When you transition from living on the East Coast to making a home on the West Coast, you may find the differences vast, even overwhelming. That's especially true if you're switching climates as well as coasts - if, for instance, you're moving from Augusta, Maine to San Diego, California.
Below are four differences that especially require a period of adjustment.
1. Time Zones
Since Pacific Standard Time is three hours behind Eastern Standard Time, you'll have to get used to watching live events like the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards at earlier hours. Also, you'll probably need to call your friends and relatives back east earlier in the day.
There are many exceptions to this rule of thumb, but general cost of living is less on the West Coast than on the East Coast. Real estate prices are often cheaper, and utilities are frequently less expensive.
Consider that Boston's utility rates, on average, are about 55 percent higher than San Francisco's, and that the difference in latitude between Boston (42) and San Francisco (37) is only a few hundred miles.
3. Earthquakes and Weather
The risk of damaging earthquakes is higher on the West Coast, and the Pacific Northwest in particular could one day face a devastating tsunami. It's important to have sufficient natural disaster insurance and to create emergency plans for your entire family.
On the bright side, true hurricanes don't strike the West Coast, and snowstorms are typically milder (at lower elevations) because of the lower humidity.
4. Outdoor Lifestyles
People love the outdoors on the West Coast. Obviously, many East Coast residents treasure nature, but out west, residents engage in outdoor activities whenever possible. The region is home to national parks like Death Valley and Yosemite, and there are mountains, deserts, temperate rain forests, and outstanding conditions for surfing and skiing. Plus, since Pacific sunsets are hard to resist, many folks linger outside well into the evening.
Expect some of your new friends to be outdoor enthusiasts, and be aware that extreme sports like kite surfing and paragliding are popular in certain areas.
Moving from the East Coast to the West Coast can be an exceptionally fun experience. The West, in many places, boasts a laid-back culture and a robust job market. As soon as you pull up to your new home, you might feel your pioneer spirit awakening; you might also have an urge to immediately take in as many sights as possible!