Friday, April 17, 2015

Do You Wanna Be a Snowbird?

Snowbird: Informal: a person who vacations in or moves to a warmer climate during cold weather.

After three years of spending summers away from home (campground hosting) and struggling with all the work that needed to be done around our home and our rental properties, AND after struggling with running in the bad air that plagues our valley during the winter months, my husband and I realized that we are spending the wrong season away from home.  So we are planning to spend next winter in a warmer climate.

We learned from several of the couples we've met in our camp hosting adventures that there are no paying jobs in warm climates in winter.  The best we could do would be to find a situation where working a certain number of hours a week would pay for our trailer spot.  We decided that we would choose to afford to pay a reasonable monthly rent for a spot and will not be seeking work.  One of the considerations as we select a location will be availability of an affordable trailer spot.

So – where to go?  We’re too far west to consider going to Florida, and after spending a week in Phoenix for Spring Training last month, we confirmed our decision not to winter in the Phoenix area.  Why not?  Too many people; too much traffic.  We reached out to two couples we wanted to visit while we were in the area.  Both invited to cook dinner for us in their homes.  Wow, we thought, sounds great.  Until we had to drive there during drive time.  I’ll never complain about Salt Lake traffic again!  But we’ve broken the code.  In Phoenix, it’s less stress for even the most kitchen-phobic of individuals to prepare food than to drive to a restaurant in drive time.  But I digress…where to go? 

In reality, we would like to stay less than a day’s drive away from family and friends, so we’re looking at Southern Utah, the little corner of Arizona that hosts the Virgin River Gorge, and the southern tip of Nevada.  We ruled out St. George for the “too-many-people-too-much-traffic” reason, although we expect to use St. George as the “big city” for shopping and entertainment.  We’ve narrowed our search to three towns:  Hurricane, Utah; Beaver Dam, Arizona; and Mesquite, Nevada.

Now – what to do?  One of the nice things about camp hosting is that there is a work to do.  We’ll want to choose a location where we can get involved in the community, perhaps volunteer, and take advantage of outdoor recreation.  My list includes training for a marathon, golfing, fishing, sightseeing, and continuing our work with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. 

It’s time to evaluate the three locations, looking for availability of an affordable spot and availability of the activities we are looking for.  We’ll look at each of the three towns and compare our wish list with what’s available.  This should help us come to a final decision.   Wish us luck!

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