Moving to the West Coast in The United States was nerve-wracking at first. I did not think that change was happening for me right after graduating from college. The East Coast was always home for me or at least I thought it was… You never know what a new home somewhere else in the world will do for you until you experience it for yourself. I had never moved out of my home state New Jersey (except for the time I lived in the Philippines for a year) and New Jersey was home for me for 22 years.
I’m planning to visit New Jersey again in less than two weeks and I am a bit nervous about this. Why? Because I have been accustomed to my life out west and I truly love how laid back the whole atmosphere is out here in the west. I have already made a life out here for myself that I would not think I’d learn to love. And, going back home may feel odd at first even if this was the state I was raised in. Those who have traveled from both sides of the coasts will know how different both are.
When moving over to the West Coast, I experienced something spiritually changing and magical. I discovered I was able to tackle my fears from putting myself out there to meet new people, going out there in the outdoors alone, and finding my way around cities I have never been to.
But, there were more things I picked up and learned as I moved here, some obvious and some learned from talking to others or discovering them. One big reason why I cherish the West Coast than the east is that I feel like the West Coast fits my personality better. Conclusion: The West Coast is the best coast.
These are all based on my unbiased opinions, please don’t take offense to what I will state. Here 20 things I learned when I moved to the West Coast:
1. There isn’t a huge emphasis on the clubbing or bar lifestyle.
Well, yeah I know there are bars and clubs everywhere in the country and even here in the west, but being more in the suburban part of Arizona and comparing that to New Jersey, I was more used to a life surrounded in a culture where going to clubs and drinking as a past-time was the thing. In the West Coast, they are more lowkey on this and a lot prefer a lot of crafted beer!
2. The roads are wider and you have time to not miss your exit.
This was something I like and don’t like. It feels like forever driving on the same road or highway, but there is a plus to it: having no excuse to not miss your exit. Compared to most places in the East Coast, being on the highway can be stuffed and you have to be prepared to take an exit.
3. There are mountains… everywhere.
The East Coast is not huge on mountains and if they are, they’re not everywhere. There so many mountains to find out west and it’s just perfect for nature lovers or adventure seekers. This creates so many options to do fun outdoor activities and who doesn’t want to live that lifestyle? This leads to my next point.
4. People in the west are probably healthier.
You have several options for different outdoor activities to pursue. There is a lot of sun to sometimes soak up that vitamin D. Research also says that living close to nature and spending a lot of time outside is good for you with several health benefits. What does this mean if a place has healthier people? The more you’ll be influenced to pursue healthiness! And it means paying less for doctor appointments, health insurance, life insurance, and all the in-betweens that go along with medical stuff.
5. When people say others are friendlier out west, believe them.
When I was living in the east, it was normal to not receive a greeting of “hello” or “good morning” and so, I learned no one probably greeted anyone like that on a daily. When I moved west and especially started hiking the trails here, I would get over 10 hellos! It was a cultural shock at first. I also never had a problem with anyone who worked in customer service out west because a lot of these workers are understanding and willing to do their best to serve.
6. It’s slower out in the West Coast.
I love this, personally. I love a slower environment than one that gets you constantly moving on your feet non-stop and you have to rush, rush, rush. This rushy environment mentality was more experienced for me in the Northeast. I hated that. It’s also part of the reason why I talk so fast because talking fast is picked up so easily there.
7. The sunsets are out-of-this-world!
I mean, all sunsets are considered almost beautiful. But, something tells me a place where you can see the sky more (mostly in big states with a lot of open space), the sky will look bigger and better to the human eye. The sunsets I’ve seen out here are also somewhat more vivid and picturesque than what I’ve seen in the Northeast. Hmm?
8. There are a lot more places to escape to for nature.
You can put ‘mountains’ under this category once again, but I feel like there is much more of a diversity of nature to find in West Coast states. Forests? Check. Lakes? Check. Beaches? Check. Gardens? Check. I think there are too many options than suburban places, cities, and rural places from the east.
9. I can get in touch with my religion side, once again.
Being swept into certain lifestyles out east, I do not meet too many people who are big on religion or care for it. I still care about having religious values and being devoted to God to remind me of my purpose. Raised and born Catholic and haven’t been as in touch during high school and college, I actually somehow was led to a big group of friends here that are Mormon/LDS and I converted in 2021 as one!
10. People here love to gather with each other for outdoor activities and welcoming recreational events.
From my point about Mormonism, they have an emphasis on gathering with other members in their church through recreational events. I LOVE that. It helps you to meet new people and for you to get out there to have fun. Instead of always relying on your small tight-knit group of friends (like I did a lot in the east), you can have a huge social circle to share more memories with.
11. The food is banging.
The East Coast has amazingly great food too, but here in Arizona, the Spanish food is exceptional. Whenever I visited California and Hawaii, there are so many options for Asian food. You can’t say the food isn’t diversified or cooked well out here! There are also so many similar food chains that you can find on the east mixed in here in the west.
12. It’s a lot easier to make friends here.
It was hard for the first 5 months when I moved because I had zero friends. (Does your dates that completely ghosted you count as ‘friends’? I don’t think so!) But, thanks to the Bumble app along with the BFF option, I was able to reach out to those who were interested in becoming my friend. I found it easier here in the west to relate to people and meet laid back people.
13. Laid back culture = less toxicity and more focus on wanting to get out there.
I love how people here in the west knows how to relax, and I mean relax. I hardly even went camping or did interesting outdoor stuff in the east as much as I did it out here because in the east, I was just caught up just relaxing on the shore and back to hyped up environments, meeting people along the way who wouldn’t become my friend due to fall-outs that you can get caught up in easily.
14. There is good weather most of the time and LOTS of sunshine.
I love this! I am quite a snowbird too. I don’t like when a place is too hot (and that’s why I want to go to New Jersey in the summer rather than be in Arizona). Weather, personally, can affect my mood. In the winter, it’s great in the West Coast most of the time and I have no problem being here. Shorts and sandals in the middle of the winter season? Check.
15. Lots of national parks in a western state? Heck yeah!
I find that there are more intriguing national parks to discover on the west than there are out east. I think that you can still find some national monuments and national historic sites on the east, but the grand ole national parks? I don’t know. National parks are an abundance out west.
16. It’s a geologist’s dream.
Want to learn more on the rich US history? I say go to the East Coast. Want to see hands-on evidence on geological creations? The West Coast has a TON of it.
17. You will appreciate doing a road trip out west.
I know you can do road trips everywhere, but the road trips out west don’t have to include a drive through tight roads and trees. In the west, you might see nice big mountains, bigger trees, and unexpected formations. Plus, in smaller states (most commonly found in the east), you might not go as far as you want in a state.
18. You have the ability to save more money.
When I moved over here west, I noticed (along with my parents) so many people eat out and most of the restaurants get packed. I truly think restaurants, even those in non-popular areas, can strive through more areas out west. You’re probably thinking what does this have to do with anything? Well, it’s a sign these people are probably saving more from their finances and other expenses to be able to treat themselves to good food, not once but daily.
Also, as I said, bars and clubs aren’t promoted as heavily, which includes helping you save money from those unreasonably pricey drinks. There are also lower property taxes and taxes on homes in most areas in the west.
19. You can make a U-turn a lot with no problem.
Absolutely love this too. In New Jersey, there are jughandles (or also called as a Jersey left) you have to get around to make your simple U-turn. It takes too much time out of your drive. I love that many roads in the west allows you to make that turn by scooping around a curb.
20. You can meet people from all over the country!
From my experience, it was easier and a lot more common to meet all walks of life that came from several different states. This was the most interesting part of my journey of living in the west. I get to learn about different states and what each one offered and what each culture was like upon hearing it from those who grew up in there. Also, I get to hear stories from all these people why they moved to this West Coast state.
The Take Away:
I highly recommend you take that plunge to move west if you can. If you feel miserable living on the east side of the country, give living out west a try. There are many perks I have mentioned and you will change your life for the better. Take it from someone who lived on both sides and traveled to also both sides for so many years. 😉