Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pondering a Move

I have to say that it is really hard to know what a person should do if they live in Southern California and want to reduce their ecological footprint.

We're doing pretty well already, especially since Papa doesn't have a commute.  We are, however, stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Even with the falling housing market we can't afford to buy a large piece of property close to where Papa works.  Where we are we aren't zoned for livestock.  We have about 1/6 of an acre total, with 1700 square feet of house on that, plus a garage (and bonus room), and a large concrete driveway.

Another issue with where we are is that while we have every suburban store and restaurant you can imagine (within reason ~ we don't have Whole Foods), we have to drive quite a distance to get out in nature.

For some time now I have considered another option.  Not suburban living, not rural living, but mobile home park living.  I know, I must be crazy.  But you know, mobile home parks get a bad rap.  The one my ILs live in is clean, family friendly, rent-controlled, and only 3 miles via bike path to the beach.  They have a strong neighborhood community.  The adults know the children, and the children roam around by foot, on bikes, and by scooter.

They are also less than a mile from an Amtrak/Metrolink station.  When I think of coastal Southern California I think of wide highways and crippling traffic.  before my ILs moved I had never considered that people were going car-lite in densely populated such as Orange County, San Diego, or Los Angeles.

My ILs have a smaller garden that we do, but they do have a garden.  They don't have a large yard (and the tiny patch of grass they have now they are considering replacing with edibles), but there are common lawn areas.  Their water usage is low.  They aren't in the heat of the IE, so their cooling bills are also low.

I wonder about what it would mean to move down there.  There is a thriving organic farm and CSA.  There is a farmer's market, a homeschooling group, and an outdoor nature school.  They have summer concert series.  The beach is literally 3 mile walk or bike ride away.  We would be right there, with family.  My boys would be able to spend significant time with their grandparents.  We'd have trusted child care.

Papa would have to change jobs.  I looked into that, and Orange County has a lot of job opportunities for computer programmers.  Not only that, many of these jobs are a quick train ride away.

These are uncertain economic times.  It is a little frightening to imagine leaving a solid job and starting over.  The housing market is down; we might have to take a low offer on our home or rent it out.

At the same time, this is our life now.  How long do we wait for things to improve?  What do we want right now?  Where would we be happy?

I've stopped thinking that we have to find a forever location, home, and job.  Situations change. We could make changes now, and do it again in 5 years.

What do we want?  Train access and bikes trails, certainly.  Local, organic food.  The beauty of nature and the ability to be in it easily.  Less air pollution.  Community.  Family.  Arts and culture.

Last year I was able to really see how the ocean was a calming force for T-Guy.  Both boys love the beach and water, but T-Guy thrives in it.

I can't tell you how I long to hear my children say "I'm going over to see Grandpa."  I would love for the to have that kind of accessibility.

We may not make a change at all, but right now I am staying open to all possibilities.

No comments:

Post a Comment