I have to say that of all the places I've lived, Portland, Oregon is pretty darn ideal. That said, there are a few things that have caused my husband and me to consider moving away. I thought that since this forum has members from all over the world, this would be as good a place as any to ask advice on what places match what I'm looking for. Bear in mind that I tend to over-explain everything so this might be a long post. First, why I love Portland: 1) I don't have to have a car to live here! 2) I'm allowed to have chickens. 3) I can afford a house in the city proper, it's 1550 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, front and back yard, on .10 acre. 4) People here are open minded...sometimes a little bit too much so. 5) Great underground local music scene. 6) Central downtown area. And almost every neighborhood has a main street so that everyone can walk to all the stores they need. 7) Portland is alternative transit friendly. People bike, walk and skateboard everywhere and no one bats an eye about seeing bikes on main streets. 8) Portland is community oriented. My neighbors all are friends, and we set up a message board so that we can all get together multiple times a month. 9) Economy. I have a good job here. 10) the mountains. I can go hiking every weekend if I want and get a great workout, gaining lots of altitude fast. There are more things, but I'll stop there. Now, what I don't love about Portland: 1) The weather. It just rains too much and is cold for too long here! I like four seasons, but I also like for three of them to be WARM seasons. 2) Cost of living. Yes, I can afford a house, but just barely. The schools and crime and pollution in my neighborhood are horrible, and we can't truly afford our house. There's nothing cheaper available. Downsizing isn't an option with our big life. 3) Hippies. True, they make lots of things I like possible. But sometimes, I just can't stand living around so many hippies. I won't go into details...but I will say I'd like to live in a city that is a little less weed-friendly. Finally, here's an idea of my ideal life. Some of the things I want are conflicting, or so it would seem until I remember that I've known people who have what I want. 1) I want an in-town house with a front and back yard in a place that allows chickens. 2) I want affordable acreage outside town. Around here, farmland or recreational land on the green side of the state is about $20,000 per acre. That's just crazy. 3) I want to be able to bike to my farm. So, I'd like to afford a house in the city for around $200,000 and a farm outside the city for about $4,000 per acre, about 10 miles or fewer from my town home. The fewer miles the better. 4) I want close access to a Greek Orthodox church. 5) I don't want to live in any of the states that see a lot of cold. If the climate resembles Montana or Wisconsin, it's a no. 6) I want a town with a main street, where I can walk to everything I need. 7) A city with residents who appreciate art and music is a must. Touring bands should want to come through the city. 8) A sustainable future with access to natural rainfall is an important thing to us. Phoenix, Las Vegas and Atlanta won't cut it. 9) A college town would be awesome. I do realize as I write this just how much I have. But we feel like we're bursting out of the seams of what we can afford in Portland. I'd like to have kids soon, and be the kind of mom that can stay home. I'd want a better neighborhood in Portland, but cost of living won't allow for both. And I'd like to grow my own food. I have a great micro garden here, but I'm ready for more. Goats even! I'm not opposed to staying in the NW, in fact, I really love it. I love the mountains and the green-ness of the place. Perhaps part of my problem is that I don't know where to look to find affordable land in my own area. None of the local websites has a good land search that I've found. Maybe the land here is cheaper than I think but that I'm looking in all the wrong places. Does anyone have a suggestion? Finally, I would be wrong to omit the fact that my husband has no desire for town life at all. He'd be happy with a farm house in the middle of nowhere, with a car-based lifestyle and no neighbors. I just don't think that's for me. I want the best of both worlds, like my mom had as a girl in Greece.