A lot of the reasons for moving out of California are practical: it's an insanely expensive state to live in; the recently passed gig law could prevent me from earning a living as a freelance copy editor (it definitely restricts freelance writers, though in a way that probably wouldn't affect me); the combination of water rationing and electricity shutdowns could be really hard on us; and statewide rent control can be expected to wreck what remains of the state's housing market. We also have concerns about public health issues in California cities, and about the violence of groups like Antifa spreading from Oregon and Washington to southern California. But also, while we both have loved living in California, it no longer feels like the state we grew up in; the culture has changed, becoming less tolerant.
In the first part of this year, we both did online research, looking first at states and then at cities within those states. We found information on climate, demographics, cost of living, crime rates, public policy (especially how pro-freedom different states were), and availability of things like psychiatric services, university libraries, Apple stores, airports, and interesting restaurants. We even found a Web site that rated the states for relative nerdishness! Our original list was 36 cities in 12 states: Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. (We ruled out Colorado, New Hampshire, and Utah for their harsh winters.) After looking at them one by one, we got down to five cities, and now we're at two: Boise and Lawrence. (There were some cities we gave up on sadly: Austin for its transportation issues and growing homeless population, and Santa Fe for its incredible cost of living.)
If all goes well, we'll have a car by the end of the year, choose a destination, and find a place to move to in about six months. Wish us luck.