“With 20 years worth of equity in their Studio City home, they jumped on an opportunity to open a high-end bed and breakfast in Lenox, Massachusetts, a resort town in the Berkshires.”

Starting Over in the Place of Your Dreams
Where to start over: free of economic realities, hardships and taxes?

The “Journal of 2020 Foresight” was all about, well, foresight.

  • What are the brand new trends and forces?
  • Which are the ones growing in importance?
  • Which current forces are losing their steam?
  • Which are the “wildcards” about to disrupt us in the future?
  • And, which have peaked or are reversing themselves?

The journal became a story about a significant trend reversal – from migration to California to a “Guide for Leaving California.”

But to where?

And, what is it about California, anyway?

Seems like everybody has an opinion.

Like the story of America itself, California is part myth and part tall tale.

For most of our country’s history the West and California in particular magnetized millions of flawed dreams for a better life.

Lewis and Clark Expedition

Lewis and Clark brought back specimens never-seen-by-white-men and harrowing tales of adventure on the rivers and trails east of the Mississippi River.

Mountain Men and Wagon Train Trails

Explorers, mountain men and fur trapping companies pushed farther west into the interior on paths and Native American trails.

Pony Express Briefly Connecting East to West

The Pony Express delivered news and love letters from back home friends and families for a brief time – connecting Missouri with California.

Gold Mining Ghost Town in Bodie, California

Gold fever infected permanently temporary easterners.

After the Civil War, Mark Twain arrived by stage coach, wrote “Roughing It” and filled it with tales of mining claims going bust in Virginia City and Carson City, Nevada on California’s border.

“Roughing It,” by Mark Twain

Before settling in to the newspaper and literary scene in San Francisco, he wandered throughout the Sierra Mountain range including Lake Tahoe and Mono Lake.

Moving West from Dust Bowl Farms

The railroad brought hordes of new merchants, residents and visitors.

The Great Depression and Dust Bowl brought laborers.

The “Mother Road” – Route 66 – brought automobiles and adventurous vacationers connecting Chicago and Santa Monica.

By the 1930s established east coast writers poked fun at California.

James Cain wrote an essay  about paradise – the civilization of Southern California.

“I shall attempt, in this piece, an appraisal of the civilization of Southern California, but it occurs to me that before I begin I had better give you some idea what the place looks like. 

Orange Crate Advertising

If you are like myself before I came here, you have formed, from Sunkist ads, newsreels, movie magazines, railroad folders, and so on, a somewhat false picture of it, and you will have to get rid of this before you can understand what I am trying to say.”

Cain marvels at the Metropolitan Water District.

Somehow water from somewhere else is piped into houses, onto lawns, and to fields and orchards, he wrote.

That somewhere, we’ll find out later, is a sore point, a very sore point to Owens Valley residents strung out along US 395.

For him roads were superb in every direction.

Southern California had become dependent on the car to a greater extent than any other place he knew.

“… as forty years ago it was dependent on the horse.”

He looks around and finds endless recreation facilities – country clubs, golf courses, riding ranches, tennis courts and public swimming pools.

“I have got so that if I go out for an afternoon’s drive, I usually wind up at Goebel’s Lion Farm, smoking a cigarette with Bert Parks, the chief attendant. 

God in Heaven, a cat is something to look at! 

I have followed all the doings out there faithfully, from the birth of the leopard cubs to the unfortunate fate of Jiggs when he strayed into a cage with two she-lions and got frightfully chewed up.”

Fashion Island Entrance in Newport Beach, California

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Forty years later, I remember the moment I drove west on MacArthur Blvd. and reached the peak with Fashion Island to my right.

There it was.

Something warm came over me.

I realized in that moment that I found my new home stretching out before me bordering the Pacific Ocean.

Cain describes it.

“About halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego is a small beach colony, called Balboa. 

It lies on a lagoon that makes in from the ocean, an inlet perhaps half a mile wide and two or three miles long. 

This must be fairly deep, as it is a deep, indigo blue. 

Magic Nights of Balboa Island, California

Now this patch of blue is the only thing for miles, nay for hundreds of miles, that can compete with the sunlight, and nullify it, so that you see things as they really are. 

As a result, Balboa seems a riot of color, although it is nothing but a collection of ordinary beach cottages when you get into it. 

You stop your car when you come to it, feast your eyes on it, as an Arab might feast his eyes on an oasis; think foolishly of paintings depicting Italy and other romantic places.” 

Flash forward to the spring of 2015.

According to the Los Angeles Times a USC Dornsife/Times poll finds seven in 10 Californians would rather live here than somewhere else.

Among the pluses cited:

  • weather,
  • family,
  • beaches,
  • culture and
  • diversity.

This as economic realities, hardships and taxes tarnish the California Dream.

“The power of dreams and desperation shielded the eyes from myriad hardships, and insults too: 

California — the land of fruits and nuts, emphasis on nuts. 

Take off the blinders and its current difficulties snap into relief: 

Clogged Freeways

traffic and crowds,

a faltering education system and

astonishing housing costs,

a sputtering job market and

high taxes.”

So where do the other 30% start over?

  • Somewhere else where you won’t be stuck in traffic.
  • Somewhere else where there are better schools if you are a parent.
  • Somewhere else where houses cost less.
  • Somewhere else where you can transfer to where your employer relocated.
  • Somewhere else where you pay lower taxes.

Tom Werman and his wife Suky parted ways with California in 2007.

Tom said he never thought his career would end, but he was wrong.

He was forced to walk away from the record industry.

The business had changed and that as an independent music producer, he no longer related to it.

Tom and Suky started a new bucket list.

Bed and Breakfast Dreams

They researched popular B&B’s in resort locations and narrowed their choices before they loaded up the moving van.

Eventually they took the plunge.

With 20 years worth of equity in their Studio City home, they jumped on an opportunity to open a high-end bed and breakfast in Lenox, Massachusetts, a resort town in the Berkshires.


(21) Spend the time to find the best places to live and invest. It will be worth your while. The great thing about living where others spend their vacation is the year round quality-of-life.

An excerpt from Book Three in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams.

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