Author Topic: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?  (Read 13799 times)

Future Lazy

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Hi Forum!

I'm pretty young, and although I love the state where I live a lot, I just don't see myself staying in Denver, Colorado for much more of my life..

I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, which causes extreme depression due to lessened sunlight during the winter months, usually November through March. Even in the summer, if it rains more than 3-4 days in a row, I start to get a little irritable/weepy. I haven't been able to find a sufficient medical treatment that isn't in pill form, although I am still searching (and taking suggestions, if anyone has them). All this winter is literally killing me slowly. I think my long term solution is to move south, as close to the equator as possible - and while staying in the USA, at least for now.

Things I like about where I live:
Mountains/Nature accessible - Hiking in the summer
Dry summers
Big city atmosphere nearby, with museums/zoo
High density of mature deciduous trees in the urban areas, supported by city (Denver Digs Trees)
Local historical district in my suburb, with olde buildings/parks/shoppes
Mixed housing makeup - 'low income' apartments adj to middle class houses, adj to duplexes/triplexes, adj to sprawling mansions with horse property
Lots of jobs, easy to get a job in 3-4 weeks in case of lay off/fired/other job disaster
Variety of school districts/colleges
Very few natural disasters
Variety of ISPs (sorta) and cell providers
Excellent public transportation, including regional public transportation and lightrail train system

Things I don't like about where I live:
Extremely expensive housing market (600-900 sq ft condo easily 100k, not remodeled - small unfancy apartment easily $800-1000/mo to rent)
Entire city is 30+ miles across - would prefer to live in a town where I can walk from one end to the other, TBH
Don't really care for snow/winter anything

Placed I have visited that I liked a lot:
Washington State, Seattle area - Love the rainforest/mossy feel! However I visited in the winter, and my depression was SEVERE after I returned. This is actually how I came to confront my depression.
Rural NY State; Lyons, NY- Suburban more like, I found it quaint and homey
Rural Texas; Lubbock, Brownwood - Scrub oak is really gorgeous, but I'm not sure I'm up to all that wide open space.. I don't even like how flat the south/southeastern Denver metro area is...
Freeport, Bahamas - Local color here was really cool, as was the idea of being on an island smaller than the city I lived in.

I'm not specifically adverse to any area of the southern USA, but I think I would probably like to stay out of Texas/bible belt areas, unless given a good reason to reconsider..

I'm heavily considering New Mexico, Arizona, Las Vegas area of Nevada and Central or Southern California, for no particular reason other than they aren't the bible belt, and Florida smells like old people :).

The Plan:
I don't think I will be moving to another state in the next 12-24 months... However, I would be interested in planning a road trip around a chunk of the southern USA sometime soon (in the next 12-24 months), and would like to visit a number of "might possibly move to.." towns for 2-3 days per town. Eventually, I would like to move somewhere with a solid local economy, and also eventually purchase a 3-4 bedroom "forever home" to make babies in/garden around. Wherever I move to, it would be best if it met frugal requirements, such as being walkable/bikeable, having good enough public school districts, and hopefully not full of McMansions.

Being within road trip distance of the ocean would be nice, too. I really like the ocean.

So, given all the information above, can anyone suggest a few cities/towns I should research?

Thanks everyone who reads and replies!


EDIT:
Are you FI or is your job not location-dependent? Do you have family or friends anywhere in those areas that you would want to be somewhat close to? Those are some factors that I don't think were addressed in your first post.

Neither. I'm barely starting out my financial journey, and have only had a real job for a couple of years now. My current job is location dependent, and is just a very basic paper pushy/call centery job for which my qualifications are: not an idiot, shows up on time, can spell/speak English. That being said, I'm building a portfolio for web design and am going to try to shoot for an entry level job in that field once I have something to show for myself. I'm married, and my DH is directionless with his career path and not very academic; I am slowly urging him toward trades to escape retail, which should be useful anywhere.

My mom is my only priority relative, who lives within 1mi of where I live now. Chances are, she would probably end up moving to where ever I move to, or moving to Port Angeles/Sequim, WA to be closer to her sister. My dad currently lives in Tanzania, and I would be just as happy if he never came back to the states.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2014, 08:45:02 AM by KaylaEM »

JLee

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2014, 08:32:13 PM »
I love Arizona. It's hot in Phoenix, but worth it for the winters. You're definitely not walking from one end to the other, though.  Housing is cheap. AC/electric can be expensive in the summer (with four people, 1825sq ft, pool, and AC at 78 I'm around $400 in the hottest part of the year).  If you go a bit north, it gets a lot cooler and smaller, but also more expensive.

fartface

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2014, 08:47:55 PM »
I'm visiting Phoenix right now. We left the zoo today and it was 67! We've been here since Christmas Eve.  I told my husband I might have SAD as my mood improved significantly once I got doused in all this sunshine. I've been able to walk a trail around a small mountain every day. Gorgeous landscapes in the Phoenix area.

Downtown is beautiful -- ASU --old historic square -- museums, etc.

Things I don't like: too many Pawn Shops and run down businesses once you're out of the downtown -- not enough bike friendly paths/lanes (at least not that I've seen). Too many republicans and guns. Sub-par schools.

AZ is a lovely state, and I love visiting in December; however, I don't think I could take the brutal summers and it lacks 'aesthetics' that progressive cities like Fort Collins (my ultimate dream destination city) have.

P.S. LOL @ "Florida smells like old people."  G1

Eggman111

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2014, 09:25:44 PM »
What about Tucson? I think somewhere in Arizona would fit your criteria, but a smaller city sounds like it would be better for you. Tucson is still only about 6 hours from the ocean. I haven't been to Tucson but I've heard good things about it.

The median list price per square foot in Tucson is $105, so it sounds it's lower than where you're coming from.

I was also thinking of the San Diego area, but it will be significantly more expensive.

Are you FI or is your job not location-dependent? Do you have family or friends anywhere in those areas that you would want to be somewhat close to? Those are some factors that I don't think were addressed in your first post.

dandarc

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2014, 09:29:04 PM »
Was about to suggest Florida until the comment about the smell.  Is pretty inexpensive where we are (panhandle), and the no income tax thing is fantastic IMHO.

Homey The Clown

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2014, 09:43:39 PM »
I'll second the Florida panhandle. We live in Tallahassee and it's very low COL, and becoming more progressive all the time.

Was about to suggest Florida until the comment about the smell.  Is pretty inexpensive where we are (panhandle), and the no income tax thing is fantastic IMHO.

Exhale

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2014, 09:51:07 PM »
Some ideas:
- Las Cruces, NM
- Tucson, AZ
- Colleges towns in TX, NM and AZ

I survive Seattle winters as follows:
- Daily exercise
- Daily walk
- Light box
- Strategic winter trips to sunny places

VanityFIRED

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2014, 10:26:58 PM »
I've lived in:
Gainesville, FL. - very bike friendly. Good opportunities for real estate investing. Not old (college town).  Close to gulf and Atlantic Ocean. Very sunny.  Always jobs available, but if it's not a professional job you are competing with college kids.  But it is really a great city.

The woodlands, tx - there are still reasonable houses to be had here. Pretty bike friendly. 30 minutes from 5th largest city in the USA.  Great food culture. Very nice state forest nearby for camping/outdoors.

I haven't lived in, but I've visited and I'd recommend looking at:
Athens, GA (another great college town)
Chattanooga, TN (mountains!)
Savannah, GA
Birmingham, AL (mountains!)
St. Augustine, FL (beware old people :)
Sante Fe, NM




Roland of Gilead

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2014, 10:44:39 PM »
I grew up in south Georgia but now live in Seattle.

About as far apart in cost of living as you can get.

I checked craigslist for homes near where I grew up and found a 4BD on 2 acres with a 20x30 foot shop for $65,000.

In Seattle, a 2bd on 0.14 acres with a 8 foot by 10 foot garage is about $400,000.

I agree with you about depression during winter in Seattle.   We had to get into skiing and snowmobiling just to survive (there is nothing really fun to do outdoors when it is constant 34 degrees and rain but when you go to the mountains and it is 20 degrees and snow...much fun)

I talk to my parents and they are out playing golf in Georgia in December...wearing shorts.

Eric

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2014, 01:29:45 AM »
Have you been to San Diego?  If not, go to San Diego before ruling out places with a high COL.  Some things are worth paying for, and if your moods and health are that dependent on weather, then paying to live the in the place with some of the nicest weather in the world year round could be worth it to you.  You'd probably have to give up the "dream house", but other than that it ticks most of your boxes.

NICE!

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2014, 03:46:06 AM »
I'll second the Florida panhandle. We live in Tallahassee and it's very low COL, and becoming more progressive all the time.

Also, Go Noles.

agent_clone

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BrooklineBiker

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2014, 05:29:34 AM »
How about Austin TX?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2014, 05:58:59 AM »
El Paso and San Antonio have topography, aren't in the Bible Belt, and are cheap and sunny.

I also found Del Rio, Texas surprisingly pleasant, but it would probably be hard to get a job there.

DeltaBond

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2014, 06:17:24 AM »
I live near Nashville, TN, and although there is a LOT of outdoor stuff to do, we do have early darkness in the winter.  Some people here have SAD, however, coming here from somewhere that's even darker might not be all that bad... but if you want mostly sunshine, even further south would be good.  Just know, anything in this SE region is subtropical, which means it does get humid and you might very well not adapt to that very quickly.

Imustacheyouaquestion

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2014, 06:18:48 AM »
Have you tried a UV light?

Another (more extreme) option might be settling someplace in the US, then working remotely 4 months out of the year in someplace equatorial.

JLee

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2014, 06:34:33 AM »
I'm visiting Phoenix right now. We left the zoo today and it was 67! We've been here since Christmas Eve.  I told my husband I might have SAD as my mood improved significantly once I got doused in all this sunshine. I've been able to walk a trail around a small mountain every day. Gorgeous landscapes in the Phoenix area.

Downtown is beautiful -- ASU --old historic square -- museums, etc.

Things I don't like: too many Pawn Shops and run down businesses once you're out of the downtown -- not enough bike friendly paths/lanes (at least not that I've seen). Too many republicans and guns. Sub-par schools.

AZ is a lovely state, and I love visiting in December; however, I don't think I could take the brutal summers and it lacks 'aesthetics' that progressive cities like Fort Collins (my ultimate dream destination city) have.

P.S. LOL @ "Florida smells like old people."  G1

Pfft. Guns are fun.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2014, 07:34:21 AM »
I'd look into the Texas hill country. The Austin and surrounding areas.
San Antonio is nice too.


shotgunwilly

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2014, 07:39:09 AM »
Texas. You'll never regret it.

I'm surprised to see Brownwood on your list.  I love the area too (My family has 150 acres near Brownwood that we use for hunting) but very rural places like that aren't usually favored by our age group. (20's).  Visit College Station. It's a nice city that's growing fast, with lots of young folks, but it's kind of out there away from everything. Rural and surrounded by nature.

oldfierm

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2014, 07:44:11 AM »
Being a southerner, I'll throw my vote in for my favorite southern cities, Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC.  I don't know much about the COL in either place, but the south is generally cheap!!  Also, I do love parts of FL.  My aunts-in-law live down in Cape Coral and it is gorgeous, great life style, nice little house - I don't think you can go wrong. 

Future Lazy

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2014, 08:44:37 AM »
Oh wow, lots of answers!

To address a few points:
Are you FI or is your job not location-dependent? Do you have family or friends anywhere in those areas that you would want to be somewhat close to? Those are some factors that I don't think were addressed in your first post.

Neither. Added some extra info to the original post!


Phoenix/Tuscon AZ:  I've never visited anywhere in Arizona besides Flagstaff, which I liked quite a bit, but I stayed inside most of the time. I don't have a lot of memories of the city/culture. However, a quick Zillow search says that I like the houses in these cities mentioned, and that they're pretty much on the way back from San Diego. DH just happens to have friends in Tuscon from his days playing WoW..

Just how brutal are the summers in AZ? How brutal is the AC bill, assuming you're trying to keep the indoors below 85?

Las Cruces/Santa Fe, NM: New Mexico is actually my kneejerk place of where to move to - since it's directly south of where I am, I guess? Looks like the housing prices in Santa Fe might exceed my projected price ranges, but there's a lot more available in Las Cruces.

It's ~6 hours from the ocean, but is driving through this area of Mexico in an American vehicle not advised?

San Diego, CA I would be worried that the city would feel very.. touristy. Is this not as true as I assume? High COL is only a concern for me in housing, since I'd like to make the 3-4 bedroom house a reality at some point. DH and I plan on (up to) four kids, along with dogs, cats and possibly livestock. Space to stretch out in is valuable to me.

What about other parts of CA? My landlady is from Bakersfield, and recommends this town, and I've also read interesting things about Fresno...?

El Paso, San Antonio, Houston (and surrounding), College Station, Texas: Texas feels huge, and it feels like there's quite a long way between anywhere and anywhere else, unless you're in a major city. I will definitely look closer at these cities though. I enjoyed my stay in Dallas as a teenager, and their aquarium was just awesome, but I thought there was a real "concrete jungle" feel to it, and (being a baby liberal) actually went out of my way to count the number of Priuses I saw during my week long stay (Three, for the curious ;) ).

@Shotgunwilly: My grandmother is from Brownwood, and I used to go hang out on her land up along the lake when I was very little. I visited again as a teenager for family reunions and found that the town felt the right size (at the time). I don't drive and don't much care for the sprawling city feeling in general, and think I'm just generally more cut out for rural living. My DH feels similarly, which is a good sign, but we'll have to actually visit some of these places to get a more realistic idea.

Florida Panhandle; Tallahassee, Gainesville FL: I've only ever been to the touristy cities of Florida - Orlando and Miami - and didn't much care for either - but I've never been up through the panhandle. Is it very humid? I definitely prefer the scenery/trees and grass to the cactuses in AZ/NM... I've never lived anywhere with humidity, and anytime I've visited, I've felt downright gooey the entire time. Does one get used to that?


As a question have you tried phototherapy lights?  They put some at bus stops in Sweden to help with SAD http://www.popsci.com.au/tech/to-fight-winter-blahs-sweden-offers-light-therapy-at-the-bus-stop,378620 .

This has a bit of a blurb about them: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/in-depth/seasonal-affective-disorder-treatment/art-20048298
Have you tried a UV light?

Another (more extreme) option might be settling someplace in the US, then working remotely 4 months out of the year in someplace equatorial.

I have. My mom got me a Happy Light off of Craigslist from someone that used it but upgraded. It can help to wake me up in the morning, but I find that the change in my mood only lasts as long as I'm sitting right in front of it. I'm not sure if I need a stronger version to make it stick, or what's up with that. Planning on talking to my doctor about in the coming months.

Your extreme option actually sounds perfect to me. It would be great to work in the US during North American summers, and then work remotely from an equatorial area or somewhere else during the Southern Hemisphere summers.


Thanks a billion to everyone that answered. I think this gives me a really great list to base my travels off of.
Of course, more information/suggestions certainly appreciated!

DoubleDown

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2014, 09:17:51 AM »
Wherever you end up, good for you on making the move. Life's too short to be depressed and freezing your ass off half the year or more.

I don't get depressed or anything in cold weather or darkness, but I'm with you on living somewhere mild and without long, dark winters. We don't live anywhere extreme, but once our kids are grown I'm also heading even further south (unless global warming makes Virginia the new South Carolina).

pga

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2014, 09:24:21 AM »
I'll second the Florida panhandle. We live in Tallahassee and it's very low COL, and becoming more progressive all the time.

Also, Go Noles.

FSU! FSU! FSU!
Go No1es!

dandarc

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2014, 09:29:57 AM »
Florida Panhandle; Tallahassee, Gainesville FL: I've only ever been to the touristy cities of Florida - Orlando and Miami - and didn't much care for either - but I've never been up through the panhandle. Is it very humid? I definitely prefer the scenery/trees and grass to the cactuses in AZ/NM... I've never lived anywhere with humidity, and anytime I've visited, I've felt downright gooey the entire time. Does one get used to that?

It is very humid here, but I don't find it to be a problem personally.  Everyone who I encountered right when I moved thought I was nuts when I said something like "better job, better weather".  Guess I just prefer the heat / humidity to the cold winters in MI.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2014, 09:49:37 AM »
To answer the question in the thread title, I would move to Corpus Christi if I had nothing tying me to a particular location. Low cost of living, beach whenever you want it, pretty good weather, not overwhelmingly huge but big enough (few hundred thousand) to have everything you need.

Eric

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2014, 01:26:31 PM »
What about other parts of CA? My landlady is from Bakersfield, and recommends this town, and I've also read interesting things about Fresno...?

Without having lived there, my impressions of Bakersfield and Fresno are that they're both gang-infested shitholes.  And the air quality is terrible most of the year since they're in the valley and surrounded by farming.

MandyM

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2014, 01:40:43 PM »
Florida Panhandle; Tallahassee, Gainesville FL: I've only ever been to the touristy cities of Florida - Orlando and Miami - and didn't much care for either - but I've never been up through the panhandle. Is it very humid? I definitely prefer the scenery/trees and grass to the cactuses in AZ/NM... I've never lived anywhere with humidity, and anytime I've visited, I've felt downright gooey the entire time. Does one get used to that?

It is very humid here, but I don't find it to be a problem personally.  Everyone who I encountered right when I moved thought I was nuts when I said something like "better job, better weather".  Guess I just prefer the heat / humidity to the cold winters in MI.

I lived in Panama City Beach for a few years and plan to return to the area when I'm FI. It is definitely humid. Gooey is a good word to describe it. I'm guessing you would get used to it after a while though. I moved to FL from MI after college and was amazed at how quickly I lost any sort of cold tolerance. After my first 6 months I went home to MI for Christmas and thought I was going to freeze to death.

Also - the panhandle is VERY different than Orlando and Miami.

Eggman111

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2014, 03:17:39 PM »
Thanks for posting a bit more information. It's good to see that you're willing to try a new location despite having jobs and family in your current area. I wish you good luck in your adventure!

As far as San Diego goes, I went there as a tourist and I didn't actually find it that touristy. The thing that I find with Southern California is that while there are plenty of tourists, there are also many locals due to the huge cities around. I was actually thinking of some of the other surrounding cities which would be less expensive but still enjoy the wonderful weather. As far as weather goes, I think San Diego has about the nicest on the planet (not too hot or cold, not too dry or humid). The only downside was, because it almost never rains, the downtown streets smell like pee... but it's fine if you don't have to spend much time there.

I visited the Fresno area last summer and it was ridiculously hot with the worst air quality I have ever been in. I would not recommend the central valley as a nice place to live. It also can get surprisingly cold in the winter, from talking with the locals. If one had to live in that area due to a job, it can see it being livable, but there are much better options.

I think Corpus Christi is a good suggestion. The main downside of the south or east coastal states is that you need to be prepared for hurricanes. Maybe someone who lives in one of those areas has a better idea of what to watch out for.

UlyssesG

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2014, 04:03:03 PM »
Hells to the no on Bakersfield and Fresno.  They easily make the list of worst places to live in the US.  You'd be far better off going north to Sacramento.  Great, walkable  downtown and lots of sun.  Short drive from SF or Tahoe. Its not perfect but it hits most of your targets. 

wtjbatman

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2014, 04:13:07 PM »
Serious question: Have you tried tanning? My fiance is the manager of a tanning salon, and after she tans, she claims she feels better. Whenever she convinces me to tan (like for a couple weeks leading up to our engagement photos), I always feel better and have more energy afterwards. Physical reason or just mentally tricking myself, I dunno. But it seems to work for us!

For reference, we live in Minnesota. We haven't seen the sun since October.

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2014, 04:17:05 PM »
I've lived in Dallas, San Antonio, and College Station.  My siblings live in Austin. 

Texas gets a gold star when it comes to sunny days.  Most of the state will be really hot in the summer but mild in the winter.  It snows (aka ices) maybe once a winter and the entire state shuts down.  The storms that come through are fast and furious (the joke is that if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes).  The state does have a cheaper cost of living and no state income tax but you'll see a somewhat high property tax.  The cities are going to be more liberal than the rural areas, but Texas overall is conservative though it's shifting somewhat with the changing demographics.

Dallas - Downtown is a concrete jungle.  If you're looking for cheaper housing or to have livestock, you would end up outside of downtown.  I highly recommend avoiding any situation where you would commute downtown.  Lots of job options.  Less liberal than Austin, more liberal than College Station. The weather can be more extreme than SA/Austin/College Station (think tornado). Good trail system for biking though biking on the streets could get hairy.  Some neat lakes around.  A wee bit status obsessed - if you really want fun, count the number of luxury cars.  Excellent airport options since both Southwest and American have hubs here.  School systems are hit or miss in town, but there are some very good ones in the suburbs.  Another option to consider is Fort Worth.

San Antonio - Less urban feel and a much more mellow city.  Decent job options skewed towards tourism, healthcare, or the military.  Cheaper housing than Dallas or Austin.  Very car obsessed so the biking options in town are hit and miss. Outside of town you have the Hill Country which is beautiful and has fantastic riding.  The airport is decent.  Good schools.  San Antonio always felt like the perfect place to get your white picket fence and 2.5 children.

College Station - decent sized city (maybe around 200k people if you include next door Bryan). The town is very friendly but much more conservative than Austin or Dallas. Some acceptance of biking due to the university in town.  Very cheap housing and would be probably easy to have livestock.  Very good schools.  Some job options, but it's smaller and likely to have fewer than the major cities in Texas. Humid since you're about 2 hours from the ocean but less drought than San Antonio or Austin.  The airport is adorable but at least you're within 1.5 hours of Houston with real airports.

Austin - medium sized city crammed into about 10 square feet.  The most liberal city in Texas, it has a biking culture and has a college town vibe.  Decent job options, especially in tech.  Awesome places to go hiking/outdoors.  Very sunny.  Traffic is painful and housing near downtown is getting very pricy (my sister told me a 1 bedroom was 1600+ downtown).  If you move outside of downtown, housing can be much cheaper.  The airport is decent.

Happy in CA

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #31 on: December 31, 2014, 05:32:58 PM »
There are definitely some cities in Northern California that you should check out.  Like others here I wouldn't recommend Bakersfield or Fresno.

Sacramento is a different story.  First off it has a huge number of sunny days.  Housing is not much above the national average, and there are some lovely tree-lined streets with older homes. There are also some wonderful areas for recreation including the American River trail from Folsom to downtown Sac, which is great for both running and cycling.  Since it's the state capital, the population is pretty well educated and the job market is probably the best outside the coastal cities.  Davis is another town just west of Sac that has a UC campus and is a bicycle heaven.  Unfortunately it has gotten quite pricey.  From anywhere in the Sacramento area, it's a fairly quick drive to either the Sierras/Tahoe to the east or the Pacific/San Francisco to the west. 

For a smaller city that is still relatively inexpensive there is Chico.  Chico has a massive city park (Bidwell) with beautiful trails and also a large Cal State University campus.  It seems very bikeable.  I have only been there once but was quite impressed.  I don't know much about the job market there, however.  Also, Chico is much farther from the coast, but very close to the mountains and Northern California wilderness.

Another place to check is Santa Rosa.  The housing is more expensive than Chico or Sac but still much less than the Bay Area, and I think their job market is fairly robust.  It's a much smaller city than Sacramento but offers proximity to wine country, the Russian River and Sonoma coast, which is jaw-dropping gorgeous.

Finally, just a thought, check out Santa Cruz.  Housing is truly ridiculously priced but it is a gorgeous town, right on the coast, UC campus, 70 surf spots in the county, very walkable and bikeable, few McMansions, lots of sun and lots of liberals - surfer culture.  While a world apart from Silicon Valley 30 miles over the hill, the proximity makes for access to great health care, international airports and high paying jobs (if you can negotiate not having to commute over that hill on a daily basis).

One thing about California winters - they are mild.  You can exercise outdoors all year, and that is important.  I grew up in the midwest - definitely had SAD symptoms which abated greatly when I moved to California.  A week or two of rainy weather and they come back, but I know they are temporary and weather-related so I can tolerate them much better than when I was younger.  I also absolutely have to exercise outside, if not daily, then at least multiple times per week.  I have been on antidepressants a few times and I think if you need them, take them.  But, I would rather manage my serotonin deprivation with exercise and regular doses of nature, and I find the California climates to be very conducive to that.

ClaycordJCA

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2014, 07:23:19 PM »
The California Central Valley (Bakersfield, Fresno, Sacramento, Davis and Chico) can experience days of ground fog while it is sunny at the coast. Most depressing three weeks I ever experienced was while attending UC Davis in the mid-80s. Three weeks in the 30s, foggy, dark and dreary.  And finals!  Fog is less now with the drought, but still something to consider if you have SAD. May want to consider the foothills east of Sacramento which can be above the fog line. I would stay away from Fresno and Bakersfield since they are more economically depressed than the coast and not far removed politically from the Bible Belt.  You might also consider Santa Rosa, 90 minutes or so north of San Francisco. Weather anywhere in Northern California is not what you will get in So.Cal.  If you want lots of sun and warm weather in winter, look South of the Tehacapis. Not for me, I like to visit but you couldn't pay me to live there. Way too crowded.

agent_clone

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #33 on: December 31, 2014, 09:01:45 PM »
Florida Panhandle; Tallahassee, Gainesville FL: I've only ever been to the touristy cities of Florida - Orlando and Miami - and didn't much care for either - but I've never been up through the panhandle. Is it very humid? I definitely prefer the scenery/trees and grass to the cactuses in AZ/NM... I've never lived anywhere with humidity, and anytime I've visited, I've felt downright gooey the entire time. Does one get used to that?

It is very humid here, but I don't find it to be a problem personally.  Everyone who I encountered right when I moved thought I was nuts when I said something like "better job, better weather".  Guess I just prefer the heat / humidity to the cold winters in MI.
Personally I also hate the cold, but I prefer my heat dry rather than humid.

In regards to the humidity, my understanding is that you get used to it after a few years.  A guy I used to work with made the comment that when your in Darwin you can tell those who have recently arrived there by the amount that they are sweating (Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory in Australia, it is in the tropical zone of Australia and has a wet season in the Australian Summer).

I'm not sure what weather Florida has (other than warm and humid).  But it may be easier to transition to warm and humid if there is a cooler time of year. i.e. When you get there it is cool but humid in winter, but as summer comes along it heats up, this way you get used to the temperature and humidity over time.

JLee

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #34 on: December 31, 2014, 09:22:24 PM »
Florida Panhandle; Tallahassee, Gainesville FL: I've only ever been to the touristy cities of Florida - Orlando and Miami - and didn't much care for either - but I've never been up through the panhandle. Is it very humid? I definitely prefer the scenery/trees and grass to the cactuses in AZ/NM... I've never lived anywhere with humidity, and anytime I've visited, I've felt downright gooey the entire time. Does one get used to that?

It is very humid here, but I don't find it to be a problem personally.  Everyone who I encountered right when I moved thought I was nuts when I said something like "better job, better weather".  Guess I just prefer the heat / humidity to the cold winters in MI.
Personally I also hate the cold, but I prefer my heat dry rather than humid.

In regards to the humidity, my understanding is that you get used to it after a few years.  A guy I used to work with made the comment that when your in Darwin you can tell those who have recently arrived there by the amount that they are sweating (Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory in Australia, it is in the tropical zone of Australia and has a wet season in the Australian Summer).

I'm not sure what weather Florida has (other than warm and humid).  But it may be easier to transition to warm and humid if there is a cooler time of year. i.e. When you get there it is cool but humid in winter, but as summer comes along it heats up, this way you get used to the temperature and humidity over time.
I lived in Gainesville FL for six years. It's a beautiful city - I do prefer Phoenix, though. Dry heat and desert are my home. :)

Spondulix

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #35 on: January 01, 2015, 12:36:34 AM »
I also have mild seasonal disorder - and I live in SoCal! Honestly, the amount of daylight/sunlight between Denver and Los Angeles is not that much different (I've lived in both). Denver might even be better because of the elevation.

I don't think it's about getting away from the cold either, cause you quickly get acclimated to where you live. Parts of AZ and SoCal get into the 30s-40s during the winter, and LA gets dark starting around 4:30. If you're working 9-6, you won't be getting a lot of daylight.

The best trick that I've found is to work evening/night shift. Then, I can get out during the afternoon. I get much better daylight at home (and mild activity inside) than I would get at a day job.

clifp

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #36 on: January 01, 2015, 01:43:10 AM »
There is very little going on at South Point in the Big Island of Hawaii, just up the coast away is the lovely tourist town of Kona. You would not suffer from a lack of sunlight...Although the erupting volcano can make breathing difficult at times.

Freckles

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #37 on: January 01, 2015, 02:01:31 AM »
What about Tucson? I think somewhere in Arizona would fit your criteria, but a smaller city sounds like it would be better for you. Tucson is still only about 6 hours from the ocean. I haven't been to Tucson but I've heard good things about it.

I grew up in Tucson.  I feel certain you'd like it more than Phoenix.  It has a lot of what you're looking for and the cost of living is low.  I'm not sure about the job market.  But it's not six hours to the ocean, it's less than 4.  Sure the beach I mean is in Mexico but the water's much warmer than California beaches and the food and prices can't be beat.  https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Tucson,+AZ/Puerto+Pe%C3%B1asco,+Mexico/@32.1281572,-113.4147163,8z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x86d665410b2ced2b:0x73c32d384d16c715!2m2!1d-110.926479!2d32.2217429!1m5!1m1!1s0x812ba5b44ea74411:0x4349796169c75fb3!2m2!1d-113.5311843!2d31.3268218

Future Lazy

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #38 on: January 01, 2015, 11:52:21 AM »
I also have mild seasonal disorder - and I live in SoCal! Honestly, the amount of daylight/sunlight between Denver and Los Angeles is not that much different (I've lived in both). Denver might even be better because of the elevation.

I don't think it's about getting away from the cold either, cause you quickly get acclimated to where you live. Parts of AZ and SoCal get into the 30s-40s during the winter, and LA gets dark starting around 4:30. If you're working 9-6, you won't be getting a lot of daylight.

The best trick that I've found is to work evening/night shift. Then, I can get out during the afternoon. I get much better daylight at home (and mild activity inside) than I would get at a day job.

Colorado, and Denver specifically, has a ton of sunny days, easily equal to places like San Diego..
http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/sunniest-cities/
http://earth.rice.edu/mtpe/geo/geosphere/hot/energyfuture/Sunlight.html

However, in the winter, even at a higher elevation (1mi closer to the sun, where the earth has an atmospheric depth of 10 miles), the Denver is still at a higher latitude than LA/San Diego, meaning the sunlight is less direct, with more light caught up in atmosphere, especially the UV level of light - the kind usually used in lightbox treatment. It takes extended exposure to direct sunlight to lift my blues during the winter - and similar to the lightbox I've got, it only lifts my blues as long as I am directly in the sunshine. I've found with winters here that having a part time early morning or evening shift does definitely help, since it allows me to be outside when the sun is up. I'm not exactly qualified or experienced enough to be picky about my job choices/start asking for obtuse shift changes.

I live in a basement, but thankfully, my employer moved me to a desk near a window. :) So I have that going for me, which is nice.

FreedomInc

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #39 on: January 01, 2015, 03:56:49 PM »
It's certainly not mustachian but Honolulu is a very nice place to live if you have the means to afford it.

chasesfish

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #40 on: January 01, 2015, 05:18:42 PM »
Isn't this list one of the age old questions for those of us who hate the cold?

What do you define as most mustacian?  Atlanta and Dallas probably have the best incomes relative to cost of living, which will drive a really high savings rate.  However they suck at things like being able to use a bike or having nice weather.  You also have to find that big-city paying job that happens to be located 20 miles outside the city in the suburbs. 

Florida is very nice in the winter when you get below I-4, but its fully of transients and the average age is up there.  Its humid, but you either get used to it or you don't.  The panhandle can have really low cost of living, but its normally colder than 70 in the winter and extremely hot and full of tourists in the summer.   (This is my "if I get laid off early" plan, move here and buy something cheap)

Hawaii would be awesome, I want to retire there, but job opportunities are really only in Honolulu and Oahu seems really densely populated to me and it comes with high housing costs and rough traffic if you need to work.   The other islands are very nice and vary in affordability, but you have to be FI before moving there.

If you can find something where you're not competing with students for employment, many southern college towns have 200,000 or so people and have a great quality of life.   I've lived in two of them and they're very nice places if you want the picket fence and 2.5 kids.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #41 on: January 02, 2015, 08:47:52 AM »
It's certainly not mustachian but Honolulu is a very nice place to live if you have the means to afford it.

I would never retire in Hawaii due to the unfair tax system.   Most public and private pensions are exempt from state taxes there but 401K are not.  A giant FU to those of us who only had a 401K while working toward retirement.

Future Lazy

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #42 on: January 02, 2015, 11:16:49 AM »
Have you been to San Diego?  If not, go to San Diego before ruling out places with a high COL.  Some things are worth paying for, and if your moods and health are that dependent on weather, then paying to live the in the place with some of the nicest weather in the world year round could be worth it to you.  You'd probably have to give up the "dream house", but other than that it ticks most of your boxes.
^This. And if San Diego is too expensive look inland a bit. There are some nice small towns and cities not too far from San Diego that are much cheaper to live, are close to the mountains, oceans and deserts, and are great places in their own right. Temecula is a nice little city of about 100K pop. less than an hour from all those things plus they have a nice old downtown main street (touristy of course but fun), tons of beautiful wineries and vineyards, huge horse ranches and avocado groves, a big casino (Pechanga) with some nightlife, tons of parks and golf course (not mustachian but nice looking) and lots of hikable and bikable terrain near by. It's a little too McMansionated due to the housing boom but that seems to have stopped and there are some older small houses on big lots that can be found. It's warm in summer but not too hot, and not too cold in winter (gotta keep those wine grapes toasty warm ya know!). Lots of other inland Calif places that are an easy drive to the coast et al but half the cost of coastal housing.
 
I also second the NorCal town of Santa Rosa. One of my favorite areas (personally like Petaluma but more expensive). Wine country, redwoods, stunning coasts, good weather, etc... I'd stay away from Bakersfield and Fresno myself for the reasons already mentioned.

What are wages like in San Diego? Denver seems to see higher than average wages, as even most fast food or retail jobs pay at least $9-10/hr, but the housing costs typically seem to be double what they are in other parts of the country, even other parts of the state. Judging by what's for rent on Zillow, seems like the housing costs in San Diego are very similar. I'd be more willing to consider a high COL area like San Diego, or Dallas, or Hawaii, or... Whatever.. If I thought that the job market was extremely healthy.


Serious question: Have you tried tanning?


Tanning may help correct a vitamin D deficiency, which I do have, but take a supplement for to make the correction. SAD, though, is about the amount of and intensity of light entering the eyes - and in a tanning bed, you wear eye protection to keep the high intensity UV light out, because.. Well, cancer. From what I've read, it's not really accepted as a treatment for this condition.

Besides, only skinny people look good tan. :')

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #43 on: January 02, 2015, 02:27:08 PM »
I think Corpus Christi is a good suggestion. The main downside of the south or east coastal states is that you need to be prepared for hurricanes. Maybe someone who lives in one of those areas has a better idea of what to watch out for.

They are honestly not that big of a deal the vast majority of the time. Don't buy property on a barrier island or in a flood zone. You'll want insurance for wind damage and you should have a supply of clean water at your house. I grew up in Texas and sat through probably 10 hurricanes and tropical storms. After I moved off my parents lived in Houston during Ike, which wasn't fun (several weeks without power, trees down) but was not catastrophic in the inland zip codes. People are developing in Galveston again after that, though, which is craziness.

flashpacker

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #44 on: January 04, 2015, 02:00:34 PM »
We moved to Vegas in mid 2014 and I LOVE the sunshine and intensely blue sky. I feel like the sunshine here has been very beneficial to my mood. It is not mustachian or eco to have a personal lawn in the desert but we live 5 mins walk from a big park with acres of grass. If we didn't live near the park, I would think the lack of grass would get to me.  I also wouldn't live here without a pool as it makes the summers a lot more pleasant. In summer, the water temp of an unheated pool is very warm, which I love.

Really the only thing I don't like about Vegas is that it's not as walkable as I'd like.

davisgang90

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #45 on: January 05, 2015, 03:35:24 AM »
I don't have much to add on locations other than to say that if you don't like humidity, scratch FL off the list (and most of the Southeast).  I plan to go to the Northwest to get my mountains and ocean views without the heat/humidity.

On the issue of SAD and depression in general, please talk to your doctor about all your symptoms and don't be afraid of medication.  My wife suffers from depression and getting the right medications has been a great blessing to her life and our family.


nathanml

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #46 on: January 05, 2015, 06:31:40 AM »
What's strange to me is that nobody's mentioned Albuquerque yet. Much like Santa Fe in climate (over 300+ days of sunshine every year), beautiful mountain backdrops, especially if you live in the east part of the city, and relatively mild winters when comparing them to Denver. Also MUCH cheaper than Santa Fe.

I lived in Albuquerque for 18 years and had family that lived in Denver so I'm very familiar with both cities, and based on the things you're interested in (mild winters, lots of sunshine, low cost of living, proximity to nature but still plenty of city stuff to do) Albuquerque is a winner. Las Cruces and Santa Fe are also nice although Santa Fe is outrageously expensive for no reason. IMO Las Cruces can get really boring really fast, but that just might be my preference on having a slightly larger metropolitan area.

I've also lived in Austin, TX and would highly recommend it...if you already live there and own property that you bought years ago...but not if you're moving there now. Housing prices are getting more expensive by the day, the city wasn't built for the influx of people so traffic is among the worst in the nation, and while parts of the city are bike friendly, it's still really sprawling and you'd likely have to have a car and use it more often than you'd like. Don't get me wrong, I love Austin and visit often, but I wouldn't live there again because it is becoming incredibly crowded.

If you're looking to make decisions based on COL data alone, you might want to start with my Affordability Living Index (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NcfrOPIoYre8DJJ-YeXigdtLb0VCAYTfK47WQqdYEs4/edit#gid=0) to narrow down your cities. More context on the index can be found at the blog post it was originally shared in at http://montelargo.com/blog/?p=221 including what it is good for and where it has limitations.

I also know some folks have floated San Diego as an option. As you can see in the index, I wouldn't recommend anywhere in California if your ultimate goal is to live the Mustachian lifestyle off of capital gains. California taxes your passive income more than any other state, so you are losing precious percentage points off of your main income stream every year unnecessarily because it can be solved by hanging your boots in literally any other state. In the grand scheme of things, you'll probably find something you like in either New Mexico or Texas if you are trying to escape long winters, but the individual town or city will be based off your personal preferences after you road trip through a bunch of them.


Future Lazy

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Re: Southmost Mustiachian City/Town in the USA? Where would you move to?
« Reply #48 on: January 05, 2015, 08:55:36 AM »
I think Corpus Christi is a good suggestion. The main downside of the south or east coastal states is that you need to be prepared for hurricanes. Maybe someone who lives in one of those areas has a better idea of what to watch out for.

They are honestly not that big of a deal the vast majority of the time. Don't buy property on a barrier island or in a flood zone. You'll want insurance for wind damage and you should have a supply of clean water at your house. I grew up in Texas and sat through probably 10 hurricanes and tropical storms. After I moved off my parents lived in Houston during Ike, which wasn't fun (several weeks without power, trees down) but was not catastrophic in the inland zip codes. People are developing in Galveston again after that, though, which is craziness.

To be quite honest, Denver is a big spoiler when it comes to 'natural disasters'. Pretty much everywhere else has a higher chance of disaster. We hardly even get disastrous snowstorms much anymore. Once in a while there's a flood or a fire, but it's somewhere else in the state, not the metro area. I would be highly unlikely to buy coastal property to begin with - sea level rises in my lifetime are going to be phenomenal and a real struggle, and I'm none too interested in ending up in a flood zone, regardless of tropical storms etc.

We moved to Vegas in mid 2014 and I LOVE the sunshine and intensely blue sky. I feel like the sunshine here has been very beneficial to my mood. It is not mustachian or eco to have a personal lawn in the desert but we live 5 mins walk from a big park with acres of grass. If we didn't live near the park, I would think the lack of grass would get to me.  I also wouldn't live here without a pool as it makes the summers a lot more pleasant. In summer, the water temp of an unheated pool is very warm, which I love.

Really the only thing I don't like about Vegas is that it's not as walkable as I'd like.

I spent some time over the weekend looking at houses in all the cities suggested. How many people would recommend buying a house with a pool? While it's true that I prefer swimming over any other exercise, isn't maintaining a pool very expensive? Would it be better to succumb to an HOA with a local pool, or live near a good rec center?

Re: Grass.. I saw a few houses in NM and AZ that had large lots, but no grass. Just dirt, and concrete walls, and it reminded me of a jail yard. I'd much rather have a small but nicely 'scaped back yard with space for a garden, a very small lawn, a large covered patio, filled out with scrub/cactus/other xeriscaping type plants.

Human maintenance of grass should tell aliens everything they need to know about humans, imo. :0

What's strange to me is that nobody's mentioned Albuquerque yet. Much like Santa Fe in climate (over 300+ days of sunshine every year), beautiful mountain backdrops, especially if you live in the east part of the city, and relatively mild winters when comparing them to Denver. Also MUCH cheaper than Santa Fe.

...

If you're looking to make decisions based on COL data alone, you might want to start with my Affordability Living Index (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NcfrOPIoYre8DJJ-YeXigdtLb0VCAYTfK47WQqdYEs4/edit#gid=0) to narrow down your cities. More context on the index can be found at the blog post it was originally shared in at http://montelargo.com/blog/?p=221 including what it is good for and where it has limitations.

I was wondering about Albuquerque, but had kind of assumed people skipped it over in suggestions due to either it's size, or maybe it's a bit of a rough area compared to others?

Thanks a bunch for the COL data! I usually find myself using this website to make comparisons or check my own bills against the average COL in my area:
http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/city_result.jsp?country=United+States&city=Denver%2C+CO

Also TY for the info about Cali's capital gains taxes. If I ever make 100k+/year, it might not bother me that much, but for moving there without much experience or money under my belt, I don't think it's all that great of an idea. A friend of mine recently moved to LA to pursue her writing career, but I haven't spoken to her about her experience yet.

On the issue of SAD and depression in general, please talk to your doctor about all your symptoms and don't be afraid of medication.  My wife suffers from depression and getting the right medications has been a great blessing to her life and our family.

No need to worry about my depression directly. 6+ years of therapy has been a major course correction for me emotionally. Medications have been tried, but I found that their side effects were worse than the depression itself (generally suppressed emotions, unable to be excited; Restless Leg Syndrome flare up in arms and legs during day, even when active; RLS severe at night, unable to sleep; Sexual dysfunction). I had much better success with EMDR and talk therapy over anything else, especially with investing in the willpower to differentiate between rational thoughts/emotions and irrational emotional reactions.

I mark being able to recognize and begin to better manage the manic depressive rollercoaster of SAD to be a huge victory, as it's an issue uncovered by getting rid of other depressions, social anxiety, agoraphobia and PTSD.

However, if anyone struggling with depression is reading this as well, including those suffering from SAD or circadian rhythm disorders, and you haven't yet spoken to a professional or accepted treatment, DO definitely speak to a psychologist, psychiatrist or family doctor about your symptoms and the options for treatment. Doctors are always the first place to start!

Great to hear about your wife's success in fighting depression, Davisgang90! Sticking with treatment can be the hardest part, but it's really a great service to yourself and your loved ones once the healing begins. Best of luck to you all!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/in-alabama-utopia-found/2011/05/10/AF83jl2G_story.html

Very interesting! I'll have to add this town to my southeastern road trip plan.