I made my decision to move to California on a blustery January evening in New York City. I’d just gotten back to the Northeast after two wonderful weeks in Costa Rica on my first-ever tropical vacation. To my surprise, I had delighted in the heat and humidity. Not much to complain about when working up a sweat wandering around the jungle can be followed by snorkeling in bathwater-warm seas or lolling in the hammock. It did occur to me at the time that actually working in that kind of heat would be pretty miserable – and I’m certainly getting a taste of that this week as I try to pack up and move my belongings as the mercury passes 100 degrees. But back in January, as I braced myself against the wind whipping through one of the skyscraper canyons in the city, I resolved, “No more of this! There are people in the world who actually live in warm climates year round, and I could be one of them. And I will be, within five years. I’m going to develop a plan.” And now, here I am packing up my belongings in sweltering weather to move to someplace warmer that’s actually cooler at the moment. Funny. But, boy, am I looking forward to getting out of this humidity and finding a place where I can thrive year round.
A friend told me about www.findyourspot.com after I’d committed to move to California, and I was intrigued. I’d already been to Ventura County for a week for my job interviews and some exploration of the area. I stayed in Ojai, and fell head-over-heels in love. I mean LOVE. Like I could see myself living there for the rest of my life. Just picture it: a little house with perpetually blooming gardens, down the street from a funky used bookstore, in a completely walkable town of less than 9,000 that still manages to sustain its own natural food store and independent movie theater and good restaurants. The town center is surrounded by avocado and orange groves, in a little mountain valley that glows a magical pink at dusk and nestles up to millions of acres of National Forest with some serious mountains for hiking. And it’s only 30 minutes from the ocean. Pretty much paradise, if you ask me. Unfortunately, it’s too long a commute (over an hour) to my new job. So I’ll live in Ventura, which is 30 minutes away. Close enough for now.
Though Ojai had me at hello, I was still curious to see whether SoCal is really the place for me. So I took the quiz on www.findyourspot.com just to be sure. I took it three times. With different answers. Some interesting towns came up repeatedly, mostly in the South (hmmm), Hawaii (I wish, and I did look for jobs there), and, yup, California. Silver City, NM came up a couple times, which is interesting because a dear friend lived there for a few years. But most interesting? Ojai, California. Every single time. I suppose the jury is still out until I actually live there (or near there) for a while and see how I like it. But so far, I’m pretty impressed with the divinatory powers of www.findyourspot.com. And I’m pretty sure I found my spot.