To move or not to move to the Lower Mainland?
If you asked me a year ago where I wanted to live in the province I would answer, without, a doubt, the Interior. Powder winters, scorching summers, friendly people, affordable housing, good economy, what's not to love? However now I'm not so sure.
My first week living in Merritt, 2014
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing where to live. Is it close to work? Is it close to family and friends? Is it an affordable area? I have been living in Kamloops for 13 months and for most of that time it ticked off most of the boxes. However now that I'm no longer working at the TV station in town I find there's less reasons for keeping me in the area. In true reporter fashion, I thought I would make a list of pros and cons of the Interior and Lower Mainland to help me decide if I should pick up and move.
Life in the Interior is just easier. At least that's what I would tell anyone based on my experience. Ski bunnies can be carving turns atop Harper Mountain iin 25 minutes flat or be at Sun Peaks in less than an hour. Another perk is getting four full seasons. More often than not you can expect a white Christmas as well blue-bird, scorching summer days spent lounging at the dozen of nearby lakes or floating down the Thompson River.
Skiing Harper Mountain in 2017
Chilling at Nicola Lake (Yes I always tan with Tim Hortons)
People can also actually buy a house in the Interior. My landlord bought his 2012, four-bedroom single detached home for $475,000 and condos start in the $175,000 range. As someone who flips condos on the side, the affordability and financial opportunities in Kamloops is a huge attractant.
As for drawbacks the Interior offers less job opportunities, especially in broadcasting. A quick job search shows there's slim to none TV reporting and radio announcing gigs in the city because people that have full time jobs hold onto them. This past fall I branched out and applied for a radio sales job in an effort to find some sort of employment in town. After six interviews for the position they decided to go with someone else. The whole experience left me with a bad taste in my mouth and a promise to myself I would do all I could to stay in the broadcast journalism industry.
The Lower Mainland
The biggest advantage living in the Lower Mainland is more jobs. One quick search of broadcast gigs this week brought up half a dozen pages of radio, TV production, and creative writing positions offering solid pay in the Metro Vancouver region. With a population of 2.8 million you also, naturally, have more selection of shopping centres, restaurants, concert venues and ski hills to choose from. A huge motivating factor me is also being closer to my family. Living at my parents this past month has shown me how much I miss being close to them, as well my sisters and childhood friends.
My younger sister Brittany and me
My Dad, Mom, and sisters
The most obvious pitfall of the Lower Mainland is the ridiculous cost of living. The average price of a single detached home in my hometown of Cloverdale is just shy of $1 million dollars. One million dollars to live in a place best known for the stench of manure, Smallville and the rodeo! ! Add to that heavier traffic and scary, stupid drivers and life is just more stressful in the valley.
A "million dollar home" in Cloverdale
The Fraser Valley
So what to do? Choose a quiet, more affordable lifestyle over career and family or vice versa? In my heart of hearts I know the choice I should make. If I do choose to leave the Interior, saying goodbye will be one of the most difficult choices I've ever made.
No one can have everything. At the end of the day there's comfort knowing I"m not the only one torn between head and heart.
Me in Merritt in 2014