Is Our Physical Location In The World Beneficial Or Detrimental To Our Personal Growth?

locationThis has been a recurring question for Liz and I over the past few years.  Both being native to our current location, we wonder what our lives would be like were we to pack up and move to the unfamiliar.  Would we find a new adventure just waiting for us to tackle or would we crumble under the weight of home sickness?

First, a flashback…

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been passionate about the big blue sky.  From watching the birds soar up a large, rising thermal, to flying my radio control gliders up that very same thermal.  From biking up to the top of a mountain and feeling even closer to the clouds, to barreling down that very same mountain, pretending I was flying as I descended.

And not just the sky, but every natural thing under it.  From the mountains to the water to the trees and the trails that lead to more beauty, I enjoy God’s wonderful creation as much as I think humanly possible.  And with this passion comes the desire to enjoy it year round.  And this is one of the downfalls of our current location.

We live in a small to medium sized town in Central Virginia called Charlottesville.  Being ranked the #1 place to live the US in 2004 tells you it’s not a bad spot on the map.  Home of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville is a wonderful, culture rich college town with everything from historical landmarks like Monticello to the latest chains like Best Buy and Chili’s.  C’ville, as it’s called by anyone who’s lived here for more than a few years, has a wonderful balance of a small town feel and a city that’s ‘up-to-code’ with technology and all things 21st century.

The climate is the double edge sword that I was mentioning above.  We get all the seasons and for the most part, a nice taste of each.  Fall is by far the best time, with the dry sunny weather that sits right around 65 degrees.  Long pants and a t-shirt will get you through most Charlottesville Fall afternoons.  Oh, and the leaves change and present the landscape with a wide array of beautiful colors that is unmatched by much of the rest of the Country.

But there’s a dark spot in this 4 season scenario.  It’s a 3 month time period from February through April where it’s just plain depressing.  Many cloudy, rainy days, with temperatures often too warm for snow, yet way too cold for comfort.  It’s during this time period that I’m stuck inside and where my cabin fever often gets the best of me.

Why am I telling you all this?  I guess I just want to let you know where I’m coming from when I tell you that I long to live in a place with mild, dry, sunny whether, where I can enjoy my big blue sky year round.  Where I can rely on bike riding weather from January to December.  And my first question to myself is, “Is this even a good reason to move?”

Back to the present…

OK, so now that that’s out of my system let me get to the main point/question.  As Liz and I keep coming to the front end of this seemingly tired conversation, we keep asking ourselves, “Are we being held back by our own comfort zones?”  “Does living in your home town keep you from pushing the limits because you are constantly met by a comfort that comes from knowing nothing else?”

Liz went to college for a year and a half and therefore lived a few hours from home for a time and I lived in London, England for 7 months in ’99, but we’ve known nothing else.  Could we be leaning a little too hard on the crutch of comfort by not wanting to move away from family and friends?  Or is this just our better judgment keeping us from making a big mistake?

I’m sorry if you came to this blog today looking for some good advice or some delicious food for thought.  This post is more a question mark that has been in the making for the last few years of our lives.  So I’m just sharing it with you with great interest in your own personal thoughts and/or experiences with the subject.

So what do you think?

Can our physical location in the world play a big role in our personal growth?  Does the climate, community and comfort level have it’s hand in our ability to mature and make our own waves in the World? Let us know your thoughts and help Liz in I as we continue to chew on the question, “To move or not to move?”

Eric Hamm


  1. says

    Hey Eric.

    Physical location sure has a huge impact on what we do. Put the same person in an area that doesn’t fit them, and even if they are in a nice house, their mind will know that right outside is an area they’d have to travel out of to go anywhere. People in a solid location with weather that fits them have a bigger sense of freedom and calmness.

    Your thoughts about whether to move or not make me think that there is a likelihood that you will be moving. We usually don’t think about moving unless there are reasons we’d want to switch things up. There can be big benefits if you are a person who likes a fair amount of rain(as I do), and are in an area where rain is not common throughout the year.

    I went back and read more from the article. It’s interesting because I like the rainy days you are talking about, and you like the weather like here in southern California it seems. That is pretty comical. It is nice here for what you are saying but could use more rain as I see it.

    Cool material in the article.

    • says

      Hey Armen, I think your thoughts are spot on! Our personalities are tuned for optimal peace of mind when placed in ideal climates and locations. Of course, it’s not all about the weather outside, but I’m just someone who is very affected by the weather that can’t just deny that part of myself and expect any sort of serenity.

      That’s funny about your desire for more rain. It sounds like we’re both dealing with a bit of ‘grass greener or the other side of the fence’ disease. :-) I will say this, though. Rain in Southern California doesn’t happen in barely above freezing temperatures like it does here during late winter. There’s nothing more miserable than bone chilling 35 degree, soaking rain. :-(


      • says

        I’m glad you brought this material up. I had been thinking around some of the thoughts related to what you said here about location effects, and hadn’t seen anything written on it recently. I sure would like that 35 degree soaking rain for a while, but it is likely that after loads and loads of it, I would feel more like you do about it. Maybe we both have green plant growth and verdant vegetation on our sides of the fence.

        On a separate note, I have resided in a high traffic area before, where it takes a bit of time to get out of that busy area, so that when you are in it, you feel a bit compartmentalized and less free. Location does a lot in that aspect too, as opposed to being in an area where you can just get outside and go to where you want quickly, which leaves your mind much more at ease.

        • says

          I totally agree about the congestion issue. That’s one thing I love about C’ville! Other than 5 O’clock traffic (which is really a joke compared to regular big city traffic) you can get pretty much anywhere based purely on your speed, not your ability to weave in and out of tight spots on the highway. Driving around here is pretty laid back and I never see myself living somewhere where bumper to bumper is considered normal. Eric

  2. says

    Hey Eric,

    Sounds to me like you know the answer to the question =)

    I’ll say this though, there’s a flip side to that – if you stay somewhere comfortable, you have a lot of support. So when you reach out and try to stretch yourself in one specific aspect of your life (say, your online business), having all that support around you may make it easier for you to achieve that single aim.

    Me, I love living in different places 😉

    • says

      You make a good point, Sid. Bringing huge change into our lives all at once can certainly pose a big distraction to some of the precise focus I have in areas such as business, as you mentioned. Definitely something to chew on a bit more. Eric

  3. says

    This is a great subject.

    I don’t do well in cold weather either so I understand how you feel Eric!

    I’m so affected by my environment that I truly suffer, not just physically but also spiritually, if I’m living somewhere that doesn’t feel right for whatever reason (weather, social environment, etc). No place is perfect, but at the same time people probably tell themselves that a lot to avoid looking for something better, or they have an impossible ideal of what the best place for them should be like.

    Some people are more adaptable, or think that they are, so they seem to tolerate all kinds of weather and situations that aren’t ideal, but I think that until people experience something better – something that truly feels right to them personally (never mind what the tourist info says!)- they won’t know how much better it can be on the personal level. What they give up with the familiarity they have with a place they’ve been living in for a long time won’t matter so much because a more suitable place will feel familiar very quickly. It can be quite an amazing experience.

    It’s almost like you *think* you know what happiness is, but then you actually experience it and suddenly you have a hard time believing that you went so long feeling a lesser feeling.

    I lived in a big city for a long time. It was a beautiful city as far as cities go with lots of trees and even beaches, and for a long time I loved it and thought I’d never move. But in the last couple of decades things changed in that city. It’s still considered beautiful – famously so – but now for me it’s almost ugly. I moved to a few different places and finally found something that suits me better. Yet, most people could only handle *visiting* where I live for a vacation. It wouldn’t be stimulating enough for them to live here year-round. They would be driven crazy by it. I gave up a lot of conveniences to be here, but for me it isn’t a sacrifice because my day-to-day experience is so much better for me.

    I think that we can often confuse the comfort of convenience with true comfort. True comfort goes beyond weather and scenery. It’s very personal.

    • says

      Hey Lillea, you’re in Canada, right? I really like your point. It’s not a cookie cutter situation for anyone. We’re all individuals and what may look good on paper might just be all wrong for certain people. I’m glad you’re found what works well for you. And thanks for sharing your experiences with us. :-) Eric

      • says

        Hi Eric,

        Yes, I’m on the West coast of Canada. :)

        Oh boy I sure went to lots of ‘looks good on paper’ places and was sometimes quite shocked by how wrong they were for me!

        I’m enjoying reading everyone’s reflections on this!

        • says

          What I find when searching through the ‘Best Places To Live’ type sites is that much of their criteria is dry and purely numbers based. Now, of course this is the case. What else could they go on. But I think what you’re saying is that our personalities aren’t numbers based and can’t rely on this kind of ranking system to know what’s best for each individual. Even those who think they want to live near water, for example, may find they hate the beach scene and would prefer a mountain lake. Just an example.

          Wow, the west coast of Canada. Sounds cold! :-)


          • says

            Yes, exactly!

            It’s actually quite warm where I am. Similar weather to some of Washington State, but where I am has warmer winters and less rain than Seattle. :)

  4. says

    I really do believe that physical location can have a lot to do with your personal growth.

    For the first 37 years of my life, I lived in the same town in Iowa. I loved it there and had absolutely no desire to move. It was a town that I imagine is much like your town. We had two universities, lots of malls and shopping centers, plenty to do for recreation, and a variety of cultural activities to choose from. Yet, there was very little crime, and not much in the way of traffic jams. Spring and fall were gorgeous. Summer was stiflingly hot (high humidity) and winter was bone chillingly cold, with below zero temperatures and an occasional blizzard. It wasn’t until I married my husband and moved to Utah that my life changed.

    I moved to a town that had as many people in it as my daughter’s junior high school (3000.) The town, instead of being very diversified as in Iowa, was very close-minded and cliquey. If you did not belong to the “right” religion, then the townspeople wouldn’t have much to do with you. The weather is hot and dry, although in winter, it does snow, though not nearly as much as in Iowa. I really, really, miss rain, especially a good summer rainfall that has lots of dark clouds, thunder, and the occasional tornado threat. Last week I was in heaven because it was a chilly fall day and it rained for two whole days! That’s unheard of in Utah. Because of the climate and the local attitudes, I feel somewhat stifled in my personal growth since I have been here. My spirituality however, has grown by leaps and bounds. I give you all this info for one reason—Seattle.

    This last May I visited Seattle for the first time. It’s strange to say it, but for the first time in 12 years, I felt like I could BREATHE. The air was crisp and cool. The week I was there was gorgeous and sunny except for one rainy day, which I loved. The flowers were beautiful and vibrant and EVERYWHERE. The city itself felt alive and energizing. I hadn’t changed, only my environment, but I felt so full of energy and of the desire to do things and go places, that it’s hard to describe. I felt like a wilted plant that had finally been watered.

    So yes, I do believe that we thrive more in some places, than others.

    There are many benefits to staying right where you are, most of them having to do with having a new baby and having your family close by. Those family relationships are so important to young children. Also, in case of emergency, you probably have people close at hand who would take Tyson for a night or a day, or a week if needed. You may not have that luxury if you move. (Unless of course if you move to my town and I will watch the little squirt whenever you want!)Plus there is a lot to be said at times, for having stability in your life.

    What if, instead of moving right away, you and Liz do some traveling, especially during those cold rainy times? Spend a week or two in a place that you think you might like, and see if it’s really all it’s cracked up to be? Who knows, maybe in your travels, you will come upon that one town or city where you feel like you can breathe, just like I did in Seattle. Or maybe the time away will refresh you just enough so that you can come back and be ok for a while again.

    Sorry so long, but you know me…. :)

    • says

      Hey Randi, it sounds like you’re right there in all of this. Questioning your current location, finding personal refuge in unlikely places. It certainly doesn’t seem like an exact science, but we know when we’re just not happy where we are. I hope you’re able to find the right place for you, whether Seattle or anywhere that let’s you breathe on a daily basis.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us. :-) Eric

  5. says

    Hi Eric,
    That’s an interesting question that you ask. I was born in Jamaica and left to further my education in Calgary, Alberta Canada. So that’s a tropical climate to severe winters. I remember one winter for 30 days in a row the weather was – 35 degrees Celsius and exposed skin would freeze in 3 minutes. I left Jamaica because I wanted more opportunities. I think Calgary impacted my personal growth because when it was excessively cold I refused to go out, and the city at the time, did not have the kind of cultural events that are in Toronto.

    After I left Calgary, I went to New York but didn’t last because there were too many people. I didn’t stay long enough in NYC to really grow.

    Next stop is Toronto, where I have been for the past 14 years and I enjoy it. I do not like the cold (not as severe as Calgary), but it is a fact of life so if I have to go out I dress for the weather, so I do not let it stop me personally. But I have to say that I have grown more in the past five years, than I did the previous 20 years, which is how long ago I left Jamaica. I think my personal growth had more to do with the experiences that I have had and the challenges that I have faced. Avil

    • says

      Wow Avil, -35! :-O Now that’s cold!

      From what I’ve read in the comments thus far it definitely seems that there is much more to finding the right location than just weather. As much as I wanted this to be the simplistic, easily controllable answer, you’ve made this even more clear.

      And as you’ve pointed out, our growth comes from stretching our limits, not always being in the most comfortable situations. Thanks for sharing. :-) Eric

  6. says

    Chris lived in the same town for THIRTY FOUR YEARS before we met. Thirty four years!!! That still blows my mind. As for me, I like to move around.

    A lot.

    I’ve lived in Austin, San Antonio, Daytona Beach, Miami, Orlando, Gainesville, Raleigh, and now some little town in Tennessee. Before we got married, I needed to know he’d be comfortable with the moving thing.

    Basically, it’s second best thing to happen to him (I’m the first. 😉 ) and he loves the idea now. We’re even looking into living in Costa Rica!

    The thing about moving around is that no one place has to be perfect.

    For example, I love dancing, tropical beaches, good food,internet connectivity, and hip-alternative culture. Costa Rica definitely has the dancing, beaches, and internet connectivity…but I don’t know about any hip-alternative culture.

    We also want to live in Munich, which will have dancing/internet connectivity/hip-alternative culture, but definitely no beach.

    There’s just so much to see!

    • says

      Sounds exciting Hayden! I can imagine that that kind of lifestyle keeps things interesting, to say the least. :-)

      Just curious, do you guys plan on having kids? And if so, do you think you’ll continue to move around?


      • says

        We are planning on having kids and I do plan on moving around when we have them. The hitch is that no child should have to move when they are in high school! (Unless they really hate it, of course.) I’ve talked to Chris about this and feel very strongly.

  7. says

    I think it’s different for each person. You look at Warren Buffet and Donald Trump. They have been extremely successful by living their lives in their home towns. It didn’t seem to harm their personal growth.

    If you are curious about living somewhere else, take a holiday there first. I’m not sure what your personal and work responsibilities are, but it may be good to try a trial period of living somewhere else first.

    • says

      I agree that vacationing somewhere – having some kind of trial period – is a good idea before making a big move. And if there’s still uncertaintly, but not enough to prevent the move, it’s better to rent an apartment instead of buying a house or condo right away so you can find out which areas in your new city/town are best for a few months. Unless you’re really good at real estate and flipping houses, of course. :)

  8. says

    When I was very young I always dreamed about travel and seeing the world. Grew up in a remote farm town and always had thoughts of seeing the world.

    Then because I chose marriage and kids very young I never really got further than 45 minutes to the city but still hung on to my dreams.

    So we moved two years ago and yes it’s had a huge difference in our lives. Right now we have a very mild 80 degrees with a huge blue sky. The doors are open and a breeze is coming through. My husband is back in MI where it is barely 60 and raining. He can’t wait to get back to our new home!

    Eric because your biz is online you are free to move anywhere…anytime. Now I know you’re probably getting help from family and friends. But if you really want to see other parts of the world there is nothing stopping you.

    Some of my old friends can’t beleive I moved from my grandchildren and duaghters but hey they have their lives too. I’m the adventurous type and others aren’t.

    I say move move move…life is short you can run and bike and have the bambino outside as well all the time…the sun awaits you! Ask yourself what are you waiting for?

    • says

      Yeah Tess, life is too short, no doubt about it. I appreciate the bit of history. It sounds like moving has been a positive experience to say the least.

      Thanks for sharing. Eric

  9. says

    I can tell you that in my own experience, moving away from my hometown was the best decision of my life. I come from a very small town of slightly more than 5,000 people where the local economy is driven by factories & Walmart. I worked in both & when I finished my Associate Degree at the community college I had to move 3 hours away in order to continue my education. Leaving was a bit frightening but I also felt like it was an opportunity to challenge myself & a way for me to open doors in my life that hadn’t been available before.

    I ended up in another small town of about 15,000 people and a campus with 6,500 students within half an hour of the Twin Cities. Everyday I feel great about my decision to come here. I am surrounded by people who are motivated and interesting. Meeting people is a slow process as I’m a bit of an introvert but the people I’ve met are good people. I feel like the world is at my fingertips, that opportunity lies around each corner. That door I opened has led to so many others.

    When I lived in my hometown I felt stifled. There weren’t the same opportunities there as there are here. The people are different too. In my hometown there was a lot of negativity. People were feeling the lack of opportunity and it showed in their actions and words. Here, people still face challenges and personal struggles, but I don’t sense the same feelings of negativity as I did back home. I have also changed in that regard. I used to be negative and a pessimist but since moving I have been able to see that the world is filled with opportunities, personal, professional, educational, spiritual…anything you could want in life is out there for you if you just go find it.

    If I were you, feeling the way you feel, I would move. I wouldn’t say you are running away from anything, you are running towards a place that is a better fit for you, and it is out there, I promise! Good luck!!!

    • says

      Thanks Steven, for sharing this with us. :-)

      It sounds like you definitely made the right decision. For me, I already live in a town with 50,000 plus in population, so that’s actually an upside to Charlottesville. It’s just big enough to feel modern and alive, but small enough to maintain a feel of community. But these are great thoughts, none the less.


  10. says

    Great topic, great question to ask yourselves…………….I think you probably know your answer deep down. I was born in Durban South Africa and grew up on a farm in a tiny town called Eshowe, I always knew I wanted to travel. Now, its been 13 years since I left SA to live and work abroad, the goal was for 6months:-) London 6 years, NYC 5 years with short stints living in Bali and LA. Superbly grateful for the experiences and have no doubt in my mind that our environment influences us all the time. To me if the question keeps popping up I have to get up close and personal to try and find out what’s driving it. check out if you don’t know them already. The best is that you can try and if it does’nt feel right after x amount of time, you go home, that question might go and let in other:-)
    wishing you joy and fun as you decide,

    • says

      Wow, you’ve been around. Good for you. It sounds like you’ve found what works for you and enjoyed a lot of locations in the process. Thanks for sharing. Eric

  11. says

    Hi Eric — I sometimes wonder whether I’m in the right location, but if I take a close look at that worry I realize it’s just another flavor of that feeling that “things aren’t good enough” that comes up in lots of different areas of my life. In a sense, I see the purpose of my life as recognizing that the feeling that “this isn’t enough” is always going to be there, until I fully understand that this moment is “good enough” as it is.

    • says

      Really sound advice Chris! :-) I totally agree and have felt more and more content here as I’ve chewed on the idea of leaving. Unless you live in a total crap hole, you can pretty much find joy where ever. I guess you’re saying that much of it has to do with our mindset, not our location.


  12. says

    Good Question. Comfort is a bad thing for the achiever. The more comfortable you are the less likely you will be to try to do something great. Growing up poor helped me see that. If my family didn’t have something to strive for, we would not grow, I would not be in the position to help other grow, I would just be.

    Great post

    • says

      Thanks Ralph, for the compliment and for sharing your thoughts with us.

      I totally agree that comfort can be a real crutch for our overall success in life. Not necessarily that we shouldn’t seek comfort, as comfort is often a very good thing, but that we shouldn’t put our comfort over our willingness to take risks and sometimes feel uncomfortable. If our being in a comfortable location is holding us back, than by all means we need to move. It’s just a matter of determining whether or not we need to move away from that comfort or just adjust our mindset when it comes to comfort and our willingness to step outside that comfort zone.


  13. Mary C. says

    Hi Eric!

    I live in a place that is hot and muggy and redneck/racist. Eeeeek! I grew up in the southwest, which was also hot but not muggy. I didn’t think I was going to dislike this place so much, and we’ve been here 12 years! My son and grandsons live where I used to, and my grandsons are growing up without me. I just see them a few days a year. I miss my family, the mountains, and the Mexican food.

    My body doesn’t work too well in this muggy heat, so I don’t get much done. I sweat too much and feel lethargic, so I’m not very productive. I also feel resentful, and that slows me down, too.

    I need to learn to bloom where I am, but I’m going to be 60 pretty soon. I’m wondering if that is a lesson I’m ever going to learn. I know a lot of my problem is with my attitude.

    Thank you for a thought-provoking post!

    • says

      Hey Mary, attitude is everything, no doubt, but it sounds like you’re in a tough spot. I do know from experience that pretty much any place can eventually feel like home, but as you pointed out it can take time (it almost always does). I hope you find out what’s best for you and thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. :-) Eric

  14. Heath Svajgl says


    This has been a topic I have wrestled with for many years now. I am a snowboarder from Nebraska. I moved to Colorado for 2 seasons before getting married and moving back to Nebraska. Then I got sponsored and moved out to Utah. Lived there for 3 years and ended up coming back to Nebraska again.

    I love to snowboard and be outdoors and in the mountains. My wife and I are working on plans to move back to the mountains again. I think after moving and coming back a couple times we finally understand what we are really searching for. Knowing that has really helped us narrow down our options. It feels great to know what you want and to have a plan in play to get it.

    While we experience many wonderful blessings here in Nebraska and do enjoy living near family, we have a calling that just doesn’t work well for us here. To tie back to your title question, I really do believe that our physical location is critical to our personal growth!


  15. says

    I say of course it does. Somewhere I read that most garbage dumps are located near poor neighborhoods. I think it’s one of the factors of inner city life.

    • says

      Yeah, I’ve seen this with run-down trailer parks. They seem to put all the stuff that no one else wants to be near, right next to the thing. I guess you’re right, this kind of a thing IS a factor in inner city life, and low income housing in general. Eric

  16. Sandy Mitchell says

    An interesting topic, and one I’ve thought a lot about. I grew up in Detroit, MI, and spent my first 27 years there… when I finally left Detroit to live in East Lansing, it was like moving to another planet, in terms of the freedom I felt in getting away from Detroit (at the time I left it had been rated ‘Murder Capitol of the World’ for many years – and I’m sure they’re still pretty high in the standings!). I thought: “What the hell took me so long?” You couldn’t make me live in Detroit again for any amount of money.

    Since then I’ve lived in many locations in the U.S. – New Orleans, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Palm Springs, New Haven, Kentucky, to name a few. And I’ve learned made a point of ONLY living in places I really, really wanted to live in. That’s the only rule that’s worked for me.

    I never could understand people moving anywhere just for a job; the one time I did that, it taught me that I’d rather make less money while living in a location that I really loved, than vice versa…

    A harder lesson was that it also didn’t work for me to move just to be with someone I was smitten with – I had to do it three times before I swore off that bad habit!

    I’ve ended up in a place where I can hike on a mountain every single day, and not have to fight traffic to get there… unlike Seattle, where I moved in the late 80’s for it’s easy access to the outdoors, but found that getting out for hikes, and coming back in meant contending with horrendous traffic both ways.

    Not to mention having that same problem every bleeding day of the week!

    I’ve found my little spot of heaven – I ain’t leaving again, not for love or money! 😉

    • says

      Hey Sandy, that’s a great rule of thumb! I was just saying to my wife, Liz, in the car today that I’d never let a JOB dictate our happiness. I know that can be easier said than done, but I really just don’t understand why people are willing to be SO controlled by their work. Like you said, I’d rather figure out how to live off less than be forced into an unhappy situation because of my work.

      Thanks for adding your excellent insight (you really have lived many places here in the US) and adding to the discussion. Eric

  17. says

    Hi All, I definitely think that where you live has an impact on your wellbeing. Im from Scotland myself and the weather here is often miserable. It rains about 200 days a year and it never gets consistently warm in summer but in winter it gets quite cold. Its quite relentless and can definitely dampen your spirits and wear you down. We’re also too far north to recieve adequate vitamin D uptake from the sun in Winter and so Seasonal Affective Disorder is commonplace. After spending the summer this year in Canada and visiting Spain and other Southern European countries often the pace of life and sense of community is stronger than it is back home. People here are often insular, youre either at home or at the pub- I put this in part down to the weather.

  18. says

    wow reading that back it seems awful negative hehe. It really is a lovely country though but I would consider leaving for Canada just need to rack up those immigration points!


  19. says

    New to your blog and late to this conversation, but find it a great post. Funny thing is that since I was 9 years old, I have wanted to live on Walton’s Mountain. :) Charlottesville is one of my favorite places in this country and it will always be a great place to go home to if you decide to move.

    I grew up in a small town in NW Ohio of less than 1500 people, attended college in Tampa where I knew NO ONE, got married and moved to Los Angeles for 3 years, got pregnant and moved to Phoenix for 7 years, got promoted and moved back to the midwest in Central Illinois. After 9/11, my husband got a job in NYC and we lived there a year and then back to Illinois when my company decided that a telecommuting IT manager was not acceptable. I still have a dream of living in the Pacific NW and Switzerland. I hate where I live now for lots of reasons but mainly because the people I live around have never lived outside their small communities and their attitudes reflect that.

    I can’t say that I have lived anywhere that I absolutely loved. I wonder if it’s because I wasn’t happy doing what I was doing. With an internet-based business, I say, pick up and go. The growth you experience from being in a place where you don’t know a soul is..well, priceless. And you can always go home.

    Let me know if you need a housesitter. :)

  20. Vilde says

    What a wonderful discussion!
    I live at 60 degrees, with a 3 month summer, 1 month spring and 2 month fall. Our winters can be pretty rough – not so much cold as really, really dark and icy, although we do not have the true dark season that people in the north suffer (that is further north than here, usually meant to be about 70 degrees). We do not have proper vegetables in the winter and you will not believe the volume of clothes we wear. I’m still postponing starting my indoor kitchen garden as I’m not sure it will be possible to plant the saplings out in may. It is really difficult for me to understand how anybody will want to stay indoors if there is some sort of daylight and the temperatures are above freezing – frequently our summers don’t get any better than that. I really love the cold, this area was first populated about 7000 years ago, and I carry some of those genes. I’m truly adapted to this climate, as are my kids and our dog. We travel as much as our wages will allow and get really hot and uncomfortable and extremely afraid of large bugs. I cannot understand how anybody would voluntarily live in places like India, Egypt or Mexico, and this no doubt proves the point that people are different.

  21. Nancy says

    Hi, Eric.

    Good discussion.

    My thoughts are

    – being near your family and friends, if you love them and they give meaning to your life, is no small thing. I am 3000 miles from my family of origin and have been for almost 20 years.

    – The cold rain … I used to live in Vancouver and Victoria, Canada, and found that when we got out into the rain (usually not on a bike, walking with umbrellas) it was far less depressing than being inside feeling blue. Those cities are very green and leafy, and even more so on most rainy days. Charlottesville might be the same?

    – it sounds like you might not have kids … if you’re planning to have children, I would suggest that you might consider a move prior to having them … knowing that you can go home to your family and friends if you decide to, later. Family members are a great help when you have a newborn, especially.

    – I am in a small town of about 25,000 people in Canada. I am from a city in the US that has 6 million. (Long story … but this is where my husband is from, and we came back here so he could start a business in his field. It’s been generally good for us, business-wise, for us to be here. But it’s never felt like home to me.) We’ve been here for 13 years.

    I’ve learned, to my great surprise, that this city girl doesn’t need to live IN a city. Learning about how a small town works has been fascinating. I have met some of the best people I’ve ever met in my life here. This little town spoiled us something rotten when we had our daughter. But I would pack up and leave right now if we made the decision to do so – just because it doesn’t feel like home and I don’t see myself here forever.

    Just some thoughts.

    Lastly, as a good friend said to me, “There are no wrong paths, there is only the path you choose.”

    Good luck!

    • says

      Thanks Nancy for the great advice/thoughts. :-)

      We have a 9 month old, but he’s not old enough for a move to matter right now other than not being able to see ‘grandma’ on a regular basis, which, by the way, is pretty important.

      For now, Liz and I are staying put, but who knows what we’ll decide to do when we’re ready to upgrade to a larger house, which should be soon. Eric

  22. says

    I grew up in the Northeastern part of the US, mainly central NJ, where it has 4 distinct seasons, average amount of rain and humidity. In 2006, I moved to Santa Fe, NM to pursue my art career. I like the dry air, the amazing scenery. To my surprise, it snows here as much as NJ sometimes more (except this season, Philly area received record amount of snow, ha ha!). Santa Fe’s 7000 feet up so if it was only 2000, it would be more like Phoenix, and probably a lot more people would move here too. That’s why it’s a high desert, it’s not hot all year round. But I would love warm weather in the winter, and there’s very few places with weather ideal all year round (hence San Diego, and I’ve thought about it). But for now, I’m sticking here and see how things go. My personal growth has increased big time, but I’ll tell you, I’m a water person and do miss the ocean sometimes.

  23. Todd McPhail says

    You physical location most certainly influences you life as much as any other factor can. Whether it’s a benefit or detriment will vary from location to location. Every community has a culture. Every culture is influenced by religion, tradition, finances, education, etc. Many communities even have subcultures which alter the spheres of influence in a community.

    All of these influence the mindset, emotions and feelings of entire groups of people. I live in an area where the culture is 15 years behind the rest of the country. Every time I travel, I come home full of energy and ideas. A few weeks of the same old “ho hum” energy sapping culture push my energy and ideas back into the corner of “Things I’ll get to some day”.

    The most important thing you can ever answer concerning your financial future, where can I be the most successful? Which business model? Products? Education? Economy? Standard of Living?

    My business partners father-in-law made multiplied millions investing his business cashflow into commercial real estate at the right time during the 80’s and 90’s. He tells us now, he’d never do that in where we live in this economy. So what worked once, might not work again as situations evolve. If you never try anything different, you’ll never get anything different!

  24. Cindee says

    Hi Eric,

    This question has been on my mind for a while as well. I was reading through your comments and noticed that one of your readers lived in Calgary, AB. This is where I’m from and I can relate to her when she says that our winters are horrifically cold. I love the change in seasons but in this city it isn’t evenly 3 months for each one. Our winters take over 8 months of the year leaving 1 month for fall, 1 month for spring and 2 for summer. Not ideal at all for someone who has tropical blood, who is a typical sagittarius(freedom loving, adventurous and wanderer of the world) and a vata type who gets imbalanced in dry and cold enviroments.

    I moved to Vancouver when I turned 21 in 2004 and lived there for 5 years. Loved it, took it all in and it activated a part of me that had been dormant. I felt so alive in that city being surrounded by the ocean, fresh humid air, GREEN but lots of rain. But certain circumstances brought me back to Calgary in 2009 (projects, family and such). Living in Vancouver when I did was extremely exciting but also left me a bit ungrounded because I was still trying to find myself. Being back in Calgary for the past 3 years has really helped me ground myself and strengthen my sense of self.

    Being in a quieter city, with not a lot of distractions gave me more awareness of my spiritual side. I am also much more able to hear my inner-self and guidance better. I believe that there is a time and place for everything and during this time I needed to be in Calgary to realize what I do now. I see everything as being made up of energy vibrations. it can be low vibrations, dense vibrations, high, fast, strong, weak….etc My interactions with the world and with the ppl around me are based around that notion. Let me explain.

    There are some ppl that I meet and totally hit it off with and then there are those that I find harder to connect with. Its not a matter of personal like or dislike. Its just that when you’re energy is in alignment with another its easier to connect with them on the same level than it is when the energy exchange is very different. Some ppl bring out certain aspects of you, some ppl can make you feel excited, some can challenge you, some ppl bring out certain qualities in your personality, some can make you angry or feel ill. Have you ever been around someone that never stops complaining…is very negative. It’s draining right? Or have you felt so drawn to someone and your interaction with them leaves you feeling your best? Like you can take over the world.

    Well i see it that way with our environments too. Each city has its own collective energy that either compliments your own individual energy, elevates it, stifles it or it can also remain neutral. I guess its a matter of being aware of it and knowing what you want. Just like finding the perfect mate to share life and grow with one needs to find not the ‘right’ or ‘perfect’ city but the one that aligns the best with them.

    Even though Calgary has been grounding, the energy here, for me, is not beneficial for further personal and career growth. Your article was written in 2009 so I hope you and Liz have found what you’re looking for =)

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