When we moved to Richmond in November 2017 it was just a stop. After a bad run of job loses and a cancer diagnosis Fredericksburg had bad juju, and after 15 years it was time for a change. Also, the cancer had taught us the value of experiences over stuff, so it was time to ditch the McMansion and live lighter. Our rationale for the Richmond move was simply we drove down here frequently for baseball games, soccer matches, and shows, so it’d be cool to live right here.
So we packed up the UHaul and moved 50 odd miles south to a rental house that was to be our home for 18 months while we figured out our next move. I hit a parked car parking the UHaul when I returned it, which seemed like an auspicious start to our new life. However, I had paid the extra 15 bucks for the UHaul insurance and after reporting the accident I never heard about it again. Best $15 dollar purchase ever.
Those 18 months passed quickly with us loving living in Richmond. We were never home - out somewhere every weekend at an art show or game or concert or street festival or whatever. So we were not at all prepared to make any decisions as our lease expired, other than we needed a better landlord. So we moved a few miles to a townhouse and signed a 2-year lease, intent on moving to the beach in Spring 2021.
That’ll teach us to make plans.
Then last year we bought the camper and spent 30 nights in summer and fall camping. That gave me the idea that what we should really do is move West and spend a few years exploring the side of the country that neither of us have spent any time in. Some cursory research identified Albuquerque as our spot out West. So I filed that until a couple of weeks ago, where my wanderlust combined with too much time trapped indoors over winter got me jonesing for the West. All the camping videos I watch on YouTube aren’t helping either.
So I did what any normal person would do when thinking about this stuff. I built a spreadsheet.
I listed the things that were important to us (sunny summers, mild winters, cost of living, real estate prices, crime rates, access to pro sports, theater, concerts, and diversity) and started collecting data on about 12 cities. Included in that were the beach towns we had been thinking about previously, because I already had them in a list so why not.
The result? I think I talked myself out of moving West. I absolutely want to visit out there, but the data don’t lie. No city I’ve identified out West checks all the boxes like Richmond. In fact the data says the only place we’d prefer over Richmond is Charleston SC. We love Charleston, so maybe we’ll think about that some more.
In the meantime, we will be in Richmond for at least another year.