January 9, 2014

Do You Have A Place That Feels Like Home...But Isn't?

I think many of us live where we live simply because that's where we are. It isn't our dream location, it doesn't make us completely happy, maybe it is not a great fit for us due to climate. But, maybe it close to family, or our job, or friends. Maybe it simply has more pluses than negatives. Sometimes simple inertia keeps us in place.

Moving is not easy and for the newly retired sometimes a big mistake. There are too many other upheavals in life after retiring to add a quick move. So, we stay where we are.

But, the question I am asking today is about that place that feels like home to you when you have visited or lived there before. The moment you step off the plane, or drive down the main street you body relaxes and you feel comfortable. There are certain sights or smells that calm you. There are landmark buildings or mountains, or ocean waves that say "home" to you.

I have two such places, both very different from each other. One will probably surprise my family, especially my wife when she reads this. But, no matter. These two places have some special draw and hold on me and my memories.

The first is not very unique: the island of Maui. I have been to this slice of paradise nine or ten times over the past 30 years. Each time I leave the plane and step into the airport terminal I have a powerful feeling of being home. There are certain smells of the blooming flowers, the feel of trade winds on my face, even the humidity of the air that is so different from the desert where I live.

The people smile, and laugh and walk more slowly than I. They spend as much time as possible enjoying family and life with hours-long picnics, gatherings by the ocean, barbecues and sing-alongs. Their clothes are casual and unpretentious. Their manners are usually polite. They seem to be enjoying life, not simply rushing through this moment to get to the next.

The second place is......Morgantown, West Virginia. Very, very different from Maui, this small city near the Pennsylvania border has a pull on me for four reasons: I met and married Betty there in 1976, I got my first job as a radio station program director there in 1973,  my favorite Uncle lived there most of his adult life, and my grandparents were in Pittsburgh, less than two hours away.

When I lived in Morgantown it was half the size it is today. The student body of West Virginia University was nearly 50% of the total population. Shopping and entertainment remained centered on High Street, the main street through downtown. The radio station that employed me was there, too, right in the thick of things.

Being the program director and afternoon DJ in a town with only three radio stations made me a minor celebrity. My Uncle was a major figure at the University. When the two of us would meet for lunch at "his table" at the most popular lunch spot in town, a rather continuous stream of folks would stop by our table to chat. I felt special and strongly connected to Morgantown's life.

The town was fascinating because of the University. Students from all over the world were in town, affecting the clothing styles and even restaurant choices. WVU football was the big deal that it still is today. But, back then the open-air football stadium was right downtown instead of several miles away inside a dome. The roar of the crowd on fall Saturday afternoons could be heard everywhere.

Betty and I bought our very first house in Morgantown and began to learn what it means to be married. Her parents lived in town, so weekend meals together were common. Less than thirty minutes out of town, Cheat Lake and other outdoor recreation areas beckoned when the weather was nice. If I hadn't been offered a tremendous career opportunity that required a move to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, I think I could have made my life, very happily, in Morgantown.

Could I live in either of these places full time today? No. Maui is too far from family and too expensive. Morgantown has winter weather that I could no longer tolerate. But, none of that changes that feeling of "home" when I think of, or visit, either one.

Home, then, is as much a state of mind as a place. Do you have a "home" that calls you from a distance or your past?

61 comments:

  1. The last few years we have escaped the cold winters by going to New Smyrna Beach FL. It is a small, quiet barrier island on the ocean coast. We've gradually increased the time we stay, and now that I'm retired we will be spending 2 months this year (leaving the end of this month!).

    This is truly our home away from home. At this point in our lives, we still have some family obligations that keep us from moving. But for now, the respite from the cold northeast winters is heaven! We return each winter to the same place. It's a very nice condo, ocean front, at the northern end of this barrier island. We wake up each morning to stunning ocean views. The boardwalks, beach, and small quaint town provide a serenity that is like none other.

    Because we are staying longer (next year we plan on 3 months), we're making more of an effort to really get to know more of our neighbors in this lovely community. It's the one thing we are missing, a sense of really belonging. I think by getting more involved in local activities, we'll get to meet locals and other snowbirds who call this wonderful place home. Can we truly achieve this sense of community as snowbirds? I'm not sure, but that is our goal.

    I don't know that we would ever move here. Our friends and family in NY are still a strong pull for us. Time will tell. In the meantime, winters in FL will keep us very happy. We've actually considered the southwest as another option for escaping the winters. But the closer proximity and the ocean continue to be the main draw for us.

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    1. Slipping into the local lifestyle makes all the difference, I think. There is a huge difference in your mindset between being a tourist or a part timer. When you spend a few months in a particular location you have something "invested' there, you care more about that place's well being and health.

      At least for now, Carole, you have found that place that gives you peace.. A sense of real belonging will come, though it takes effort and time.

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  2. As you know, we have spent a lot of time in Pine/Strawberry over the last 18 years, and I feel acres of stress leave my body the closer we get as we drive up the Beeline.We always "dreamed" about living there full time and VISITING the valley here..and finally just decided to do it! Talk about getting past INERTIA.. life is going a million miles an hour right now but I expect it to settle into a nice daily pattern in the Spring when we are done the move.. I also have a soft spot in my heart for a town where we lived when first married..Collingswood,New Jersey. It has a small but lively Main Street which hosts street fairs and farmers markets, a hi speed line into the city should you e need for city stim.. a lake for fishing down the street-- I love visiting when we go back east and reminiscing,I think we also could have had a great life there.. but like you,BIG WINTERS and many many gray sky days really don't work for us anymore. As we grow and change so do our dreams. I know that I feel the passage of time more acutely lately.. realizing if I don't go for the dreams now, when will I??? This has helped us make some big choices lately, plus, of course, the information and support from folks like yourself ,Bob. Wow..retirement is not for wimps!! It's always good to have choices,though!! I like the idea of being in mountains full time with monthly visits to the desert and I bet when we get that RV we will find even more peaceful and exciting places that will add to our lives.. just like you and Betty are finding out.. thanks for blogging!! ALWAYS food for thought!!

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    1. I spent 8 years as a youngster in Haddonfield, New Jersey, not too far from Collingswood. At that time Haddenfield was tree-lined streets, baseball games, and wagons pulling my little brother to a neighbor's house.

      You and Ken are living a dream and making it happen. I envy your radical steps. Good for you!

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    2. These changes are taking a lot of time and effort, and some money too.. a lot on our plate! It's taking stamina and some courage, but we really do believe it is the path with heart,for us... I don't think we could have done this "out of the blue" without having been a small part of this community here in Pine for a long time.. but we tested it out over the years, and it felt right.so..here we go!!! If you live din Haddonfield, you'll know what I'm talking abotu when I tell you they redid Haddon Avenue COMPLETELY in Collingswood.. it's an artsy, coffee shop,Italian restaurant laden venue now! But still retains that charm..I lived 2 blocks off Haddon Ave.. we still enjoy visiting ... good memories!

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  3. I've lived in 13 towns/cities in my life, but I grew up in a little NC town. Not much there now and most people that I knew in my parents generation are gone. Actually most people in my generation moved away. But there is a memory around every corner. My husband grew up there, too, so they are shared memories and we sort of relive those days when we go back. It is just such a comfortable and snug feeling. Sort of the way my childhood felt. But I could never go back there to live. My other place is Louisville KY where we lived for a number of years. Perfect size and a city with great personality. When I see the horse farms I start to relax. Our kids grew up there so things there are a constant reminder of their youth. I guess it is not so much the place itself as it is the life that you had there that makes it special.

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    1. Betty and I are talking about an RV trip back to Morgantown and the Kingwood area of West Virginia in the summer of 2015 to take part in a family reunion. No one in the family still lives there, but many are within just a few hours drive and would welcome the chance to get together. The place is packed with memories, since Betty's grandparents lived there and her dad and mom were born nearby and are buried there.

      You have hit the key point: maybe it isn't the place itself as much as it is the life you had there that makes it special.

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  4. I grew up in a small town just northwest of Tallahassee, Florida. Life was centered around Friday night football, church and family. When someone died, got married, or had a baby, the whole town knew about it and responded likewise. Festivals and parades brought everyone out too - a chili cook off, fish dinner, yard sale or some other fund raiser happened most weekends. People genuinely knew and cared about each other. My family still lives there and not much has changed - mostly due to resistance. Progress is viewed as a threat to their way of life and I get it, I just can't embrace it as I once did. That said, it is still home to me, and nothing can change that tug at my heart. I enjoy short visits, but my lifestyle and views of the world no longer fit into the landscape.

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    1. Your final sentence is quite insightful, Suzanne. As we gather life experiences our view of the world and how things work changes. Those who stay in one place don't go through that transition. That isn't right or wrong, it is just a fact in how the places we find ourselves either fit us well, or don't.

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  5. Intriguing post! I live now exactly where I want to be: California' s Central Coast (halfway between Los Angeles & San Francisco) but I came here because my former husband landed a job here after we both left the military in the late '60's. I'd grown up in the Boulder/Denver area (although he had not) & always figured eventually we'd go "home."His family lived in West Virginia, near Clarksburg & at times that felt like home but he swore he'd never go back. My parents moved to Reno & that also felt comfortable, but when my mom got older & asked if I'd relocate, I realized this part of California was home; my family & life were here. I've been back to Denver once or twice & this summer I visited Western Slope Colorado & felt comfortable there. It seems more than one place could feel like home to me, but this is where I am happiest now. Maybe Home with a capital H?

    pam



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    1. Folks will ask if Betty and I would ever go full time in an RV or move to a place where we enjoy the people and the landscape, like the Portland area. The answer is no. Family is too strong to pull us away permanently. After 30 years, Phoenix is home, but not with a capital "H."

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  6. Very ironic, as I've been fantasizing about just this while here in Palm Springs. We actually live in what many would think of as ideal - Orange County, CA - but I'm a rolling stone and love change, which is why we are increasingly spending more and more time on the road in retirement. In my perfect universe, these are the places I'd rotate living in, all of which feel like home to me, and all of which we've been to numerous times, if not yearly:

    Palm Springs, CA - January
    Kauai, HI - February
    Newport Beach, CA - April
    Paso Robles, CA - May
    Central CA Coastline- June
    Mammoth Lakes, CA - July
    Carlsbad, CA - August
    Marin County, CA - September
    Big Sur, CA - October
    Home- November/December

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    1. Knowing you and Mike, I don't know why you couldn't do this, exactly as noted. Except for Hawaii (and Kauai is right behind Maui for me, too), you can pull your trailer to every one of these spots. You have proven to yourself that long term living in a trailer works for you, so why not?

      The various classes you take would be tough to continue, but maybe you'd pick those up again when you decide that the travel itch has been scratched and Orange County is looking pretty good.

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    2. Well, guess what? Mike wants to start looking at Class C's in the next year with an eye toward increasing both the length and comfort of our time on the road. He really liked your rig when we saw it last fall!
      .
      Otherwise, excepting HI, my list was actually driven by plans already in place for 2014. :-)

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    3. I am not surprised at all. He can get a full, detailed tour of the rig in April. By then we may even have our towed car hooked up and trailing behind us.

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    4. Tamara's list gives me a nice itinerary for when we get ready to do some RV-ing!! I wish I could loosen my ties to a "house" and a town, but I tend to sink in and need that community and my HOME, a comfy one, we are down to 2000 sq, feet and can go NO SMALLER! But I am day dreaming about weeks on the road,exploring the USA, and Ken and I are looking at Wheelin' It and their info on volunteering for a month or so at a time at various nature centers and lighthouses..you know, if we just keep an open mind as we get older, we can enjoy brand new experiences, and that is what we are working on.. Tamara, your energy astounds me, Am trying to get motivated to exercise more, your blog helps!!!!

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    5. Madeline, we encountered all sorts of interesting lighthouse docent opportunities during last summer's Pacific NW trip, starting with the Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City, CA (one month volunteering opportunities) and Dungeness Lighthouse in Sequim, WA (one week volunteer opportunities). You live onsite at both, so no RV needed!

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  7. Thought provoking post, Bob. We were transferred so many times, and the first one prompted our 'rushed' wedding. I have never regretted leaving Toledo, would never go back if you paid me. We've spent all of our time on the East Coast, and I love it. We didn't get to the Philly area until '74. We landed in Media, which is a charming little town, who's motto is 'Everybody's Hometown'. It's pretty accurate. I have a real soft spot in my heart for Media.

    While we lived there I worked with an agency that brought me into Philadelphia quite often. I remember walking down streets in Society Hill and Old City and feeling a pull like I'd never experienced. It felt like I had lived there before. We left the area for a while and were in Massachusetts, which I would not go back to, and then Pittsburgh, which I do love.

    But coming back to Philly was truly like coming home. I love this city! I know, you're thinking...but you're leaving it! We are, but never more than 2 hours drive from it. Smaller and quieter seem right for where we are in our lives now. Cape May will be perfect.

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    1. Media isn't far from my birthplace, Upper Darby, and our homes in Feasterville and Wayne. It is a very pretty part of the state.

      If Betty and I could find a small, quaint town like Cape May that was within two hours of Phoenix we could relocate. The only place that even comes close fits that description is Flagstaff, but the winters are much too severe and it has grown into too large a city to qualify. Prescott is still small, but again, the winters aren't our cup of tea anymore. So, we will have to find that special place in the RV.

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  8. Bradenton, Florida. My parents are snowbirds who have spend the past 25 winters there. I've watched the town grow into a city, but the changes are not all bad. I've never lived there, but I've visited frequently over the years, and I hope to move there when I retire. I love the beaches, I know where everything is, and I think I could easily fit into the pace of living. Just crossing the state line into Florida gives me that "I'm home" feeling--and there are still four more hours of driving to get to Bradenton. But when I get there, it is all smiles. I just spent eight days there with horrible weather, but it was still worth the relaxation and rest.

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    1. My grandmother lived in Bradenton when I was a child living in NYC. I remember visiting her in the 1950s. We went down by train, and one of my big memories was being bitten by mosquitoes.

      About ten years ago my husband and I went to Florida and I was able to find my grandmother's house. Boy, had it gotten smaller. :)

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    2. We owned a timeshare condo on Siesta Key for 20 years, not that far from Bradenton. In fact, my in-laws lived in Sun City Center and Bradenton was the closest town with a hospital, movies, and a full range of shopping. so we were there a lot.

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  9. We definitely lean towards what Tamara described -- Places according to time of year. My husband is an avid skier so a few months in the winter in North America would be a must (currently own a ski condo in British Columbia).

    Our goal is when I am ready to give up my p/t career, he will switch to doing the occasional contract work from anywhere in the world. Tested it out recently in France and it worked well, even with the time difference.

    To answer your question, there are many places, mainly in Europe that feel like home -- Norway (Flaam, Geiranger, Oslo), Reykjavik, Helsinki, ilulissat, Nice, Munich, Berlin, Barcelona. I would spend a month in each spot (rent apartment) in likely 3 month blocks before returning home to enjoy the best times of year here. It's a good thing we prefer to travel during low season.

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    1. What a fascinating itinerary that would be! The ability to match seasons with places is such a blessing. You have a list of places that stirs my wanderlust.

      Betty and I have spent our last full summer in Phoenix. That much I can guarantee you.

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  10. Toledo, Spain. Guanajuato, Mexico. And Jonesboro, Louisiana! I don't know why, since no one in my family had ever traveled overseas, but I became fascinated with Spain when I was 12. I began taking Spanish lessons in school as soon as I could, and took them all through high school. I eventually made it to Spain, and even spent a summer at the Universidad de Salamanca as a foreign student, but I was a 40-something mom of two by then. I had been struck with the cancer that had killed my mom at 45, and I thought it was time to fulfill some of my bucket list items. If I believed in reincarnation, I would say that I must have lived another life in Spain, and I would move there in a heartbeat if it weren't for my daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren. Guanajuato in Mexico is a colonial city that's certainly influenced by Spanish culture, but it's also a regular city and not a tourist haven, and my husband I seriously considered a move there. Jonesboro, Louisiana? It's where I was born, and smelling the pine scented air and hearing the bob whites and the wind in the trees always makes me feel at home. Our small town between the cities where our daughters live gives me the closest feeling to Jonesboro.

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    1. Your list is a great example of why this question is such a good one: we are all unique in what makes "home" for us.

      My youngest daughter loves Barcelona and the Spanish nightlife (dinner at 10pm!) She will be on a business trip to Portugal in a few months. It wouldn't surprise me if she decides to hop over to Madrid or Barcelona.

      I had clients in southern Louisiana, but never made it to the northern part of the state. I just looked at a Google earth view of Jonesboro. It certainly has plenty of trees!

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    2. Our son also loves Barcelona! He has rented an apartment there for a month,TWICE and was about to possibly even relocate to Spain but he met a gal and fell in love..who knows,maybe they will go together..

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  11. This is a good subject for traveling retirees. We have been able to travel quite a bit in the US. My "living is my life" so I have a different slant on that issue. But what draws us back are the friends we have made along the way. Some people are so easy to get to know---and enjoy---and that pulls me back as often as I can make it.

    Sometimes---just the pier for a quiet lunch back in Monterey is pretty hard to beat. But then---so is some quiet time up at Sundance---Redford's place is amazing. But then---how could you beat Sedona?
    I think it is such a great subject. Will be watching to see what "places" other people know and feel "at home" when they are there.

    As soon as I have "found a new friend" that is where things start to feel great. I love the views and those special "spots" of inspiration---but I love most--my friends and family that attach me to any---place.

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    1. No argument about Sedona, but too many tourists I'm afraid.

      I have a simple routine when I'm on Maui: starting each morning with a cup of coffee, sitting on the end of the small pier at the Lahaina boat dock, watching all the boats leave for the day.

      We made some very close friends and met plenty of wonderful people during our time in Portland last August. You are so right: those people made us feel so welcome in that town.

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    2. We looked into a lovely community in Sedona called "Jack's Canyon" , it is very "country" and quiet, but you DO have to live in the town which is over run with tourists and bad traffic most of the year.. still, a lovely place to visit, we go at least 3 times a year for hiking and restaurants ..and meditation..

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  12. Funny, but the place we moved to in 2010 feels most like home to me, namely TN. Although I lived most of my life in NY it has no such appeal. I must admit I really loved Boulder, CO when I lived there in the 1970s, but it is nothing like the way it was then, and has no further appeal. Probably the closest thing right now to what you feel with Maui and Morgantown would be New Orleans. We have gone there 4-5 times over the last two years, and absolutely love it. We like the people, the sights and sounds, and of course, the food. Outside of that, no place really comes to mind.

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    1. You are one of the few folks who has noted where he lives is the place that feels like home, and in your case that feeling developed quickly and in later adulthood. I guess that all says you did an excellent job of picking your new home.

      Betty has never been to New Orleans. One of our RV trips next year will be through that city on the way to Key West. I'll be interested to see how she reacts. We will go in early spring to avoid the humidity and hurricane potential.

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  13. Washington DC. I lived there well over tenty years total and could go back tomorrow. As an adult I sitll consider my self from Washington. Beaufort - South Carolina, not North, or any of the lowland areas. Frankfurt Germany and the surroundings.

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    1. I was hoping you'd respond, Barb, since I know you have lived overseas as well as several places in the U.S. You have written before about Frankfurt in a way I figured you had a strong attachment.

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  14. Oceanside, CA feels like home to me, although we live in Colorado. It's where we lived while Mike was in the Navy. We would take a walk, with our two little boys, down to the pier every evening, stopping first to buy a 10-cent ice cream cone at the drug store. The smell of the ocean still draws us and when we're in the area it feels like home. Mike is now 15 months away from retirement and we're so looking forward to traveling here and there as the income allows!

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    1. That part of the California coast is very inviting. Getting well north of L.A. as quickly as possible is always a smart move.

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    2. We just discovered the new bike-to-the-beach path in Oceanside while there Rv'ing two weeks ago. It's fabulous, extending some 10 miles one way. Hard to beat San Diego County!

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  15. Hi Bob: Very nice post! I also feel as though Maui is "home" and have spent many weeks there over the past 20 years. I hope the stock market keeps going up so I can return there again. There are several snorkeling spots I haven't been to yet.

    Portland, Oregon, where I lived for three years, is truly my "home" location. And, strangely enough, the one place where I stepped off the plane and said "love it, this feels like home" is downtown Chicago, and I've spent all of maybe 6 days there. Of course, as one of the ironies of life, where I live now (Washington DC) is my natal place, and a place where I've lived nearly 25 years over five different decades, is no longer my home; in fact, I now have an active dislike to an area I once loved (except for the crab cakes).

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    1. You and I would get along well: Maui and Portland! I used to enjoy the hot summers in Phoenix, but the last dozen years have made it increasingly clear that phase has passed.

      Interesting about your active dislike for D.C. Is that due to the politics, the summer humidity, the costs, or the traffic...or all of the above? !!!

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    2. The latter three, mainly. Plus, people are just mean here. Oh, they are fine one on one, but I find that they are very pushy in stores, walking down the street, standing in line...too many people here!

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  16. I agree with Barb. Washington DC feels like an old shoe ready to slip into. Otherwise, I love water. Manoa, Hawaii, Whidbey Island, WA, Crownsville, MD all could be home for me. Our next move will be to children. We were lucky to have our son stationed by us for the next two years. After his family leaves we will be off for our "last" grand move. It probably won't feel like home, but then we feel that home is where the family is.

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    1. Having your son stationed nearby is great. Enjoy the time together before your "grand" move.

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  17. I thought we were supposed to be naming a place other than our current domicile. I, too, do love the small Central Texas town to which we've relocated. While Spain and Mexico still sing those siren calls, I'll never move that far away from my grandchildren.

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    1. Whatever place says "home" to you qualifies. Like Chuck above, if where you are is the place you love, then you have won the jackpot. The grandkids tend to change everything, don't they!

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  18. My current home is where I get that aahhh feeling. There are still many places in the world that I haven't visited and maybe I would get that home feeling somewhere else, but so far it's right where I am. When I come down the hill from the west or up the hill from the east, I feel my body sigh and settle into itself. Two thoughts - no matter where you go, there you are; and there are many different places in the world but I'm yet to be convinced that they're better.

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    1. Like my places of Maui and Morgantown, I couldn't live there, but they make me feel special. I get the same "sigh" feeling.

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  19. For me that place is Maine. I vividly remember my first visit there when I was 14, a summer Sunday day trip with my parents and siblings. I spent some time camping in Maine in my 20s, mostly in fall, and always loved it. Then, when I was in my early 30s, I went to Maine for a job interview, this time in snowy December, and once again had that feeling of being at home. When they offered me the job, I took it. Seven years later, I lost the job and moved away from Maine for a new job. But, after a year away, I missed Maine so much that I bought a house there so that I could live in Maine whenever school wasn't in session. During these years, whenever I've driven across the bridge over the Piscataqua River from Portsmouth NH to Kittery Maine, I can feel my heart lift. In May, when I retire from teaching, I will once more drive north and feel the lift when I cross the bridge, this time to stay. It will be a homecoming to celebrate. -Jean

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    1. Maine has always fascinated me: the rugged landscape, harsh climate, and tough individuals who live there. Both my wife and I have visited Bar Harbor and the coast line, but well before we knew each other. An RV trip at some point to New England will bring us back, but in the summer!

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  20. I was born in California and except for 1 year in Seattle have lived in a variety of California cities, north and south. I love traveling to other US cities and to Europe but I wouldn't consider living in any other state. It is hard for me to just pick one city or place to love, so I leave on weekends regularly and visit friends or family around the state. I like variety of the landscapes and the living styles. Although if the winters were not so dark and cold, I would love to live in Oregon. Instead I try to spend at least 2-3 weeks along the coast every other year.

    What a wonderful topic

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    1. The Oregon coast, in any season, is stunning. I have been there in July and experienced hail. I have been there in the winter and watched 20 foot waves pound the rocks. I actually enjoy it during the off season: fewer tourists.

      California is blessed with just about every terrain and climate. It would be hard to run out of places to explore in a full lifetime.

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  21. Thought-provoking post, Bob. I spent 43 of my first 44 years in the Louisville, KY area (three of those years just across the Ohio River in New Albany, IN). I'm 51 now and in Grand Rapids (and not yet retired). I consistently think "Kentuckian by birth, and Kentuckian at death", but one never knows when the big guy in the sky is going to call us, does one? As nice as Louisville is (as Judy notes above), it's a slightly bigger, slightly less convenient version of my current home town. On our visits home to Louisville, I comment on that, and my wife agrees. However, that's where I'm *from*, that's where lifelong friends are and, most importantly, that's where most of our family currently is. Unfortunately, the weather there is "too cold" in the winter (though not as bad as west Michigan!) and "too hot/humid" in the summer. We currently plan on keeping a lake house in southwest Michigan for the summer months in retirement and then being somewhere warm in the fall/winter/spring (maybe near you, Bob!). However, on our last visit home to KY, I asked my wife if she could see us having a small condo in Louisville during retirement, something that would be "ours", so we're not in hotels or relatives' spare bedrooms when we visit. Who knows, a small condo may turn into a house and we might find ourselves spending more and more time in the Derby City (and not just the first week of May!). I will be very curious to see how connected we feel to the as-yet undetermined winter retirement home. Developing friendships (and not just acquaintances) will be very important to both of us, I can only hope that others in the area are open to friendships with two hillbillies from Kentucky!!

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    1. It is close to 70 degrees as I type this, Don, and 33 in Grand Rapids, which isn't too bad considering what it has been!

      Friendship development in retirement is one of those things that it important to happiness but so hard to do. Unless you are in a planned community where everyone is from somewhere else. you'll always be fighting the "you're not from here" attitude. I know snowbirds who spend 3-4 months every year in Arizona and still view themselves as visitors. Their family and friends are someplace else but they are here for the weather and golf.

      I didn't realize Louisville was cold in the winter but I have been there in the summer and the air is certainly sticky. Still, if it is home those are rather minor inconveniences.

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    2. Let me surprise everyone as i was, my wife and i had the chance to move most anywhere,as we retired at 62, some one ask me where i was moving to and i said "probley buy a little house next to the hospital and make Gods waiting room out of it" well that was depressing so after living in many places i picked Alaska, yea but heres the catch i picked southeast alaska, to be more specific prince of wales island. Here it is Jan 10 and it will be 42 this afternoon much nicer than down south, no snow , yes we get rain but its pretty nice. The fishing is great with my dock i walk down an go fishing ( we could never aford a salt water dock in the states) great growing gardens, things like no property tax, free hunting and fishing license, no state tax, no sales tax, we get one vehical licensed free. I didnt know a lot about the benifits here till i moved here, like we get a free extra deer tag, now we get 5 deer per year and the tags are free, plus a bunch of fishing extras. We are living in the pine trees on the water front, no danger of forest fires, so we dont have to cut all the trees down. The people in Alaska are odd but i fit right in, the wife got a new pair of Marine corp boots from our grandson, while at the grocery store another women walked up and told here how nice they were, only in alaska would one women compliment anothe women on here combat boots. This is the best of many worlds for retirement if your interested let me know and i will help you with what i can larry

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    3. You may be right, Bob. Home is where the heart is, right? Of course, at this moment, after taking a cartoonish "slipping on a banana peel" fall this morning while walking the dog, I want to retire where the temperature never dips below freezing -- ouch!

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    4. Fascinating story from Larry. I watch a lot of shows based in Alaska on the Discovery channel by way of Netflix and I'd say the comment about the combat boots fits perfectly.

      Larry...where were you living before you picked Alaska?

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  22. The Big Island, Hawaii
    Rockville, Maine
    Sedona, Arizona
    Tucson!

    We return to these places over and over.

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    1. A great list. The Big Island is only a 20 minute flight from the island of Maui but so different in feel and lifestyle.

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  23. Bob i moved from idaho, previous to that i built a ranch on the mouth of the amazon river, a island called the marjora, that was like living a 100 years in the past. We carved the ranch out of the jungle, and had a fishing fleet of boats that we made,but thats another story.

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  24. Your life sounds like a story...a fascinating one, Larry. The Amazon to Idaho to Alaska: quite the journey.

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  25. Well I happen to be one who is looking for "home"! Have travelled a great deal in my life...internationally and through out the US but can't seem to find the right place. I am currently trying out Ajijic, Mexico. But like so many places, it has wonderful and interesting things to offer but it doesn't feel like home. I have no family and am retired. I know how to become part of a community but can't seem to settle anywhere. So too many choice is not always helpful. Elizabeth

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    1. Finding that special place is not for the faint of heart. Unless some place from your childhood or youth has a strong draw, the search is not an easy one. At some point we all probably find a place that feels better than others. It may not have an overwhelming pull, but we are comfortable there and think we can make a life.

      Even for me, Hawaii has that draw, but there are too many negatives to ever make it a permanent "home." So, I visit, enjoy, and leave before the problems rub off the luster.

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