Since my early twenties, when I first began venturing out to the West Coast for days- and then weeks- at a time, I always said the same thing right before it came time for me to grab my suitcase and return home: “I need to live here.” The weather, the scenery, the music and art scenes, the food and the nightlife? Everything about places like California, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada resonated deeply with me- and it didn’t hurt that so many of my friends were/are peppered throughout different cities and States out that way.
I never feel alone when I travel out West- and given how much more active I am in warmer weather as opposed to being cooped up here in New England during the Winter months- meeting new people when I’m out and about is always pretty easy for me.
Over the years, different friends have tried to convince me to take the plunge, make the commitment- and move to places like San Diego or Los Angeles- and although I would have loved to. I really, really would have loved to- personal circumstances and the inevitable financial strain were unavoidable and caused multiple delays in potential plans to relocate for over a decade.
For example: plans to move years ago were abruptly halted when my father was diagnosed with cancer and later passed away during his post-surgery chemo and radiation treatments. Spending time with him and taking care of both him and my mother while she tried to remain strong for my entire family were understandably the priority- and nothing else mattered at the time.
A couple of years following his death and my recovery from the grief and brief anxiety disorder that I developed in the aftermath of the trauma- an attempt to head out to SoCal for the long haul were once again cut short when the law firm I worked for closed abruptly and I was subsequently laid off months before my scheduled departure without warning- resulting in a HUGE hit to my finances as I scrambled to find work and try to figure out my next step that wouldn’t leave me drowning in debt as I attempted to pay bills and afford transport/travel expenses that would ultimately get me to my destination.
And then, of course- there was the messy, devastating breakup with a long-term love of mine near the end of 2016. A split that left me so dazed and confused that I eventually just put moving on the back burner all together so I could focus on my career, my personal life with my friends and family, and piecing myself back into a person I knew and recognized bit by bit until I felt whole again. I’ve been rooted here in Boston and Massachusetts ever since- occasionally popping by various areas out West every so often to say hello and work on my tan.
But, it looks like things are changing in 2018.
After careful consideration, weighing the pros/cons of the decision, and discussing it at length and in-depth with my immediate family and close friends- I’ve decided that the time is right and the time is now: I’ll be re-locating to Henderson, Nevada later on this Fall to give myself a year-long trial of living my life out West- in the desert- to see how it goes. Everyone I’ve spoken to about this plan has given me their blessing- as well as some friendly advice, of course.
Why Henderson? Well, for starters- it’s a nice, safe area about 20-30 minutes outside of the Vegas Strip. Close enough to go have fun, see a show, gamble and drink if I truly felt like it- but far enough away from the action where I can avoid drunk people who are getting sloppy by the end of the night and get a full night’s rest without being disturbed by bright lights and loud voices/music. I love Vegas, but being *IN* Vegas full-time would be utterly overwhelming and exhausting for me!
My West Coast Wife, Kelsey, also lives in Henderson- as well- so being able to spend more time with her instead of only seeing her a couple of times a year is definitely a bonus!
But one of the biggest perks to moving to Nevada is the cost of living vs. anywhere else- including where I live now. Real estate is incredibly reasonable in Henderson. You can buy a home, or rent a beautiful and spacious apartment/condo without having to work four different jobs or sacrifice your time or sanity to make ends meet. That sort of freedom- and being able to have actual options on where you live and what you can do for work- is a luxury these days. With Vegas being a bustling, tourist-filled city- you can find work pretty much anywhere and everywhere- and not feel boxed in or forced to choose something just for the sake of earning a paycheck.
Listen- I love San Diego- and if I could live anywhere in the world, it’d be there– but it is financially impossible for me. The same way it’s nearly impossible for a lot of people I know out there who are really struggling and working themselves to the bone in order to afford the ever increasing cost of living. I want to enjoy my time in the sunshine- and not work 3-4 jobs just so I can pay rent for an apartment that is essentially the size of a broom closet. That’s not the type of life I want- and in Henderson- that isn’t the type of life I’d be forced to have.
Besides, if I REALLY get lonesome for Ocean Beach? San Diego is a 4 hour drive from Vegas (and a 45 minute flight!)– which is a lot better and a lot more convenient than being 3,000 miles away like I currently am!
So, what’s the plan?
While no set or specific move date has been established- I’m pushing towards a mid-November date to pack up and head out of Massachusetts. Not just because it’ll be right before we start getting slammed with snow again so I can dodge that nightmare in time, but also because my friend Stef is getting married right after Halloween- and moving furniture and heavy objects in breezy Fall weather sounds a LOT more appealing than moving it in the middle of the Summer.
I’ve been cutting expenses and saving as much money as I can as of late to make sure I’m prepared- and have been actively reaching out to and talking with knowledgeable folks in Henderson about renting an apartment/condo. I have a trip planned sometime in the Spring to go and look at some property in-person (as well as meet with some local businesses in regards to starting a career out there.)
It definitely helps that my friends in the Vegas area are so eager and willing to assist, as well. I’ve been offered work opportunities and places to stay until I’m on my feet- which is comforting when I remember I’ll be a lot farther away from all that I’m familiar with here in New England.
And, of course- I’m savoring each moment I have with my family, my friends here at home, and even at work- since I know I’m going to miss it all like crazy once I head out and start driving West.
I fully intend on updating with my progress as things begin and continue moving along- but I’m excited, nervous, anxious, and hopeful to begin this new chapter of my life in a new location and surrounded by different scenery. It’s going to be interesting- that’s for sure!
Enjoy your Friday and your weekend, everyone! I’ll be back next week with my favorites from this past month, a look back at all the highs and lows throughout February- and will have a fun recipe to share with all of you, too!
– Ashley –