I moved from Springfield, Illinois to Seattle, Washington. Springfield is a town of just over a hundred and eleven thousand people. Yelp reports that Springfield has over 107 bars, 25 taverns, 373 restaurants, 57 hotels, 9 theaters, 7 bowling establishments, 1 water park and 1 man-made lake in its sixty square miles of land. Everything is family-friendly, it must be in order for the establishments to make enough money to survive. When I was working nights, the only places that stayed open all night, as far as I knew, besides a few grocery stores were the two Denny's and a Deja Vu adult establishment.
I didn't make much money so I stayed home on my nights off, which was bad because I lived with my mother and had to stay quiet in my room all night. I was actually glad to be back to work because work gave me an excuse to get out of the house. I thought about getting a place of my own, but under the same economic and social conditions was simply not worth it. Springfield was dominated by homogeneous white conservatives with a religious-centered power base, meaning that if you wanted to get a good-paying job, you got recruited at the right church. I refused to give up my autonomy, privacy and freedom of thought, otherwise I would have converted to Catholicism, but even converted Catholics are not held in much esteem.
The government of the state of Illinois is a fiscal disaster. Billions of dollars in debt and unsustainable pension obligation, with government officials often double-dipping from the government pension trough. It's easy enough to just Google "Illinois corruption" to find all the information you need. It's gotten to the point where politicians treat their offices like the finish-line after a campaign competition. Try the Illinois Corruption blog.
I finally had enough. If I was going to free myself, it was going to be in a place of my choosing. A place with vastly more people with a wider diversity of perspectives. A place where I could ally myself with enough like-minded people to have a modicum of political influence.
I planned for months on how I was going to get out of Springfield. I was terrified because I didn't know what to expect. I began to keep tabs on issues that would justify my leaving, and they accumulated. It's interesting how one begins to keep certain things in the front of one's memory to help with decisions. The biggest fear I had was two-fold. I was afraid that an employer would not be interested in me if I didn't live in the location I chose, and that a landlord would not be interested in me if I didn't have a job in the location I chose.
For a while my prediction rang true, but I persisted and finally found a place to call home, with enough savings to last me for a very long time. My months of self-imposed economic imprisonment while I saved my money paid off. At one point I was almost ready to chose homelessness anywhere but Springfield, Illinois.