Nicole Dieker (who has written for Boing Boing) is a journalist from Iowa who lived in Minneapolis, DC, Los Angeles, and Seattle before moving back to Iowa. In this story for Vox she explains why she moved (mainly, big cities are very expensive) and why she is happy in Cedar Rapids.
I'm paying $650 a month for a gorgeous studio with a view of the Cedar River and in-unit laundry. I'm the first tenant to occupy this apartment (and the first tenant to use its brand new appliances). Considering that my first Seattle apartment was a converted hotel room with no kitchen and a landlord who advised me to wash my dishes in a bus tub and dump the dishwater into the toilet — WHICH I DID, EVERY DAY — living in this apartment feels like living in another world.
Also, there's actually a pretty decent bus system. (I know, right? Everyone is surprised.) That, combined with a bike and the occasional Uber, meant I would be able to move back to the Midwest without having to buy a car.
I'm also not worried about money anymore. Part of that comes from having been able to take a well-paying freelance career — by which I mean $67K gross business income, $40K adjusted gross income — from a high-cost-of-living area to a lower-cost-of-living area, but the interesting thing is that my career has continued to grow, even after moving away from the contacts and clients I'd built in Seattle. I used to teach in-person writing classes at Seattle's Hugo House, for example; now I teach online classes for Hugo House and in-person classes at the Iowa Writers' House.
Image of Cedar Rapids: Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock