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The city’s groaning infrastructure couldn’t keep up with its growth.
Despite having friends there, despite the blue-dot politics and cheerful locals and legendary barbecue, the pluses didn’t outweigh the minuses.
But the terrifying finality of such a long-distance move, coupled with an intimidating local rental market, inspired a different plan: to road trip around the U. until we found a place that checked all the right boxes (culturally rich, ethnically diverse, politically progressive, full of friendly locals, and affordable). Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Andrew had lived most of his life in one house.
Other times we hit it off with a city early on, but the more we hung around, the more our differences punched through the surface. But after spending six weeks there, the rose-colored glasses shattered and we saw what the tech boom had actually wrought: an inflated housing market, huge income disparities, and unbearable traffic.
Type “snow struggles in New York City” into You Tube to see what I mean.) Among the many things that astonished us about Minneapolis and St. Enormous old trees, winsome rose gardens, lushly manicured parks, sparkling blue lakes, bike lanes everywhere — it’s absolutely gorgeous seven months out of the year. And hey, if the travel writing thing doesn’t work out, we can always look for cubicle jobs at one of the 17 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the Twin Cities — or better yet, start our own business.
What sold us on the other five was how much the locals embrace winter: snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, fat biking, snowmobiling, ice fishing, building bonfires, and turning out in force to see wacky art installations pitched in the middle of a frozen lake. Compared with other metropolises, the cost of living here is affordable enough that you can actually risk being an entrepreneur.
Or maybe Cajun two-stepping with silver foxes at the local dance hall in Lafayette, Louisiana?
In the mountain town of Ridgway, Colorado, we ambled through the woods and dreamed of buying an A-frame cabin flanked by towering evergreens.