One of the main purposes of this trip around America and Canada was for us to investigate places for our family to live and grow together. We made a list that included such things as; air quality, education, climate, community, family and friends, beauty and nature, economic opportunity, public safety, etc. We then ranked them and gave them a number from 1-5 with 5 being the highest score possible in one particular category.
Even though I think this was a great exercise for Lisa and I to do as a couple, it would all be for nothing if we were unable to actually visit some of our high ranking cities and towns in person. What has surprised me the most is how difficult it has been for us to find the right fit for us. For example, Ojai California is perfect for Lisa and I regarding climate, spiritual and intellectual pursuits, beauty and nature and family and friends, but scores low for schools for our children because they do not have a Waldorf school in the area and things would be tight on my retirement income because housing costs are extremely high and private schools would be out of the question.
Another example was Grass Valley California which lies 2 hours from my hometown of Modesto where one of my children resides and 1 1/2 hours from where another one lives. It would be one hour from a large city, it has good air quality, beautiful nature, small intimate setting, and a very successful public Waldorf inspired school. We would have to learn to deal with some snow during the winter and most likely Lisa would have to commute to work when she decides to return full time to the workforce. It also has a very open and diverse spiritual community there for us to explore as well.
As you can see every community we visit and explore has strengths and weaknesses for us to carefully consider. I think if you are able to stay a week or so you can also get a real vibe on a community. Is it liberal or conservative, are the citizens uptight or laid back, is there community pride, support for community arts, and is there an overall importance placed on beauty and nature. You might consider making your own list and see what cities and towns might appeal to you and your family.
When I was younger my focus was on my career and my family but now things have changed for me. Because I’m retired I look for places to save money rather than spend it. I am very interested in the quality of my every day life rather than the quantity of my possessions. I would like to spend my time volunteering for worthy projects, exposing my children to all forms of beauty, meditation and self reflection, expanding my consciousness, and above all watching my children and grandchildren live, love, learn, and grow. There truly is much to celebrate.
As for our decision as to where to live it still remains up in the air for now. Over the next year our family will make a decision where to put down roots.