California - We Could Live Here!
After taking the Airstream out of storage after our 6 months overseas trip, we have spent the first few weeks back on the road in California. Having lived 15 years of our adult life here, California is the closest thing Iain and I have to a home. We spent July in the Golden State; in the San Francisco Bay Area catching up with friends, along with some time in three of our favorite California places - the Central Coast, Russian River and Lake Tahoe.
After spending a lot of life traveling around the world for work and the last two years traveling for fun we are well-practiced at playing the game "what would it be like to live here?" At the moment we don't have plans to set down roots anywhere, but we think that at some point in the future we may want to establish a base. Somewhere we could travel from and be a place we could call home for at least part of the year.
Everywhere we go we think like locals to see what it would be like to live there longer term. We coined the term "Lifehopping" for this activity. So far we have contemplated several places in Mexico - one of our favorite countries to spend time in, and many of those cities are on the "future home" list. We considered and ruled out Panama City, Thailan and Penang in Malaysia. Next year we plan to "interview" a few European places.
Around the US we have found many town and cities we like, but none have the climate (i.e. the absence of anything approaching winter) plus the affordability and the community feel that we love.
But these last few weeks spent in California we realize that we love this state. I know this place has its detractors - yes it's busy (in some places), yes it's very expensive (in some places). But it has an amazing diversity of scenery and people. Fresh food is everywhere and we love some of the amazing town and city communities here.
Now that we no longer have to commute to an office everyday we don't have to fight with traffic in the Bay Area or San Diego. We can live where we want. And that means there may be some affordable places, like Paso Robles or Sebastopol that could make the short list. Particularly since all we would want is a plot of land with a small home and place to park an Airstream.
We are by no means ready to choose a place yet and our future may not be in the US at all given the cost of living here. But if the US is our future home then it dawned on us that of all the fantastic places we have visited so far in the states, there is nowhere that we like more than California. Yeah... we could live here.