Dating an america
The only thing any of our friends back East brought up when we mentioned Minnesota was subzero temperatures and mountains of snow.
(Mind you, it’s not like New York is a picnic in winter. It’s a Delta hub, and the convenient location — smack in the middle of America — means it’s as easy to get to Asia as Europe.
But the terrifying finality of such a long-distance move, coupled with an intimidating local rental market, inspired a different plan: to road trip around the U. until we found a place that checked all the right boxes (culturally rich, ethnically diverse, politically progressive, full of friendly locals, and affordable). Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Andrew had lived most of his life in one house.
In two separate legs totaling 16 months, we’d crisscross America multiple times by car, visiting some 40 states and 229 cities and towns, ticking off a lifetime’s worth of bucket-list diversions along the way (Badlands National Park! Before we met, he had flown on a plane exactly once.
HE SKEPTIC IN ME kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Sure, the mercury can hover around 6 degrees in winter, with the occasional dip below −30.
The molten center of the city’s Jucy Lucy hamburger can give you second-degree cheese burns. Still, as we drove past prim little cottages and stylish bungalows in handsome residential neighborhoods, we could so easily picture ourselves living here, planting flowers in the front yard, taking pottery classes at a local studio, and spending summer weekends on pontoon boats with our Minnesota Nice friends. magazine to spend a year hopping around Asia and Australia with my partner, Andrew.
The city’s groaning infrastructure couldn’t keep up with its growth.
Despite having friends there, despite the blue-dot politics and cheerful locals and legendary barbecue, the pluses didn’t outweigh the minuses.
Did we want to spend Saturday nights down at the rodeo, decked out in cowboy boots and bolo ties in Wimberley, Texas?
It was a slower burn, but no less infatuating — the kind where every day we found ourselves remarking out loud, and somewhat incredulously, on our good fortune. As travel writers finally looking to “settle down,” living somewhere that celebrates diversity was of utmost importance.