Sunday, August 18, 2013

Traveling With A Purpose

Saturday was, once again, a travel day but one with a completely different purpose from previous weekends. While my employment situation has not changed, my wife was offered a full time job and now we are in search for a new place to live (once our current lease expires). So, with that in mind we headed west to explore different towns and areas for us to consider. While there are no pictures this time around as we continue to explore in greater depth I am certain that I will be posting photos of our findings.

As we got into the car and began driving we discussed the things that are most important to us in this search. After about 30 minutes, we came to the conclusion that as we head into this exploration we need to keep the following ten criteria in mind: 
  1. Distance – While I have no problem with driving more than an hour to work, my wife has specified that she would like to be within an hour of her new job.
  2. Traffic – We both expect traffic no matter where we live but we would like to minimize the congestion we experience on a daily basis.
  3. Space – We would like to live in a place where our neighbors are not on top of us.
  4. Nature – Ideally I would like to be in the mountains but that doesn’t seem to be a logistical reality. I am also happy in the woods so it would be nice if we could be surrounded by dense trees.
  5. Main Street – We don’t have to be in a down town area but we would like to be close to a nice little town (think Stars Hollow).
  6. Easy Access – In addition to the town aspect, we would like to be close to various stores for groceries and other such essentials.
  7. Price – Cost of living is hugely important. We want to be somewhere that allows us to live comfortably rather than a place where we struggle simply to cover the bare essentials.
  8. Long Term – We want to find a place that is not just right for us now but somewhere that will suit us long term. Not necessarily the same exact place but the same town/area.  
  9. Schools – Again, a long term item as we look forward to the day when we are able to start a family and we want them to have a decent education
  10. Family – While we want to have our own space away from family we also want to be able to easily visit whenever we want to. This, of course, is why we moved back to Pennsylvania in the first place.
This simple list eliminates a lot of places including, generally speaking, the entire Main Line where we currently live and where we both grew up. This list is the reason for our explorations westward this past weekend. There are a lot of places to see and it will take numerous trips to accumulate even a handful of options. Rotary Clubs and Masonic Lodges are everywhere so I am not concerned about finding a club or lodge where ever we end up.

This past trip had a wide variety of places, some good and some that we will never return to again. While I-176 didn’t offer much (Birdsboro, Morgantown, and Reading), Route 100 had some potential (Pughtown and Coventry). We will have to explore further on these roads in future trips and stop in each one of the potential towns rather than simply driving by as we did on Saturday. That is when we will really be able to determine if some of these places should continue to be considered.

When we arrived back at our apartment building the sun was beginning to set and it reminded me that no matter where we end up, some things will never change. We will always have each other, we will continue to explore as much as possible, and, as long as we take the time to do so, we will always be able to enjoy a sunset (hopefully without the train lines).