Pondering where to Move

Published at 15:34 on 30 October 2011

I believe I will soon be working full time again. It’s far from a sure thing, of course, seeing as how I have yet to interview in person with them, but the vibes I got over the phone were that I was basically their top candidate and unless I seriously blow things, I’ll get the job. Moreover, it would negate all the effort I recently spent erecting a shortwave listening antenna, and there has always been a strong element of Murphy’s Law in all of my job searches.

That is because the job is in a place where it is most definitely not pleasant to commute to from where I currently am living. I told my landlord/housemate when I moved in that it might be necessary to move in such a situation (and he’s understanding, there are a lot of nightmare commutes in the Seattle area), so that’s no problem. The issue is where to move.

It’s in Bellevue, east of Lake Washington, an area that I once heard very accurately described as “Orange County with Fir Trees”. It has much of the same plasticky yet vaguely upscale feel that its California namesake does. So one option is to live someplace in Seattle from where I can catch an express bus to work. Another option is to live further east in Issaquah, which alas still has much of the same aesthetic as Bellevue but at which also has the advantage of a small older core that feels much nicer (it predates the suburbia era, having been built as a logging and mining town). Moreover, Issaquah abuts many square miles of state park and state forest land.

It’s really difficult to discern which option is better. Given that I usually don’t do much Big City stuff these days, it probably means that it will be a net win to be closer (much closer, in fact) to the foothills. But it’s still an area that I have absolutely no friends in, so I have worries about social isolation. Which can be solved by trips to the city, of course — but such induced trips effectively negate much of the advantage of being closer to nature.

Issaquah is still probably very slightly better, because there’s far more of Seattle easily accessible via bus from Issaquah than there is nature easily accessible via bus from Seattle. And when I do have to drive to get to nature from Issaquah, I can head east and be out of the megalopolis almost immediately (country driving is both more fuel efficient and a heck of a lot more pleasant than urban driving).

But it’s a slight enough advantage that the particulars are probably going to dominate. If I can find a home in Issaquah or the Central District that strongly appeals to me, that will instantly tip the scales.

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