For the past three years my husband Zaf and I have been discussing where we might move to when we retire. We live just north of Los Angeles, just a hop, skip and a jump into Ventura County. I love where we live; a developer in 1922 planted 120,000 trees! It has a small town feel to it with charming homes and lots of foliage. Alas, the new generation is moving in and some of these “re-modeled” homes are now modern monstrosities built almost to the curb with no front lawn or minimum side space to sow a seed. Less than 1 mile away, we find ourselves in one of the most traversed intersections ever experienced by humankind. The congestion in our area has grown to the point where you spend 15 minutes driving around in a parking lot looking for a space to park just to pick up a few groceries. This area is also earmarked for additional massive growth; it already has 2 major malls, which will be connected to another two major “public spaces” including a theater complex, stadium, hotel, restaurants, retail shops and condos. Before that ever happens, we are outta here!
We have explored the California desert area about two hours away – it has good and bad points. The lifestyle is easier, less traffic, more open spaces and limitless golf. The weather is comfortable about 5 months of the year and then increases to over 110 degrees as we enter late spring and summer months! It seems isolated as you are limited to a few neighboring towns but it is hours away from other places where we might want to visit and enjoy. It is too far from family which is not ideal for easy visits and any emergencies. Our medical services as they are set up right now, are all in our current neighborhood, so that must be addressed as well.
We also have gone exploring to the areas north of us in Ventura County. Some beautiful areas exist out there. The cost of a single family home is a bit higher there than what we would like; we don’t want to be “house” poor and we certainly don’t want a fixer upper, so that could be a sticking point. But the weather is mild year-round, the options to visit Santa Barbara, the Channel Islands, San Luis Obispo, Carmel and points further north are endless. This area is about ½ hour away from where we live now so it’s closer to doctors, family and friends, church, etc. Lots of golf courses for Zaf to pick from!
In addition to the actual location, we have explored the type of home that might be right for us: single homes vs. developments; specifically, the 55+ communities. The later seems to be a better choice for us. The ones we have visited are stunning. Houses come in all sizes, shapes and price range. We like the idea of neighbors being in the same age group as us and where the little children come to visit, but don’t stay indefinitely! We like the quiet and serenity of the walkways and greenery. HOA and Club dues are hefty but do provide services we would use, and we like the idea of a community sense of living so we can make friends easily.
You might be saying: “why stay in Southern California”? And that is another conversation I’ve had with Zaf for some time now. My entire family lives here; I cannot fathom life away from them to the point where I need to get on a plane to visit or make a four-hour drive. Zaf’s family lives 3 hours away and/or 3000 miles away on the East Coast, so he is not tied to a specific location as travel is already involved when visiting his family.
Who said retirement is easier? 🙂 So many decisions to be made to get there from where we are sitting right now…so onward I go…as time permits, I get busy exploring other areas that could be good possibilities for us and will share with you as we move towards 2021!
We are on it!
Photograph of our Southern California neighborhood from The Personal Collection of Helene and Zaf
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