Hi Barefootsage, thank you for the awesome reply. I totally agree with you that a change of environment creates opportunity and so much more! I'm wondering, how did you go about choosing this area, and what's your professional background? Coincidentally, I've actually spent some time in Montana near Flathead Lake, backpacking in the Bob Marshall wilderness near the Canadian border, and even did a few days of skiing in Whitefish. I agree that it's super nice, as long as you're ok with snowy winters. Even then, if near Flathead Lake, you get the climate buffering effect from that body of water. Where are you from, originally? I just re-listened to Daniel Vitalis' podcast with Joel Skouzen on Strategic Relocation, and while it's good to have more criteria to base moving decisions on, that same number of criteria make it infinitely more difficult to make that decision. It's kind of like deciding to do a big project in one weekend or in 6 months. With a little luck you could do it in one weekend, but for me, the longer-route usually ends up taking infinitely more time and thus I never finish long term plans. At the same time, I'm listening to DV's episode with Arthur Haines about why we need community, and that reality is setting in for me, too. I can get infinitely better at running my own life, but to become nourished by the silken energy net of community entanglement is something I need to search for, embrace, and build. Easier said than done, as Arthur makes the point that most of us have never experienced true community before.
Right now I'm looking for places to live in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and maybe Colorado. It's tempting to look at all the western states, but I feel like I'm already accustomed to and geared up for the types of winters we get here in northwestern Oregon (btw, I do second your view that Oregon is among the most beautiful places in the U.S.- at least that I've visited.) Part of my struggle is that I never fit into the educational system, even though I went to good schools. As a result, I have a bachelor's degree from a decent school but never got grades and never excelled in any particular area. Thus, I can't really pursue a definite career in these different geographic locations, something which is both liberating and dampening at the same time. Thank you for telling me about chinking, as it's something I never would have known about without growing up in that local economy or knowing someone (like you) who knew about it. I'm feeling pretty low energy about making this move happen right now, to tell the truth, but maybe it's just Friday night after a long week . I'll get more energy to press onwards this weekend. As a bonus, I just learned my rent is going up by 200 dollars in February ($100 for my portion), but, typically, my income will not be increasing to match...all the more reason to leave (the cost/benefit analysis just got skewed towards cost).