Millennial Boss 11 Reasons Why Moving West Changes You For the Better Last updated on May 8, 2017 By M I L L E N N I A L B O S S ( H T T P S : / / M I L L E N N I A L B O S S . C O M / A U T H O R / M I L L E N N I A L B O S S G M A I L - C O M / )
This post may contain affiliate links. There is something about the Western part of the U.S. that is magical and very different from other parts of the country. I’ve been lucky enough to live in the West for the past five years. I lived in Colorado for just over four years and then moved to California earlier this year. Below are the top reasons why moving west changed my life for the better.
1. The hiking and skiing out west is better than anywhere else in the country I grew up hiking but wouldn’t consider myself outdoorsy by any means. Moving west forced me to get out in the wilderness and go seek beautiful places. I’ve hiked, skied, and explored more in the past five years than any other time in my life. When you live in the West, you have access to the most beautiful public forests and parks. You also have some of the best ski resorts in the country in your backyard. More importantly, you’re surrounded by other people who love to get outside too. It’s the perfect combination. I’ve developed an appreciation for the outdoors that will last throughout my life.
2. Alternative lifestyles are encouraged in the West From ski bums to entrepreneurs, I’ve met so many people who aren’t afraid to take risks in their lives and careers. I met people taking time off to travel and others who left corporate jobs to try something new. There seems to be more of a focus on pursuing a dream lifestyle out west. People tend to spend their money on experiences such as travel versus material things. I picked up a new hobby while living out West, travel hacking (http://millennialboss.com/2015/12/places-ive-traveled-for-free/), and it’s allowed me to travel all over the U.S. and the world for free. I also stumbled upon the idea of early retirement (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/secret-cult-early-retirement-fire/) and can thank the West for that.
3. Craft brews are delicious and part of the culture You won’t see Bud Light or some other generic beer served as readily in the West as other parts of the country. Craft brews are the alcohol of choice here. And in many places in the West, craft brews are fairly cheap. Going to breweries with friends on weekends is a big thing. It’s fun to pick out seasonal brews and try new flavors. I’ll never drink boring beer by choice again.
4. It’s easier to make friends in the West I have been shocked by how friendly people are in the West. I met my newest friend on Craigslist (no joke). We chatted for a bit and then she invited me to a BBQ that day. We’re now good friends. Everyone seems to have moved out West from other places. It’s nice to be somewhere where so many people are looking to make new friends. It’s not uncommon to be invited in on a weekend ski rental or invited to a social event with people you barely know.
5. The West and West Coast are gorgeous The rocky mountains and the West Coast are two of the most beautiful places on Earth. You need to go see them for yourself to truly appreciate their beauty but I’ll try to convey it through pictures.
6. There is strong job growth – particularly in tech The tech industry is booming out West and you can make good money in tech. Other industries are growing in the west as well. The west has led in post-recession job growth. (http://www.denverpost.com/2016/06/12/colorado-west-economic-recession-jobgrowth/) The West also has many great places with low cost of living. I can’t say that about parts of California but there are some pockets of the west where you can enjoy a nice salary and low cost of living.
7. Social activities don’t revolve around bars and restaurants I’ve done the following activities with friends many times. camped for the weekend in a free state park hiked and brought craft beers to enjoy at the top of the mountain went to a dog-friendly brewery and enjoyed a beer while our dogs played brought food over to a friend’s house for a potluck dinner went in on a ski condo for $30 a person for the weekend hosted a BBQ Admittedly, I’ve gone out to dinner more in California in 6 months than 4 years in Colorado but outdoor social activities are still very much a thing. It’s a nice change that has made me healthier. I also spend less money on social activities living out West than I would on the East Coast.
8. Friends and family want to visit for vacation The only downside to living in the West is that I’m not close to my friends and family. I miss them so much but I’m lucky because they love coming out to visit me! I’ve had friends or family members come visit almost every other month since I’ve lived out West. Everyone seems to love it out here and visit often. I’ve been lucky! I’ve made so many great memories and have enjoyed sharing what I love about the West with family and friends.
9. People are healthier and more athletic out West Being around so many outdoorsy, athletic people has definitely encouraged me to up my game. I’ve become way more fit and health conscious in the past five years. I lift weights, hike, spend more time outside, and eat better than I ever did before. I think the West Coast lifestyle has improved my health.
10. The West has a laid-back culture People are much more relaxed in the West. I love the laid-back culture. I have to admit, sometimes I miss the East Coast direct way of speaking and humor. I also miss the fashion of the East Coast on occasion (although I love that I can dress so casually every day). Mostly though, I’m glad to be on the West Coast where everyone tries to relax and chill out. It’s chilled me out a bit too.
11. The West is very dog-friendly There are so many dog-friendly restaurants and breweries in the West. It’s not an uncommon occurrence to go to a brewery and see just as many dogs as people. Hiking trails and parks are also very dog-friendly. My furry best friend can go more places with me and I love that. He’s happier and I’m happier.
I’m so glad I spent the last five years out West. I’m truly changed for the better. I may move back to the East Coast some day but will always be grateful for my adventures out west.
Have you ever lived in the West? Would you ever consider moving west?
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J paid off nearly $100k of debt and is on her way to financial independence. She hosts a Money Podcast (http://firedrillpodcast.com) and is obsessed with tracking her net worth via the free app Personal Capital (http://millennialboss.com/personalcapital) (although she won't tell you what it is). She loves her dog and drinks iced coffee year round.
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Comments NZ Muse (http://nzmuse.com) says November 10, 2016 at 10:14 am (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-988) As a Kiwi, I loved California. Visited a few cities and felt the most at home there out of anywhere in the US. While I LOVE New York – and it’s possibly my most favourite city in the world – it’s not somewhere I imagine living forever. If I were to live in the US, it would be somewhere in California. (Or possibly somewhere in the PNW – haven’t been to that region yet, one day!) NZ Muse recently posted…Husbands, housework and harmony: Why do men who earn less also do less housekeeping? (http://nzmuse.com/2016/11/husbands-housework-and-harmony-why-do-men-who-earn-less-also-do-less-housekeeping/)
Julie (http://millennialboss.com) says November 11, 2016 at 12:04 am (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-1001) I used to LOVE New York City and always wanted to live there. Now, I can’t ever imagine living in New York City. I’m too into the outdoors! I want to go to the PNW too – it’s on my list! Reply
Quincy says December 23, 2017 at 10:14 am (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-5558) The west coast is truly the best coast. From the natural beauty to the laid back chill vibes to the lucious “greenery” in all 3 west coast states…well the WESTSIDE is the best side! Repping Seattle because alot of the “east coast types” fail to realize that California isn’t the only west coast state out here! Reply
Ms. Rustic Walks (http://www.rusticwalks.com) says November 10, 2016 at 1:47 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-989) I grew up in the West, and now that I live on the East Coast. I miss it every day. The scenery, healthy living, and rich culture is something I always took for granted. I chose the East Coast because it feels less spread out – there are so many major cities only hours away. But there’s something special about living somewhere that has so much natural beauty just outside your doorstep. Enjoy every minute of it! Reply
Julie (http://millennialboss.com) says November 11, 2016 at 12:11 am (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-1009) I love the East Coast for access to cities, family, and history (it’s old!) The west coast is certainly beautiful though! Reply
snowcanyon says November 10, 2016 at 2:03 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-990) I agree- I love the West for almost all the reasons above. Too bad climate change is going to burn the whole place down and turn the forests to desert. Reply
Julie (http://millennialboss.com) says November 11, 2016 at 12:11 am (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-1008) Depressing but maybe accurate? Reply
Tania Vaughan (http://www.hartandesign.com/single-post/2016/10/24/Boost-your-business-by-increasing-your-confidence) says November 10, 2016 at 3:53 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-991) This was so great to read – we are planning on taking a year out and travelling across the States in a RV. We are going to take our 2 dogs and we were really worried that it wasn’t dog friendly, so many people have said that Americans only have dogs for the yard, they always have to be leashed and are not allowed anywhere! Reading your post was so encouraging. And my hubby is very happy about the craft beer and breweries Reply
Julie (http://millennialboss.com) says November 11, 2016 at 12:10 am (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-1007) Nope! Super dog-friendly! Just make sure to go when the weather will be nice (which seems to be year-round most places in the West) because dogs aren’t allowed *inside* dog-friendly restaurants per health code. You have to sit on the patio. Breweries don’t have the same restriction it seems. Reply
Gwen @ Fiery Millennials (http://www.fierymillennials.com) says November 10, 2016 at 4:27 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-992) Looks amazing! So jealous of the not flat topography you have around you. I’m definitely going to be one of those people visiting you! Gwen @ Fiery Millennials recently posted…Expand Your Bubble (http://www.fierymillennials.com/expand-your-bubble/)
Julie (http://millennialboss.com) says November 11, 2016 at 12:09 am (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-1006) Can’t wait!! Reply
Mr. Grumby (http://Grumbysonthemove.com) says November 10, 2016 at 5:13 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-993) I moved out here 17 years ago, and this is absolutely true. It’s tempting to try to keep it a secret, but why shouldn’t we share the wealth? Great post. Reply
Julie (http://millennialboss.com) says November 11, 2016 at 12:09 am (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-1005) Haha yup! It’s such a great place to live. Reply
Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies (http://shepicksuppennies.com) says November 10, 2016 at 6:50 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-994) I have never been to the proper west (Cali, Oregon, Washington). But I adore the Southwest. I particularly love Arizona. Sadly, teaching is not great out there, especially in terms of making a shift from Illinois (licenses, pensions, etc.). We are talking about doing a road trip through the Southwest over spring break to hit some National Parks and I’d like to do one this summer or next along the coast. Reply
Julie (http://millennialboss.com) says November 11, 2016 at 12:09 am (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-1004) DO IT! Road tripping through that area is the best! Reply
TJ (http://www.tjpridonoff.com) says November 10, 2016 at 10:05 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-996) What section of craigslist did you meet the friend on? My experience is that it’s not so easy to meet people – one reason I would like to get the heck out, but my favorite people that i have met in California are people who have moved here from somewhere else, also why I’d like to try somewhere else – since it has produced such awesome people. I’d rather be somewhere where those people are the norm rather than the exception. But I remember your post on the woo girls – so it doesn’t surprise me at all that you’ve been able to make friends- whether in California or anywhere else. TJ recently posted…TJ’s Investment Portfolio Revealed (http://tjpridonoff.com/tjs-investment-portfolio-revealed/)
Julie (http://millennialboss.com) says November 11, 2016 at 12:07 am (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-1002) Yeah LOL it was not casual encounters! And thanks – I have been working on my woo girl mating call! It seems to be attracting some nice, friendly people. Reply
Amber from Red Two Green (http://www.redtwogreen.com) says November 11, 2016 at 8:02 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-1015) Ahhh I miss the West! And I competely agree with #1. Its by far the reason I miss the west the most! We just moved to the midwest to pay off debt. If there is one thing the West lacks, it is cheap cost of living. I don’t blame it though. Its a great place to live, it should be expensive. Amber from Red Two Green recently posted…Cheap and Easy Last Minute Halloween Costumes (http://www.redtwogreen.com/cheap-and-easy-lastminute-halloween-costumes/)
Julie (http://millennialboss.com) says November 11, 2016 at 9:08 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-1016) The Midwest is so affordable! I’m always shocked when I look at prices on Zillow. We were actually thinking of buying rental property there. Good luck with the debt payoff – sounds like the Midwest is a good call to get moving! Reply
Froogal Stoodent (http://froogalstoodent.blogspot.com/) says November 11, 2016 at 9:38 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-1017) I’ve had similar experiences going to the West. I’ve also found that some of the things you discuss here (e.g. friendly people, laid-back culture, low cost of living) apply to the Midwest as well. We’ll see where life takes me, but I’m very reluctant to go back to the East Coast! Froogal Stoodent recently posted…Best laptops for bloggers and students (http://froogalstoodent.blogspot.com/2016/10/best-laptops-for-bloggers-andstudents.html)
Julie (http://millennialboss.com) says November 12, 2016 at 4:09 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-1018) True story the midwest is so friendly AND cheap!! Reply
Farlicia says February 14, 2018 at 8:42 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-6134) SO TRUE! The weather can be gloomy, but people are waaaay friendlier and more down to earth than in Colorado or other parts of the West. They aren’t trying to impress everyone. Reply
Mustard Seed Money (http://mustardseedmoney.com/) says November 13, 2016 at 9:16 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-1021) I would definitely move out west. Right now all of my wife and my family are here in Virginia. Actually we all live within 20 minutes of each other and I love it. If for some reason that ever changed though I would definitely move out west. I have heard amazing things about Colorado and would love to go there. California I have visited numerous times and while I like didn’t love it like I think I would of a place like Colorado. Mustard Seed Money recently posted…The 2X Principle and Spending Perspective (http://mustardseedmoney.com/index.php/2016/11/11/2x-principle/)
Julie (http://millennialboss.com) says November 14, 2016 at 4:01 am (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-1023) Being that close to family sounds amazing! Colorado is pretty cool though. Reply
Dividend Diplomats (http://www.dividenddiplomats.com) says November 20, 2016 at 8:13 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-1053) The west is beautiful. I’m from the flat midwest….what are these “mountain” things that you speak of. You can’t grow corn and wheat on rocky terrain. I kid, but having so much to do outdoors would be awesome! I do disagree on the beer front. Craft beers have taken off here in Cleveland and we have plenty of delicious options outside of old reliable (Bud Light). While some of your points are true for the west, they aren’t exclusive to other parts of the country. Particuarly, I am referring to #3, #4, #7, and #8. Thanks for the post. I’m glad you are enjoying the west coast lifestyle! Bert Reply
Julie (http://millennialboss.com) says November 20, 2016 at 8:33 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-1054) I have heard so many great things about the midwest! My fiancé is from that area and he is always trying to sway me to move there eventually. Glad to know some of my favorite pastimes are popular there too! Reply
Diana serrano (http://dianasnotes.com) says June 8, 2017 at 1:07 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-2754) I live in Chicago and even though we don’t have all the outdoorsy stuff right out of our front door and mountain, a lot of the things you mentioned can be found here: a lot of friendly people, a lot of breweries, a lot easier to travel, easier to get around Reply
Farlicia says February 14, 2018 at 8:38 pm (http://millennialboss.com/2016/11/reasons-move-west-coast-living-better/#comment-6133) I have lived in the Denver area since 1998. We raised our now young adults here. I’m from the Midwest originally. Now that they are out of the house, I have come to realize I don’t like the Denver area. I live in the suburbs and there is very little to do here, and it’s difficult to meet people unless you sign up for very “specific” things to do. People don’t just casually talk unless you already know them. They look at you as if you are a “nuisance.” Obviously I am GENERALIZING. There are of course nice people, but still, it’s a very disconnected and disjointed city. Traffic is horrendous, and getting worse, and God help you if you have to travel on practically the only highway around to get to work! (I-25). It’s bumper to bumper with accidents every day! The City of Denver not only has God awful architecture, (a few exceptions of course) it is much too yuppified for someone my age – (mid 50’s). The bars, restaurants, and nightlife are all geared to 30-something’s. Many people are very pretentious and snobby. They want you to think they are rich, or they are rich. Either way, it’s not my game. Real estate has gotten insanely high over the last couple of years, driving many people out and wages haven’t kept up! The new houses being built are built super cheaply but are overpriced because of the demand. Unless you are a doctor/surgeon/I.T., or other highly paid professional, forget Denver! It’s very difficult to earn a decent living here doing much of anything else. For $225,000, you can get a tiny condo like an apartment. As soon as I can retire, I’m outta here. I do love the mountains IN THE SUMMER ONLY! But that isn’t enough to keep me here year round. I really have to say that men aren’t “men” here. Seriously, they aren’t very “masculine.” I still find Midwest and East coast men much more attractive and sexy and REAL. Not sure where I will move, but Denver isn’t on my list, and it’s just getting worse. If you like it, good for you! Staying here for ONE SEASON that I love just isn’t worth it! I say NO THANKS! Reply
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