Why do you live where you live?

May 2nd, 2012 | Rachel

Today’s post is more of a poll.  Please feel free to contribute your answer in the comments.

Looking back at my own brief life so far, my choices in location have almost always been inspired by external influences.  I first lived in South Carolina and Alabama (and South Carolina, again) because of my parents (who were influenced in large part by both my dad’s jobs and the locations of my grandparents).

As a somewhat autonomous high school graduate, I chose to live in Athens, Georgia to attend the University of Georgia.  That decision was more of a process of elimination.  I didn’t want to go to school in South Carolina, and I didn’t want to follow my parents’ footsteps at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, so I somewhat arbitrarily chose UGA and, consequently, Athens.

I next chose to live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina to study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law.  That decision was a direct result of the influence of my high school advanced placement government teacher, Jerry Willard, who had attended UNC and often referred to it as “Chapel Hole.”  I still consider him to be one of the most influential teacher’s I’ve had, and I attribute my choice in law schools almost solely to him.

During law school, people made it seem like a big deal to do these on-campus interviews for large law firms around the country, so I followed suit and ended up with an offer to work at a firm in New York City.  I had never considered living in New York, but the prospect seemed exciting and it was a pretty good job, so that is where I moved next.

In case you haven’t been keeping track, my influences for moving so far have been: family, school, school, work.  I suspect those are by far the three most common answers to my poll.

The decision to move to California was completely different.  There were no job offers waiting, and I have enough degrees and student loans as it is.  I also don’t have any family west of Texas.

Without diving too much into the question of vocation (which will be a poll for another day), this time the considerations for my next physical home were based on factors such as: proximity to wine country, proximity to a large city, proximity to state and national parks, cultural diversity, proximity to academic community, population size, proximity to food sources, community attitude regarding the local economy, weather and general level of quirkiness.  Eventually I added proximity to water as a major consideration, mostly due to Steve’s lobbying efforts.  I should also add “long-held stereotypes about the west coast,” because I’ve always thought I would fit in on the west coast even though I had never been there.

The idea to move to California actually started off as an idea to move to France (hence the name of this blog).  France was presenting itself to be more of a logistical challenge, particularly in light of wanting to open a business, and Steve isn’t quite the Francophile that I am.  It was on a mother-daughter trip to Napa and Sonoma that I first felt this deep connection between California and everything I loved about France (minus the romance language and affinity for butter).  It was an immediate, obvious choice, and the factors I listed above were then used to pinpoint a town within this huge state.

It is funny to think about because a majority of the people I have met in Santa Cruz are there either for school or because that is where they’ve always lived.  Would they choose to live here independently?  If they truly considered the world of possibilities, where would they live?  Where would you live, and why don’t you live there now?

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