a traveling Wife: Midwest vs. West Coast Living

Midwest vs. West Coast Living

Thursday, May 23, 2013

You probably know, if you have been reading for some time, that I used to live in Michigan then moved to California and I now live in Indiana. If this is all news to you then you must be living under a rock! I want to share my experiences with the difference of living in the Midwest compared to the West coast because I am clearly the expert.

I grew up in the Midwest and have lived in the Midwest on and off for 24ish years. But my 1.5ish years in California helped me put the two regions in perspective. The differences I am about to list are not exclusive because I could go on and on. Also, a majority of my time on the West coast was spent in Northern California and Reno, NV keepin' it classy.

Hills, Mountains & Flat land
Between Michigan and Indiana, the highest elevation is 1979 ft. About all you will see when driving through these two states is farmland, more farmland, and maybe a hill here or there.
Between California and Nevada, the highest elevation is 14,505 ft and this is where things get fun. You can drive through mountains, over mountains, ski down mountains, hike up mountains, or whatever your heart desires.

Lakes & Oceans
In case you are not good with your geography, the closest body of water you can get to from Michigan and Indiana is the Great Lakes otherwise known as HOMES - Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.
However, on the West coast you have the big Pacific Ocean.

Wine vs. Beer
Now I cannot be biased to either wine or beer because I love them both equally. I will say that the Midwest has a serious case of craft beer fever. If you are visiting Michigan or Indiana and you are not throwing back a few cold ones from a tap room then you are doing something wrong.
Now, lets talk about the West Coast. Californians love their California wine, especially the north. I don't think you can drive very far without noticing vineyards all along the expressway, again particularly in the north.

This is a tough one! The Midwest for sure experiences all seasons. From extreme humidity in the summer, the changing of the leaves colors in fall, blistering cold and snowing winters, to bee invested and wet springs. The West Coast can also be all of the above but with practically no humidity in the summer, less leave colors in the fall, a lot more snow or pure rainfall for winter, and an early spring.

This might be a completely controversial assumption but I am going to go there anyway. The Midwest's favorite sport to watch is Nascar. Yup, there is something they love about watching cars turn left around an oval track.
Now on the other hand, the West Coast's favorite sport to watch is the rodeo. Remember I said that I lived in Northern California and that was right by the Cowboy Capital of the World. Whether it be bull riding, barrel racing, and so on.

Do you live in the Midwest or the West Coast? 
Did I mention anything that was completely off?


  1. Ha, I'm from the Midwest so I know exactly what you mean. :)

  2. I've only been to the Midwest a couple of times... but this California girl loves her homeland :)

  3. Indiana has a bunch of wineries too. I've done several wine trails here and they're not bad. You should check them out!

  4. You must be the only person I have heard of that like beer and wine equally! :) I have never been to any of the places, but growing up in Norway and lived in Australia and Singapore, I think what you wrote sounded pretty much like a mix between the tropics and the winters in Australia vs Norway! :)

  5. I grew up in CO, but I was born in CA, and went to college at IU in IN. And hands down, the midwest has my heart. I couldn't explain it if I tried, I just love it!

  6. As soon as I saw the title for this post, I was SO EXCITED because I currently call Michigan home, but I am originally from the Bay Area (crazy, huh??). I grew up there and I thought, what will she say? I think your comparisons are pretty spot on. Now I'm interested more in finding out how you ended up in Cali and why you're in Indiana! :)


  7. I grew up and went to college (Purdue) in Indiana and have lived in California for almost 10 years. I'm so glad I grew up in the Midwest and consider possibly moving back when ready to start a family. The thing that troubles me is that the Midwest doesn't seem to be as thriving as the Bay Area, where I live. Here you have incredible job opportunities, tech hub, progressive ideas, innovation, surf & ski, diversity, wine country, and amazing eateries all around SF. I'm curious what part of the Midwest provides similar offerings? I'm eager to find a Midwest NorCal equivalent where I'll be happy in order to be closer to my family. Thoughts?

  8. Alright, so obviously you live near Oakdale... (You said Cowboy Capital and that looks like the Knight's Ferry bridge in your summer photo). We are thinking about moving to Mason City, IA for a job. My wife is a Canadian who grew up in the Ottawa area, but I'm a through and through California boy from Oakdale/Modesto/Stockton. Which do you think would be tougher, a Californian adjusting to life in IA of a Midwesterner adjust to life in CA?

  9. Thanks for posting this topic! I grew up in WI and moved to the Pacific Northwest one year ago. Life is similar in lots of ways, because people are people and I notice both places are pretty friendly. The difference I see is that the northwest is more progressive, diverse, and inclusive in many ways. Then again, there are communities back home in the Midwest that have some of those qualities too. I moved to Oregon to attend graduate school and am really debating whether to stay here when I'm done or move back to the Midwest!? I just don't know! Would be wonderful to be closer to my family though. I truly think that both places are pretty great in their own ways..


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