This question is directed at anyone who lives somewhere. So as not to discriminate, those who do not live somewhere, but perhaps live somewhen instead, are also invited to participate, but only if they can explain how that works.
It's pretty open-ended really, but a few things to consider:
Even if you frequently move, or do not live most of any given year at a fixed address, I'm still looking for the same basic things: what keeps you in a state of moving around so much?
N.B. Don't feel obligated to answer those subquestions I asked. Photos, words, videos... whatever; answer however you damn well please. I'm mostly just curious about where other TA members are coming from, figuratively and literaly.
I was taking French last semester with my goals of being to visit Nice, France and Montreal (I've heard absolutely amazing things about your summer music festivals!). I can't take the second course this year due to needing to complete my core courses so I can transfer over but I'm still doing a form of independent study.
Either way, your response really motivates me to be a bit more anal about ensuring I actually study French daily.
I moved to this shitty little town about 10 years ago because I wanted to get away from the big city bullshit…to escape the frequent sounds of emergency vehicle and police sirens, honking horns, and passing motor vehicles emitting boom-booming-bone-rattling rap music. I wanted to get away from the dirty, crowded streets, buses and hoards of shoppers and commuters, the police, beggars, and crime. I wanted to move to where grocery stores, gas stations and emergency medical treatment providers were within walking distance. I wanted more access to parking without coin guzzling parking meters, without street sweeping day warning signs, which I often misread and subsequently given a $40 reminder by an angst ridden parking enforcement officer. I wanted to live in an area largely populated by pockets of open spaces filled with wild flowers, colorful birds, and dense patches of trees---trees and fields where my dog could poop unseen and I could get away with leaving it there. So I bought an affordable home where windows display views of squirrels scrambling through trees instead of neighbors scrambling away, pretending they weren’t watching me doing stuff I had no business doing with the blinds open. I wanted to belong to a community where nary a street person asked me for spare change all the time as though I was a coin bank offering free withdrawals with no deposits.
I blame time for changing my perception of small town utopia. Time opened my brown eyes and I began to see this town as is: the overpopulation of super-sized SUVs with lone passengers pulling into KFC drive thrus, I see the whiter-than- white police officers who’d seem to get a hard on shining their blinding flashlight beams into the eyes of brown-skinned people caught walking at night. I see this town’s grocery stores with big ass shopping carts being pushed by morbidly obese people wearing Walmart clothing and Payless shoes, who fill their kitchens with Swanson’s frozen dinners, margarine, bologna, diet sodas, American cheese, and Budweiser. I am forced to look at my community of boxed-hedged lined “identi-houses”… it’s what I call indistinguishably themed dwellings that take the “unique” out of uniqueness. Sadly, the homes in this town were built to showcase the occupants ability to accommodate two to four cars in a garage, thus little thought went into exterior color, landscaping, style, diversity, and artistic self expression.
This town holds too many dogs whose owners---adverse to walking themselves when there is Fox News, wrestling and infomercials to be watched-- release their canines to wander alone in the streets where they deposit mounds of soft, pungent matter on the sidewalks for night walkers like me to leave footprints in. Their big fucking, animal factory purebreds don’t have the same charm to their owners they once did as cute little puppies, so they are relegated to the backyard during the day then let out in the evening to leave huge clumps of post-digested bargain basement kibble with essence of meat-by-product on the streets, sometimes right next to the walnut-sized wild turkey shit and other mystery animal shit piles (raccoons, possums, skunks?).
Gone about a year ago was the town’s only non-Christian bookstore ---the unoriginal franchised type, which I greatly miss. That bookstore was my only in-town nighttime escape, now it has been replaced by another mega store food outlet supplying the masses with high fructose corn syrup products, canned foods and fatty bargain meats. But do we need a bookstore in a town where most people seem to favor literature found at supermarket checkout stands? There seems to be little interest here in reading books about people or places who aren’t on reality television or on Oprah.
Gone too is the nearby emergency treatment hospital, its buildings left vacant thanks to rising health care cost and the massive number of the uninsured and, of course, by the monopolizing influence of Kaiser Hospitals.
Sometimes I dine out in places where the patrons have no desire to smother their discriminating taste buds with chow from Chili’s, Sizzlers, Applebees or Outback, which means I have to go back to the big city where I’m confronted by beggars, street people, strange smells and blasting car stereos. But I don’t much mind all of that these days, in fact I sometimes find the unpredictability of it refreshingly welcomed. Unlike my small town, individuality in the big city is embraced, and its bookstores and restaurants are often as varied as the people who own them, and its where I enjoy getting lost in a sea of “un-sameness.”
So, why do I still live in this shitty, little homogeneous town? Because although my home has never been worth much, it is now worth a lot less than what I owe on it. So one day I may just walk out of my home for good and accept the consequence. However when I do move, my hope is to relocate outside of this violent, close-minded, fanatically religious, corporate-owned “God blessed” country.
I currently live in Eugene Oregon.
Why do I stay where I live?
- Mostly because it just works for my stage of life right now. I have a job that pays the bills. My partner has a job that pays the bills. I like the location; the mountains are about an hour away the coast is about an hour away Portland is about 2 hours away there are lots of things to do. I like that it's really easy to find and buy locally grown and organic foods and humanely raised/slaughtered and local meats. I like the beer culture Oregon and Washington have tons of little breweries. Eugene is close enough to both my and my partners families but still far enough away that we don't see them every day.
Is your community open to your atheism (or other philosophy if not atheist)?
- My community is pretty open to a lot of 'non-traditional' points of view. It can be a little overly PC at times and tries to pretend it's more diverse then it really is but overall it's a pretty friendly place for atheists.
If so, is that a factor in why you remain?
-Not really. I do appreciate not having to worry about backlash from being an open atheist but much of the North Western USA is pretty accepting so I'd live in many places in Oregon or Washington. Even in the more conservative areas (with the exception of the Idaho birder or really out in the sticks) an open atheist is unlikely to have many problems at all.
The intersection I traverse every morning to get to work.
Sahalie Falls in the Cascade Mountains foothills. Also along the Mckenzie Pass which I travel often to visit my family in Bend Oregon.
Oregon Coast a beach near Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport.
View out my apartment window which is much more pretty in the snow. It doesn't snow very often in Eugene but when it does I enjoy laughing at the people who don't know how to deal with it.
I live in a suburb of Houston, TX, where the U.S. census confirms that I live in one of the most conservative parts of one of the most conservative states in the country. 'Religious' isn't the same as 'Conservative' but right-wing Conservatism is a religion in these parts.
I'm more open with my politics than my religious views. If my neighbors knew I was Atheist, they would never listen to my political views. Where I live, an Obama bumper sticker will get your car keyed and your kids bullied.
I moved here for a job 13 years ago, but 8 years ago I left that job to work on my website full-time, so I can live practically anywhere in the World (with an Internet connection) and still maintain my income. So why do I still live in Houston? Mainly because I didn't want to uproot my kids from their schools and friends. After this school year, though, I'll only have one child still in grade school, so my wife and I are looking at our options.
It's been hard living as the outcasts of this community. I wonder what it would be like to live somewhere more open to my political and religious beliefs. I've had it beat into me since childhood that you can't run from your problems, but there's been many things beat into me since childhood which have proven to be wrong ;)
I'm actively looking at real estate in Northern California. There are some good deals right now, even on houses with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Craig Newmark (Craigslist) says that all he needs is a house with a view and a hot shower. Right now I don't have much of a view.
So what do you think? Would it be easier for a Liberal Atheist with a passion for community to live in a more liberal area of the country?
There are douche bags all over the world.
Even the most 'liberal' places have their own idea of right vs. wrong, and woe if your ideas don't line up.
But that said?
Get out of Texas!
I mean, I don't have kids, so sorry if this question sounds rather blunt, but um...
Why on earth would you want your kids raised in a place like that? Moving is hard and all, but you are seriously paying YOUR tax dollars to educate your own kids in religion? As an atheist? What?
Doesn't that area still teach Intelligent Design and Abstinence Only programs?
And by enrolling your kids there, you are sorta financially supporting that...?
I dunno. Like I said. I have no kids, so I'm not judging. Just trying to see the logic.
I'm currently living in the Bay Area, Ca..but I've got relatives in the Chico area. We might actually be heading down to Santa Cruz soon, too. I'm sick of the traffic.
Outside the Bay Area, things are pretty affordable. There are sooo many microclimates here that you can pick what you want for ecology and community. Redwoods? Desert Cactus? Wildflowers? Ocean? Mountains? Lakes? Whatever you want, you can find and afford.
We are also sorta considering the Nevada side of Tahoe for starting a business. Nevada is much more business friendly and the taxes are way lower, but the mentality is way more yuppy than trailer trash. The best of both worlds? We shall see.
Good luck on your hunt! I'm still at traveling stage of my life. Not sure where we will settle next or for good, but Texas probably isn't even on the list. :)
Thought this video could go in this thread as well as the New Year's resolution thread: "Dare to be Fat" by D.C.'s own Root Boy Slim. Actually, Takoma Park, MD - I'm now on the other side of the river but I go either way in my greater DC affiliations. Lived in Silver Spring, MD for about a year in my 20s just over the border from TP - used to say I lived there because Takoma Park is so much cooler. Talk about open minded - folks there are so open minded sometimes there brains fall out!!!
And, even though it is a little late (although not yet feast of the epiphany so still sort of christmas) this classic:
Dude, I've missed you, man. Sorry I haven't been around lately. RL is kicking my ass.
But I saw you up on the hot list and decided that if you were posting, it must be worth it.
Here is my answer:
The places I've lived have been pretty well assorted.
The major religions have been everything from the typical Non-Denom Xtians in California (liberally mixed with new age woo. I swear, if Trader Joe's was a church, all the yuppies would come in for service in their flowered shirts every Sunday. There is an entire culture of CaliWoo here.)
To the Muslim nations in South East Asia (I get along way better with Asian types of Islam than the Arabic types even though I narrowly missed a train derailment and a nightclub bombing in the same year. )
To the Thai/Lao/Malay/Cambodian versions of Buddhism (all of varying degrees of tradition. Some of my best Buddhist friends were prostitutes, actually. One of my good friends also served as a Buddhist Nun -is Nun the right English translation? They shave their heads and eyebrows like Monks but live in different temples, I think.)
To the formally decreed "Royal Church of Scotland" or whatever their national religion is. I mean, my inlaws there are all agnostic/atheists/huh? where no one is actually 'religious.' and if they are, they are almost always Catholic and always considered a little...weird. Asking about religion in Scotland is a little like asking about sex. No one cares if you do it, but whose business is it, again? Though weirdly enough, their religion is divided by football (soccer) teams. There is still a TON of violence and animosity between the Celtics and Rangers and there is still a good lot of death and violence that comes with team support. Seriously. Over a religious ball game. I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.
Every place I've lived, my lack of religion has never been an issue except for while here in America.
That isn't to say Americans are just plain crazier (though I sort of do suspect it.) but it's also because when I'm in other countries, I generally try to play by the social rules of the place that is hosting me. If religion is a taboo subject there, I leave it alone. If it isn't, I pretty much get away with saying anything I want because I'm a novelty. Sadly, in many of the places I've lived, no one cares that I'm atheist, because they assume that I'm already going to be different because I'm white and female and doing abnormal things (to them) anyway. Being atheist is the same as all my other differences, and no one cares.
Here.. oh here.. totally different story.
Part of my family are Mormons. The other part are Baptists. The other part are New Age.
They all talk smack about each other in front of me, and I always say "Wait.. you've got no room to laugh. You believe in XXXXX" (and then I make their most sacred beliefs sound stupid ala Jewish Zombie tone. ) That usually shuts EVERYBODY up, because no one can make an argument against another religion that can't be applied to theirs as well.
I am not bothered by living in places where my atheism is less accepted.
The only time I feel uncomfortable is when I live in places like Provo, Utah (oh folks, have I got stories..!)
Where the minute the public finds out you are an atheist it becomes a living game of social Frogger. People -even well meaning people- believe they are doing you a favor by engaging you at the most inappropriate times and places.
I don't like being an atheist in a place that considers my atheism my only defining attribute.
When folks treat it like a detail that they do or do not agree with, that's one thing.
But when I'm made out to be a target or potential prey for a notch in the belt of some born agains or overly enthusiastic theists in large numbers? Makes day to day life really, really annoying.
I am 22 years old and I have not moved at all in my life. I plan on moving in the near future, but still in the same relative area.
My community is NOT open to very many philosophical ideas, including atheism. I seem to live in a very fundamentalist environment.
It does bother me, but you find the same thing anywhere else really..you could be talking to someone online from a different state and still feel the same awkwardness.
I remain here because most of my family lives close by. I cant afford to move just yet, but like I mentioned already, I plan on not moving too far away. I like my home town. I live in a small town with a major river flowing less then a mile away. I live in a very historical town. There is a certain beauty to this area, that I think you would only notice if you were raised here. I love to ride four wheeler...there are abandoned strip mining sites close by that are perfect for that hobby. I love to fish the river that is closed by. I learned how to swim there.
the only other thing i dont like about my hometown is that it's nearly impossible to find a job...I have to travel.
I'm going to post a few pictures if that's ok... also a few links.
I live in a pleasant sea side resort in South West England (N Somerset). Most of my friends and colleagues are atheist or agnostic. I am under the impression that despite a recent visit to the UK from the pope church attendance is dropping.
I was born here. Never really had the urge to leave as I know it well and I like it. Only religious pressure I had was at primary school where it was forced down my throat and if you questioned the faith you were punished and also at college where a bit of a crazy bunch heard I was a non believer and pestered me to join their silly club.
There are a lot of churches around here. 3 that I know of within a 5 min walk. I expect that number to drop over time even with the increasing and unmanageable population within the UK.
Attached is a pic of the sunset from my window. One of the reasons I like my little flat overlooking the bay.