Chasing rainbows in the Caribbean

Periodically, for various reasons, life needs a reset. We are in one of those times now, and have been for a while. We began our Alaska adventure in 2006, and through ups and downs, good and bad, it has been an adventure. But now we find ourselves ready for a new address, one that is drier, warmer, and has potential to be a long-term home for us. We started this process last year, but a slow housing market and our own indecision derailed us a bit. We’re ramping up to try again this spring.

Most people (I think) make the decision of where to live based on job, family, or some combination of likes and life needs that help to narrow the focus and direction. We did too, in the past. We moved for training and jobs, and we looked for opportunities in regions of the country that we wanted to explore. Family is important, but with family spread far and wide, from east to west and across time zones, it is difficult to use family, at this point, as a filter. We find ourselves without a lot of anchors. We certainly know what states and regions draw us, interest us, and there is temptation to re-visit the places we lived in the past that we enjoyed. But we also know that it is important to make a good decision, and that means taking time, doing our homework, and looking beyond the most obvious options.

To complicate the process, we still have a house to sell in Ketchikan, where the market in our price range is not robust. And we will likely continue to work there for the foreseeable future. We are networked, and known entities, which is important when you work like we do. We can search without the house being sold. And as we have an episodic work style, we can structure time to travel and investigate in our time off. The downside to not working is that we don’t get paid. There is no paid leave in our work structure. But the upside is that we can put together significant blocks of time for exploring our options.

There are all sorts of online tools to help you. There are lists for every type of filter you can think of…low tax rate, health care facilities, climate, population, amenities, recreation, mountains, beach, schools, organizations…choose your priorities and you can find a list of places that will accommodate your must-haves and your wish-fors. One of these is Find Your Spot.Β There are lists from any number of periodicals and organizations. You can also find a plethora of information on any community online by going to resources like the local Chamber of Commerce page or the website for specific cities. Information is not the problem. Filtering it appropriately is the difficulty.

Aside from doing online research, another resource we have is a Class C RV, which is large enough that we can live in it for extended periods of time without going crazy or coming to blows. Our plan is to use it to do some in-depth exploration of various regions of interest, to use it as our mobile hub. We tried this once before, and it was working quite nicely, when we sidetracked ourselves by accepting a job offer. This time, we’ve agreed: we’re not looking for full-time work, and we are choosing the location we want. We’ll make jobs work around our choice.

Dinner on board: the wanderers

So, with all that said, I’d be interested in hearing ideas from anyone reading this post. We like the west, the not-too-cold mountain west, the southeast, and the mid-Atlantic. We like small to medium size communities…no big cities for us, although it is desirable to have a city within a reasonable driving distance for airports, shopping, etc. We like ocean, mountains, and lakes, but realistically, would probably not choose to pay for an ocean front view. This choice needs to beΒ sustainable in every way. So ultimately, we are looking for a place that offers a variety of amenities, a cost of living that is not extreme, and a place that feels like home. Any ideas out there? We’re open to suggestion!

17 thoughts on “Next

  1. I love how you are going about this decision. Since I live in the cold, cold midwest I don’t have any good insights into the locales you are interested in but can’t wait to find out where you land. Best wishes.


  2. Great photo!
    I would recommend southeast Virginia – We’re about an hour from the Virginia Beach/Norfolk metro area, but there are many small towns and communities outside the big city area. Good luck with your search!


    • Your area is one of my favorites in the whole country! I have loved Virginia ever since I first visited there as a child. I can’t get enough of the history, and the beautiful countryside. If I only had myself to please, I would probably move within an easy drive of Williamsburg. I’ve had a love affair with colonial American history for a long time. Have you ever heard of the Williamsburg novels by Elswyth Thane? My second reason for loving that area! I could go on and on! But I think the humidity would probably kill Rob. That will probably prevent us from looking too seriously at the Southeast, although I know there are a lot of wonderful places in the region to consider. Thanks for the vote though. I’m taking notes of any input. ~ Sheila


    • Thank you for the compliment!

      And yes, possibilities are exciting. The challenge is not to be overwhelmed by choice, and we’ve been at this point before. But I think we’re ready to approach this seriously, with a goal of making a decision in the next year. Lots to consider!



  3. Hey!

    I just saw your comment on my post. Thank you. x

    I don’t really have any suggestions but all the best and I hope that you will be a part of the uninspired chronicles. It could be a pictorial, an infographic or a write up! No word limit. I might even publish it as a book later :p but I haven’t stated that on my blog!

    Also, you can email it to me if you do not wish to post it up here!

    I am kind of excited and I hope that you are too πŸ˜€



    P.S: It would be great if you could help spread the word to more people! πŸ™‚ Thank you! x


    • My biggest concern with the deep south is humidity. Rob doesn’t like humidity, and I don’t like air conditioning! We are an odd pair! But thanks for the tip! Do you think you’ll ever go back there?


  4. A lot of people are coming to NC right now – including you for a brief visit. Raleigh and Greensboro are on the list of top cities and Charlotte is a nice ‘small’ city. We live in the foothills and can be in Charlotte or Greensboro in about an hour, so it is all the best of small town life while having access to the perks of a city. My husband is a farmer so he’s never going to be a city dweller. I think it is really cool to choose where you want to live and then adjust your work accordingly. Good luck.


    • Yes, I like North Carolina. I like the proximity of mountains and coast. This region is on my list to check out/evaluate! We plan to do a survey tour of the places we’re considering over the next couple of years, and hopefully somewhere along the way we’ll find “next!”


  5. What a great choice to have to make!! Have you ever thought of living outside of the US? Why not look into New Zealand – we have all of the things you are looking for but would mean you were a bit further away from you family than you planned πŸ™‚ Good luck on you adventures.


    • Hello, and thanks for visiting and commenting!

      Believe it or not, we have considered New Zealand for a short term place to live. We visited for a few weeks in 2004 and were completely charmed! My husband worked in Australia for a few months as a traveling physician, and he could do that in NZ as well. We’ve discussed doing a combination trip and spending more time in the two countries. So beautiful!


    • Thank you!

      We have good friends who have a home in Kentucky, and we have visited, though it’s been a few years. Our son was posted at Ft. Campbell, so we know that area a bit from visiting him. Beautiful rolling hills and countryside, great “heartland” feel!


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