If the COVID-19 pandemic changed more than just your routine, you’re not alone. When the pandemic pared down our daily lives, it made it clear what matters to us most.
For a whole lot of people, it highlighted just how much we needed a change. The pandemic turned everyone’s world upside down. Maybe the experience showed you that your current city or career isn’t what you want anymore — but you aren’t yet sure what you do want. Maybe you need a new city to figure out your next chapter — a place with creativity, welcoming neighbors, and opportunities to grow so you can soul search about what you truly want. These cities are ready-made for soul searchers like you.
1. Eau Claire, Wis.
With a rapidly growing economy and fabulously welcoming neighbors, Eau Claire is a great place to find opportunities. You can try your hand at a new career, make new friends, and immerse yourself in the local arts scene. In addition, with lots of outdoor spaces, waterfronts, and parks, you can enjoy plenty of time in nature as you find yourself.
2. Grand Rapids, Mich.
Grand Rapids has the perfect variety of the staples a soul searcher needs. You’ll find a thriving creative community (just wait until you experience ArtPrize), booming breweries on every corner where you can make new friends, and an optimistic attitude from locals. In addition, Grand Rapids is just a short drive to the beach, where you can spend as much time gazing out at the waves of Lake Michigan while you consider what you want out of life. And when you’re ready to take the plunge into something new, Grand Rapids’ local economy will be glad to greet you.
3. Port Townsend, Wash.
With serene views of Puget Sound and an hour’s drive to the magical Olympic National Park, Port Townsend offers plenty of time and space for self-reflection. The city’s famous Victorian homes (Port Townsend has more than 300 of them) provide cozy backdrops for finding inspiration and resting your weary soul.
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4. Estes Park, Colo.
This city on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park is rife with opportunities to get outside and get to know yourself. It’s impossible not to feel inspired as you zoom down scenic Trail Ridge Road or wander among moose and black bears (the wildlife is plentiful in Estes Park.) If you need a night in a big city, Denver is just a quick jaunt away.
5. Corvallis, Ore.
This bustling college town boasts wide open spaces, thriving job opportunities, and miles of outdoor trails. Corvallis is even home to Christmas tree farms — it doesn’t get more idyllic than that. Get outside to hike and bike, sample the Willamette Valley’s growing wine offerings, or spend some time chatting with the locals, who make up one of the most highly educated workforces in the Northwest. Whichever you do first, you’re sure to draw inspiration and direction.
6. Juneau, Alaska
The Tongass National Forest near Juneau.
Sometimes, figuring out what you want out of life means making a big change of scenery — like leaving the Lower 48. Juneau’s proximity to the beautiful Tongass National Forest is reason enough in itself to make it a soul-searching destination, but it doesn’t stop there. The city’s growing economy and local-inspired community offer abundant opportunities for career growth and shaking up your routine.
7. Calistoga, Calif.
This cozy Napa Valley town offers a soothing pace and an invitation to get lost in nature. With an array of wineries (this is Napa, after all), natural hot springs, and rolling hills, Calistoga is the perfect place to ponder what’s next.
Read the original article on Livability.