A little background first. My wife recently lost her job and it got us thinking about where we're headed and where we currently are. Not looking for sympathy or anything (she's already got some work lined up, anyways), we've got a decent pile of savings stashed away and I can cover most everything in a given month but it still took away a solid chunk of our monthly income and we started to crunch numbers and wonder, why are we still here? With my credentials, experience and field I can make similar money to what I'm making now in just about any major metro area in the country and her work is similarly flexible. We'll have zero problems finding work. We're young, don't have children, no mortgage, no debt. My mom's in NYC, my father's in Hawaii. Her parents (and my brother) are still here but are in a position to travel as much as they like so it's not like we're leaving a ton behind in that respect. Outside of that our families' are spread throughout creation. While I love my career it has its limitations in terms of income potential so the conversation we've been having is why are we here, where it costs so ridiculously much to live, when our income will be largely the same anywhere? I think we're at the point of acceptance with the reality that we'll never truly get ahead in this town, especially when we decide to add kids to the mix and start a family. Additionally, I've lived here my whole life and have very limited travel experience and quite frankly, I'm ready for a change. The "where Northern hospitality meets Southern efficiency" thing is starting to wear on me. At present the choice to stay here seems to be between struggling to make a decent living or spending 3 hours of every day commuting so we can live somewhere moderately affordable.
So, all that said, where would you go if this was your situation? We have some top of the list kind of places but I'll go into those later as I'd like to get as many opinions as possible. Cost of living will definitely be a factor as that's a large reason for any move to begin with, to make our money do more for us but it will be far from the only factor. We want to live somewhere that's worth being and is a nice place to live. Outside of that, we're open to anything. So what you got ES?