing to transfer her pharmacy license and move with me.

I want to remain with this company at least for the next few years as they've spent a considerable amount of time and money investing in me and relocating me (plus if I leave the company within a year after finishing this program, I am responsible to pay back some relocation costs, approx ~20K)

Currently I make approximately 70K, my fiancee is a pharmacist and makes 120K in NYC.

I'm looking at potential jobs I'm qualified for across the US, and I wanted the forum to weigh in.

There's a role located in a mid sized town in Nebraska (approx 20K population within 2 hours of Omaha) that aligns with what I want to do and is a fairly significant step 'up' in the corporation. My salary would probably stay about the same (it's a promotion but I'm moving from a high COL area in CT to a low COL area in NE, if I keep the same salary it would be equivalent to 104K/yr where I am now) My fiancee will probably take a slight pay cut to 100K/year.

I'm from the suburbs of NYC and haven't really explored much beyond that, I'm in a kinda rural-ish area of Northwestern CT now and that's about it.

In short my question is: Would you take your fiancee and move away from all your family and friends for at least a couple of years in order to rapidly accelerate FI and potentially provide significant career opportunities in the future?

Also, would like to hear from those of you who live or have lived in the midwestern states with regards to what you enjoyed about them, and how did you deal with some of the perceived downsides such as tornados / isolation / ideological differences / racism (we're a mixed couple) etc.

Thanks!

-Apoc

stevesteve

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Re: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2014, 08:45:11 PM »
It's a bit hard to weight in not knowing the pay differential.  You make more but what does your fiancee make?  Do you already own a car?  How much would you spend flying back to see your family?

For me, I'd move to a small town if I could remain carless, make significantly more money as a couple.  I'd think of it as a fun thing to try out knowing that I could look to move back whenever I wanted.  I'd only do it if there were not significantly similar pay opportunities closer to home.

Apocalyptica602

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Re: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2014, 08:54:40 PM »
It's a bit hard to weight in not knowing the pay differential.  You make more but what does your fiancee make?  Do you already own a car?  How much would you spend flying back to see your family?

For me, I'd move to a small town if I could remain carless, make significantly more money as a couple.  I'd think of it as a fun thing to try out knowing that I could look to move back whenever I wanted.  I'd only do it if there were not significantly similar pay opportunities closer to home.

We both already own cars, albiet used, and would continue to do so there, we might be able to become a 1 car family however once we live together. She'd take a ~20K paycut roughly, however she'd "effectively" make 30K MORE than she does now. (120K in NYC is comparable to about 70k where we're moving, although average salaries tend to be 100K)

As for flights to see family, if we flew back once every 2 months, it would probably work out to be ~6K/year in travel for the two of us (being extremely generous with estimates here)

So financially we'd probably end up making ~160-170K/year in small-town Nebraska versus 200K/year in expensive New Jersey / New York / Baltimore / DC / Connecticut (some other options I'm looking at)

randymarsh

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Re: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2014, 10:04:18 PM »
I think I'd do this. It's an adventure and who knows, you may like Nebraska. If it doesn't go well, it sounds like both of you could find new jobs in NYC without too much trouble.

Quote
Also, would like to hear from those of you who live or have lived in the midwestern states with regards to what you enjoyed about them, and how did you deal with some of the perceived downsides such as tornados / isolation / ideological differences / racism (we're a mixed couple) etc.

I like having all 4 seasons. Traffic is almost non-existent. Lots of room - my backyard is 4 acres.

Tornados - I think this is a bigger concern in Nebraska than Ohio. We have the occasional watch/warning during the summer but so far nothing devastating in my area. Every couple years a warning is bad enough to head to the basement.

Isolation - Don't really feel isolated. Friends and family are a 5-15 minute drive. Airport is an hour away. Cell phone service is everywhere.

Ideological - More conservative than you're probably used to.

Racism - No idea about NE, but racism seems to be subtle here. Shitty watermelon jokes, that kind of thing. I guess that's easy for me to dismiss as a 20 year old white guy. But I don't see a lot of outright hostility. I will say I think a young black male would actually be treated better by the police here than NYC.

Adam Zapple

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Re: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2014, 08:26:09 AM »
It's a tough decision.  My wife and I live in Connecticut also (Southwestern CT- Fairfield county).  Where we live is basically a NYC suburb.  It sounds like your wife commutes quite a distance to NYC which is probably difficult and stressful.  We talk about leaving this area all the time but in the end, for us, it is in our best financial interest to stick around for another 5-10 years or so.  There are so many pros and cons to this area to consider and finances are only one.  These are some that we talked about: 

Pros:
-The NYC area is relatively immune to economic downturns.
-Higher incomes than anywhere else in the country means more total investable dollars
-Housing tends to appreciate faster here than other areas making your primary home a decent investment
-Diverse area with all kinds of people, cultures, food etc
-Convenience to shopping, transportation
-Proximity to almost anything:  City, rural areas, beaches, skiing, outdoor activities
-Our friends and family are all here

Cons:
RAT RACE- high stress, high speed all the time mentality
People tend to be introverted and not as friendly
Expensive and very high tax rate
CT govt. is broke and taxes will not be coming down anytime soon
Weather:  I hate the winters here

My general feeling for my family is its best to stay around here and make and invest as much money as possible then get out and move somewhere less expensive.  I'd love to know what you guys decide and how you make out because we'll be in the same boat within the next 10 years


Apocalyptica602

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Re: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2014, 10:47:38 AM »
It's a tough decision.  My wife and I live in Connecticut also (Southwestern CT- Fairfield county).  Where we live is basically a NYC suburb.  It sounds like your wife commutes quite a distance to NYC which is probably difficult and stressful.  We talk about leaving this area all the time but in the end, for us, it is in our best financial interest to stick around for another 5-10 years or so.  There are so many pros and cons to this area to consider and finances are only one.  These are some that we talked about: 

Pros:
-The NYC area is relatively immune to economic downturns.
-Higher incomes than anywhere else in the country means more total investable dollars
-Housing tends to appreciate faster here than other areas making your primary home a decent investment
-Diverse area with all kinds of people, cultures, food etc
-Convenience to shopping, transportation
-Proximity to almost anything:  City, rural areas, beaches, skiing, outdoor activities
-Our friends and family are all here

Cons:
RAT RACE- high stress, high speed all the time mentality
People tend to be introverted and not as friendly
Expensive and very high tax rate
CT govt. is broke and taxes will not be coming down anytime soon
Weather:  I hate the winters here

My general feeling for my family is its best to stay around here and make and invest as much money as possible then get out and move somewhere less expensive.  I'd love to know what you guys decide and how you make out because we'll be in the same boat within the next 10 years

Thanks for your insight, I live far up in Northwestern CT (Litchfield county) which is markedly less expensive than Fairfield Stamford Greenwich etc. Home prices that suit our needs (wants) are in the 250-300K range. I currently rent a 700sqft 1 bedroom apartment for $865/month with heat included.

My fiancee currently doesn't live with me, she commutes to the Bronx and lives in Queens (roughly 30 minutes with chances for significant traffic and hair-pulling) if I were to stay in this location she'd leave her NYC job and find one in the area around me.

Where I'm struggling is that this could be a significant stepping stone. I don't plan to be a 'company man' and work for another 30 years, but theres a saying within my company that essentially reads "If you wanna go places, you gotta go to *blank* first" because its essentially our flagship manufacturing facility in the US and has a lot of visibility with the upper crust.

I'm not overly worried about myself, my hobbies are insular and only require an internet connection. My fiancee isn't much of a social butterfly herself, but since it's a relatively small town surrounded by nothing for about 45 minutes until you find the bigger towns, she might be doing some serious commuting if the retail pharmacies / hospital isn't hiring at the moment.

I really appreciate everyone's help, I could definitely use some more opinions.

Thanks!

MayDay

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Re: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2014, 11:12:19 AM »
Midwestern engineer here.  (Actually I stay at home with kids now, but my h is an engineer too).

There are always engineering jobs in shitty small towns (I am a city person clearly, despite being from small Midwestern cities) because no one wants to move to shifty small towns.  But engineering plants tend to be in shitty small towns, because of safety and land costs.  H gets calls from recruiters on a near daily basis and 100% of them are small rural towns.  They don't have to try so hard to recruit if it is a desirable location. 

Our family has made the decision that no amount of money is worth living in a town that is more than an hour from a city of at least 75k or so.  We have kids who we want to have good opportunities, we want to eat at decent non-Applebee's restaurants, we want to do all the fun free stuff that bigger places have, we want to have easy access to higher quality heal care.  And we just don't care for small towns. 

In your case, not having kids yet, and it being short term, maybe I would do it.  But I would not be happy about it. 

seattlecyclone

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Re: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2014, 12:20:13 PM »
I'm not overly worried about myself, my hobbies are insular and only require an internet connection. My fiancee isn't much of a social butterfly herself, but since it's a relatively small town surrounded by nothing for about 45 minutes until you find the bigger towns, she might be doing some serious commuting if the retail pharmacies / hospital isn't hiring at the moment.

I grew up in the Midwest. I think it's a fine place, full of lots of nice people, probably a bit more Christian and politically conservative than you're used to.

The part I bolded is a legitimate concern. Right out of college, I turned down a job offer in a Midwestern city of about 100k people. A major reason why I turned it down was that the position was with the only major employer of software developers in that town. The job probably would have been fine as long as I could keep it, but I would be hard-pressed to find another job within 50 miles, so being laid off would basically require me to move. In hindsight, moving to Seattle was absolutely the right decision for me. My potential employer in the Midwest has been steadily downsizing in recent years. The jobs out here are much more plentiful and pay better even after taking cost-of-living differences into account. That, and I just like living in cities better. That's a personal preference though. You may very well find that you like living in small-town Nebraska much better than your current location. A lot of people do.

Now it sounds like your employer is willing to invest quite a bit of money into training you for a long-term career in management, so your job is probably quite safe as long as you don't screw up this opportunity. Your fiancee is a different story. A small town only has room for so many pharmacists, so it's quite likely that she would need to find a job elsewhere. How far is she willing to commute, and how long would she be willing to put up with that?

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2014, 01:10:21 PM »
In short my question is: Would you take your fiancee and move away from all your family and friends for at least a couple of years in order to rapidly accelerate FI and potentially provide significant career opportunities in the future?

yep! did it. I am from the Twin Cities and my boyfriend is from Pittsburgh (I know those probably sound like hokey midwestern small towns compared to NYC ;) but they really aren't). after I finished grad school in Pennsylvania, we moved to Tulsa. it has definitely had its ups and downs, but I'm glad we did it (it was for a great job opportunity for me, right out of school which can be a tricky time to find a job; he was unemployed for a few months but then found something which is working out pretty well) and we are definitely treating it as a short-term adventure, although we have been here for two years and don't have a specific deadline. it is REALLY nice having good incomes and a super-low COL.

it is a little hard being so far from our families, but I was already living far from mine for the 2 years of grad school (I'm actually a little closer now!) I just use a Delta Amex card for literally every purchase, and those miles help offset the travel costs. I read somewhere that doing something like this early in your life together can actually really help strengthen your bond, since you don't have a lot of interference from either family and you get to start your own traditions together. that sounds cheesier than I intended, but I do feel like being on SUCH a different adventure together (prior to the move my boyfriend had never been west of Indiana! and it was definitely a bit of culture shock for us) has been a good bonding experience :)

Also, would like to hear from those of you who live or have lived in the midwestern states with regards to what you enjoyed about them, and how did you deal with some of the perceived downsides such as tornados / isolation / ideological differences / racism (we're a mixed couple) etc.

tornados... I don't really worry about these that much (although my mom does :)) we do have a basement which is for some reason rare in this part of the country, so that's nice to have "just in case."

isolation/ideological differences haven't really been a problem. before we moved we were part of a running/drinking club with many global chapters, and it turns out Tulsa had a great one that was active and full of people in their 20s and 30s, so this is our main social group and tends to be generally pretty aligned with our own ideological views (with enough diversity to keep it interesting!) we are really never bored... the thing we miss most about Pennsylvania is definitely its superior options for hiking/camping/trail running, but we're surviving :)

racism... I actually do notice people occasionally saying shit that is kind of shocking to me (not out-and-out using racial slurs, but just things where I think to myself... wow... really?!), but it's always older people. not that that makes it okay, but at least the younger generations seem to have it figured out :) I'm white though, so there definitely might be more subtle stuff that I'm completely oblivious to that would be bothersome.

all that being said, Tulsa is pretty different from a town with a population of ~20k... I have never lived anywhere like that so I don't really have input on it! like others said, doing some research on job options for your fiancee seems crucial. I just wanted to weigh in on the idea of moving across the country short-term since it has worked out well for us!

lifejoy

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Re: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2014, 03:01:46 PM »
Could you be happy away from friends and family? I spend more money on food, entertainment, and things when I'm trying to replace the irreplaceable awesomeness of family and friends :)

(Currently living far away from friends and family)

jjquantz

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Re: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2014, 04:36:45 PM »
We lived in a small town in southwest Iowa for five years when we were raising our kids.  We were about an hour's drive from Omaha, NE.  I once saw a posting about rural/small town life that went something like: The good thing about living in a small town is that everyone knows who you are.  The bad thing is that everyone knows who you are. 

Some comments:

1) Everyone will get to know you very quickly.
2) Although everyone will be "friendly" it may take longer than you would think to develop friendships. 
3) There will be nothing, absolutely nothing to do on a weeknight.  And not much on the weekends. - Go to Omaha or Lincoln for culture and entertainment.  Unless you consider high school sports and plays to be entertainment.
4) You will not be prepared for the low cost of living.  Trust me, I came to the East Coast from Iowa.  These are totally different worlds.
5) Because there is nothing to do and things are cheap - you will be well placed to save gobs of money.
6) However, in many ways social standing is even more sensitive in small towns than in the big city. People will KNOW how much money you make (see #1) and they will expect you to live "appropriately".

Check the Census data for the community.  You can learn a lot about the racial/ethnic/economic/educational makeup of the community that way. Racism will be there, trust me, but for the most part the people will be too nice to make anything of it to your face if you are in a professional capacity.  It may affect your ability to make friends and socialize, however.

Oh, lastly, no matter how nice the people are to you, they will always suspect that you are not going to stick around.  I found out that one of the teachers in the school where I taught ran a pool where the townspeople bet on how long they thought the new teachers would stay.  At five years, I was one of the longer lasting ones.  He told me that I lasted longer than any of the bets.

This sounds more negative than the experience actually was, but I would never go back to a small town like that again. you didn't say if there was a college there.  That makes a HUGE difference in the experience.

Apocalyptica602

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Re: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2014, 05:17:17 PM »
We lived in a small town in southwest Iowa for five years when we were raising our kids.  We were about an hour's drive from Omaha, NE.  I once saw a posting about rural/small town life that went something like: The good thing about living in a small town is that everyone knows who you are.  The bad thing is that everyone knows who you are. 

Some comments:

1) Everyone will get to know you very quickly.
2) Although everyone will be "friendly" it may take longer than you would think to develop friendships. 
3) There will be nothing, absolutely nothing to do on a weeknight.  And not much on the weekends. - Go to Omaha or Lincoln for culture and entertainment.  Unless you consider high school sports and plays to be entertainment.
4) You will not be prepared for the low cost of living.  Trust me, I came to the East Coast from Iowa.  These are totally different worlds.
5) Because there is nothing to do and things are cheap - you will be well placed to save gobs of money.
6) However, in many ways social standing is even more sensitive in small towns than in the big city. People will KNOW how much money you make (see #1) and they will expect you to live "appropriately".

Check the Census data for the community.  You can learn a lot about the racial/ethnic/economic/educational makeup of the community that way. Racism will be there, trust me, but for the most part the people will be too nice to make anything of it to your face if you are in a professional capacity.  It may affect your ability to make friends and socialize, however.

Oh, lastly, no matter how nice the people are to you, they will always suspect that you are not going to stick around.  I found out that one of the teachers in the school where I taught ran a pool where the townspeople bet on how long they thought the new teachers would stay.  At five years, I was one of the longer lasting ones.  He told me that I lasted longer than any of the bets.

This sounds more negative than the experience actually was, but I would never go back to a small town like that again. you didn't say if there was a college there.  That makes a HUGE difference in the experience.

There's a community college there, the nearest stereotypical 'big college' is University of Nebraska - Lincoln and University of Nebraska Lincoln - Omaha Campus.

How about any comments on this other opportunity: I could stay where I am right now in NW CT (In a small town, but with a lot of small towns in relatively close proximity and a hour and a half from NYC and Boston)

I'd make maybe 75K tops as it's a marginal raise if that, completely realistically could still make 70k.

My fiancee would have 3 states and a lot more pharmacies within a 45 minute radius

The job would be 'easy', probably a 7:30-5 gig, would give me some work life balance to get my masters (paid for by the company).

I really do appreciate all the help, I'm getting quite a bit of anxiety mulling over this, although I have until June to commit to an option. (But would like to be committed much sooner as we have to relocate my fiancee, ascertain her new job, and oh yeah plan our wedding haha)

jjquantz

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Re: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2014, 05:36:59 PM »
I told my wife about this thread.  She said to ask how long the commitment to Nebraska would have to be. 

There really were nice things about small town Iowa (and Nebraska).  The skies are REALLY dark at night - lots and lots of stars.  Drive outside the city limits and you will see miles and miles of corn and soybeans (literally as far as the eye can see!).  It's really beautiful in its own way. There is no traffic.  I once had a 57 mile commute after my wife relocated and I had to find a job.  It took me 57 minutes, like clockwork. 

You really can understand the impact of humans on the environment in a very sensual way.  We were sitting out in the backyard of a friend's house one night and listened to coyotes howl, a train whistle almost 10 miles away, and the sound of semitrailer tires on the highway 3 miles away.

Both my daughters grew up in small town and college town Iowa and they both tell stories of going away to college and reaching a point where they just had to get in their cars and drive into the countryside to see the crops.  However, both of them are currently living in major metropolitan areas.

Rural Connecticut is nothing like the rural Mid-West. 

Apocalyptica602

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Re: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2014, 05:48:22 PM »
jj-

There wouldn't be a set 'commitment' although typically people on the career track I'm on stay somewhere for approximately 3 years, enough to get their feet wet, get comfortable, excel for a year or two then push onto the next opportunity, either laterally to broaden their experience and prove themselves further or vertically if possible.

There's some 'soft commitments' such as if I begin a Master's degree program and use company funds (up to $10,000/year) it would likely take me 2-3 years to complete a masters unless I dip into my own funds (which I do NOT want to do), and if I leave the company within 2-3 years after receiving company funds I'll be responsible for $X. The amount 'vested' decreases on some schedule I'm not fully aware of.

Also I'd be receiving corporate relocation should I take this opportunity, which also has its own costs and vesting schedule.

So theoretically I can come and go whenever, although if I jump ship it'll reflect poorly on me at best and at worst I'd end up having to cut a check for something in the neighborhood of 20-30K.

Personally, I'm not looking to race up the corporate ladder and run the business one day. If I were, I wouldn't be trying to retire early. Also, 10-12 hour days like I'm currently working get old FAST.

Mortgage Free Mike

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Re: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2014, 11:47:39 AM »
I hate to quote Suze Orman, but "People first, then money, then things." Think hard about what you will (or maybe won't) be giving up if you move to Nebraska.
I've moved for work in the past. Think big picture. Life isn't about work. It's about experiences with people you love.

TropicNebraska

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Re: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2014, 02:58:48 PM »
Here's my two cents as a Nebraskan:
 Tornados: Rarely are there town killer mile-wide F-5's like whats down in Oklahoma or Kansas; last time Omaha seen a big one was back in 1975. Most twisters pop down, blow away a barn, then go away. The biggest headache is the hail that looks like someone put a machine gun to your house's siding and roof.
 Isolation: Not sure, one can feel lonely in a crowded city or a cornfield, depends on who you surround yourself with. Find a church or club and get connected and build relationships.
 Ideology: Conservative, but not as Bible-thumping conservative as the Deep South is.
 Racism: I'm white, my wife is ethically Korean and we have a mixed ethic 9 month old son and we have never experienced any sort of racism in Nebraska/midwest. The only time we've ever got dirty looks is when we travel to big cities like NYC, Chicago, or LA.

Pros:
Great public schools (suburbs)
Low cost of living
Inexpensive housing
Strong economy/jobs
Happy, friendly people
Low or no traffic
Little crime (except North Omaha, that's where the thugs are)
Food (we don't have much to do here so we eat good food and drink instead)

Cons:
Winters suck (I don't care how anti-mustachian it is, buy a snowblower, your back will thank you)
Highish taxes (but they pay for the schools so you don't need to put your kids in a private school)
Little to do (Most popular outdoor activity is bike and jogging, can't do much else)
The weather screws with you (it can be a record high one day and a record cold the next)
Far away from anything good (Rocky mountains 8 hours, Minneapolis 7 hours, Kansas City 3 hours, Chicago 8 hours)

Hope this helps, good luck

Eric

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Re: Good Job versus 'Good' Location - financial and personal opinions needed!
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2014, 03:22:55 PM »
Racism: I'm white, my wife is ethically Korean and we have a mixed ethic 9 month old son and we have never experienced any sort of racism in Nebraska/midwest. The only time we've ever got dirty looks is when we travel to big cities like NYC, Chicago, or LA.

Those looks are because you're a tourist, not because of your race(s).  Move out of the middle of the sidewalk before you stop to stare at some building or take pictures.  :)