A friend from high school, a Jersey girl like me, has lived in Seattle for the last several years. She’s now moving to Missoula, Montana, for a couple of reasons. One is that Seattle’s pricey real estate market has made her rent here go up at a dizzying pace. The other is the way she has decided to do aging: live someplace interesting for 3-5 years, explore all that the area has to offer, and then move on.
She has family in New Jersey, but her “move to discover” strategy is one she is living out on her own. She has no desire to return there.
She is, needless to say, substantially pared down in terms of stuff, what she takes from place to place. She does her homework before she moves, so she knows what kind of community she is getting into. She still drives, so part of her calculation is what interesting places can be reached by car from her home base. She joins volunteer groups to meet new people. She stays in touch with old friends and with her sister, who provide emotional support.
I think she’s fearless, which is a mental attitude needed to execute this way of aging. She and I had wine on my back deck, and then dinner, and we promised to stay in touch. In a week or two, she’s moving on.