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Hi there,<br><br>
My DH, DD (3) and I are looking into moving out of California to somewhere more affordable, but that still has some of the qualities that we very much appreciate about living in the Bay Area (Marin County).<br><br>
DH LOVES being close to both the mountains and the ocean (he mountain bikes and fishes) and we also love being within driving distance (20 minutes) to San Francisco.<br><br>
Our community is very much forward thinking, crunchiness seems to be becoming the norm and we're looking for the same type of open-minded, natural-living community to join.<br><br>
I would love to start my own garden and perhaps even keep chickens (for eggs) so having a small bit of land is important (not huge, just enough to be comfortable, even a nice sized backyard would do fine). Probably a milder climate as well (Dh doesn't do too well in the snow for long periods).<br><br>
DH works as an automotive technician and I am finishing up my licensing hours to earn my MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist license). So as far as jobs go we'd need to find a place where mental health service jobs are available as well as automotive work.<br><br>
And of course, one of our top priorities is a great school district for our DD.<br><br>
We would love to own a house, but would rent if need be.<br><br>
Does this seem like too many criteria to meet? I have nowhere to even begin considering and am wondering if anyone has any ideas about where to start.<br><br>
What do you love about the places you live? Would they work for what we're looking for?<br><br>
Oh yeah, we earn a combined income of approx. 70k-80k a year, but between mortgage, childcare, student loan debt, etc.etc. we're BARELY scraping by (the reason we're looking into different living options). We'd also consider leaving the country (DH mentioned Spain or Australia).<br><br>
Any ideas would be lovely! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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My ex husband is also a mechanic. We've lived in CA, WA, AZ, NJ, and NM. Work for him has been terrible everywhere for the last few years. He just recently moved to Boulder, CO and is doing very well there. Work has been great (more job offers then he knew what to do with), living is affordable, and from what I hear it's a crunchy area. We homeschool, so I don't know about the schools yet. And the weather seems to be iffy at times but tolerable for someone used to CA weather. I've also had one of my MIL's and one of my best friends move to that area recently and they all seem to be loving it too.<br><br>
I haven't lived there myself, so I obviously don't know a ton about the place. But maybe it'll be worth looking into. Good luck. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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i think you can find a lot of places that would work out for you. just start to think about places that have the basic criteria, and then look for jobs in the area, and see how it goes.
 

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<a href="http://www.findyourspot.com/bestplaces" target="_blank">http://www.findyourspot.com/bestplaces</a><br><br>
It's not perfect, but it will give you some ideas. There are similar sites out there if you Google that general idea. HTH's!
 

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Well I think you can cross Spain off of your list as being way more expensive than Marin! It's kind of hard, I think about this same question all the time as we also live in Marin and I wonder if we will be able to afford it for the long term.<br><br>
The thing I've decided is that there is no place like this for me, it is so beautiful here, the city is right there, the beaches are nice (although no swimming!) the hiking is incredible, the schools are great, the views are amazing, the politics, food, farmers markets, weather, all perfect. I doubt very much that I will ever find a place like this, but it might be a necessity so what I've been thinking are what kinds of things might be nice even if they are different. One thing for me is being closer to family, dh has some family that we just love in a not very expensive part of Colorado, so while we wouldn't have all the things we love about this place, we would be near loving and helpful family. I also think areas of the Pacific Northwest might be nice for the lifestyle and beauty, just a trade of of weather! I also have heard that San Diego is more reasonable, and you would get the awesome beaches. I guess what I am trying to say is that if you are trying to find Marin somewhere else I don't think you can, but if you can find something else that might interest you elsewhere and hold onto that, I think you can be really happy. I've heard so many stories of moving away and then coming back because it isn't the Bay Area. It seems like the people who move away and are really happy about it know it won't be the same, but like what they are going towards!<br><br>
I think areas of New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, or even other parts of CA are all decent possibilities. I would also love New Zealand, but I don't know how expensive it is!
 

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Sounds like all of your criteria would fit Portland, OR. That's where we are and we came from the Bay ARea. We are both from CA but wanted to actually buy a house and be able to live on 1 income. We have done that and make waaaaaay less than you two.<br><br>
There is rain here but you get used to it. Everything is really close and the mountains, ocean, etc. are easy to get to. People here are totally crunchy, green, laid back, casual. It's close enough to CA that you can fly, and although the economy sucks, there are jobs in what both of you do.<br><br>
Since you are close you should come and chk it out! plus, it's a good time to buy.<br><br>
Good luck!<br><br>
Maybe Colorado for you too?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Chamomile Girl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15440895"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Move to Sebastopol. Its way cheaper than Marin, and more crunchy.</div>
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But what about jobs?<br><br>
Also, just curious; is it still so impossible to buy? what can you get? my sister and dh just bought in Santa Cruz and it's half a mil to get just a basic house!
 

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I think it could be hard to find a job around Sebastapol, but you would be pretty close to Santa Rosa. It still seems expensive though. Portland sounds good. I'm definitely following this thread for my plan B. I think I would live here forever if I could, but it is so hard to deal with the cost of living!
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Sounds like all of your criteria would fit Portland, OR.</td>
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I also agree with this. When we moved to WA, we really ended up regretting not having moved to Portland instead. We had no luck with good jobs in WA, but there always seemed to be job offers (especially automotive ones) coming from the Portland area. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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One word of caution about Portland. The schools are not great. There are wonderful charter and magnet schools but I believe most are lottery based.<br><br>
I live close to Portland but we've never moved into Portland proper due to the schools. Don't get me wrong though - we LOVE Portland!
 

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Like several others on this thread, we're looking for a great spot to move to soon/eventually that's more affordable than the bay area. We're in berkeley rather than marin, but I doubt we could afford to raise kids here, and we'd rather have a smaller town, and more rural area.<br><br>
man, I'm halfway in love with a town from that find your spot website's quiz. anyone know anything about elkins, WV?
 

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We're in the same area, and have done the same search. Our problem is that ALL our family lives here, so it would be hard to leave. Dh makes good money, but with the median income in this County at $118k, we are barely scraping by.<br><br>
If we had to leave right now, I'd go to Portland. I don't know anything about the schools, but there are so many like minded people there that I can't imagine there aren't any good schools. Plus . . . I know Marin is supposed to have these great schools, but I have not been super overwhelmed - they all kind of look the same to me. We have been homeschooling (my kids will be starting school next year) and we constantly have new families joining who pulled their kids out of the "best" schools because of one problem after another.<br><br>
Anyhow, Portland is the only place other than here that I can imagine living. I did a few scouting trips there a couple of years ago, and really liked what I saw.<br><br>
I have fantasies about other places, like North Carolina or Vermont, but having not ever been there, it's truly fantasy based!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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My first thought was Oregon or Colorado. There is a website that helps you rate the importance of things in your next area - let me find the website.
 

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Found it - <a href="http://www.findmyspot.com" target="_blank">www.findmyspot.com</a><br><br>
It really worked for us. My number one spot was san diego and here I am.<br><br>
Oops should have read the responses first. I don't think anything with ocean and mountains is going to be cheap, and what you are looking for. I often hear about jobs in nebraska or tennesse, but then I am not sure I would be happy in those places. Just me generalizing, but I really need to be on a coast otherwise I go a little crazy.
 

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Another vote for Oregon/Portland! Even before I read the responses that came right to mind. But I'm also an Oregonian.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>oceanbaby</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15446458"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We're in the same area, and have done the same search. Our problem is that ALL our family lives here, so it would be hard to leave. Dh makes good money, but with the median income in this County at $118k, we are barely scraping by.</div>
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yikes!!! how in the world do people make that much? I am from the Bay Area and we felt so squeezed out of there b/c of $. That's why we are in OR. We also have the same issue; family is ALL in CA. It's really hard for many reasons. I have dreams about returning but now DH is ok with it here. Still, I don't see how we could afford it.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Eclipse95</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15445715"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">One word of caution about Portland. The schools are not great. There are wonderful charter and magnet schools but I believe most are lottery based.<br><br>
I live close to Portland but we've never moved into Portland proper due to the schools. Don't get me wrong though - we LOVE Portland!</div>
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If you don't mind saying, what dist are you in? I second your point about schools, although we are in Special Ed. and that's a whole other ball game. I've heard good things about Wilsonville/West Linn, but then someone told me to not ever move there b/c it's so different than Portland (as in, racist!) I don't know if that's entirely true, but that's what she said. Anyway, I don't know what life is like for general ed/typical kids in pps cause we are not in that "world".
 
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