On this day 7 years ago I woke up in Rocky Point, New York at 3AM and drove to my 2BR apartment in North Hills in Raleigh, North Carolina. My parents helped me move by driving separately in my dad’s truck, which was full of everything I decided was worth keeping. (I’m still trying to simplify with less is more.)
Earlier that year Long Island was hit with a terrible ice and snowstorm. (Perhaps not as bad as the Long Island snowstorm that hit while I was visiting last year.) I remember it was Valentine’s Day 2007 and I was renting a teeny tiny cottage on Main Street in Setauket. My car was encased in ice. Even with chipping and pouring boiling water…it took 4 days for my car to thaw to the point where I was able to open a door.
During the storm I was stuck in the cottage and vowed to make it my last winter living on Long Island. I started searching online for other places to live in warmer climes. I considered Austin, Texas, then Charlotte, but I really really really liked what I read about Raleigh. I started applying for jobs right away.
With an out-of-state address it seemed more challenging finding a company that would be interested. As summer neared its end I decided to plan a trip to Raleigh. I revised my cover letter and called several places to let them know I would be in town and scheduling interviews should they be interested in considering me for the positions they had open.
After months of applications I finally had three interviews! I flew down, explored the area, interviewed…and out of the three interviews one turned into my first freelance client and another turned into my first job in North Carolina.
I don’t think I could have picked a better place to live, especially as a writer. There are so many benefits to being a writer in North Carolina:
- Health insurance. The first year I was buying health insurance for myself in North Carolina it was less than $120/month. Currently I pay $180/month. This is affordable and FAR less than what I would have paid if I still lived in New York, which back then amounted to $750+ monthly if I had purchased independently. Learn more about health insurance for writers.
- Literary community. There are rumors that North Carolina has more writers than any other state. The NC Writers Network describes our region (however awkwardly) as ‘the writingest state’. Having the built-in community of like-minded people helps us all grow our crafts.
- Inspiring. Our state is so beautiful and I am blown away daily by how gorgeous this area is. Creative events in cities, visits to the coast, time in the mountains, or simply being at home – every part of North Carolina feels like an invitation to imagine and write.
I’ll celebrate 7 years in North Carolina at lunch today with a writer-friend, and of course, cake.