Time to move on to greener pastures or wake up and smell the roses?

I’m not delusional about the fact that I’m delusional. I know I am.

As many of you know my parents are from Germany and I was born in New York, where I spent the first eight or so years of my life. Then for a variety of reasons my family moved to Tampa, and the rest is history. While my older brother once again lives in New York, my parents and I still live in Tampa (separately, fortunately… hi mom!).

To put it into a picture, in my mind this is what living in Tampa is like:

And in my mind this is what living anywhere else would be like:

Perhaps not totally fair/accurate, but you get the point. 😉

I live in North Tampa, and I think within a five mile radius of where I live there are a handful of people between the ages of 18 and 30. That’s because the area is made up almost entirely of young families, and while I suppose that’s nice in some ways, it’s also pretty damn frustrating as a 22 year old. But I’m a creature of habit, so I’ve stayed here.

Tampa has warm winters, which I love. I hate cold weather. It’s also relatively cheap, which I sure don’t mind. Beyond that the fact that Tampa is on a coast means it’s easy to plan mileage runs and maximize trips. That would be much tougher to do living in “flyover country.”

But I’m a creature of habit. Newton’s first law of motion very much applies to me: an object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

I haven’t had a reason to move, and therefore I haven’t made any changes. That being said, I graduated college last spring and my one year apartment lease is coming to an end, and I’m looking at moving.

On one hand I feel like I’d be irresponsible leaving my parents behind, if for no other reason that they’re stuck in the stone age when it comes to technology, and I’m not sure they’d cope without me (not that I’m that much better with technology, but I guess it’s all relative). That being said, they’re supportive of me moving, and encourage me to do so. On the other hand, I need to move somewhere with more to do than the area I live in. Around here the Olive Garden is considered authentic Italian cuisine, I’ve been to Thailand more often than the owner of the Thai restaurant around the corner from my apartment, and the biggest hill in the area is the speed bump down the street.

At the same time I find Tampa relaxing, calm, and simple. And frankly it makes my travels all the more fun, since I get to “escape.” And for someone that’s constantly on the road, maybe that’s a good thing. But maybe I wouldn’t have to “escape” if I lived somewhere interesting?

I suppose I could move to the more interesting part of Tampa, because there no doubt is a more fun part than where I live. But then I feel like if I’m an hour from my parents I might as well be a five hour flight away. What’s the difference, really?

So I need to make a decision before the end of the month, because that’s the date by which I have to either cancel or extend my lease.

I don’t like cities where it snows for months at a time, so I’ve eliminated the Northeast. I don’t like the middle of the country because it’s not ideal for travel. And that leaves the west coast.

My favorite cities on the west coast are Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Portland, probably in that order.

I love Seattle for the landscape and amazing summers. There’s a lot of “nature” stuff to do, and I’m a fan of that. The winters are cold, though I don’t think they’re quite as bad as other places in the country.

I also like Los Angeles. It’s such a diverse city with so many different parts that it’s like having a dozen cities in one. From the quaint porn shops and hookers in El Segundo, to the nutty people on the Venice Boardwalk, what’s there not to love? The weather is awesome too. Unfortunately the traffic is awful and it’s really expensive.

San Diego? I think I like it. I’ve only been there a few times, though. The weather is beautiful and it’s a place I love killing a couple of days, though I’m not sure I’d actually want to live there permanently.

Portland is cool too. Still, between Seattle and Portland I feel like I prefer Seattle, so I’ve kinda sorta half crossed out Portland on my list.

Anyway, I’m not sure if I’m just suffering from some sort of a “grass is greener on the other side” syndrome. Maybe I should stay where I am. Maybe I should move to a more interesting part of Tampa. Or maybe I should move somewhere else altogether. It’s certainly making my head spin! Right now I’m leaning towards Seattle or Los Angeles, with a slight preference for the former since taxes are lower in Washington than California, traffic isn’t quite as bad, and I like the landscape a bit more.

Anyway, as much as I’m on top of stuff when it comes to miles and points, I’ll be the first to admit I’m clueless when it comes to moving somewhere without a specific reason, so I’m all ears if anyone has any thoughts.

On a more interesting note, did anyone see the “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” marathon last night? I’m in shock and awe that there’s better television than “Lizard Lick Towing” and “Operation Repo.”

Comments

  1. I think you need to move to a more interesting part of the Tampa Bay area. There are great restaurants, interesing (young) people, and things to do.

  2. Do it. Move.

    If for no other reason than you’re young and you CAN.

    When I was a young’n like you, I moved from the north east to CA and never looked back. I would never have the balls to do that now.

    Do it. You won’t regret it. And even if you did, you could always move back…right?

  3. Move. You are young. Life is short. There are lots of places to explore. If there’s nothing really holding you to Tampa, and you’re not in love with the place, then go someplace you’re interested in living that you think you’d like better. If the grass isn’t greener, you can always move again, or come back to Tampa.

    I’ve moved across the country twice in my adult life and both times have been experiences that were well worth it.

  4. I would give this advice: figure out why you want to move first. Is it to meet more young people, as you hint?

    One warning about the Pacific Northwest (from someone who moved here from So Cal: the weather is a major factor here—you may not realize how much you love the sun until you dont have it for 8 months of the year

  5. If your moving I’d move to a lower cost of living location than the west coast of the U.S. You’re always commenting on how much you like Bali & Thailand.

    I would never live on the west coast of the U.S. (esp the cities you mentioned) unless you’re making good money. Otherwise you’ll have a tough time saving any money.

  6. Are you sure NY is out? For a ‘creature of habit’ moving to a place with close relatives nearby is much and much easier than going to live somewhere all on your own. Additionally, it’s easier for your parents, they’ll only have to fly to one city to visit their children.

    Something else to consider would be moving to a new city / country every 4 months or so. EG NYC in the summer, then Berlin/Munich, then Singapore/Bangkok/Bali, etc :-).

    You’re young. Live like it.

  7. Why not Miami? Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and South Beach all offer lively areas for the young, are much nicer than Tampa, have convenient access to a major airline hub, and warm weather. Plus, you’d only be a few hours away from your parents by car – let alone flight.

  8. Check out San Clemente, CA. It’s a great little beach town, not stuffy like Newport and not as big as San Diego. There’s lots to do in Orange County…hiking, great food. And John Wayne Airport is amazing. You are still close enough to fly international out of LA or San Diego.

  9. I love Seattle for the landscape and amazing summers. There’s a lot of “nature” stuff to do, and I’m a fan of that. The winters are cold, though I don’t think they’re quite as bad as other places in the country.

    The winters are ABSOLUTELY not cold, even in comparison to Tampa. Sure, you may get the once a year snow, but it’s a pretty consistent 40-55 in winter. What you didn’t recognize is how dreadful 9 months of the year are. Starting now, it’s overcast and gloomy every day till June. The rain comes about Halloween and doesn’t stop till June (July of this year). August is the best month, and July/Sept are middle tier.

    Seattle is also very expensive to live in comparison to Tampa (and just about anywhere else). My suggestion is avoid the Pacific Northwest unless you love depressing weather, flannel, and Grunge music (yes, they still play it – CONSTANTLY).

  10. Considering that you’ve traveled and experienced more things than most 80 year olds, I would think that it would be easy for you to pack up and move, Lucky.

    Being a 22 year old in LA is something special. If you shack up with a roommate here, it’s not out of the question that you can pay $750/month for a decent 2 bedroom in Koreatown or the Eastside of town. Works well with traffic too because you can take the ever expanding Metro line into/out of downtown and Hollywood.

    I know lots of young adults who’re getting by and having a decent amount of fun on $35k-$40k/year so it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch. Hit me up if you want more tips.

  11. Definitely move far enough that you can’t rely on everything being the same. Especially since your present work pretty much lets you live anywhere. I moved to NYC from San Francisco because I work in advertising and NYC is the center of things. Just beware. I came here for just a year almost thirty years ago!

    bluecat- The upside of no sun is that it keeps your skin looking young!

  12. As a 42 year old with two kids, I have some perspective on what you’re saying in the past tense. Here’s my take:

    Sell everything you don’t really need, leave the rest at your folks place. Rent an apartment in Bangkok (I can recommend http://www.riomonte.com/rent.html where I stayed 10 years ago)or some such place for $300 a month, and teach English or blog to pay your meager bills. There will NEVER be another 22. I did it (at 32, but no kids) and have NEVER regretted it.

  13. Have you considered living outside the US? Books like The Four Hour Workweek and sites like http://www.sovereignman.com extol the virtues of living in other countries where the dollar goes much further than it goes here (especially in Southern CA).

    I agree with others, you’re young, you’re primary source of income is from online marketing, you can live and work anywhere there’s an Internet connection! I would *love* to be in that situation!

    PM me on Flyertalk if you want to discuss this. I’ve done quite a bit of research on it.

    Whatever you decide, best of luck with it!

  14. I moved to LA for work when I was 21, and it was an unbelievably fun place to be when I was young and single. Yes it is absurdly expensive (I’d guess SF and NYC are the only worse places to stretch a dollar), but I was lucky to be young and making a decent living. Now that I’m in my 30s, married and expecting my first kid, LA is much less enticing due to the lousy schools and high cost of living. But for your single days, it really is a lot of fun.

  15. I picked up and moved to NYC when I was your age without knowing a single person there. I stayed for almost two years and it was so much fun, and I am so glad I did it when I did. Now that I have a family, I moved back to within “stroller distance” from my family, and we don’t have the realistic luxury of deciding to move on a whim. I vote for you to do it while you can!

    Life typically only gets more complicated as relationships get more involved, parents get older, etc. I doubt you will regret moving somewhere that has a more active scene that the never ending pasta bowl at Olive Garden (though I do love their bread sticks). You may even find yourself wanting to be home more and in the air less. 😉

  16. Miami–all the fun, American hub, young and fun, multicultural, never cold and relatively cheap. Condo on Biscayne Blvd…

  17. Los Angeles – great starting point for Mileage Runs, Mistake Fares, best AA hub 😉 5 hours to the east coast, 5 hours to hawaii, 8 hours to asia!

  18. don’t forget, west hollywood 😉 Andaz WeHo – 3 1/2 hour drive to Las Vegas, 1 hour flight to Phoenix (where you always wanted to go), tons of great places to use AMEX FHR and best of all you have nightlife & the finest restaurants in Los Angeles

  19. I agree with Jana Miller. Orange County is the best. Of course I’m biased because I live here, but to me, weather is the single most important factor. SNA is a great airport and you have two other international airports nearby.

  20. Since you mentioned San Diego, why don’t you take a look at the North County … great for the outdoorsy stuff and the beach plus you get a real feel for the “surfy” lifestyle. Take a look at some of the smaller and more “quirky” beach towns like Encinitas (where my sister lives), Leucadia or Solana Beach.

  21. Another vote for LA, and not at all because I live there. 😉 I’m a young person, and yes it is expensive, but I live on a student’s budget and I still manage to get out and do fun things all the time. Traffic isn’t really an issue if you’re a savvy driver (which I have no doubt you’d be) and it’s a beautiful place to live. I recommend it. 🙂

  22. Hi. I would get a short term extension on your lease and do a several week stay at the location you are interested in before moving there. Moving is a big expense in terms of money and time and you want to make an informed choice.

  23. I completely second what The Deal Mommy said. Move to Thailand for just 6 months. Try it out and if you don’t like it then pick a new US city and move there. Nothing lost but potentially a ton gained. If you like it, stay another 6 months. You’ll get to easily travel more of that side of the world, you can still operate your business to make money, and you’ll probably end up saving money because of the low cost of living. You really only do live once, you are only 22 once, and now IS the time to not worry about your parents, because there will be plenty of time for that later, as they get older. Sell what little furniture you seem to have and go for it!!

  24. California has some of the highest state income taxes in the nation. (Someones got to support all those state workers and their lucrative benefits.) It also has some of the highest energy costs (both gasoline and electricity). CA also has some of the highest insurance costs in the nation. I’d don’t think I even need to mention real estate costs.

  25. Move. Otherwise you’ll always wonder about it.

    Also, San Diego is really fantastic. There is still a decent amount of diversity in the various neighborhoods, traffic is generally a non-issue, and the under 30 population is vast (and employed, which is a nice contrast to Portland!) People tend to be friendly, and the city and beaches are really clean. The restaurant situation is fun, and nearly every place in town has a great Happy Hour.

    To continue my sales pitch, even though the San Diego airport is “quaint”, there are so many other options that it’s a non-issue. Being within 90 minutes of LAX without having to deal with the rest of LA is awesome. Housing is probably more expensive than Tampa, but about the same as Seattle. We also have mountains and pine trees if you look in the right places.

    California *is* more expensive than Washington, but when we were seriously considering moving to Seattle last year ourselves we did the math (down to filling out sample tax returns in both states) and realized it would only cost us $3500 more to live in San Diego. And I would TOTALLY pay that to live someplace where it isn’t overcast 300 days a year.

  26. While I admittedly don’t know you well enough to make a suggestion, I will be audacious and recommend you not exclude the entire San Francisco Bay Area from consideration. I know from having lived there for 10 years, before moving to Miami and then LA, it can be expensive, but public transportation is excellent, so you might be able to find something within your means in the East Bay or Peninsula (Marin/Sanoma might be too far from SFO).

    As to Seattle, while I love the city and have friends who work there, do you really think you would be able to tolerate all that rain (San Francisco has a lot of rain in the winter, but not THAT much). Having lived for 8 + years in Paris, I know that the damp winters can be depressing after a while.

    And while I’d love to welcome you to LA (one learns how to deal with the traffic),my gut feeling, requiring further discussion, is that you might (excuse me) find it a bit overwhelming.

    However, in terms of the bottom line, as you know, I really think you should more seriously consider earning an MBA, with my first choice being Stanford. You are a creative entrepreneur and you will go far, wherever you live, but frankly, Florida sucks.

    (By the way, it’s a gorgeous day in LA today)!

  27. Grew up in Portland, lived in (and still own a house) in Seattle for 5 years, currently in SoCal. If you like the outdoors, young people/lots to do and decent cost of living, move to Portland. It’s typically 8-10 degrees warmer than Seattle and while both get rain (I believe PDX gets the same amt annually as NY?), Seattle is grey a whole lot more than Portland and the weather up there most definitely gets old.

  28. Oh, and San Diego is just a cul de sac of LA, run by a cabal of real estate developers. If you are going to move to southern California, LA is where you want to be.

  29. With your lifestyle, living at a hub city for an airline you like is a factor.

    Life is nicer when you are always on widebodies, even if you are up front.

  30. I have found it great to be in Long Beach/Seal Beach area, you are 20-30 minutes from both LAX and SNA, much cheaper than WEHO, great beach/resteraunts/nightlife.

  31. I agree with Jana Miller and marZ – Orange County is the place to be! Easy access to both LA and SD, convenient airport locally even though they don’t have Pre-Check, and the traffic isn’t really that bad. Rent a nice place on the beach in Newport or Balboa – plenty going on there for the post college crowd. I moved across the country from CA to DC after college and the four years there was great at pushing me out of my comfort zone. It’s great to be back where I grew up and start settling down now that I’m 31. I say move somewhere, even if it for a year or two and try it out.

  32. If you’re leaning towards Seattle for the nature aspect and like California, San Francisco has the best of both worlds. I lived in LA for during college and think the Bay Area has more to offer. The people are friendlier and in certain areas, you feel like you’re in a small community as opposed to a large city. You can walk/bike/BART to most places (including SFO- a great airport, with TSA agents that are not at all obnoxious) and avoid traffic. The beach and some great hiking trails are nearby and if the weather gets too cold, there is always warm weather less than an hour away. Of course, its not cheap to live in, but you get what you pay for.

  33. I think you only live once and agree with others you should think outside the box and try something totally different. We have just moved back to San Diego for the 4th time, but we are only here for a 6 month contract. Would I recommend someone your age move here, nah I actually think it is a bit dull and boring, a safe option.

    What we are intending to do next year is look at spending half the year in Asia, probably Vietnam/Thailand and the other half in Europe. Location will be dependent on weather as we can not stand the extreme humidity or that white fluffy stuff that sits on the ground. If you don’t make this move now you never will. STick your stuff in storage, roll the dice and do the most extreme thing you ever can.

  34. You should consider Santa Barbara. Great climate, they have an airport, and it’s gorgeous there. Close to everything CA has to offer. University towns tend to have a great age mix for long term livability.

    Are there any places your folks enjoy visiting in the states that might make the transition easier for all of you? Will give them a great reason to visit and you’ll enjoy your time together much more.
    You will get closer to your parents as they age, so don’t overlook that. They are not on the planet that long..

    Seattle area is nice when the weather cooperates if you can adjust to it. If you enjoy cloudy gloomy rainy days, coming from FL I would think you wouldn’t like such depressing weather.

    I’ve traveled a lot over the years. Still love coming back to CA to live. It has great variety from mountains, ocean, city life, nature and variety of climates that make it a great place to live. There is a price for everyone. Don’t let that scare you away.

  35. I also live in Tampa and honestly, I have mixed feelings about it. I met a lot of great people from my gym (you live in N Tampa right? You know crossfit sparta? It’s on the corner of Bearss and Nebraska – lots of USF students/grads there) and so it’s been fun but I certainly travel a lot (from normal people standard, not flyertalk/blogger standard). The thing about Tampa before I started traveling was that it sucks. Even other parts in Tampa like Hyde Park, downtown, etc are ok at best. I live in Harbour Island and I can’t wait to get the hell out of there.

    But… it’s close to St Pete/Clearwater – it’s not unreasonable to make a last minute trip (driving *gasp*) to Miami. The winters are mild. So I guess in a way, I’m starting to like Tampa for what it offers considering I get to get away from it almost anytime I want to.

    I wouldn’t let the fact that your parents are here really drive the decision. I am, like most commenters, are supportive of you moving but there is a plus to having a “ok place” to come home to. But you’re right man… the restaurants and the people’s perception of restaurants are atrocious at best. If I hear another recommendation for any ethnic cuisine again, I’m pretty sure I’m just gonna punch them in the face.

  36. I just moved to LA from NY (I am 24), not really knowing anyone in LA, and I love it. Traffic is actually almost never a problem for me living on the West side (20 min commute to work, 20 min drive to LAX), and it’s much more affordable than I thought. The people recommending Orange County are crazy – awful traffic and not as many young people. If you’re going to move to the West coast, I would recommend LA a million times over.

  37. I’m with The Deal Mommy…..put all your stuff in storage and move to Bali/Thailand/Malaysia. Take advantage of the fact that you can do your job anywhere that you have electricity & an internet connection.

  38. I’m with @DealMommy. You have no commitments, I assume your parents are still relatively young and healthy (that is, they’re probably my age) and you have a completely geography-free career. In fact, your career almost requires you to spend half your time in hotels anyway.
    .
    So why not become a hobo for year or two? Use your parents address as your home address and rent apartments by the month in whatever city you’re interested in (or whichever one presents the best mileage running opportunities in a given season).
    .
    You could spend a month in Rome, followed by a month in Bangkok, then Lisbon, then Miami, then Munich. Go to the temperate cities in the summer and in the winter retreat to Mexico or even Melbourne, Sydney, Buenos Aires, or Brazil.
    .
    I’m assuming that a peripatetic existence appeals to you since you pretty much live one anyway. Why not make it official and become Lucky, No Fixed Address?

  39. I agree with DavisCalifJr, SBA is a great place to be. I’d highly recommend living here.

    Funny, I grew up in Davis, CA. I wonder if I know DavisCalifJr…

  40. I vote for Orange County. Great launching pt for mileage runs with easy access to LAX, SNA, LGB and even ONT & CLD. Traffic is not as bad as LA. Plenty of mattress run opportunities to boot.

  41. As bluecat said, the 8 months of overcast is the bigger issue in Seattle. The fall/winter/spring overcast and liquid sunshine doesn’t bother me as I grew up here, but it can be a difficult adjustment for non-natives. I lived on the east coast for 3 years and I thought it was strange (in a good way) to wake up to sunshine almost every day. Summers are great in Seattle, but by the end of October we are planning vacations to warmer / sunnier destinations.

  42. You are young and can move to wherever you want. I know you don’t like the middle of the country and snow is not your thing.
    We moved to Boulder, CO 5 years ago and the weather out here is great, snow is not too bad and you can’t beat the outdoors. I also did start to ski again after many years of hiatus and its a blast even in my age. Our 7 years old drives circles around me.
    The town is the right size for us, not too big and not too small and very liberal.
    If you look at your 2nd picture even if this is Germany Colorado got plenty of similar areas all over the place.
    Not a great AA location though with very limited flights but the Admirals club here is quite good with some of the friendliest staff I met (unlike the UA clubs at DEN).

  43. The west coast and Asia. A year hear, a year there. At 22 you can not go wrong. Start in San Diego with Ocean Beach or Pacific Beach. Next to the OC on the Peninsula. LA baby, Santa Monica near 3rd street. SF in the Marina district. It’s endless. Just keep your responsibilities low and you’re good to go.

  44. Hi Antonio – I graduated class of 78 from DHS. Left for 10 years and came back to Davis. Love it here. Centrally located to go anywhere with a high quality of life in a very very safe town. Since it has growth control, it keeps the town just the right size. It’s perfect for young people as well as retired people. I retired 2 years ago and have no plans to move. It just works for me and with the $1 bil reno of SMF airport, I like it even more than flying out of SFO 1hr 20 mins away.
    When did you live here?

  45. California is very expensive and once you live in LA, you realize how much it sucks the life out of you with all it’s fake people. (I grew up in the area and left as soon as I had a chance). The Bay Area is nice but pricey but excellent positioning with OAK, SFO and SJC in the area.

    Personally I would move to Charlotte, NC. It’s relatively inexpensive compared to major west coast cities, lots of nature stuff within an hour or so drive, great city life but still a mid-western feel. Also, you have CLT and RDU down the street. Granted, being a US hub, that could be both a good and bad thing.

  46. “I don’t like cities where it snows for months at a time, so I’ve eliminated the Northeast. I don’t like the middle of the country because it’s not ideal for travel. And that leaves the west coast.”

    I can’t find Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte in you map.

  47. I moved to Oregon last year and love it. Portland is warmer and has more sun than Seattle but Seattle has more conveniences and less of a hipster vibe. It depends really on what is most important to you. We love the outdoors and there are a million things to do, even in the winter. Also, you are traveling so much that you will be able to get out of town when the skies are gray and doing that once a month would be more than enough. Whatever place you decide on, I would agree with the others about moving and experiencing something new. You could change location every year if you want until you find a place you don’t want to leave. Good luck!

  48. I think it’s absurd to dismiss the mddle of the country just because it makes mileage runs harder. Earning aside, I think being in the flyover country makes travel *easier*. From DFW, I can get almost anywhere in the US nonstop in 4 hours or less. And if you’re going to Europe or Asia, having a 12 hour trip instead of a 9 hour one isn’t such a big deal.

    If you are going to pick somewhere based on travel criteria, though, don’t forget to also consider the airport. At DFW, I can allow 10 minutes to get from car to gate, and usually have 5 minutes left over. Don’t try that at DEN.

    I’m not specifically recommending DFW. Certainly we can’t compete with Southern California weather-wise – nowhere in the US48 can. I’m just saying, give flyover country another thought.

    Good luck, whatever you decide.

  49. Agree with many points:

    – you’re young, now’s the time to spread your wings
    – if you’re 22, your parents can’t be that old. Plenty of time in the future to worry about them. Set them up now with a source of tech support.
    – California is pleasant but tends to be pricey — especially SBA.
    – locating near a hub makes sense for you
    – that said, PDX seems to get high marks for quality of living
    – BOS is nice, especially when you’re young. Winters do get cold, though
    -it will never be as simple for you to try a new place as now. Go for it!

  50. It’s clear from the way you frame it that the move is something you need to do, and probably have already decided internally to do it even if the final choice has not yet percolated up to the conscious part of the brain. If you don’t do it this will continue to tug at you until you make the move, so just make it. I’ll be a little inflammatory with my stereotypes, but I think they are valid…the quality of life on the West Coast, no matter which of those cities you end up choosing, is in many ways superior to the East Coast–better food, healthier lifestyles, less obsession with work and more obsession with recreation. On the other hand,a lot of West Coast people can come off–at least to an East Coast sensibility–as kind of dull-witted…Much less interested in ideas, politics, news. So go for it, knowing that you may in the end discover you are more of an East Coast person. Move now and good luck.

  51. Hey Ben- I would agree with Stuart and consider the Bay Area, you’ve got two International airports, great climate,and loads of smart young adults out and about. The cost of living is ridic, but given your travel sked you could rent a decent room and not feel claustrophobic, tough but worth it IMHO. Your independent lifestyle would fit in well in these parts and I’m sure you’d meet lots of like-minded peers to hang with and get inspired by. Would be happy to talk more if interested!

  52. Seattle does get grey and flat in the winter – but I find that a quick trip away resets the “clock”. Oddly, in the middle of an Indian Summer, I keep hoping that The Rain will start soon…

  53. I live in Bend, Oregon so I am pretty familiar with the Left Coast. I went to school @ UF in Gainesville, so I’ve also lived in Florida for four years.

    Seattle – A great city, lots to do, but the fall/winter/spring could kill a man. You never see the sun! If you’re going to be there for prolonged periods of time, I would never live in Seattle.

    LA – I don’t know much about.

    San Diego – Awesome place. Everyone I talk to prefers SD over LA.

    Why not San Francisco? Every time I’ve been there it continues to amaze me. It’s my preferred place to move to on the Left Coast!

  54. @DavisCalifJr @Antonio
    I’m UCD ’94, sure miss Barney’s Records. Wow the town has changed, City Hall is now a Bar

  55. Well.. you’ve already eliminated a few major cities with a fun vibe as “fly over country” so I guess suggesting the Denver/Boulder area would be moot.

    Have you considered a US Territory? Perhaps the US Virgin Islands?

  56. As someone who has lived in 6 different states as an adult, I believe one corner of the US is the same as any other, except for weather and location of friends and family. Sure, you can make new friends in LA or Seattle (I suspect you would hate the Seattle weather most of the year). But you can do that anywhere else in the world also.

    I vote you try living in another country for 6 months. I wish I had done that before kids. It will be a much bigger adventure than California and make a bigger difference in your life. You could always look for a place with a big expat community. Or learn a new language.

    I’m jealous you have a German passport, that gives you a unique opportunity to live anywhere in the European union without paperwork and visa hassles. I vote you spend the winter in Italy or Spain. Or you could avoid winter altogether and go to Buenos Aires for their summer.

  57. Start internet dating… Set up a few profiles with locations being in each of the shortlisted cities of yours and see whether there are any nice matches.

    Moving closer to a loved one is almost always a good motive and encourages something more substantial to blossom.

    Think about it Ben!

  58. I still wanna know why San Francisco is not on your list?? It is a great airport to be based at, and there is no lack of fun things to do here. Is it the weather? Or your former airline?

  59. Another vote for what the Deal Mommy suggested. I have lived in the Seattle area before (3 years) and San Diego (4 months, starting in Feb) and would recommend San Diego/SoCal. I HATED the Seattle winter. The dreariness was horrible for me. I took a 4 month assignment in San Diego when I was single and 25 and had the time of my life.

  60. If travel blogging continues to be your occupation for the next few years then cost of living has to be a major factor in where you decide to live. Low income/high living cost really takes the “fun” away from almost any place.

  61. You have no ties, an EU passport, speak English and German and do most of your work online, right? Come live in London or Berlin for a year or two.

  62. Have you considered Albuquerque? Winters are coldish but bright and sunny. It’s a cheap destination to fly into or out of, although you’ll always have to hub it somewhere. And it’s one of those airports where you generally need five to ten minutes from curbside to plane.

    Socially, I don’t know what it’s like. It has a reputation as a retirement destination, but there is a university as well.

  63. CA is too far from your parents. How about CLT? It has plenty to do for a 22 year old and the cost of living is good.

  64. The summers can be cold, too. I’m surprised San Francisco isn’t on your list with three airports in proximity. Plus with your EXP status, you might find some challenges given all the Alaska-operated flights out of SEA.

    But at least you wrote off Portland. IMO there are few things Portland has that Seattle doesn’t do better. 😀

  65. I won’t suggest where you should move to (or not) but I do have a piece of advice: ask your landlord to switch to a month to month lease, and offer to give 60-90 days notice if you ever move out. If you’ve been a good tenant, they probably don’t want to lose you, and having 60-90 days notice is enough time to find someone. Month-to-month lets you mull this life changing decision over a bit, rather than trying to figure it all out in a week.

  66. Ben, I’ll echo that Seattle is not cold in the winters. I lived there for 4 years in college and it snowed once.

  67. I grew up in the Tampa Bay area. After college I moved to the west coast and lived in LA, SF, Portland, and Tahoe. I would say at this time in your life, LA is the place. Check out Hermosa and Manhattan Beach. Close to LAX.

  68. I’d agree with several others hear that you should give CLT a look. Its a vibrant young city with a nice downtown and a pretty good airport. Its a USAir Hub but you can get good positioning fares to pretty much anywhere on the east coast. Plus it has a low cost of living!

  69. I agree with all of the move advice. I spent four long years in Florida going to school and escpaed as fast as I could. Been in the DC area for 20+ years and love it here. Winters can be snow and ice or 70 degrees. So it’s not a bad choice as far as I am concerned. But it’s also expensive.

    Given that there’s nothing holding you down I think I agree with the advice to go way outside the box and try living in Asia or Europe. Of course doing that takes more than 2 weeks of planning though so you will need an interim solution while you get the logistics of that lined up.

  70. In the US – San Diego, or Denver if you can deal with a little snow. I moved to NYC 8 years ago from FL and was the best decision I ever made. I do agree with a lot of posters here though. Move overseas, as it seems you have the means to do so.

  71. Having spent time in LA, SF, Seattle and Portland, I have to say that Portland would be on the top of my list for a 22 year old. If you’ve got significant money rolling in, SF and LA are great, but not for a just-starting-out person.

    Seattle is nice (I honestly don’t mind the rain), but I find the city to be a bit more expensive and a bit more boring than Portland (plus the weather is several shades nicer). There’s just endless awesome young people things to do in Portland, without much of the pretense of LA and the expense of SF. Plus, Oregon has no sales tax!

  72. Need to contradict all the Seattle weather hate, or at least qualify it.

    Seattle metro actually gets decent/better weather fall thru spring, thanks to when the Olympic rain shadow is over us. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of cloudy days, but I grew up on the eastside of the area and they really do get the brunt of the dreary.

    It sounds like you’ve been out here quite a bit and have friends here, so I won’t sell more than what they’ve said. We live in the city and love it. It’s a diverse city with a lot going on if you look for it, but also very laid back.

    If you didn’t have friends out here I’d caution that it can be hard to meet people. Seattle hasn’t rightly gotten a rep for being a little cold socially, but I think that’s just first interactions/meetings.

  73. As a Portlander, I think you should go to Los Angeles. Seattle is just like Portland…rains all the time, and it could get pretty depressing..Having lived here all my life, I can tell you its nice and all, but the doom gloom weather sucks hehe…I see Ben as L.A. bound!!

  74. I moved to DC at 28 and you gotta realized that you can always move back so you are not stuck there once you move. I say do it! Do it for the experience and for the life learning it will get you.

  75. Adding more to your “think about it”, Ben. I suggested Santa Barbara earlier. I think if you diversified yourself a little bit you could make a major financial step to securing your future. You should consider buying a multi-family home (i.e. duplex, triplex etc..). There are incredibly tax benefits to you owning/renting a place and you can expand as your income allows. See if your folks are willing to assist to get your first place with plans to expand. You’re allowed to write off expenses if you travel to take care of your rentals. You can start out small (rent rooms in your home/condo to help make the payments on the mtg). The rental business has the benefit of not taking up too much time to create additional income, excellent tax write-offs that help you keep more of what you earn each year). It’s honestly not hard to do. Been doing it for decades now and why I could retire at 50. You can expand to various places you enjoy traveling to. I bought my first place at 23. This would be such an easy business to run and you could continue your travel work/blog/consulting. I hosted and rented to university age international exchange students. Learned so much from them on a variety of different cultural levels and now we visit each other around the world since we’re all friends. Think out of the box a bit. Your urge to move is telling you something. It’s time to grow once again in your professional and personal life. You need a good mtg broker and get yourself certified to learn the rental business (fairly short course..most cities have them for Landlords to know the basics and rules).

    You have to have income to live and you’ve already demonstrated you can run your own business. Now start managing your taxes for the future as your income expands in a way that fits your travel lifestyle. Providing housing for people is a noble profession and a very good business with many great rewards. Start with providing housing for yourself, rent out a couple of rooms and go from there. You’ll get the hang of it quickly and there’s always someone there to water your plants and feed your animals while you’re on your travel adventures 🙂 So find a location that fits your new criteria. It might even be Tampa…

  76. Why don’t you use all those airline miles and hotel pts of yours and move around to a different place every couple weeks for a year? You could try ~25 different places, both in the USA and internationally. If you really like a certain place, stay there longer, get an apartment for a month, etc. If I had your job and nothing holding me back, I would love to do something like that. You could even go to Hawaii and stretch your hotel pts twice as far by getting a room every odd night and then every even night you can sleep in the hammocks outside on the grounds. 🙂

  77. If I could live anywhere, it’d be London. But I haven’t been to New Zealand yet, so what do I know?

    Where *you* should live-well, that’s another question. One only you can answer.

    So here’s some questions you can ask yourself to help determine what’s best for you:

    1. Flip a coin. Stop. Don’t look at the answer. Which choice are you kind of hoping comes up?

    2. Look back from your deathbed. Imagine you’re 80 or 90 or 135,but you know, kind of sick of the whole living thing. From this position, which choice would you regret, or regret more?

    3. Fear vs. Love. A bit theoretical, but in general, chose love over fear. This can be kind of tricky,though; we almost all have some both fears and desire involved in everything. But where you would live if you knew six months from now, the weather was nice, you could easily afford everything you needed, your social life was fantastic, your relationship with your parents was great, etc.

    4. Say yes. This is an impromtu “rule,” but it can be a powerful one. But frankly I was a little hesistant to say it to you, because you have so many adventures and experiences outside of Tampa. Only you can decide if you should choose it in this situation.

    So those are totally shamelessly stolen from an article Martha Beck wrote a long time ago, and I couldn’t give you the source of the top of my head. And one of those decision-making exercises might not even be from that article. But I digress.

    One other thing to remember is that almost all decisions are reversible. And these two choices clearly are. You could spend a month or a year in Seattle, or Portland, or LA, or all three, and Tampa will still be there. Likewise, those places on the West Coast aren’t going anywhere.

    Oh, as a side-note, you could ask your landlord for month-to-month lease extension; that’s what all my leases have defaulted to. It’s not a crazy request.
    But deep down, you know what you want now. It’s just a matter of listening.

  78. Fly over country not good for travel? COS now has some of the best consistently available mileage runs in the entire country! (Assuming you don’t mind going to PHX every weekend.)

    But you probably think it snows here for 4 straight months. Too bad everybody else doesn’t think that, cause then maybe they’d quit moving here too!

  79. I suggest Paris. You could use your HHonors points to stay in the Hilton Arc de Triomphe while you look for an apartment. No, wait…never mind.

    More serious answer follows.

  80. The grass is definitely not greener on the “left coast”. The cost of living, the taxes… the only thing greener are the tree huggers.

    What about Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh or Richmond? Winters are short and not much snow, those are airline hubs (Except for RIC) and the cost of living is much lower then further north.

  81. It’s pretty obvious where you should move — somewhere in the woods in Georgia or Arkansas or Alabama. Learn to play the banjo and forget about airplanes or modern society.

  82. WOW What a huge response. Al I can say is that i came to San Francisco for a weekend and had been here more than 10years. Love it.

  83. The Bay Area is the greatest part of this country, and if you disagree you’re wrong. I’ve gotten by on very little there, and loved every foggy day of it.

  84. Having lived at NJ for 20 years, Seattle isn’t that bad during the winter months. I spent many months in the overcast weather and I much prefer the environment there than Jersey.

    I vote for Seattle, specifically the Eastside.

  85. How are you going to execute this move in the next month? Don’t you have travel booked for the next 330 days? It seems like you’d need to decide TODAY that you are going to move to X in Sept 2013, and start setting up your travel plans from there.

  86. Great topic! It sounds like you are moving no matter what. WHY would you stay in your current place surrounded by boring and no young people?

    Since you want to meet younger people, have you considered living in Virgin America or Vueling instead of American?

  87. I thought you were moving into the LH F terminal?? 🙂

    I’d go with LA. Actually I’d go with San Fran, but you didn’t list that. That would be my choice, and in fact may end up being my next destination.

  88. Ok, well it doesn’t really look like you need any more suggestions here, but..well… I moved to Europe 6 1/2 years ago and it’s been an amazing ride. I went to Berlin with no German, no EU passport, no job, you get the picture. I speak German fluently now and have a great job (working on the passport). So why not Europe, or even Germany if your parents are from here? I’m doing my best to take advantage of the travel opportunities here – seeing lots of Europe, traveling to Africa without jet lag (so awesome!), the near and middle east with very little jetlag. Berlin is a truly amazing city (skip Munich, sorry) and Miles & More needs to hire you as a consultant!!

  89. I say you move to the EU and become the first blogger that specializes in Americans living in the EU who want to travel on miles!

  90. As a travel journalist, I gave up my flat two years ago and have been perpetually on the road since. It’s been a major lifestyle change — I travel with a single 60cm suitcase, which contains just about everything that I own — but I adore it and wouldn’t give it up for the world.

    You like Queenstown, right? Consider getting yourself a Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand and basing yourself there. Hit me up on Twitter or email with any questions — happy to help a fellow traveller out.

    Bear in mind if you do decide to go nomad that you’ll need to figure out some way to continue your credit card churning — likely via your parents’ address.

  91. You’re not going to move in with that SQ flight attendant?

    I agree with everyone saying you should move somewhere really outside the box like Asia or Europe. But that would take more than two weeks to plan. So I think taking your time to decide is wise. Ask if you can go month to month on your lease. I have done that on more than one occasion.

  92. Put your stuff in storage and try a few places — DFW is a hub, is warm, has culture, don’t know how it is to live. Denver is nice and really doesn’t get that cold….But someone upthread mentioned Berlin, and that strikes a chord. You’re young, you have a German passport you speak German, Berlin is young and happening, and cheap. So what if they’ messed up the opening of the new airport…

    Can you tell that most of us are drooling over your possibilities?

  93. I was in your shoes, living in Florida, near the parents at your age. I moved to California and have never regretted it. With that said, I wish I was your age and could move to Australia!

  94. From your choices, I’d take Seattle off the list. Way too depressing weather-wise.

    San Diego is one of my favorite cities, specifically the South Mission Beach area. Pricey for sure, but great vibe and weather.

    If I may suggest one off the list, the Denver/Boulder area would be a decent choice. Weather is generally great, more sun that any other city on your list and contrary to popular perception, it doesn’t snow that much. (And the snow generally melts quickly)
    Daily n/s LH to FRA, BA to LHR, and as of March, ANA to NRT.

  95. Since you mentioned Seattle, I will suggest Denver. I know it’s not a major gateway city but it is still pretty easy to get to where you want to go. I have lived in both Seattle and Denver and while both have beautiful nature and tons to do, Colorado gets 300+ days of sunshine a year! The people are active, healthy and friendly. It really has been one of my favorite places to live.

    Also, I am 28 now but I moved away from my parents after college. Although it was a tough decision, I wouldn’t change it for anything. It is so much fun to experience other places. Growing some roots gives you more time to really explore instead of just visiting.

    My parents are still young and really don’t “need” me for any reason right now. I probably see them once a month still. And, we plan on moving back home whenever we start a family. Do it now, move home later.

  96. The second picture seems a bit more Banff than Seattle; however, Seattle is the closest out of your choices to Banff. I think most would encourage you to try to explore and try out different places – whether you choose to stay in FL, USA, or further away. Seattle overcast skies may or may not be a big deal; however, the landscape and culture are better than southern CA (but to each their own).

    If you end up on Seattle, happy to help with more specific advice. 🙂

  97. I’m buying property in Germany and will return their full time early next year. Have you considered the Motherland or anywhere else outside the USA? I’m sure your parents would love and additional crash pad in DE! 😀

  98. Follow the seasons: Winter in Florida, Spring in Berlin, Summer in San Francisco, Autumn in New York. You’re welcome 🙂

  99. I can’t believe the number of comments on this! What great advice!

    I’m going to add onto my previous comment and suggest “All of the above”.

    You could sell or put your things in storage or at your parents’ house, base your driver’s license and mail at their house, and live temporarily at any number of locations anywhere in the world.

    Come back for a visit every so often to get mail and see the folks.

    I envy you and your freedom.

  100. Traffic can also be miserable in Seattle. Although overall LA has more traffic, the bridges in Seattle make things awful. Unless you stay within your immediate area, you are at the mercy of the bridges which are huge pressure points for traffic. You are trapped because there are usually no other options than whatever bridge you need.

    To my mind, the only comparison in LA is trying to get from the Westside to the other side of the 405 in the afternoon (and to an extent going into the Westside in the morning). Otherwise, even with the 101-405 interchange there are plenty of options to scoot around rough traffic spots if you get to know the city.

    Seattle is certainly cheaper than LA though, which given the amount you travel might be something to think about.

  101. If you are young and want sun, fun, beach and party, then move to South Beach. Lots of good looking girls with killer bodies. Awsome nightlife.

    In addition, it has MIA and FLL within 15 miles each and you can continue your mileage runs. AA has a major hub but UA and Delta have a significant present. And you already know the weather.

    Personally I would never move to a place that experiences snow or lack of sun.

  102. I am not sure why the choice is Tampa or the west coast. There are other cities on the east coast besides cold weather places like New York. Atlanta is a booming city; Charleston has a huge population of 20-somethings (mostly hot women, too…I have female friends who lament living there and not being able to meet guys!); or Miami could all be good options.

    That said, if I were your age, I would move to one of the more hip parts of Tampa – maybe something near UT.

  103. Check out Atlanta. Great climate, awesome city. Access to the mountains and ocean via car. A massive international airport that is busiest in the world and easily connects to DFW (AA), Chicago (AA/United), and JFK (all the above).

    It’s a great city for young people and to settle. It really has the best of both worlds. The best restaurants, night life, and overall Southern hospitality. Not to mention, flights to Tampa and NYC many times a day to see family whenever you’re ready to go.

    Honestly, I think that leaves open the West Coast for US trips and stopovers on aspirational trips overseas via the Pacific.

    Also, if you love football, this is the heart of SEC country. Save your cash and grey days for trips, and enjoy the warmer climate!

  104. My husband and I live(d) in Hunters Green in Tampa and I just moved to Seattle two weeks ago for work. He’s coming to join me shortly. You should join us in Seattle! I never realized you lived so close to us.

  105. I think you are very concerned with NOT being where you live. ok you are 22 or 23, but if you dont start being concerned with consciously living somewhere, you will wake up one day and be homeless in your hometown. Where are you friends, where is your family, where are your relationships? That is where you need to be.

    I have coutless friends who were constantly “on tour”…

    yes you love travelling… you can do that from anywhere, but what are your interests outside of that?…. focus on that.

  106. I am really curious now…sorry for my indiscretion but…Is your income entirely derived from your blog and/or travel consultancy?

    If so, congrats! That’s amazing to enjoy the freedom to live anywhere.

    Regarding your move, I think you should give more thoughts to NYC. We had 1 day of Snow total in Winter 2011-2012, so far from “months”! And the weather is pretty good otherwise, lots of sun. In terms of culture, it’s like living abroad, with so many folks. I am foreign but feel at home in NYC. For travel, obv three large airports. And finally for traffic…well it doesn’t matter, no real New Yorkers owns a cab. So you can save that gas and insurance and parking, and use subway/trains/buses to your travel adventures?

  107. Not that you’ll read comment 120-something, but your short- to medium-term goals should factor into this decision I would think. What do you want to do? This? You can do this anywhere. A year is short. Live anywhere on the list, if it’s not what you expected, try the next place. If you have plans beyond this, think about what they are and what it’ll take to get there. Potential opportunities and connections may narrow down your possibilities. If you’re thinking about further education, so that might be worth considering also.

  108. Come to the Tri-Cities, WA. Only 3 hours from Seattle, but because we are on the other side of the Cascade Mountains, 300 days of SUNSHINE per year!

  109. I have to throw NYC back out there. I moved to NYC from Charlotte and haven’t looked back. It’s perfect for travel with three major airports, public transit is amazing, and overall the weather isn’t that bad. Last winter it only snowed twice. While NYC is in the northeast it’s certainly nothing like northern NY or Vermont, etc. For someone your age I’d almost say that there’s no city in the US that offers more opportunity and diversity.

  110. I’ve lived in San Diego, Los Angles, in between (Oceanside and Orange County). Very nice, but expensive and congested. Seattle was nice, but from a MR perspective it took half a day to get to a jumping off point for a MR. I live in DC now and also is expensive and snows…so not a good choice.

    You travel so much that where you live is irrelevant…you’re only there for a few days at a time anyway. I’d stay and save some $$$….

  111. Go abroad. My best friend from college did Paris first and now lives in London–20 years later and he is still a happy expat.

    Once you fall in love and settle down with someone your opions will greatly shrink.

    Seize the day and go now!

  112. It was so fun to read what everyone had to say/fantasize about where I would go if I found myself in this same position. My only advice is to leave Tampa. 🙂

  113. Personally, I’m dreaming of Manhattan Beach or Maria Del Rey, CA. Amazing weather, walking distance to LAX, and on the top 10 list of places to live for (wealthy) singles. ‘Nuff Said.

  114. If you end up in SEA and stick with AA, I hope you enjoy all those AS operated flights in coach. 😉

    LAX might be a better travel match. But you’re young, live a little recklessly!

  115. I like Seattle (I live near San Francisco; Seattle would be my second or third choice). When the weather is nice, it’s one of the most beautiful areas in the world. (In many ways, Portland is a smaller version of Seattle.)

    Total rainfall in Seattle is no more than in many East Coast cities, but the pattern is different (in Seattle it often comes down as mist for days on end, instead of as shorter periods of heavier rain). My experience is that some years see very little sun for 8 months; others have nice “sun breaks” during the “off-season”. Average winter temps are mid-40’s by day; low 30’s at night – way warmer than much of the country.

    Traffic can be as bad in Seattle as in California, especially on I-5 for a few miles either side of downtown. Suggest living where you don’t need to drive through the center of town on a regular basis. (For you, that might mean living south, for easy access to Sea-Tac.)

  116. Seattle sounds like fun, its one of my favorite cities on the west coast (followed by San Diego), and whenever you get board, you could drive by Boeing Field, to see the AWACS, AEW&Cs, and random airliners having work done.

    On the other hand, I’d suggest considering why you want to move, and remember that your income goes further in FL than in most of the other states in the union. If anything, I’d propose that you look into a way to move overseas. Thailand sounds quite affordable, and could be quite fun…. but if you want to move, I’d definitely recommend, make the jump, live overseas, truly live life to the fullest (because you know most of us are wishing we could).

  117. Atlanta! Great weather (a little more change than you’re used to in Florida), mild winters. Tons of 18-35 people here, plus you’re in a hub airport. Even though you don’t use DL, quite a lot of options if you ever start. Close flight to your parents, and a not-too-far drive if you are in a bind.

  118. San Diego, hands down. The weather is great, people are healthy and friendly. I travel a lot and have lived all over the world and I always sigh with happiness when I land back in SD.

  119. I have spent time in all the cities you named and find Seattle too rainy, LA too dirty, and San Diego too artificial. Never mind the State income taxes and cost of living in CA. Portland on the other hand is cool. Quirky and interesting, but the weather also blows…

    I think if I were young again like you, I would go for either of two options…San Francisco because there is no place like SF where you can enjoy the local culture, people, nature, entertainment and food/drink in the US any more than there. That said, you are paying through the nose on rent and you have to deal with CA state income tax.

    Alternatively, allow me to say that Austin might tick all the boxes for you. Lots of young people, vibrant food/wine scene, strong LGBT community, quirky and SF-esque feel, tons of outdoors activities, great weather much of the year, and yes…no state income tax and relatively inexpensive cost of living.

    If you are interested to learn more, feel free to ping me. And I think mommypoints might be in Austin, too.

  120. If you want to stay in the U.S.: LA, SF or Seattle since you’ve never lived on the West Coast; from LAX easy access to nonstop domestic and international travel, which as you know any self-respecting airline serves, and oftentimes with the newest aircraft to try out c.q. enjoy, and weather-related delays are far and between because of its mild climate; tons of young people, culturally diverse…
    I’m partial to Santa Monica: has a cityfeel by L.A. standards, near beaches, mountains, downtown, LAX, not so smoggy, not so hot in the summer, and if you work at home or nearby you can avoid its notorious traffic congestion.
    From someone who enjoyed calling LA, Orange County and SD home, and now loves living in Vancouver, Canada.

  121. Come to LA for a year. I doubt you’d have to drive far for work. It sucks for me the 1 day a week I have to drive far, but rules the other 6 days. Find something with easy access to LAX on the westside. I live closer to downtown and the FlyAway + Gold Line is great for getting from home to airport.

    To up the ante, I’ll buy ya a Diet Coke w/ Lime if you move here.

  122. It’s nice to live in a place where you can walk to stuff and have good public transportation. For me, in my 20s, that place was DC, but there are other places like it. The older and more car-bound I get, the more I wish I could walk out my door and get a beer, or a diet soda, or meet someone new, or play table tennis in a club, or buy a flower, or get waffles, or buy a lottery ticket, or see a movie, or get a bagel, or even see a sporting event. As I got older, things like being able to back up my car to load groceries and having space of my own to throw a baseball with my kids became a priority. And liveability without the grind is more at a premium, but having stuff right outside your door is really great.

  123. 151 comments! Wow Ben! I haven’t read through the comments, but I imagine you are moved by everybody’s concern for your living situation. 🙂

  124. Lucky, absolutely move somewhere else. I’m only a few years older than you and would try a new city every year if I had income that wasn’t location-dependent. LA or San Diego would best meet your weather preferences and LA would be the greatest culture shock. Alternatively, try Singapore or HK or somewhere else in Asia. And what’s the worst that can happen? Perhaps you don’t like the new place and have to move back, or break a lease, or something like that. If that worst-case scenario doesn’t scare you, then by all means take the plunge!

  125. The illegal migration and politicians have ruined California. But with that said, after living in HNL the past few years, I kind of miss LAX, still go back several times a year, and they have more flights around the globe than just about anywhere and spectacular weather. Pretty good mattress run availability as well and Vegas is just down the road.

    Lived in San Diego as well, cheaper but BORING. Also lived in East Bay, which i LOVED, but SFO area is very expensive.

  126. “How about a new poll question to see what your readers recommend?”

    I like this suggestion. Throw up a poll. We decide, and then you move there on October 1st. 🙂

    I also like the suggestion that you try to live out of the LH FCT Terminal in FRA for at least a week. Not only is it your dream, but you’d have bragging rights on FT/MP/DOs for life everytime you tell that story.

    Heck, maybe you can even take donations. If 500 of us each donated 1k UR pts to you, you’d have 0.5M UA miles which would probably allow you to live out your dream of living out of the FRA FCT for a week. Nights on LH F planes and days in the FCT. Doesn’t sound like a bad half bad plan for a week. I’m in for the first 1k UR pt donation if you can find 499 others to donate!!!!

  127. It is really hard to make friends or even keep friends when you are on the road all the time. When I was in my late 20s and early 30s I was supposed to be on the road 18 days a month, ended up more like 26, most of my friends kind of gave up on trying to make plans to see me so I mostly hung out with people who I worked with and were on the road with, even when at home. I just found that both old friends and new acqaintances just didn’t understand (and a few were very jealous). Just saying, you may want to live where there are people you know who do the same thing or similar….much easier to connect… they get it.

  128. @TheDealMommy said it best.

    And when you’re ready for a break from Thailand, I’d recommend you try DC for a year. Three major airports to choose from, clean metro, and the city is gorgeous — packed with parks and monuments. Plenty of nightlife, great restaurants, and tons of history. You’ll be two hours from the beach, two hours from the mountains, and a stone’s throw from the Potomac River (read: plenty of hiking, biking, kayaking, mountain climbing). The summers are known for their heat and humidity, but if you can handle Thailand you can handle DC. Recent winters have been mild, save for the rare blizzard (something everyone should experience once!).

    Your parents will survive. You’ll always be a phone call away should they forget how to turn on the computer. At some point you have to let your parents go and trust you raised them up right.

  129. You’ve got plenty of advice that I don’t need to add to, other than to say: ignore any advice based on income taxes. That’s just silly criteria for a single, 22-year-old man.

  130. Aaexplat prob has best advice, for you.
    I have a counter suggestion.
    Rent a room from your parents and travel more for longer trips getting more out of the places and less of the journey itself.

    You really do not need an apt with all the travel you do – just a waste of space and rent. Use the savings and income to travel to more places and stay a bit longer in each one.

    When you figure out where you want to stop longer, you can always go there, if by now you really do not have an idea with all your travel.

  131. You should move back in with your folks leaving all your stuff there and take advantage of FL’s tax structure.

    You can get yourself a cheap apartment in Bangkok where you can spend several months and just use LAX as your US base staying at the nearby hotels where you need to build status at.

    Might even be worth it to temporarily relocate to Phoenix for a few weeks during each summer to take advantage of ultra low hotel rates and mattress run your way to top tier status.

  132. Ben, Lucky you evoking so much concern and genuine care from all of us readers. At 22 I also made a life changing decision and moved from Miami to New York and it has been the best time of my life. I think you already know in your heart of hearts where you want to end up. Just follow your heart and head to that city. You will make it work and doors will open for you. You should consider a home base that suits your line of business and makes travel easy. Somewhere you can come back to easily no matter where you are in this world. I vote for NYC of course. It’s all here!!!! No other place in the world has what New York has to offer. Besides is your birthplace.
    But wherever your heart ultimately tells you is the right place, I wish you all the best always with lots of love to go with it.
    Good luck friend.

  133. Ignore the haters, come join us in Seattle! In late July, August, and early September there’s no better place to be. And given how much you travel, the rest of the year won’t bother you.

  134. Get out of Tampa. Besides Orlando, it’s the worst city in the country, IMHO. Just get out of Florida, period. Get out to the West Coast–Portland, Seattle…you won’t regret it.

  135. Seattle hands down!

    Grew up in LA, love visiting, but quality of life just doesn’t compare to what we’ve got up here!

    If you decide to come out for a visit and wanna explore, my partner & I would be happy to show ya around, make some intros, and help break the Seattle “freeze” 🙂

  136. Wherever you go, Ben, avoid Red states: For obvious reasons, the political orientation of a metro area pervasively influences the long-term cultural (and, many times, economic) quality of life there.

  137. I agree with Greg. This article is almost begging for an official poll. In the past Lucky has shown a willingness, and indeed a preference, to follow the suggestion of those who read his blog. An official poll also helps weed out suggestions that don’t meet Lucky’s criteria for consideration. So how about it Lucky? You select 5+ locations and we’ll pick from your selection. Whatever gets the most votes wins. 😉

  138. I think the one thing you will miss about Tampa is airport accessibility.

    I lived in Tampa for a summer, while I was working on Betty Castor’s Senate campaign in 2004. My dad was working for AA in Miami at the time, and I could easily ride with him to work early Monday morning, take a 7:30 AM flight to Tampa, arrive in Tampa at 8:15 and be at my desk in the city at 8:30.

    I also loved the political and demographic balance of Tampa, and driving across the various bay bridges (which is possibly as close to a video game experience as you can get).

  139. First of all, kudos to you for putting yourself out here for asking a question a lot of us may have asked ourselves at one point in time or another. Just look at the number of replies you’ve received! Amazing.

    To me, it signals that you’re definitely ready for a change of venue – but maybe you don’t have to make a quantum leap at the end of the month. What I mean is that you already have the world as your oyster (i.e., you could go anywhere basically) – but maybe being geographically closer to your folks would initially make more sense – not too close tho – say Jupiter, FL, P.B Gardens,or Stuart? All very different than N. Tampa yet affordable, vibrant and only a few hours away – plus PBI easy to get in an out of (not to mention home to the best ticekt/gate agents hands down IMHO of any airport I’ve encountered and like you, have spent a good deal of my time in airports!).

    If family wasn’t part of the equation, I’d probably opt for either San Diego, New Orleans or anywhere in Italy!

    Florida can evoke some strong sentiments as evidenced by some of the comments here – but again, IMHO there are a few cities/towns in FL that are simply well kept secrets and are great places to call home.

    If you don’t want or need a home base, then ignore the above, leave your things with mom and dad and try to stretch out those SQ 1st class tickets you snagged this summer and hit the road for the next year!!

  140. Ben – Your reasoning for Seattle is spot on and you won’t go wrong. However being close to family beats everything else in most cases. Good luck with your decision.

  141. Too lazy to read the other comments, but if someone has said “NO” to Los Angeles, then I second that.

    SEA or SAN would be a nice choice, but I also saw someone recommend CLT, which is a great town… although it is a hub of US 😉

  142. My vote is for NYC. Your brother is there, so you have some family. Great food, great places to go, explore etc. Manhattan proper is expensive, but you’ve got flexibility and a lack of a commute so you can live in the cool hip parts of brooklyn.

    Advantages include living in a AA hub, lots of competition and cheap flights. You have 3 major airports with AA clubs. LGA is interesting for mileage running as you have the perimeter rule forcing connections to many destinations. You have JFK for international rewards redemptions. EWR and HPN are other options for mileage running and PHL/ZFV are within a $25 one-way car rental away.

  143. Let me add another voice supporting Charlotte (or somewhere in NC). Easy access to the beach and mountains, friendly & genuine people, and numerous airports for traveling. I went to college at Wake Forest (in Winston-Salem), and I really miss it. Mild winters but you still have four legit seasons.

    I (personally) despise the LA area, and while Portland & Seattle are nice, for me, they just can’t compare to the laid-back feel of NC. You’ll never feel ANY need to hustle-and-bustle!

  144. I really wanted to suggest Austin as well, but since it is in “flyover country”, I passed. AAexplat is right though. There is tons to do, warm weather, an “easy” airport, and relatively affordable living expenses (high for TX but low compared to CA). I would go for a week or so to the cities you are strongly considering and see which one feels right for you.

  145. mommypoints. I think flyover country is often maligned for no good reason. I love Austin and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else (and I certainly could given my work).

    One thing I might expand on is that a week is not enough to really get a feel what living in a particular place is like.

    I think renting a place for a month and doing all the things one would do as a resident will be more valuable as a way to “test drive” a city.

    There’s nothing like visiting SF and staying at the Mark Hopkins, having dinner at fancy restaurants and Dim Sum in Chinatown, seeing the sights and then to move to a tiny s*ithole apartment and suffering through the many days of heavy fog and cold weather (often in the summer months). I lived in SF for 2 years, and while I loved living there for many reasons, I was also incredibly glad to leave it behind when I did. Of course, I still miss some of the things I was spoiled by in the Bay Area.

    Like I said, Lucky, rent an apartment for a month that would be in the price range of what you could afford to live in permanently to get a feel what life would be like. Have it be furnished. And make up your mind that way.

  146. I am all for spontaneity, but I might suggest a bit of reservation on this one…moves can be expensive and there are quite a few things to take into account, not the least of which is accessibility to good air fares from you new home. If you don’t like your area of Tampa, move in town, spend the next year (of a lease) really focusing on finding WHERE you belong.

  147. Orange County, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach in particular meet your requirements. It’s summer almost year round and it rains just enough to remind us what it feels/looks like. Easy access to LA and San Diego. Even easier access to LAX, with options at Long Beach and John Wayne. It’s a safe, fun place to live with easy access to all the amenities of SoCal without dealing with the hell that is downtown LA traffic day in day out.

  148. More than 50% of the year, you dont sleep in your own bed, your in a different country, meeting new people, eating indiginous foods, and soaking up the culture. It sounds great, experiencing things other wish they could, that being said, what do you want the other 50% to consist of? In your situation, I would say stay close to family. I was born and raised in South Florida and moved to middle Tennessee for work a few years ago, and there is nothing I miss more than going to grab a pizza with the family, or having a barbeque, or going over to watch the football game…sure, you can do this with firends, but their not always available, and quite frankly, their just not family. And being gone 50% of the time, its pretty difficult to make good friends and develop strong close relationships. If you had any other lifestyle, I would say move and sieze your opportunities…but you already have.

  149. Grew up in SEA, live in PDX now. Portland is nice and laid back and also slightly warmer and sunnier, and a slight pain for travel as less of a gateway city. The coast is much nicer, ever been to wine country or down to Bend?

    Seattle gets more cosmopolitan every time I visit, and while both have amazing coasts/mountains the area around Seattle is a little grander – ever been to Mt. Rainier Nat’l Park, or the San Juan Islands? Somehow you seem more cosmopolitan than hipster! : )

    If you’d ever like a PDX home stay to check out life here, I host on Airbnb – happy to give you a discount.

  150. I’m a native Floridian. Grew up in Miami; family now in Tallahassee. UF grad. (Go Gators!) I moved out to Seattle for a job on a 2-year contract. That was 12 years ago. The Great Pacific Northwest latched onto me, for all the reasons you can imagine. I miss the home state. But the weather (winters specifically) are not that dreadful, though the gloom from December into April can get rough. The only other place I’d live on the West Coast is PDX.

  151. What about ATL, Charlotte, DC on the East coast?
    West Coast: I feel like you said you aren’t a good driver, so LA may not be best idea. San Diego and Seattle are good.

  152. Get a free German Scholarship for a Masters degree. My Friends did and just started this september in Cologne. You can do Mile Runs from Muc, Fra, BRU, AMS, ZHR.

    Incredible, to get free Universities abroad but not in US.

  153. It’s not close. New York City is the greatest city in the United States. You will get used to the weather. You’re young. Just live in NYC for a year or two. There are a ton of singles here in this fair city no matter what you’re looking for. The food scene is unbeatable. I follow that closely and can tell you NYC kicks ass with food. If you want something to do, the nightlife is great. There’s a clubbing scene if you’re into that. There’s Broadway shows. There are awesome music venues. Every big show comes through town at Radio City/MSG or other musical venues. Sports is amazing. You really do not need a car. I don’t care what any other city has in the U.S., none of their system is as awesome or safe as the one in NYC. The weather is honestly the least of your worries. Your only concern should be about rent… without going into specifics, I can tell you many people spend half of their after tax income on rent. That’s where it hurts. Roommates offset that cost. But seriously. NYC rocks.

  154. I’m going to echo some previous comments and suggest Long Beach, CA as well. It’s a great, diverse city (by some metrics, the most diverse city in the US), about half-way between LAX and SNA. After WeHo and SF, it’s arguably the most gay-friendly city in California. I don’t have to waste my time writing about the weather in SoCal.

    Others have suggested Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, which are both fine cities. But if you’re living in the parts of these cities worth living in, you’re far enough from the freeways that your commute time to nearby airports could be doubled. And both Newport and HB have pretty gnarly traffic in the summer, when the entirety of Orange County, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties flock to the coast.

    Anyway, check out Long Beach, specifically the Belmont Heights and Belmont Shore areas (with Bluff Heights also being suitable for your lifestyle).

  155. Well… it really depends on a lot of things. I live in L.A. and love it, but for a lot of people there is a rough year or two of settling in when you first move there– it’s not a city that instantly presents itself (like New York does) and if you’re traveling a ton, it may take a long time before L.A. feels like “home.” But, the weather is fantastic, there is tons to do, and it offers a great lifestyle for a 20something.

    You don’t talk much about your personal life, but if you’re a straight, sports-loving, fratty type of guy you have a lot more cities to choose from (and Charlotte, Tampa, etc. are real options). If you aren’t, well, given your parameters, L.A. and Miami seem the best options (that is, if New York and D.C. are out of the question– Chicago, it sounds like, weatherwise would certainly be a no). Seattle is insular and maybe not the best scene for a guy who isn’t into the above, but L.A. really is a great place for anyone. Re: Long Beach, it’s the Tampa of Southern California, why bother? And re: San Diego– again, if you’re a straight, macho type who enjoys blonde chicks and Chargers games, maybe that’s worth consideration.

  156. Wow guys, this is absolutely touching and overwhelming in every way. THANK YOU! I set this up to auto-post yesterday and took a one night trip to Puerto Rico, and return to see all this. I’ll be going through each individual comment tonight and answering questions/sharing thoughts, but in the meantime just wanted to sincerely say THANKS!

    This means the world to me…

  157. Lucky,

    Any chance to just extend your lease for a few months to you assessed your options and found an apartment.

  158. lucky said,

    “Wow guys, this is absolutely touching and overwhelming in every way. THANK YOU!”

    I think it’s pretty clear you really struck a nerve with this thread and got a lot of people thinking about the choices they had made and how it had impacted their lives for better or for worse. Lots of rosy suggestions and even some dire warnings to digest. As a poster already remarked previously, even if you choose not to decide you’re still making a choice. That’s something I’ve had to discover for myself as well. I’m quite a bit older than you and my current job wouldn’t travel with me the same way yours would, but I’ve been pondering the same basic question you are for twenty odd years now. It’s amazing how time can pass you by when you’re not thinking about it.

  159. We’ve had no response from Lucky / Ben after several Email’s & tweets
    Really left us, regular customers in the lurch.

    Think he has abandoned his Award Booking Service

    Very disappointed in the lack of even an acknowledgement

  160. Having been born and raised in South Tampa, I am biased, but North Tampa sucks 😛 If you decided to stay in Tampa, I’d at least move to South Tampa. I mainly like Tampa just because that’s where my family is and its comfy. Its home. I’m used to it. But given the opportunity, I’d move just for the experience. YOLO!

  161. Like a few others, i recommend a short term lease (3-6 months) in a furnished place, leaving yourself flexibility, and perhaps an early snowbird’s life of 6 months in NYC/6 months in the sun

    one headache in doing so will likely be your business address and tax filings. my recommendation: advil

  162. If I were 22 again, single, and in the position to move anywhere, I would. I’ve been living in Atlanta for 12 years and burned out and would love to move but it’s convenient for me, my husband and it’s close to our families. I have the “itch” to move and if I was able I’d probably move in a heartbeat. In other words, take advantage of your situation and try out a new location to live. If you don’t like it you can always move back. 🙂 But you never know until you try.

  163. i vote portland as well. the weather is definitely warmer than seattle. quick ride to the airport, to the beach, to skiing. and the high desert with dry air is not far away.
    lots to do in the city, great restaurants, food carts etc.

  164. @Anita. You’re not being serious are you? He posted this less than 48 hours ago. If he received a couple of hundred of emails surely he can’t respond to all of them within that time frame, if at all.

    @Ben. Like others, I strongly urge you to live abroad for a few months. Did you ever read olfaman’s trip report on FlyerTalk? He and his family spent a year living all over the world. It’s a fabulous read. It may even inspire you. 🙂 Best of luck.

  165. I really love my home town and know though I may spend a few years somewhere else, I will ultimately end up here. The thing is, our winters are really depressing. We don’t actually get a huge volume of rain, but there are months where it is dark when you leave for work/school, dark when you get home, and blustery/drizzly the entire day. It also doesn’t get cold in Seattle, no month has an average low below freezing and the weather from November-March is pretty much 40s every day. The solution is to go to warm places in the Winter. Even one day in a warm place can deal with 2 months of dreariness.

    Seattle has great food and culture, but the club/bar scene is pretty bad, though Capitol Hill and the gay bars are actually kind of an exception. It is one of the most progressive places in the country (it looks like we will legalize gay marriage and marijuana this November) and has no state income tax. Traffic is absolutely terrible (TomTom considers us the third worst in the country after L.A. and Miami) and has gotten much worse in the past year with the introduction of tolling on the 520 bridge. However, if you end up living on Capitol Hill (which is where I would recommend) it won’t affect you that much as pretty much the entire area has a perfect WalkScore and getting to the airport is less affected by traffic as the light rail is relatively immune to such issues (Link will hit Capitol Hill in 2016, but right now it’s an easy bus transfer downtown or in the Rainier Valley, and in 2014 there will be a Street Car+Light Rail option).

    If you like the great outdoors I don’t think another city in America has the sheer number of destinations so close to the urban center. Within an hour drive are hundreds of beautiful hikes, and there are three great (and some other mediocre) ski areas that are close enough for day trips.

    It can be difficult to make new friends if you aren’t outgoing though, and the fact that you don’t have a traditional office/school to draw from might make it harder. On the other hand I believe you already know a number of people here, and I’m sure plenty of your readers (and there are a ton of FTers in Settle) will be happy to show you around/provide a base.

  166. Move. Traveling is one thing (very valuable), but living somewhere different is another.

    Whether it’s SoCal, PNW, Iceland, the Philippines, or.. or this place, you’ll love it/hate it, long for the old/be happy where you’re at.

    Just keep blogging, wherever you end up.

  167. No Berchisgarten on the list? I’d go for Seattle or Portland! I live in LA but LOVE Portland and Seattle. Especially since you are young. Portland especially so much fun in the downtown area. What did you decide? I’m surprised the airports didn’t play into the equation.

  168. @ Ladytravelbug — Eventually I’d consider moving there, though at this point in my life not quite ready to move that far away.

  169. I’ve been living the hobo lifestyle for a few years. I keep thinking I’ll get a permanent home, but it’s too much fun to settle down. With all of the money you save on rent, utilities, car, insurance, etc you can stay in better hotels. Also there are bargains on airbnb as well for weekly/monthly rentals. I enjoy the flexibility to take advantage of last minute travel deals and hotel promotions. For a single person with no children or office job, why not give it a try! You can email me if you have concerns.

  170. I was raised in Tampa, not too far from where you say you are (Dale Mabry and Ehrlich). Moved to Orlando after high school, and to LA 7 years later. I miss my parents, but enjoy making the trip back there 2x each year. And they have come out to visit me and drive up to San Fran. I love LA, don’t want to move, and yes, miss my parents. But it makes going home that much better and I appreciate the city that much more. Totally agree with your postings about Olive Garden being authentic…so true around there. And yes, LA is more expensive, but if you find the right jobs the salaries are higher.

    If I can be of any help let me know! You’ve helped inspire me to travel so it’s the least I can do!

  171. Ben–The comment about no snow this past winter applies to Boston too. It’s a pretty, walkable city with good flights to Europe and new 787 non-stop service to Tokyo. (When will you be reviewing that flight by the way? 😉 Good luck in your decision-making. You have great choices so can’t go wrong!

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