American Culture

American mobility: all the places I’ve lived – February 2018 update

UPDATE: February, 6, 2018

Regular readers of S&R have probably been wondering – it’s been over a year since Sam moved. What gives?

It’s true, I do move around a lot. And last week I moved yet again, down the road about eight miles or so. This makes 35 places I have lived in my life.

The new digs are in the scenic Ridgegate Hills neighborhood on the southwest fringe of historic downtown Lone Tree, CO. It’s a lovely townhome, made all the more attractive by the fact it’s 700+ sq ft larger than the old place for basically the same price. Can’t beat that, huh?

Julie and I have talked about the difference between being in an apartment, which feels very temporary, and being in a home. This seems more like having an actual life, which is wonderful, given how transient most of my adult years have felt.

There’s lots more room for the dog to play, we’re right across the street from the Bluffs regional park, and if you’ve had three knee surgeries why wouldn’t you love hauling your ass up 30+ steps several times a day? It’s like someone built a beautiful home on top of a Stairmaster.

Life is good. How about you?


UPDATE: Nov. 3, 2016

If you’ve been around awhile, then yes, you have seen this item before. It originally posted in January 2008 and was updated on April 2010, May 2011, August 2013, July 2014 (when I arrived in Bend, OR) and then in December 2014.

I tend to move a lot, and now it’s happening again – although this time I’m so damned happy about it I can barely sit still. Today I’m moving in with my girlfriend, whom I adore.

The way this post works is that every time I pull up the tent and head off somewhere else, I refresh it and give people a chance to offer their thoughts on their own mobility and that of their families, friends and neighbors.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a life to enjoy.

We’ve become a very mobile culture. Education, jobs, adventure, marriage – there are a lot of things that call us away from home in ways that were unprecedented even a generation ago.

I’m like a lot of people in that I’ve moved around a lot, especially in the past few years. For instance, this is the 34th place I have lived in my life and today marks my 18th move since fall of 1993, with nine of them being of the interstate/cross-country variety.

Three or four times I was in a place for a couple years or more, so that means there have also been times when I moved more than once a year, with all the stress that comes with it. (The Denver to Seattle to Bend, OR and back to Denver loop in 15 months nearly killed me.) And this doesn’t even account for the times I moved back into the family home through the years – summers during college, for instance; I had multiple tours at 3870 Eastview Dr.

Move 16 was one of the hellish ones. The job market in Denver, the city I have come to regard as home, was terrible. So I finally gave up on working for myself – something I’m not well suited for anyway – and the result was a new job 1331 miles away in Seattle. That’s a significant upheaval by any standard.

What happened next was … well, maddening. Three months after I arrived the home office back east closed the Seattle operation and laid us all off. Perfect – on the beach in a city where you have no network, and worse, a city known for being cold to newcomers.

I survived, barely, working projects (primarily for the company that had just laid me off) and then, in spring, they pinged me about coming back full time. Except I’d need to move to their Bend office. Less than a year after I moved from Denver to Seattle.


But, about the time I got hired back the company got purchased by a larger agency, and as fortune would have it, this one had an office in Denver and loves it when people move around.


It’s been a couple years treading water in the 303. Great in some respects, stagnant in others.

Now I have found someone. Someone wonderful, And we’re going to give it a go, moving into … well, let’s be honest. We’re moving into an apartment complex in the middle of a mall in the suburbs.


Not really me, historically speaking. But I’m excited as hell for the adventure.

Maybe things are finally working out. Wish me luck.


Here’s the list of all the places I’ve lived in my life (that I can remember):

So, how about you? I’m guessing you’ve moved about a bit as well, huh?

Is this typical? What does all this mobility mean, I wonder….

Categories: American Culture, Economy

15 replies »

  1. In my case, which I’m sure is the case for many others, there were the moves over which I had no say (family moves while young), the moves over which I had little say (circumstances dictated that I move), and the moves I set out on for myself, even when circumstances might have been screaming, “just stay put!”

    Born in Richmond, VA, my first move was before I was two. Deadbeat Dad, keen to avoid some messy child support issues that didn’t involve my mother or me, and likely browbeaten by mom to keep supporting us, took us down to Ocean Springs, MS [1] to stay with his father and stepmother while he figured things out. From there he decided New Orleans was the place to be, and we moved to a no-tell motel in the Gentilly area [2]. That, in turn, was a stepping stone to a small shotgun house in the same area [3] that eventually led to little place in Kenner west of the airport [4], one of the last outposts of residential civilization before hitting the swamps between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

    At some point during that stay, Mom decided she’d had enough of his crap, and she took me back up to Richmond to stay with friends [5] until she could figure out next steps. That must not have worked too well, because that next step was right back to Kenner [6]. Soon after that, Dad found a new place a few blocks away [7] that, from my recollection, was a step backward in just about every way. Maybe it was cheaper, I don’t know. The new place was smaller, was right on the highway for a better experience of all the noise from passing 18-wheelers and the more than occasional auto accidents at the nearby “major” intersection, and left behind a pecan tree, fig tree, lemon tree, banana tree, and a fenced-in yard nestled deeply enough in the neighborhood where none of that noise could find us.

    Mom decided again she’d had enough of his crap, so when I was nine we moved off to a new neighborhood, sans deadbeat, in a nearby town I’d never even heard of, Harahan [8]. Times got rough, as they do, and that led to a cheaper place in a worse part of a different town, Jefferson [9]. Times got rougher, which led to me moving with friends of family [10], which got weird and led to me moving back with Mom [11] and on to trailer #1 [12] in a trailer park in the same town. That led to trailer #2 [13], which led to apartment #1 [14] across the highway, which led to apartment #2 [15] in the same building.

    At some point I finally had enough of the crap and moved to Ft. Benning, Georgia [16] courtesy of the US Army at the age of seventeen. That led to a required move to Ft. Ord, CA [17], followed by an ill-advised move back to apartment #2 [18].

    Good fortune and a relationship took me off to Destrehan, LA [19]. Ill fortune put me back in apartment #2 [20]. Better fortunes took me to New Orleans proper for the first time, in the Lakeview area [21], while I went to UNO. College adventures and the vicissitudes of personal dysfunction saw that I moved into an apartment in Mid-City [22], an apartment in the Garden District [23], an apartment in the Warehouse District [24] (counter to what the name implies, by far the most upscale, and truly so, of the bunch), and a summer stay in Westwego, LA [25] on the other side of the river.

    Next stop, associated with a change in college, was a move to Mandeville, LA [26], on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, a move to Hammond, LA to live in the dorms at SLU [27], an apartment off-campus [28], then back into the dorms [29], and…back to mom’s apartment [30], but this time apartment #1 as she’d moved back into it from apartment #2.

    The next stop was a nice shotgun home in Mid-City [31] when fortune took a turn for the better. When fortune played the fickle card, as it does, that took me back to apartment #2 [32]. Things improved, so I did the natural thing. I moved to Auckland, NZ [33]. That didn’t last long. Apartment #2 [34] came to the rescue, after which I got my own apartment in the same building [35].

    A massive (to me) upturn in my personal fortunes took me away to Alexandria, VA [36] where I lived with a friend while searching for my own place. Said place ended up being in Takoma Park, MD [37]. After a rousing round of musical housemates, I moved to a house technically also in Takoma Park [38], but just barely. Of course, the next place would be Pittsburgh, PA [39], right? Of course, because that, permanent move that it was, was but a stepping stone to Silver Spring, MD [40], the town on the other side of the street from the last place in Takoma Park.

    Conrad, MT [41] was just the next logical step. I’m about 99% sure this isn’t my final destination, however, but [42] is taking its sweet time figuring itself out.

  2. I’ve moved around a little bit. Lived in SW Connecticut for a couple of years. After that i moved to singapore for a few years, and then after that moved to seattle and thats where i am now. Welcome to Seattle where the weather is extremely depressing, the weather is beautiful when its sunny, traffic sucks and people cant drive.

  3. I guess I’m more attached to my home state than most people my age….I’m just not that mobile. While I’ve traveled a great deal – both work-related and personal adventures – I’ve only moved fourteen times since birth. Two of the moves during that time were within 1 1/2 mile radius of each other. So here’s my much less diverse list:

    North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Winston-Salem, NC – birth
    319 Gloria Avenue, Winston-Salem, NC
    Booneville, NC –
    Clemmonsville Road, Winston-Salem NC – for 16 months
    1429 Argonne Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC – for 38 months
    285 Cedar Drive, Winston-Salem, NC – for 13 years
    202 Jamison Dorm, UNC-G – for one year
    202 Mendenhall Dorm, UNC-G – for one year
    Lindley Park Apartments, Greensboro, NC – for four months
    Eller Road, Lexington (Midway), NC – 3 years
    1524 Denton Road, Thomasville, NC – 2 years
    2435 Friendship-Ledford Road, Winston-Salem, NC – 11 years
    2001 Motsinger Road, Winston-Salem, NC – 8 years
    Saddlechase Lane, Winston-Salem, NC – 4 years
    121 N. Spring Street, Winston-Salem, NC – one year
    Ashe County, NC – ongoing since 2011

    Needless to say any impending move due to the political climate of this state is not without a great deal many tears. Fortunately, I’ve found out that home is not a place….for me, home is anywhere I can be with Jim.

  4. Apparently, it’s about typical for Scrogues, who seem to average 1-2 years per abode.

    1. Sumter, SC (5)
    2. Main St, Bishopville, SC #1 (2)
    3. Main St, Bishopville, SC #2 (2)
    4. Main St, Bishopville, SC #3 (2)
    5. Ware County, Ga #1 (1)
    6. Ware County, Ga #2 (2)
    7. Brunel St. Waycross, Ga (1)
    8. Garlington Hts, Waycross, Ga. (3)
    9. Lagrange College, Lagrange, Ga (1)
    10. Waycross, Ga. (0.5)
    11. Atlanta, Ga (0.5)
    12. Decatur, Ga (1)
    13. Manjoru, SL, W. Africa (1.5)
    14. Kenema, SL, W. Africa (0.5)
    15. Houma, La #1 (1)
    16. Houma, La #2 (3)
    17. Athens, Ga (1)
    18. Winterville, Ga (2)
    19. St. Anne, IL (1)
    20. Aroma Park, IL (1)
    21. Kanakee, IL (2)
    22. Keota St., Chicago (3)
    23. Potts Point, Sydney, AUS (0.5)
    24. Paddington, Sydney, Aus (1.5)
    25. Woolhara, Sydney, Aus (2)
    26. Winnetka, IL (3)
    27. Mexico City (1)
    28. NYC (1)
    29. Winnetka, IL (2)
    30. Santa Monica (0.5)
    31. Winnetka (2.5)
    32. Chicago (3)
    33. Bloomington, IN (4)
    34. Chicago (1)
    35. Bloomington, IN

    South 45%
    West 1 %
    East 2%
    Midwest 37%
    Non-US 11%

    4 countries, 7 states.

  5. “this stop will finally be the one where I find happiness waiting for me.”
    Make it happen Sam, it’s a state of mind not a State of the Union.
    A good woman would be a good start, you can’t be a grumpy ass though, that shit don’t fly (G)

    As for moi, major stops were Boulder CO–>Kettering OH–>Charleston WV–>Marines both coasts/Okinawa/Japan/Philippines–>Huntington WV–>Arvada CO for 34 years and I’m home, you couldn’t blast me out of here with dynamite.

    • I’m going to be giving it my best shot, I assure you. I won’t be grumpy with the wimmins, but I will be me. That’s probably more than enough to scare all but the craziest away…..

      • When I finally stopped looking for my dream girl and gave up on ever finding love, she magically appeared and while we both agreed neither was the other’s dream mate we fell head over heels in love and were married three months later on Valentine’s Day 1987. I would wish that same serendipity for you Doctor Smith.

        Perhaps on a remote Pacific beach, as you amble aimlessly along with the snotty Scottie, photographing crabs and sea shells and mysteriously glowing Mountain Dew bottles rolling in the surf, you’ll see her, a comely mermaid basking on a kelp draped rock. And in typical “Sam I Am” form you’ll say something brusque and imperious like, “You’re not my dream girl, you don’t even have any damned legs!”

        And she, in a lusty dusky slightly sarcastic mermaid voice will answer back, “You’re not my dream man either pal, you don’t look a thing like Tom Selleck.” But you’ll go have drinks for the hell of it, discover that you’re both bat shit crazy in a very complementary way, and then that first kiss, tasting slightly but not unpleasantly of seawater and salmon and (BOOM!) Your goose is cooked…

        Love is funny that way.

  6. Wichita, KS
    Tulsa, OK
    St. Louis, MO
    Atlanta, GA
    Duluth, MN
    Lombard, IL (I started kindergarten here)
    Tulsa, OK (I went to 3 first grades as we kept moving around town)
    Independence, KS (started 7th grade here)
    Ft. Dix, NJ (just 4 months for Basic and AIT)
    Ft. Sill, OK (I was rather mad about this as I joined the Army to see the world and they sent me to Oklahoma)
    Ray Barracks, Friedberg, Germany
    Tulsa, OK (about 6 months)
    Emporia, KS
    Hannibal, MO
    Pittsburg, KS

  7. I’ve lived in three states but I guess I haven’t moved that much. I lived near Lombard, IL for 13 years RetroHound.

    I agree with Frank that happiness isn’t where you are but a state of mind. But I don’t think you need a woman to make you happy. Although, there are things you could do with a woman that would make you temporarily very, very happy. I think it is acceptable to be mildly unhappy. Those people walking around huge smiles on their faces all the time worry me. I’ve known some who were like that who were actually pretty mentally ill.

  8. I was there for the Ames addresses. Why the hell did you move around so much there? I mean, it’s not a huge town. Afraid you were missing something in a different neighborhood?

    Am thrilled for you on your latest move, btw. Huzzah!