The choice to move: External and internal factors

We’ve moved a lot in the last few years. Since 2010, we’ve tallied three continents, four cities. I sit here about 18 months into a contract (with 18 to go) and I start to think: Where next? 

Why is this? Why do I have this desire to prove the grass is always greener? 

My family didn’t mind the moves at first, but now they’re putting their feet down. I am not moving again. Not anytime soon. That’s my wife. My daughter, thinking we may be going back to Washington DC, is a little more cautiously optimistic. 

I’ve spent some time thinking about why I get the itch to go after a few years. 

Here’s the beginning of my thinking, which I look at two specific and opposite fields impacting me: external stimuli and internal stimuli.  

  • External is where you live

  • What the place is like 

  • The people who live there 

  • Things to do

  • The community 

  • The environment 


  • Is what you do with yourself 

  • The care and feeding you have for your internal life  

  • How much time the place gives you to pay attention to yourself, your family, whatever is important to you

  • The access you have to your creative juices

  • Stress free as can be

You think about your external life but the internal time is just as important. You can’t grow personally without caring for the internal. I know this intellectually, of course, but I have long prized the external over the internal. I have wanted to live in certain based on a quality of life index: walkability, interesting people, interesting things to do.

The drive for the external life has always been something of a balance. That’s because 

the conditions of the external has consequence with the internal: long hours, heavy work schedule, traffic, the general attitude. If it’s not the best place for you, it could add to your stress. And this matters. 

Perhaps, though, by pushing to make the external supreme, I discounted the internal. In fact, I never thought about the internal to make it an important part of my decision making process. 

The truth is, while I pine for something more external, living here certainly affords me the time to work on my internal life: my family, my hobbies, my creative projects. 

Perhaps I need to start focusing on that. Sure, I’d love to be able to walk more, but this place gives me a lot of time to read and write. I need to start using that to my advantage.   

Stay tuned.