During this trip, Trevor and I spent a good deal of time discussing moving somewhere. Generally to whatever place we happened to be driving through (with a lot of emphasis on Vegas, since we were stuck in traffic there for at least an hour), but the two main factors were: we like warm weather and political/religious/cultural diversity. We do not get those in Utah. We were pretty set on moving as we drove through Nevada and discovered that it wasn't butt-freezing cold ever. I knew we had to move during a tour of Ridgecrest when Trevor expressed amazement at how many non-LDS churches there were in town (in Utah, you're either atheist or Mormon).
I've lived here for almost as long as I've lived anywhere in my life ("here" referring to Utah County; a move from Provo to American Fork doesn't really count as a move, since we still hang out with essentially the same people and the culture and climate are essentially the same). I think the longest I've ever lived in one place at one time was five years between the 6th and 10th grades in Ridgecrest. I'm almost at four-and-a-half years in Utah. And feeling antsy.
Trevor's whole life has been spent in Utah and Salt Lake Counties, so moving somewhere completely different is a little more intimidating to him (I don't mean that in a derogatory way, he's not naive or scared or anything, just inexperienced when it comes to life outside of northern Utah), but he seems to have warmed up to the idea significantly of late.
And so begins the research. Here is a list of things to consider (that I haven't run by Trevor, so maybe he'll differ on some of these, but I think it stands fairly accurate):
Things we care about
- no/little snowfall (I'm more fond of snow than Trevor, but both of us agree that we would be fine/really happy without it)
- well-educated population
- job availability (both of us have the most experience working in the tech industry, but I'm sure we can find good work in any "growing community")
- affordable housing that is not next door to a crack dealer
- good public transportation
- political diversity (liberal-leaning is preferable to conservative-leaning, but anywhere diverse is great)
- vibrant music scene
- personality of a town/city (we have several personalities we would be happy with, but we would prefer for the place has to have something unique to the feel of it)
- air quality/water quality
- decent amount of things to do (museums, theaters, restaurants, libraries, parks) (outdoorsy/athletic things to do will be taken into consideration as well, but aren't as important)
- pretentiousness (most pretentious places are probably already ruled out with the "affordable housing" requirement, but it is something that will absolutely not be tolerated)
- decent population of people in their 20s
- hot weather (both of us are fine with 100+ degrees).
- professional sports in the area
- fabulous shopping (decent options are necessary, obviously, but we're fine without a plethora of designer outlets at our fingertips)
- tax rates of different states
- physical attractiveness of the general population