For several years, Martina and I have wanted to leave the schlong of the US (Florida) and get ourselves up to Portland, OR. There’s a whole cacophony of reasons, but here’s a few that come to mind:
- Culture! There’s nothing to do in Florida!
- Temperate weather: yes, it rains in Portland, but not as much as you think and when the sun comes out, it’s bearable and you just want to be outside! Going outside in Florida for 9 months of the year involves sweating, mosquitoes and heat exhaustion.
- Soft grass, beautiful scenery, gardens, trees and flowers.
- Mountains: highest point in OR: 11,249 ft; highest point in FL: 345 ft.
- Food: being that Florida is just one big theme park, there’s not much creativity when it comes to food and your culinary life seems to center around a deep fat fryer. There’s more creativity in the artsy culture of Portland and so much more to explore.
- Veganism: Martina is vegan and I’m
mostly vegancompletely vegan too (as are our kids), so living in a place where every restaurant offers up a big variety of vegan options (beyond chips & salsa, salad with no dressing and steamed vegetables) is exciting to us. And the food supply chain is more extensive to us there, with many more natural food stores to choose from.
- Happier people: it is well documented that despite all the sunshine, Florida residents are among the saddest in the nation. Everyone we met in Portland was so nice and happy, because they live somewhere awesome.
- Parks, trails and reserves in huge numbers that look pretty year round.
- An actual winter, with cool weather, and sweaters, soups and stews.
- Four seasons.
- Better schools than Florida.
- The desire to buy a home that won’t be flooded, wrecked by a hurricane, or eaten by termites.
- 90 minutes to the coast, 45 minutes to the mountains.
- Wine! Martina and I are both quite fond of wine, and the Willamette Valley has some of the best Pinot noir in
the countrythe world. With stunning vineyards just 30 minutes from Portland, we can go wine tasting whenever the hell we want!
- Artsy subculture: I grew up in Brighton, which is well renowned as an eclectic, artsy city, with artists, musicians and hippies bringing life to the city. Portland really reminds me of that, with its own American twist.
- No more huge AC bills.
- Public transport: being able to leave your car at home is a huge deal to us, since we live in one of the biggest urban sprawls the world has ever seen. Being able to take a train, tram or trolley is a huge plus for us.
- Walking! Again, the layout of Florida is such that you can’t walk anywhere. Even if there are sidewalks, your destination is miles away (because everything is so spread out) and you’ll be a soggy, stinky mess when you arrive. Portland is so beautifully planned out that walking is a real option and helps you keep fit and active in the process.
- Parks: Portland has a very high number of parks, which will be great for playing with our children. Parks in Florida are hard to come by, and they’re filled with sand, crunchy grass and fire ants.
- Nightlife: Portland has something for everyone and there are nice places that we as young parents can go to for a nice night out: somewhere more exciting than Chili’s, followed by your neighbourhood bar.
- Adventures: there’s places to explore in Oregon. From the mountains, waterfalls and lakes to the forests and desert, we can take day trips or weekends away to explore, outdoors, in temperate weather.
- Voodoo Doughnuts!
- Outdoor activities: unless you like hunting or fishing, Florida is not much of an outdoorsy state. Oregon has so much in the way of hiking and biking that we’ll be fit in no time!
- The Farmer’s Market!
- Local food.
As you can see, we’re just not cut out to live here with the dreamers in the swamp. Oregon is calling our name and we can’t wait to get there!