Best place to live for herping and every day life

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AndyO'Connor
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Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by AndyO'Connor » November 2nd, 2012, 10:29 am

I know this is slightly off topic but I'd like to present a somewhat hypothetical question. If you could start fresh in life, no job, no family, and finances and credit in order, where would you live? Things to make mention of your reason would be proximity to civilization (jobs, sustenance, finding a mate), proximity to great habitat (herping in the field keeps me sane), cost of living, any other pros and cons to living somewhere. The types of places I was putting on my list were Las Vegas, San Diego, Phoenix, but those are just places I've been.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by jimoo742 » November 2nd, 2012, 10:35 am

Great question. I'm at a bit of a loss, because while I love herping, I hate the heat.

I did live in San Francisco for a bit, and hated the culture (wine, foodies and leisure as a way of life), but loved the weather (and record stores)... the proximity to so many different types of habitat with so many herps within a few hours drive is really attractive. That would be my first guess.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by AndyO'Connor » November 2nd, 2012, 10:45 am

Thanks for the response, pretty much exactly what I am looking for, pros and cons. I forgot to mention climate. I'd trade always hot for always wet and gray.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by jimoo742 » November 2nd, 2012, 12:04 pm

Well, SF isn't wet and gray too much, but the Pacific Northwest is.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by Antonsrkn » November 2nd, 2012, 12:31 pm

If you (hypothetically) don't mind leaving the united states, some parts of Central America are pretty great and make for cheaper living costs. There are a few neighborhoods in Panama City I wouldn't mind living in as well as a few other cities I have been around in the area.
Things to make mention of your reason would be proximity to civilization (jobs, sustenance, finding a mate), proximity to great habitat (herping in the field keeps me sane), cost of living, any other pros and cons to living somewhere.
Panama city is a growing city with lots of opportunities for employment in just about any profession. Its is a small country and has tons of great habitat to herp in as well as a huge diversity of herps and none of it is very hard to get to. Finding a mate...the girls in panama are beautiful. Cost of living is affordable, etc..

I say Panama as opposed to Costa Rica, because it offers more opportunities for jobs and is cheaper. Panama has more industry and science atleast from what I have seen, Ciudad de panama wasn't so different from some of the cities in the US. I could see myself living in panama city or nearby, but I really disliked San Jose, CR. The rest of the countries in central america are poorer and while they may be good places to live, it might be hard for someone to find a job in many of them. Lets face it, there's probably not much work for specialized professions in many of those countries, a molecular biologist probably wouldn't be able to find a worthwhile institution with decent equipment in Nicaragua. Same thing for many other professions, but i think Panama is a viable option for most of them.

I'm sure S. America has alot of places that are similar and wouldn't be to different from a city here in the US, like maybe Rio or Buenos Aires but I haven't been to those so who knows...

I might relocate to a central or south american country after getting my degree, at worst I wouldn't like it and could move back to the states.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by AndyO'Connor » November 2nd, 2012, 1:57 pm

Anton, I thought about that, but it's a bit scary to consider, since I don't have a degree, am not bilingual and would REALLY be on my own, as opposed to being at least in the same country as friends and family, but it is worth considering I suppose, being hypothetical and all.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by CCarille » November 2nd, 2012, 2:53 pm

I second Central America. I haven't been to Panama, but I absolutely love Costa Rica. I'd move there in a heartbeat if my g/f and finances were up for it.

Costa Rica is stunning... beaches, Pacific Ocean, Caribbean, volcanoes, and rainforest. Everything you could ever want. It's also right in the middle for easy travel to other CA countries and only a short flight home to the states. There is also a good amount of Americans there and a lot of people speak English... although Spanish isn't too hard to pickup.

On another CA suggestion... Belize is awesome as well. Their country's language is English, beer is super cheap, and the Caribbean Islands are beautiful!

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by hellihooks » November 2nd, 2012, 3:00 pm

Depends on what type of work you needed to have, and your 'standard of living'. the Ca hi desert, where I live, is way cheaper than most places in Ca, and the herping's great.... 90 herps in my county.(see National meet 013)
I look 360 degrees around the Victor Valley and every hill and Mt range has differing rosys. I live right on the transition Zone tween Coastal/Mt/desert subs of tons of herps... kings, pits. patches,... you name it. 4 crote species within 30 min.
I count myself really lucky to live where I do... :thumb: jim

Must love desert scenery ... :crazyeyes: :D

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by roosters977 » November 2nd, 2012, 3:03 pm

I would not know what to pick. It would definitely be a area that I have old memories in, like Gloucester VA. But there is just to many people there. Another area is FT.Bragg area in NC. It is awesome there, there is a area that is off the beaten trail that I fell in love with recently. But the town nearby is really shitty. Good question though, but for me it is more of where will I go when I graduate high school, I guess the military will decide that!

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by Antonsrkn » November 2nd, 2012, 3:12 pm

Anton, I thought about that, but it's a bit scary to consider, since I don't have a degree, am not bilingual and would REALLY be on my own, as opposed to being at least in the same country as friends and family, but it is worth considering I suppose, being hypothetical and all.
Yeah there is no doubt its intimidating, not being bilingual wouldn't necessarily be as big of a problem as you might think. In panama city and in certain other parts of the country there are a lot of foreigners who live there and many younger folks who live there speak English as well. Just in a few nights out on the city, I made friends with many younger people who were all living in Panama for various reasons like education and work. These people included everything from professional online poker players, some guy who ran his own business from his computer, a guy that retired when he was 25, a couple gals from Russia who had come to panama for work a few years prior and just ended up staying, and other people from all walks of life... There is definitely english speaking subcommunities there. And like Chris said, Spanish isn't too hard to pick up, it would take some time but not as long as you might think. I decided to start learning spanish just over a year ago and didn't speak any at all back then, after one class in the US and a few months of immersion in a spanish speaking community, I'm almost fluent...Of course now i'm not using it and starting to forget...

I don't know how feasible this is in central america, but I have talked to a few people who have told me about the high demand for people to teach English in asia. I actually just recently was talking to a girl who is being flown out to thailand for like 6 months to teach english all expenses covered, and she has no teaching experience whatsoever. I have a friend who is planning on going to ecuador to do this as well. And while I was in Costa Rica, one girl told me I spoke much better spanish than her english professor at the university. This definitely got me thinking about what it would take to do that for a little while...
I second Central America. I haven't been to Panama, but I absolutely love Costa Rica. I'd move there in a heartbeat if my g/f and finances were up for it.
Yep, same here... Except for me its not about a gf but finding some place or someone to give me a job... but gotta finish up with a degree first....taking forever.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by gretzkyrh4 » November 2nd, 2012, 5:48 pm

Guess, I'll just second the Panama City option.

I've got a few more connections than most to the city and country (making it a viable relocation option), but would consider it for many of the same reasons Anton mentioned. The city is great and has many of the amenities of any major US city. The economy is booming, so there are many opportunities for employment (though crime has increased a bit with the influx of new money). And from a herping perspective, you are surrounded by diversity.

My poor spanish language skills would be the only real concern, but as Anton mentioned most folks (especially in the city) speak english.

Oh yeah. Beyond the herping I've also got this view about an hour from the city.
Image

Chris

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by Jimi » November 2nd, 2012, 6:30 pm

Lajitas Texas. You have to move to Lajitas Texas. Kidding...do not move to Lajitas (sorry to all 4 natives if any of you are reading this - disculpeme por favor, mil perdonas). Needles California then. Move to Needles. Kidding again, ha ha...
high demand for people to teach English in asia
This is a ruse. They actually want to steal your organs. Stay in this hemisphere. Again, just kidding...there are places in SE Asia that would be awesome to live. Like a king.

Hey, in all honesty, don't let the language thing intimidate you. People talk. It's what we do, chatter chatter chatter. You will learn any language you're immersed in, especially if there are locals who speak just a little English, and especially if you can find a language school or tutor to catapult you a little ways past the "where's the bathroom?" phase. Actually in a lot of international locations you can find thriving expatriate communities of psychopaths, perverts, and ne'er do wells who speak your language (after a fashion). After getting the low-down from them on a place, avoid these guys like the plague.

Conveniently for gringos, Spanish is the language you can learn with a 2-digit IQ and permanently half-drunk (actually, alcohol in some quantity does help - really - it removes inhibitions and you just go for it). Seriously, the Spanish language is awesome, it makes perfect sense - except for the reflexive thing. ("The ball it fell itself away from me." WTF???) And every noun having a gender. ("Bananas and water are boys and oranges and the border are girls." WTF???) Other than those little quirks, it really does make a TON more sense than English. I feel for people who have to learn English as a second language.

So, back to business - got any more sideboards? Ideal size, what native herps (snakes vs salamanders etc), any sort of legal restrictions on keeping, any particular recreational "musts", any particular industry or employment preferences, any "can't stands", etc? I mean, there must be 50,000 options we could toss at you. That would not be very helpful.

I move around - long distances - quite a bit. It's a childhood habit I can't seem to outgrow (dad was a career sailor). Something I stumbled across 2-3 moves ago is City-data http://www.city-data.com/forum/, a useful resource once you get your search narrowed down. There's a lot of info on US locales, and a growing amount of international info. You can ask people who live there about their town - general stuff like "so, does it suck? how bad?" and if you're further along the process more detailed stuff like "what's rent like", "how's traffic", "describe the church:bar ratio", "do you have slavery there?", etc etc.

Good luck. How exciting!!!

Cheers,
Jimi

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by gbin » November 2nd, 2012, 6:56 pm

Abroad I've thought that coastal Belize would be a great place to live, but I haven't yet seen any of Central America beyond Guatemala let alone the rest of the world. There are a couple of places in Canada that I'd seriously consider, too, such as Jasper or Banff. (Mind you, I'm interested in overall natural beauty, wildlife and wild lands in general, not just herps. There really aren't all that many herp species in the Canadian Rockies. ;) ) For bigger cities up there I think very highly of Vancouver, but I suppose you probably know Vancouver better than I do given how close you are to it now.

Here in the U.S. my first pick would be in AZ, not in Phoenix (though I lived in its suburb Tempe for most of a year) but rather in Sedona, or failing that in Flagstaff, or failing that some small town on the Mogollon Rim (e.g. Payson)... In southern AZ I'd probably aim for Tucson. It's not that I think Phoenix is a terrible place - far from it! - but just that it has more people, traffic, etc. than I would choose given my druthers. Mountainous regions of the desert southwest are great in general for the fact that even at the height of summer you can go up in altitude to cool off if you're feeling the heat, and even at winter's deepest point you can go down in altitude to warm up if you're feeling the cold.

Other general areas I've always been particularly fond of include the Ozarks around southern MO/northern AR, coastal northern CA/southern OR (I like San Francisco, but I like points farther north in CA more), and the FL Keys.

I've generally lived where I have for a particular school or job, but I've often wondered whether that's really the best way to go about things. Does a janitor living in a small town nestled in the Canadian Rockies enjoy life more or less than a wildlife biologist living in a big city in northcentral TX? I don't know, but I suspect that janitor might have the better of it. So more and more I think about putting the highest priority on where I live, then figuring out how to make that work. As I said, for me that would mean picking someplace with a ton of natural beauty, lots of wildlife/wild lands, not necessarily lots of herps. I dream of (again) living someplace that, when I step out my front door, I look around and say to myself "Oh, yeah!" Big city versus small town, hot or cold latitude, etc. doesn't matter nearly so much to me.

Gerry

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by AndyO'Connor » November 2nd, 2012, 7:54 pm

Thanks for all the responses so far. As far as Spanish goes, I know I'd pick it up quick, I took two years in high school and worked at a McDonald's... Anyways, I have a few pet herps that I'd miss, but nothing that would keep me from moving somewhere else. As far as jobs go, although I partied out of college without a degree, I'm a pretty smart guy with a steep learning curve so I could DO just about any job I'm hired for with a little training and trust, I wouldn't want to do anything like clean hotel rooms or anything gross, but just to get started to get settled in and pay the bills, wouldn't matter. I'd have to think hard about CA, and it's possible, but anything in the states is probably more realistic. I really liked the ozarks, but I got the feeling that it can be a tough place to establish roots if you aren't from there. I love NorCal, but kinda got the same impression, a bunch of small towns with not a lot of work, surrounded by beautiful habitat and great herps. I'd probably still lean towards a desert environment, snakes are my favorite, but I'd love to hear from someone about Texas or further east, though I'd like to avoid hurricanes. The SW draws me in with a low number of natural disasters as long as you aren't near a fault line.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by chris_mcmartin » November 2nd, 2012, 8:57 pm

AndyO'Connor wrote:I'd love to hear from someone about Texas or further east,
San Antonio. If I recall correctly, 78 species of snake ALONE (plus all sorts of other herps) in Bexar County. 3 hours from the beach, 3 hours from alterna land, 5 hours from Big Bend one direction, Big Thicket the other direction. Must like Tejano culture.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by joeysgreen » November 2nd, 2012, 11:01 pm

Andy, I've put a lot of thought into this question as well. I already have a family, I'm Canadian and well rooted in Edmonton,AB. My wife is from the US and has family spread out, but primarily in WI, TX and CO.

There is so much of these two countries that I have yet to experience but I think the St. Louis area is a good choice for me. It has everything a decent size city has to offer, the herp diversity is excellent, it's central so a perfect launch pad for visiting other places, and it doesn't have the winters that are getting rather old up here in the North. I don't do well in the heat, so finding a balance of winter/hotsummer would be ideal. Rural and small town dwellings in the area seem to have a relatively low cost of living as well.
With all due respect to the states, I personally think that Canada can be a better place to raise a family, but with that said, life in the states has always seemed a lot less stressfull than what I'm experiencing up here. It's likely a sampling bias ;)

Anywhere in the world, and I'd think Australia. It's a First World country, has a low population density (lower than Canada even), and the quality of life seems A+ from what I have heard.

If I didn't have a family I'd move to SE asia and study the herpetofauna by day, and be a poacher sniper by night.

Nonetheless, I think finding a comfortable living that offers you a life low in stress, with enough means to have fun is more important than location. Struggling to stay afloat will kill you mentally whereever you live.

Ian

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by Mark Brown » November 3rd, 2012, 12:50 am

I agree with Chris, with the slight modification of making it Austin instead of San Antonio. I just prefer Austin, though I could very happily live in SA as well. Both have great weather, great people, healthy economy, excellent job prospects, reasonable living expenses, and close proximity to a variety of outstanding herping opportunities, from the pine woods of east Texas to the amazing Trans-Pecos region of far west Texas.

I've lived all over the US and you just cannot beat central Texas.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by azatrox » November 3rd, 2012, 2:34 am

Here in the U.S. my first pick would be in AZ, not in Phoenix (though I lived in its suburb Tempe for most of a year) but rather in Sedona, or failing that in Flagstaff, or failing that some small town on the Mogollon Rim (e.g. Payson)... In southern AZ I'd probably aim for Tucson. It's not that I think Phoenix is a terrible place - far from it! - but just that it has more people, traffic, etc. than I would choose given my druthers. Mountainous regions of the desert southwest are great in general for the fact that even at the height of summer you can go up in altitude to cool off if you're feeling the heat, and even at winter's deepest point you can go down in altitude to warm up if you're feeling the cold.

As someone who's lived in Az for the past 18 years, allow me to expound upon the virtues of doing so as follows:

1) Relatively easy access to a wide variety of habitats and species.

Arizona rivals any state in the nation in terms of habitat diversity. From the sandstone rocks formation to the north to the Sonoran desert of the middle to the rolling grassland hills of the SE, Arizona has a multitude of different habitats and corresponding diversity of herps.

2) One can find cool stuff even within city limits.


I can walk out my door and be staring down at a speck, tiger or gila in 15 minutes. Literally.

3) Generally mild winters.

Believe it or not, it does get COLD at night during the winter here in the desert, but the corresponding sunny, warm days more than make up for it.

4) One can generally herp year round here.

Provided one knows where to go, one can find herps year round if one is willing to put the time and effort into finding hibernaculums.

5) A remarkable lack of potential natural disasters.

Earthquakes? Yeah...sorry California. Other than the oppressive heat of summer (at least in the desert), you're not going to get caught in a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or other natural disaster here. And believe it or not, your body does get acclimated to the heat.

Now for a couple of the downsides:

1) Cities suck.

Phoenix sucks. Tucson sucks. Traffic, pissed off people (on account of the heat) and an influx of people from "somewhere else" all add up to a miserable urban experience. Also, the fact that everyone here is from California, Chicago, Iowa, etc. means that there's relatively little authentic native culture. All 2 major cities in Arizona are both concrete jungles.

2) The job market ain't what it could be.

Yes, there are jobs, but the primary economic drivers in the state are the 3 Rs....real estate, recreation and retirement....not exactly booming fields. Arizona is a "satellite" state, not a "HQ" state, and salaries generally reflect that. Also, if you squirt out a couple kids you'll quickly find that the public school system here generally sucks across the board.

3) The "herper scene" here pretty much sucks.

Don't expect a lot of free flow of info re: herps, spots, etc. Those that seriously field herp here generally keep to themselves and there's not much of a "community" per se. The politics between and amongst Arizona herpers can be pretty ridiculous.

As stated, I've been here 18 years and am ready for a change. I really do love certain parts of Az, but I don't have to live here to enjoy those parts that I love. If I get a job in a "HQ" state with good herping, I'm outta here, only to return 2x a year.

-Kris

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by gbin » November 3rd, 2012, 6:39 am

Mark Brown wrote:I agree with Chris, with the slight modification of making it Austin instead of San Antonio...
I love Austin in many ways, but there's one thing about it which is likely a deal-breaker for me. The traffic. Of all the other places I've lived or visited, only parts of Orlando, FL (where there's at least occasional convergences of impatient residents, rubbernecking tourists, elderly snowbirds and hard-partying students) has had traffic so bad. San Antonio might be ok, though, and certainly any of the smaller towns in central TX' hill country would be lovely.
azatrox wrote:As someone who's lived in Az for the past 18 years...
Way to rub it in, Kris. ;)

On the one hand I agree that Phoenix (and to a lesser extent Tucson) sucks in the way that all big cities suck, i.e. "too many people, too many machines" (with warm remembrance of John Denver). But they have their advantages, too, which are more important to some of us than to others (I'm just fine out in the boonies, but some get lonely or bored). And if one has to pick a big city to live in, I'd much rather pick Phoenix than Chicago, New York, etc. - but I have to admit that's because of my particular fondness for AZ in general.

I'm definitely in an HQ location here in Dallas-Fort Worth, Kris; want to trade places for a few years? I don't know exactly where in AZ you're located, but I'll happily take my chances on liking it there. ;)

On the matter of it being difficult to find a job and otherwise integrate into small communities, I know that it's true and also that it's very true of some small communities in particular. I've done it myself a number of times in the past, but I'm not quite sure I could say how. At the very least, it's always seemed to me that the people in such places immediately start treating you differently once they know that you are relocating/have just relocated to there, and aren't just passing through. Does anyone else have advice to offer on this, to allow Andy to consider such places?

Gerry

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by muskiemagnet » November 3rd, 2012, 7:18 am

STAY OUT OF WISCONSIN!!!! i want it for myself. :D :D :D

someone mentioned missouri. that sounds good. lots of herps. species range edges seem to allow for much diversity. i'm guessing missouri is loaded with situations like this. western, eastern, and southern species probably overlap considerably in missouri, plus you are within driving distance of other good places. madison wisconsin wouldn't be a bad choice. SW wisconsin didn't get leveled by the glaciers, so it is pretty rugged and full of snakes(if you know where to find them that is). unfortunately, wisconsin has seen some pretty extensive fragmentation due to agriculture. the one nice thing about northern states is that spring can be a lot of fun. springtime at the dens is a blast. you've been to snake road, imagine being able to go there in the spring when ALL the snakes are out enjoying the first warmer days of spring. best picture taking opportunities at this time too. the snakes are cold, and typically just sit there for you. once the sun warms the rock, snakes just crawl out of the dens to enjoy the spring. summers in wisconsin are typically nice with not too many really hot days(if that is something you consider). winters on the otherhand can be a bit cold. the days of instant nose-hair freeze typically last about two months. i'd suggest a winter hobby. snowboarding and ice fishing are my go to when the herp season is over.

my suggestion is missouri. if so, i'll show you around wisconsin for a long weekend. i'm always up for a road trip, and going south in the spring for me gets the season going earlier. unfortunately, i'm not much into sals, so my season typically starts with the timber dens here in wisconsin.

another suggestion would be the carolinas. i'm guessing though that once you get out of the piedmont, habitat fragmentation becomes an issue. probably a lot of people as well.

are you planning on a move? or are you just thinking about it as a possibility? good luck either way.

-ben

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by Mark Brown » November 3rd, 2012, 7:21 am

gbin wrote:I love Austin in many ways, but there's one thing about it which is likely a deal-breaker for me. The traffic. Of all the other places I've lived or visited, only parts of Orlando, FL (where there's at least occasional convergences of impatient residents, rubbernecking tourists, elderly snowbirds and hard-partying students) has had traffic so bad. San Antonio might be ok, though, and certainly any of the smaller towns in central TX' hill country would be lovely.

Gerry
Our traffic is bad, but honestly, compared with Dallas or Houston, there isn't any traffic at all, in my opinion. Mopac and IH35 are bad at peak times but it traffic just part of the game when you live in a place that is so attractive to "outsiders".....the price you pay, so to speak.

Another nice thing about Austin and central Texas is that we're fairly insulated from the awful weather extremes we're seeing nowadays. Well, I guess I shouldn't say that.....we are subject to the very rare tornado, but that's about it. It hardly ever snows and it's not uncommon at all to be able to herp (successfully) on New Years Day.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by ErikNM » November 3rd, 2012, 8:31 am

For me personally, if I could get a good job then I'd probably move to Silver City, New Mexico. I love the Gila Wilderness and it has some pretty cool herps too. But as Chris McMartin said, San Antonio has a ton of herps and is close to all kinds of different habitats and herps. Head south a bit and find indigos, milks, etc. Head east and you can find east TX stuff. West is the Trans Pecos. And right IN San Antonio limits, you can find snakes year round. And not just "hope" to find "a snake", you literally can go out in winter and go flipping and find quite a few snakes.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by muskiemagnet » November 3rd, 2012, 9:33 am

if in fact andy is looking to move, i think that economic well-being is a top priority for him. as he has said, no degree. just looking to find a job, and i'm guessing he does not want to settle for pushing french fries. whether he wants to pursue schooling when he gets settled, who knows. local job market, would be something i would seriously consider. i know that i would move to a less desirable herp spot if it meant more, and better paying jobs. now, i ask you all in the south a question. is it true that folks from the north tend to get jobs over southern residents? from what i've heard is that this is true because of a stronger work ethic. now i am not trying to put down you southern folks at all. all i know is that this is what i've heard in different parts of the south, in fact, i've run into, and conversed with business owners in FL and AL, and they have backed this up. one of them even offered me a job. the company i currently work for has a place in texas, and i've heard that they have a tough time finding good workers as well.

i understand this is a herp forum, and we are gravitating towards the top herp spots, but this may not be what andy is looking for completely. in my previous post, i asked andy if he was asking just for curiosity's sake, or if he meant it for his future. if he is serious about moving, i think we all could pool together and help him as best as we can. i met andy at SR this fall, and he seems like a pretty stand-up guy. if andy decides on a location, maybe some folks in that area could potentially help him find work, or even better, give him a job.

-ben

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by Zach_Lim » November 3rd, 2012, 10:45 am

jimoo742 wrote:Great question. I'm at a bit of a loss, because while I love herping, I hate the heat.

I did live in San Francisco for a bit, and hated the culture (wine, foodies and leisure as a way of life), but loved the weather (and record stores)... the proximity to so many different types of habitat with so many herps within a few hours drive is really attractive. That would be my first guess.
SF is not all hipsters and Bourgeoisie haha! Those are usually the non-natives that think just because they have moved to SF, they have to adopt that style of living. Records store here are great...so many gems.

I tell myself that I will never leave SF. Perfect weather, atmosphere, and great herping in and just miles outside of the city.

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Mark Brown
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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by Mark Brown » November 3rd, 2012, 10:47 am

muskiemagnet wrote:is it true that folks from the north tend to get jobs over southern residents? from what i've heard is that this is true because of a stronger work ethic.
Are you serious? "Stronger work ethic"??? I don't know about all the other "southern" states but I can assure you that, if anything, the opposite is true in Texas!

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » November 3rd, 2012, 11:09 am

is it true that folks from the north tend to get jobs over southern residents? from what i've heard is that this is true because of a stronger work ethic.
I've never heard this before. I have lived/worked in the midwest, the west, and the south. I've never noticed any difference in general work ethic. There's an old stereotype that southerners are lazy. According to a book I read on parasitology, this stems (at least partly) from the days when many poor southerners were infected with worms, which cause lethargy (hence the term "wormy" for skinny, non-energetic folks). The people weren't lazy, they were sick.
In the days before air-conditioning, the pace of life was definitely different down here. It had to be. People still got things done, but they didn't rush around in the heat of the day to do them. I would think the ubiquity of air-conditioning would have caused this difference to disappear.
I am not offended by the poor work ethic comment, because I don't think Ben meant to be offensive...that doesn't seem to be his style. I am just honestly surprised that anybody would actually think that. If there's any real, actual evidence to support it, I'd like to see it.

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AndyO'Connor
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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by AndyO'Connor » November 3rd, 2012, 11:31 am

This post has been so much more informative than I thought it would be. Ben, yes it is a hypothetical for now, but still a year or more away from a real possibility. I have a lot of things I'd need to take care of here, and I would ask my job if a transfer to a location I were interested in to stay employed during the move rather than move and hope I found work quickly. I don't really want to live anywhere that sees "hard winters" meaning, a little snow fall a few days a year would be ok with me but I'd prefer mild winters.

I suppose going back to school could be an option, but the idea of racking up a bunch of student loan debt is not enticing. I did always have that dream of being a herpetologist or something similar in the field, but that much time and money invested is a bit of a turn off. I've worked customer service call centers pretty much most of my adult life and know for a fact that if there were such a place hiring in any part of the country that I'm pretty much a shoe in, call centers like hiring people that have worked in call centers (like any other job type). For the last 7 years I've worked for a major cell phone company so I also know I could get a job with anything related to telecommunications fairly easily. Neither is something I want to do for a career but they do pay well enough to keep food on the table and herping vacations on the calendar.

I'm not too worried about acclimating to a hotter environment, I do that on 1 week trips anyways, and I am a pretty social easy going person so I am also not worried about finding my niche in a community, even if it's tight lipped herpers lol.

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Curtis Hart
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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by Curtis Hart » November 3rd, 2012, 12:08 pm

Depending on your age you could possibly emigrate to Australia. If you take the time to finish your degree, Taiwan, S. Korea, and Japan open up. Singapore could be interesting as well.

In the US, you might try Corpus Christi. There's decent herping, you're only 2 hours from the valley, and there are jobs. I heard the Valero refinery is hiring with no experience at $20 per hour.

The other option is to do something where you travel, if you want to see a lot and don't mind moving around.



Curtis

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muskiemagnet
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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by muskiemagnet » November 3rd, 2012, 12:11 pm

Mark Brown wrote:
muskiemagnet wrote:is it true that folks from the north tend to get jobs over southern residents? from what i've heard is that this is true because of a stronger work ethic.
Are you serious? "Stronger work ethic"??? I don't know about all the other "southern" states but I can assure you that, if anything, the opposite is true in Texas!
mark, like i said, i'm not trying to diss. i have no evidence of what i speak, therefore, i ask. i'm going off of what i have heard, and i think we all know what believing heresay can do. if you are still upset(even though i stated it wasn't my intent), then i guess you can just consider me a stupid yankee. :D :D :D

thanks tamara.

well, andy, good luck with whatever comes your way. one thing. if you have a desire to go to school to pursue a desire, don't wait too long. it will get harder as you age, and i'd hate for you to set yourself up for a regret. talked briefly at SR, but something tells me regret is not your style anyways. if you end up near wisconsin, let's go find some cool stuff.

-ben

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Mark Brown
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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by Mark Brown » November 3rd, 2012, 12:22 pm

Upset? No, not a bit! Amused, if anything, since, from my years living in Arkansas, Florida and Texas, my experience has been that southen natives (and "naturalized" natives) have a universal attitude of, "no thanks, we've got all the northerners we need already".

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by gbin » November 3rd, 2012, 12:36 pm

muskiemagnet wrote:is it true that folks from the north tend to get jobs over southern residents? from what i've heard is that this is true because of a stronger work ethic.
Count me among those who have lived north, south, east and west and haven't seen or even heard of this before.

Gerry

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muskiemagnet
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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by muskiemagnet » November 3rd, 2012, 3:09 pm

let's not derail the intent of the post. sorry. i guess i should have heeded the bumper stickers! :lol: :lol: :lol:

-ben

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by jimoo742 » November 3rd, 2012, 4:28 pm

eh nevermind

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by AndyO'Connor » November 3rd, 2012, 4:36 pm

Ben I appreciate your several compliments and you are right, I don't like regrets, part of the reason I am considering this big change in scenery is I am 29 now and I just realized that 10 years I ago my plan was to live somewhere besides Washington, and I got caught up in life and just realized recently that I haven't been happy in a few years. There is MUCH more to my life than that, but let's just leave it at that. I'd be happy to go herping with you sometime, I was happy to meet you albeit briefly, wished we could have herped and talked a bit.

As to the Southerner vs. Northerner debate that is starting, I'd really appreciate it if that was forgiven and forgotten, or taken to another thread or PM. This thread has been extremely informative so far, and I think it could keep going in a positive direction. Ben did not mean anything by it and was merely repeating what he had been told once and he has been told differently now.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by ErikNM » November 3rd, 2012, 4:50 pm

Andy, I believe here in a few months the company I work for will be hiring again. The area around here is great for herping. Plus the job has benefits, 401k, great pay. Let me know if you're interested...

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by chris_mcmartin » November 3rd, 2012, 7:40 pm

I see my TX friends have already chimed in with some additional details I omitted (e.g. the traffic in Austin...dependent on time of day/year, like if UT has a home game...and my common refrain in SA is "doesn't anybody WORK aroud here?" because the main roads are always crowded, though usually not stop-and-go).

Thanks Mark for mentioning indigos...I have yet to find a LIVE one :( but yes, within a little over an hour from San Antone and you're into the edge of Tamaulipan scrub/indigo habitat. Cross Timbers, Hill Country, lots of confluences of habitat = lots of diversity. I'm hoping to return to TX for good in a couple of years.

Oh yes, lots of endemic Eurycea...not my thing, but ask Dr. Gluesenkamp.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by SurfinHerp » November 3rd, 2012, 8:45 pm

Andy - visit San Diego for a week before you make up your mind.

You can't beat the weather here, there are a ton of things to do and places to go, and it's a nature lover's paradise. I've read that there's nowhere on Earth with a greater diversity of habitats within an equivalent number of square miles. And don't forget all the hot chicks in bikinis 8-)

The drawbacks are the high cost of housing (because everyone wants to live here), the possibility of wildfires, and of course some rush hour traffic.

I'll show you around town if you like.

Jeff

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VanAR
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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by VanAR » November 4th, 2012, 1:53 am

Sydney, Australia is pretty awesome. The upside is that it is a large, cosmopolitan city with a lot of friendly folks, good food, and culture that is easy to get out of. Herps are easy to find in the city and surrounding areas and you can get to parks using public transit alone. The downsides are that it is extremely expensive and the laws regarding herps are somewhat more restrictive than in the US. Snakes are also a bit tough to come by and many are ridiculously dangerous.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by ugh » November 4th, 2012, 5:32 am

I don’t know what part of the pacific NW you’re in or what the local culture or economy’s like there but I would make these among the paramount things to consider.


If you move someplace with a more depressed economy or considerably different cultural vibe you’ll probably regret it. The economy thing is especially tricky because places with a shittier economy will often have cheaper land and housing prices, which of course is tempting. But that doesn’t mean the ‘cost of living’ is cheaper-a tank of gas, or a meal at a drive thru or sit down restaurant here of there is likely gonna run you the same $$. Also in a weaker local economy you’ll likely be making a smaller paycheck in the same line of work, as a rule- but there’s exceptions.


The cultural thing, consider how much you can or want to tolerate your neighbors, if they hold views you see as idiotic and archaic, or appropriate for the 1950’s as opposed to the 21st century. What’s the overall quality of the area’s education level among the locals, or is it not enough of a difference from where you are now? How much time have you spent there already, enough to know these things? Big difference betw. visiting a place several times, vs. actually living there...Trust me it makes a difference. How well can you tolerate being surrounded by people that are generally more ignorant/less educated than you? Is the area mostly full of transients, or established natives/ locals? Are you ok with that? What about the general age of the locals? The amount of women to men? Single vs. married? How religious are they? Do you hate/are you annoyed by the most common sect of that religion there or like it? Will that cause them to disapprove of you and your interest in snakes or whatever else you’re into? Do you care?


And none of this even touches on how good the herping and/or how nice or plentiful any nearby habitat is. What are the laws re: herps in these areas you’re eyeing, you ok with them?

Herpetologist115
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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by Herpetologist115 » November 4th, 2012, 6:27 am

I would have to say Prescott, AZ. It is big enough with 40000 population. I lived there for 7 years. I wish I could go back to having lizards right out front of my house. It has some good herping spots within a hour or two. All four seasons, very scenic, and a beautiful pine forest.

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MichaelCravens
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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by MichaelCravens » November 4th, 2012, 9:35 am

Andy,

If you'd like to come out to Arizona, you're welcome to crash with us until you find work. I could get you on as an adventure guide; the pay sucks but the work is fun. Phoenix kinda blows, but like Gerry said, its much better than eastern cities. I moved out here for the same reasons you are looking to move and I haven't been disappointed. There's enough diversity of herps and habitats out here to keep you busy for a long time. Also, like Kris said said, the herper scene sucks. You don't get that amazing camaraderie that we enjoyed a few weeks ago in Southern Illinois. That being said, there're are still some really good ones and maybe if you moved here it would tip the scales and some fun and friendly campfires might be in Arizona's future.

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chrish
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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by chrish » November 4th, 2012, 2:22 pm

Tamara D. McConnell wrote:There's an old stereotype that southerners are lazy. According to a book I read on parasitology, this stems (at least partly) from the days when many poor southerners were infected with worms, which cause lethargy (hence the term "wormy" for skinny, non-energetic folks). The people weren't lazy, they were sick.
In the days before air-conditioning, the pace of life was definitely different down here. It had to be. People still got things done, but they didn't rush around in the heat of the day to do them. I would think the ubiquity of air-conditioning would have caused this difference to disappear.
I don't think there is any rational basis for this statement other than people from one area of the country making pejorative remarks about another area of the country. Your geography does not determine your personality. Trying to find the reason why those stereotypes exist is the same sort of logical process some people have used to come up with "the reason" people of one racial background are better at "xxxxxx" task than another. It is rationalization to try to justify past pejorative stereotypes. There is no factual basis to justify it.

Back to the question.....

One thing you have to consider about moving to another country or not is whether you would be allowed to go there and work. You can't just move to Costa Rica, Ecuador, Australia, etc. and get a job any more than anyone can come to the US and get a job. In some countries, work permits/visas are reasonably easy to get, but in many countries they are not and you require sponsorship or some other sort of paperwork. Anyone can visit most countries, but moving there to work is a different issue.

That said, moving to Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, versus anywhere in the US would be easy. Get on the plane. Rarely in the US do you find something while you are herping that just blows your mind the way herping in the tropics can. You can always come back home if you don't like it.

As for the San Antonio/Austin debate, I had to make that choice a few years back and chose wisely. Check my location under my name. If you asked me to move to Austin, I would politely decline. Yes, traffic in Houston, Dallas, London, Mumbai, Jakarta is worse than Austin, but San Antonio's traffic is better and we are a bigger city than Austin. We are closer to the coast, closer to the valley, closer to the tropics, and the same distance from alterna country. Oh yeah, and we have indigo snakes as well :lol:.
And our cost of living is lower than Austin, San Diego, Sydney, the Pacific NW, etc..

Actually, the SE US is a great place to live and herp in my experience. I really enjoyed my time in South Carolina. Georgia would be fine as well if you don't intend to keep any herps.

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AndyO'Connor
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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by AndyO'Connor » November 4th, 2012, 5:01 pm

Erik, that sounds enticing, although I don't think this will happen in a short period of time, I have a lot to handle here before I can leave, it will take time and money.

Michael, that offer is also an excellent one, and the type of thing I would consider, I'd rather make less money and love what I do than make the same or more and stay miserable.

There are a few other things that I haven't revealed as I didn't want to skew anyone's answers, such as I might not be moving alone, another herper/good friend might join me as he is in a similar spot in life as me. I am an extremely independent person and although I love my family, I am doing this for me, and me alone, as I have been more than selfless for other people for the last 8+ years and it hasn't made me happy. As it is right now, nobody in my life except for you guys and my herping buddy know I am contemplating this major change and it is going to be a nuclear bomb to people in my life. Hence the reason of me not knowing WHEN I'd be able to do this. I have never even visited 3/4 of the places mentioned, so maybe I take the next year visiting all of them and helping make my decision, or maybe I blindfold myself and draw from a hat. I just don't know. Thanks so far to everyone who has answered in detail, I never expected 50+ responses.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by bgorum » November 4th, 2012, 5:14 pm

Just for the record, Albuquerque and the rest of New Mexico suck. The weather is lousy, there are no herps to speak of, hardly any public land, the food is terrible, there is no culture, and the cost of living is sky high. Best just pass through on your way somewhere else :0

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Andy Avram
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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by Andy Avram » November 4th, 2012, 5:16 pm

Andy,
A little late to the party, but if it was up to me I would seriously look into the southern Appalachians, namely around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in North Carolina, or Tennessee. Weather-wise the mountains create cooler, comfortable temperatures, and while there is snow, there isn't so much to be a pain in the rear (but this is coming from someone who lives in THE snowiest part of Ohio). Great scenery, and a nice assortment of snakes, the best assortment of salamanders in the world, other great herps... You are centralized in the east to get to other sweet destinations, and relatively safe from natural disasters.

That would be my first destination is I were to leave Ohio.

Andy

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by chris_mcmartin » November 4th, 2012, 6:00 pm

I REALLY like West TX, but I don't think I'd want to live there permanently. There are many places I visit that I fear would lose some of their appeal/mystique if I was there all the time. Plus I have a spouse/family to consider who would be even less enthusiastic about such a move!

That's what I like about San Antonio or parts nearby...the places I like to visit are within an easy day's drive, but it's not like I went those places every weekend.

I don't know that I'd move somewhere just for the herping opportunities. As others have said, there are many, many other factors in play. There is also a big difference in where "doing what you love, but getting paid less" and "making good money but being miserable" on the job-satisfaction continuum. Consider "don't HATE my job, but it's not really my passion; however it gives me sufficient time and/or money to pursue what I LOVE" as on option. ;)

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by Nshepard » November 4th, 2012, 9:02 pm

NC is great from a herp diversity and topography standpoint. More species of salamanders than anywhere else in the world! We've also got a decent amount of snake and frog diversity. Lizards, well...we have only 12 species in the state. Whether you live in the mountains (tons of salamander species) or the coast (snakes and frogs) good herping can be close by. I've spent my entire life in NC living in the piedmont, which sucks for diversity but is a great location for cities, food, friends, and depending where, leaves you right in the middle of the coast and the mountain areas. The bad parts, would include...terrible school system, state economy is a mess (lost my job recently due to funding cuts), population growth is ...growing... too fast, construction everywhere, too many roads, our coast line is developed to hell, and a number of herping areas around the state are disappearing (lose of habitat, fire suppression, increased people and traffic, etc). The herping community is pretty good but small for field herping interested parties and / or academia minded folks. The good parts, on a short beer run this spring I cruised up a mole kingsnake in my neighborhood! Herping can be great in the state, but even the best herping trips...leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth of what is to come....more people, less habitat! Winters here can still suck quite a bit, not mild enough for my tastes.

Honestly, I am ready for a change of pace. Something new. Somewhere warm, plenty of herps, some babes, and good brews...climate wise I like GA, diversity wise I like AZ, population wise I like Montana....ideal wise, I like southern Africa...

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by ZantiMissKnit » November 5th, 2012, 9:29 am

I'm still in love with New Orleans despite fleeing back to Boston in 1995, and am looking forward to getting back there with my current knowledge of herps (and wish I had taken photos of everything in my yard back then so I can identify it now!).

It's cons are very strong cons though: awful crime, crappy economy, prone to flooding, tourist invasion a few times a year, gets colder than one would expect (or it feels it due to the non-insulated housing with terrible heating system), little gas heaters one has to light can be extremely dangerous, if you don't like heat and humidity you will hate the summers there.

Pros: incredible food, covered with lizards and frogs, friendly folks, gorgeous architecture, amazing history, all I had to do to find herps was just sit on my porch and look at the bushes, warm to hot most of the time.

In a perfect life, I could live there safely and not have to work.

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by Jimi » November 5th, 2012, 10:30 am

If you move someplace with a more depressed economy or considerably different cultural vibe you’ll probably regret it.

The cultural thing, consider how much you can or want to tolerate your neighbors

Is the area mostly full of transients, or established natives/ locals?

The amount of women to men? Single vs. married? How religious are they? Will that cause them to disapprove of you and your interest in snakes or whatever else you’re into? Do you care?

And none of this even touches on how good the herping and/or how nice or plentiful any nearby habitat is. What are the laws re: herps in these areas you’re eyeing, you ok with them?
Andy, these are all excellent points. If you're quite capable of being "an island unto your self" they may not matter to you. But...think about it. I feel like I'm a pretty good island and I still have my down days, no matter where I live. Some people can just find themselves miserable with a "bad move".

Moving can be fun and exciting, but it's expensive. It costs money and relationships. So get it as right as you can. My priority criteria would be 1) are there enough economic opportunities to provide some freedom from anxiety and deprivation? 2) ample access to outdoor rec opportunities, including but not limited to herping 3) what's the general cultural vibe? can I find at least some of "my people"? (and not suffer too harshly, all that stuff ugh mentions in the quote above) 4) the weather - I'm still just a southerner in my thin blood - I really hate the cold, and all in all, prefer dry to wet.

Given those criteria (and an ability to compartmentalize some annoyances & responses), Salt Lake City is pretty good. I never would have guessed it. But the living is pretty darn good. Employment is good, cost of living is not bad relative to wages, and there - seriously - are all kinds of interesting people here - Somali refugees to full-on Big Love. Other places are obviously better for herping, but...they're just a trip away. SLC is a Delta hub with a great airport, and it's at the crossroads of I-80 and I-15. Easy to leave, easy to get back. From here, you can get to Portland or Seattle (or San Diego, SF, Phoenix, Denver, etc) in a long day's drive, or a really short flight.

Just another option. Remember to use that city-data site!

cheers,
Jimi

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Re: Best place to live for herping and every day life

Post by scott s » November 5th, 2012, 2:42 pm

In terms of jobs, sustenance, finding a mate and wide variety of herp habitats and herps, San Diego is far and away the winner.

Plus, you have easy access to Baja and AZ.

Sydney would be great if it wasn't for the crappy herp laws and the huge cost of living issues.

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