It’s funny how your life can change when you least expect it and you do something you had no idea you were going to do. I retired several years ago and stayed in the same place where I had lived for 20 years. It’s a lovely place. The weather is nice. My son grew up there. I have good friends in the area.
Last year, I decided to move to a new home in the same town, so I started looking. Then my grown son said something like “Mom, you’ve always wanted to live in new and different places. This is a good time to do that. You’re retired and you’re child is grown up and doing well. Why don’t you look at places where you’ve always wanted to live and see if that’s something you’d love to to?”
Well that got the gears in my head turning at Warp 10. Where would I go? What would I do? What am I, crazy to move to a completely new place at my age? Maybe, but so what? The idea sounded a bit daunting, but also wonderful and exciting. I’ve lived in several different places and have always enjoyed the experience. I’ve seen new places, met new people, tried new things and learned a lot about myself and other people.
I needed to do some serious research and planning. I came up with a list of all the places where I would love to live. Two of them were out of the country, so I checked into visas and permanent residency requirements first. I read about it online and spoke with friends who had lived overseas. It looked like getting permanent residency could be a problem, so I decided to stay in the US, but look for a place that was different from what I was used to so that it would feel foreign to me. That way I could have a somewhat foreign experience without wasting time on visas and such.
I made 2 lists. List #1 had all of the absolute necessities including: a reasonable cost of living, small population, good quality health care, beautiful nature, in an area I’d like to explore, moderate climate, a nearby college or university, cultural events, a farmers market and a drivable distance to a good sized airport. List #2 had things I would love but could live without including: great shopping, and friends and family living fairly nearby. You can buy everything online and if I was far from family and friends, we could visit back and forth. Not perfect, but workable.
You can get an amazing amount of good quality information online now. I found some great websites that I’ll share in the next article in this series. I found what I needed, bookmarked everything and filed the bookmarks in separate folders for each city. I made a simple grid that showed which cities had which amenities and resources and then compared them all.
I also found several websites with forums where people who were researching moves could ask questions about an area they were considering and get good answers from local people. Local knowledge is priceless. I also talked with friends and family who had been to the places on my list.
I had planned to take a trip to the place I chose before making the final decision, but it turned out that the place that had everything I wanted was somewhere I had been several times before, so I skipped the trip and moved on to setting up the move.
The next article in this series will be about the websites I used to find a place where I would love to live.
Was this article helpful to you? Are you planning a retirement move? How are you decided where to go?