When I tell people about the interesting, professional mix of people who live in Vermont’s very rural Northeast Kingdom (think no real Starbucks, no real public transportation, no Target, no Costco), I’m often greeted with surprise. The reaction is usually one of further surprise when I mention that there is a very real and obvious influx of professionals with young families moving into the area. I can only imagine this stream of professionals into Vermont will continue. Here’s why.
Why are Professionals Moving to Vermont with An Eye on the State’s rural Northeast Corner? Here are 7 Reasons.
1. Changing Views about Work. The old economy, you know, the way things were before the Wall Street, banking & housing crises, emphasized work, work, work ’til you drop. It promised that long hours would pave the way for company rewards and loyalty. Plus, you’d achieve The American Dream.
You’d have to be living in a cave to know that this is simply no longer the case. Rarely do young professionals stay at one job until they retire. Gone are the days of pensions. Gone are the rewards of “delaying” lifestyle gratification until retirement. Economic changes have illuminated corporate politics and bottom lines vs. good and hardworking people. Professionals, both young and experienced, know that what they worked for yesterday and have today, might be lost tomorrow. That includes the house and the 401K. Why wait until retirement to have the good life?
2. Reverse Brain Drain. Professionals are looking to
leave escape the rat race. They are less tolerant of preserving the status quo. They are educated and they know that they can use that knowledge to get where they want to go, especially in light of today’s technology which makes job portability possible. See below. And see #1: they aren’t going to wait to get results.
3. The Quest for Meaning & Purpose. Professionals are looking to give their lives meaning and purpose. Extended living in cities or suburbs where the focus is largely limited to getting ahead of your peers, friends, neighbors or classmates often strips the joy, meaning and purpose out of life. Vermont has a reputation for giving purpose, meaning and depth of living. After all, isn’t this why Vermont’s such a hot tourist destination? See below. And see #1 and #4.
4. Economics Are Driving Back-to-the Roots Lifestyles & Appreciation for the Basics. What better place than Vermont to acquire a more simple life that emphasizes work/life balance, appreciation for others and the environment, healthy living, and long term happiness? What better place to blend work/personal interests and hobbies, switch-up the pace of work/life altogether or start anew? Think homestead gardening, outdoor recreation, off-the-grid or minimal impact and homeschooling lifestyles. What better place to de-emphasize “stuff” and “money”–the things that once were the hallmark of success & the American Dream and focus on real living. See #1-7.
5. Technology. Today’s technology and changing workplace attitudes about flexible/remote work are creating opportunities for professionals to take their jobs elsewhere. Increasing numbers of companies have distributed employees and technology that enables secure, affordable and readily accessible use, even in rural Vermont. If professionals can move to a place that brings them joy, greater life meaning, closer to family or dreams, and keep their work, why not move to where they want to be day in and day out? See #2.
6. Family. Life is short, fragile and uncertain. Young professionals are well aware of this. As they think about their families or someday children, they are thinking about the environment in which they wish to raise kids, the opportunities that their surroundings will give their kids and laying roots. Vermont uniquely gives roots. Don’t believe me? Ask around and you’ll find out why people don’t leave Vermont or, if they do, they come back home after leaving the State. The allure of laying down family roots is powerful and meaningful. See #1 and #3.
7. Outdoor Adventure & Healthy Living. Vermont has won the Healthiest State Title Two years in a row! Must be there’s something to all that fresh, clean air, after all, don’t you think? With an internationally renowned multi-use trail system (Kingdom Trails) for mountain biking, cross-country skiing and running, mountains for hiking, VAST trails for snow sports like snowmobiling, affordable housing with land (yep, room to actually garden, hang a hammock or kick a ball around with your kids), clear lakes for swimming, kayaking and paddle surfing, ice and rock walls for climbing, and generally outstanding opportunities for four seasons of recreation and outdoor minded people, why live anywhere else? Psst…with the right clothing and accessories, it doesn’t have to be too cold to handle Vermont in the winter–and who doesn’t love an excuse to shop for clothes anyway? See #1-#6 above.
The original version of this post appeared at NEKMoms.com. Reprinted & Edited with Permission.