There is no denying that there is a huge migration of Californians moving to Tennessee. As a former Californian myself, I dig into what is causing this big move now?
As I moved here in 2015, Middle Tennesee and the Nashville area as a whole was already on the rise of popularity, and the economic projected growth was strong and active. As a place that was never on my “Places to Travel” list, it quickly became a place I could see myself living.
Many, like myself, first thoughts are, “I don’t even listen to country music,” when they considered making a move to the world-renounced capital of country music. (Also known as Music City.) What one quickly realizes is that Nashville is a hub for all good music, not just country. Once you live here, you will quickly realize that the caliber of musical talent here runs high. What Hollywood is for actors, Nashville is for musicians.
Not Only Music
There is no shortage of things to do in Tennessee. Sure, we are not by the Pacific Ocean, but we have lots of waterfalls, lakes, and rivers! Living a healthy outdoor life is the easiest thing about Tennessee. Try driving anywhere and NOT finding a park or trail. The state of TN offers dozens of expansive parks, not to mention lots of city and county parks. Then, there are hundreds of historic sites that offer indoor and outdoor cultural excursions. Californians, you will be exchanging a few Missions for hundreds of Civil War Battle sites situated among thousands of acres of verdant green.
Nashville is hot! Neighborhoods are being revitalized, homes renovated, and businesses are opening up left and right. Nashville holds a ton of attraction, people are genuinely nice (they won the title of “World's 8th Friendliest City”), the food is plentiful, it’s beautiful, interesting, and it’s growing fast! Nashville has niche neighborhoods like New York but on a smaller scale. You’ll hear 12-South, SoBro, West Nashville, Germantown, The Gulch, these are just neighborhoods and they all have their own draw and feel. One thing you will notice is that within each neighborhood, a strong sense of community can be found. “Love your neighbor” is not just a bible scripture here folks, people live and breathe this motto to the core, no matter the neighborhood. When you are here, you are family.
Room for Growth
Because Middle Tennessee is still growing there seems to be considerable support for anything that can’t easily be found here. Locally-owned businesses are included in this. Because the area is still building up its fine-dining scene and its cultural food scene, anything beyond biscuits and gravy (although this is a staple around here) is heavily applauded and supported. Small businesses are quickly adopted by the community and do really well here. Artists studios are frequented. This area is hungry for culture! Here in Franklin (20 minutes south of Nashville) we got our first Boba Tea shop two years ago (of course, I felt my dreams had been fulfilled) it was well-received and heartily supported by the community...mostly by folks who had never even heard of boba before (Gasp! Hush your mouth!). Now, Nashville does boast the country’s largest Kurdish immigrant population, but only recently has it blossomed to the forefront, been explored, and appreciated by locals. It’s pretty clear, Tennesseans are ready and wanting new things. It’s awesome!
Day one, you will notice how much cheaper life is here in comparison to CA. A LOT cheaper! Let’s just talk about car registration. Here in our county (Williamson) it is $76 (no lie!) to register your car the first time!! $54 just to renew your registration. You’ve just saved the cost of a plane ticket in comparison to CA!... Every year you’ll save! Have I mentioned there is no personal income tax in TN? Yes, there is a sales tax of 7% (and upwards of 8.7 in some cities) but no state income tax. Also, housing is affordable. The median home in Nashville is $290,000, compared to $752,000 in Los Angeles. Gas is also considerably cheaper.
I came to TN by way of Las Vegas (I know, ewe!). My husband and I had made two successful careers by sheer hard work, but our lives had taken a toll. We were living to work. No time to enjoy family or friends. We never even had time to make friends. Moving to the South and TN changed all that. We are still hard workers, but family time, not work time is more valued here in the South. As an employer, this does have its downfalls, but once you have embraced this notion that jobs just don’t compare to family, life changes for the good. The first year living in TN, we enjoyed more cook-outs, bonfires, dinners, and outings with neighbors and our kids than we ever did anywhere else.
The kid is sick? It’s your duty to take care of them and folks don’t make you feel guilty for doing so... because they are doing the same! My husband who works in hospitality has spent almost every holiday with us for the past few years, and never once did that happen outside TN, where holidays were vital money-making days not a time to be spent with family. Yes, families will flourish here and it’s a refreshing change experienced by the many, not the few.
The Real Truth
Moving to TN is not all sunshine and lollipops, it has it’s hang-ups too, like humid summers and drunk weather that could include hail, dangerous lightning, and an occasional tornado. And, it might take you a while to find a good Mexican, Chinese, and Sushi restaurant (they do exist!). But, overall, it’s a beautiful adventure that is life-changing and totally worth it. Ready for a new chapter in your life? Welcome to TN!