Each region of the country or world, despite modern communications and a global economy, still has distinct characteristics and offers unique opportunities. For example, the region of the northeastern United States urban corridor, from Boston to New York City and into New Jersey and Philadelphia offers a distinctive ambience. So does the silicon prairie of Northern Illinois, the silicon valley of California, of the Gulf coast of Mississippi. Where does your heart lie?
TIP: Think outside the box.
TACTIC: Make a list of regions of the country or the world where you've dreamed of living.
Don't put any restrictions on this list, no matter how impractical. Always wanted to live at the south pole and study the weather? Put that down. Want to live somewhere tropical? In the south of France? The north of Australia? The greater Cleveland area? Write those down. This "dream list" is an important tool--it helps you get on paper a great motivator--your true desires. If you want to refine this list of potential regions by examining your life goals, you might consider skipping to "Live Your Dream."
Here are some points to think about in forming your dream list of regions:
- Where are the centers of activities for your profession, hobby, art passion, or life sport?
- Where are members of your family? Where are your family's historical or cultural roots?
- What are the climates that are familiar to you? Where are the climates you desire?
TACTIC: Get more information about the regions on your dream list.
Go to a public library and get some travel books. Go on the Internet to look at Web sites about a region. Participate in online newsgroups and question some of the people who live there.
See if you know, among your friends or colleagues, someone who lives in your dream regions and talk to them via phone if possible. Ask about specific things that relate to your life's goals, dreams, and interests.
Use your judgement to synthesize all the information about a region. The tourist information might be too rosy. The residents' viewpoints might be too gloomy. Stereotypes portrayed about the region in the media might be all wrong.
Of course, a visit to a region where you think you would like to live is crucial toward informing your decision about possibly moving there.
TACTIC: After gathering information about the regions on your dream list, travel to those places that seem most desirable to you.
If you have limited resources, use creative ways to reduce your costs. You might be able to get temporary work, stay briefly with relatives, or teach at a summer school or camp in a region.
Cheaper forms of travel by bus or train may give you a genuine view of a region. Don't just jet into the city centers and look at the chain hotels, shops, and restaurants. Check to see if you can get a bus or train pass for a period of time (two weeks or so) so you can tour "on the ground" to see what life is really like.
TACTIC: Make your final choice of a region in which to live by synthesizing all the information you have available.
Your visits to or information about certain regions may help you realize that what seems like paradise from a distance may come at a high price. Or that unrelenting warm weather will eventually drive you nuts. In the end, your final choice may rely on a "gut" instinct rather than a factual analysis.