The map showed up today. Needless to say, I got right to work on it. I was easily able to cross off many states, such as the Dakotas (boring enough while driving through; sorry, Dakotas), the desert states (nice to visit, but too hot), the southeast (no snow), Alaska, and Hawaii. Then I had to think through what other states I could cross off and ended with a few full states and parts of other states left. Still on the map were the west coast of Washington and Oregon, the northern coastline of California, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Colorado. From there, I picked out the following locations:
Why these? Of the available areas, these offered me the best opportunities for jobs, culture, and entertainment. Then I started looking up each of these.
Did you know that the cost of the average house in San Francisco is $751,600? See ya.
Did you know that Denver gets an average of 61 inches of snow each year? Outta here!
I looked at the list a lot, at the map, at the research (Wikipedia and City-Data.com, mostly), and did a lot of thinking. I've spent a lot of time talking about Portland. And thinking about Portland. It was a fun place to visit and I would very much like to go back. And I'm sure that Seattle is a great place as well. But they are a long way off, and I am very close to my family. Sorry, you two.
So I'm left with Philadelphia and Indianapolis. Both have great things about them. Of the two, I have spent some time (through work) in Philadelphia and enjoyed walking around the city. But Philly is very big, and I'm not much of a city person. That's still an option, as I could actually request a transfer to there through work, making life a bit easier. But right now, I'm looking at Indianapolis. They get a couple feet of snow every year, have average weather, it's just over double the distance to a majority of my family, and the average housing value, as of 2009, was about $120k.
I even looked at apartments and housing a bit. I can get a nice apartment to start out for less than I'm paying now. And I found some nice houses that I could easily save up for. I'm going to keep looking into this, but maybe I'll be posting from Indianapolis by next summer.