So I'm sitting here holed up in my Ohio home, in the middle of a deep Arctic freeze, reviewing the bills for heat and electricity, and commencing my annual ponderance on whether or not I really want to stay in Ohio where winter seems to drag on for half the year.
Like many people, I telecommute for a living. So... theoretically, I can live wherever I want to, right?
My thoughts shift to the time when I took a road trip to the Deep South and observed a pattern: the casualties of Strip Mall America. What had once been the bustling centers of thriving small towns had been sadly abandoned in favor of the strip malls on the new state highway several miles away. Town after town of great old brick buildings -- all that space going to waste now, either vacant or warehousing trinkets and antiques or something equally non-vital. I figured the rent must be really cheap there.
The drawback, of course, would be a lack of community of like-minded people. ...Unless a bunch of like-minded people all had similar ideas and decided to collectively invest in these communities all at once.
Urban renewal (and New Urbanism) has been an ongoing trend in many American cities in the
Arctic tund North. I've seen grimy older neighborhoods spiffed up and turned into trendy, thriving communities thanks to the collective efforts of people with the vision to turn things around for the better.
If telecommuting has made it possible to live wherever you want to, why not start a telecommuting revolution by reclaiming these small Southern towns? With the skyrocketing cost of natural gas heating, it might just be a sensible thing to consider.