…Where would you live?
The question arose today when a friend asked me if Santa Barbara was my “last stop.” I paused before answering because I couldn’t say definitively that I’d stay here for the rest of my life, as gorgeous as it is. They don’t call it “the American Riviera” for nothing.
That said, it’s also very expensive to live here – from the housing to the health insurance, from the gas to the groceries. On the plus side, there’s the great weather (most of the time), the scenery (mountains + ocean), the culture (the film festival, several independent bookstores, lots of concerts) and the restaurants (name your cuisine). It’s the best of two worlds: a small city with a rural feel. And then there’s the lure of friends; we have genuine buddies here. Yes, there are earthquakes, fires and mudslides. If you live in California you deal with them.
Back to the question: Do I want to live in Santa Barbara for the rest of my life?
I’ve moved a lot. I grew up in NY, settled in CT in the ’80s, moved to FL in the ’90s to escape the cold, moved to LA seven years later to escape the hurricanes and try the left coast, and migrated north to Santa Barbara six years after that. So I’ve been a nomad. As a writer I can live just about anywhere as long as there’s an Internet connection. But where would I go next?
There are requirements.
- Given Michael’s medical problems, we’d need to be near a good hospital with competent doctors.
- Given my aversion to the cold, we’d need to be in a warm climate.
- Given our love of the water, we’d need to be near a coastline.
- Given our enjoyment of movies, we’d need a place with some first-run theaters (preferably with stadium seating).
- Given that we’re not Oprah, we’d need an affordable real estate market.
- Given that my mother and sister live in NY, we’d need an airport not too far away.
- Given our piggy appetites, we’d need a variety of restaurants (and I don’t mean the Olive Garden).
So where? An island in the Caribbean? Provence or Tuscany? Some town in California I have yet to hear about? It’s fun to fantasize about where you would live if you had total freedom to go anywhere, but in the end there’s no place like home…wherever that is.