Best Places to Live — A Journey of Exploration
By James Clayton Napier

“Truth is always present; one only needs to lift the iron lids of the mind to read its oracles.” — Ralph Waldo

When I was a teenager Ricky Nelson sang a song called “Travelin’ Man.”
“I’m a travelin’ man, made a lot of stops, All over the world….”
The role of travelin’ man was not my intention when I eyed my future. My intent was to find Paradise, move and work there, then live in Paradise the rest of my life.
I was 17 and growing up in the rural farming community of Alger, Ohio, population just under 1,000.
I read a book called “Where To Retire On a Small Income,” and said to myself, “THIS is for me!”
67 moves later (many of them short-term assignments)—20+ states—that’s what a career in broadcasting has done to (and for) my life, Paradise, to say the least, has been a bit elusive.
By now I’m able to reproduce a map of the United States in my mind. Why? Because I’ve spent hundreds of hours looking for my Shangri-La.
This involved studying maps here and abroad, and when I was in my twenties, spending several years traveling the U.S. by car, looking for THE ONE PLACE that spoke its Yes to me.
“Welcome! You’re home!”
Ah, those were the days. Such hope, enthusiasm, and excitement. Working here, there, everywhere, to make enough money to support my efforts on-the-road (driving America) to FIND THAT ONE PERFECT PLACE.
What did I expect to do there once I located it? Well, being young, I certainly didn’t plan to sit around in Paradise all day and waste the most creative years of my life.
THIS is where I would do the best work of my life: writing, painting, long walks along deserted beaches with sand, sea, foam, waves, seagulls, and a thousand breezy notions to guide my thoughts and destiny (and then journal about afterwards about these insights during the cool evening hours).
Ah, little did I realize, even then, how commercialized my dreamed about Paradises had already become.

On the Road Again

I loved the Oregon coast, Jekyll Island, Georgia, the Apostle Islands off the Northern tip of Wisconsin, Lake Michigan in Chicago—the Windy City, Sequim and Port Townsend in Washington State.
On a newly-minted afternoon, one of those picture-perfect days the local Chamber of Commerce should be snapping pictures of for its travel brochures, I stood close to the Pacific Ocean in Port Townsend and looked across its sparkling waters toward Victoria and Vancouver.
“THIS is it!” I told myself. “Perfection. You cannot do better than perfection. I must find a way to stay.”
Alas, to coin a phrase from a bygone era, it was not to be.
I was unable to find employment. When you have less than ninety dollars in your wallet (or purse), employment takes on a bit of an emergency quality, if you know what I mean.
I tried and tried but could not get anyone to offer me a job (summer season; we’ve already hired), and so I drove to Reno and by chance landed a job as a casino announcer.
That’s a story in and of itself. Reno was a pleasant and cozy city, I thought, especially compared to a sprawling Las Vegas whose summer heat I found unbearable.
I found an apartment on Robin Hood Drive (or Street); the irony of that was impossible to miss.
I loved my work, met people from all over the world, but a call from my Mother changed everything.
She had been taking care of my Mother who, at the time, was ill. Dad, she said, was in the hospital. A heart attack. I was needed in Texas.
Much water under the bridge since then, as they say.
I only planned to stay in Central Texas for a few months. Life had a few tricks up its sleeve and I stayed many years in the only state in which I seemed able to find employment.
When Dad passed away, I found a retirement home for Mom that just happened to be in the right place and showed up at the right time.
Mom settled in, loved Texas (my parents had retired there from factory jobs in Ohio), and now that she was happy again, my restlessness to find where I belonged, where I was meant to live and do the best work of my life stirred again.
Trips to New Mexico (yes, Santa Fe and Taos were lovely, but I still did not feel I had found my place). On through the Southern States my journeys continued: Florida, North Carolina (I did like Wilmington but…), Missouri, Illinois (something special about downtown Chicago, I thought, but too many people; so crowded and expensive), Wisconsin, Michigan, South Dakota, Colorado (which I would have loved twenty years ago before the real estate boom and water shortages of the Southwest).
“Well, what now?” I asked myself. “I’ve traveled everywhere and still no location or city speaks to me in the way I’d love to be spoken to. Surely, there’s an answer waiting for me somewhere. There must be.
“I know what I’ll do. I’ll purchase some of these cheap (inexpensive might be the favored word those who sell these reports prefer) relocation astrology charts.”
And so I did.
Talk about a mishmash of conflicting information. “Am I, I asked myself one night while pouring over all of them, going to base the rest of my life on charts ranging in price from $4.95 to about twenty dollars?
“One tells me go to this place, another says you belong in (no need to name the city for obvious reasons) for career, money, love, etc., and this one says “These three suggested areas are your best locations.”
No, I KNEW they weren’t my best places. Why? Because I’d been there. Seen them. These charts couldn’t pull the wool over my eyes (if wool pulling was actually intended). “I forgot. These are for entertainment only,” I told myself.
Yes, I know inner peace and psychological well-being are an inside job. Yet, I wanted to wake up each morning totally taken by the beauty and splendor that greeted my eyes. More than anything at the time THIS mattered most to me. “Career and family will follow from being in my best place,” I remember telling myself one evening.
By now, however, my life path had settled into a career I never imagined occurring.
I was a television broadcaster and some of my recommended places these inexpensive relocation charts mentioned were definite steps down career-wise.
If I worked in those markets (cities) they suggested, I didn’t stand a chance of ever being contacted by a larger television operation and offered better employment. Plus, the pay in television in many areas of the country is extremely low.
Salary was a consideration because yes, I had my own bills to pay, but there were people I cared about, believed in, and wanted to financially help jump-start their own businesses and find success in their creative endeavors.
Working exclusively, and merely for myself, did not suit my temperament. I knew I could not change the world but I wanted to be able to encourage and assist those I met, believed in, and felt—with backing from me— could make a go of things. This would require earning more than a barely-squeaking-by salary.
After all, in my heart of hearts, my dream has always been to be a philanthropist to others’ dreams.
Why not? It is, by my standards, a great way to live: giving rather than placing the emphasis of one’s life exclusively on getting, what I call living exclusively for I-Me-Mine.

Your Chart Documents Your Life

In Texas I met Cait Benten, a relocation astrologer. Cait’s been interested in astrology since her teenage years.
Astrology,” she told me, “is about the energies affecting your life. Through relocation astrology I find places where the difficult aspects of your birth chart become less harsh and where your best aspects get a chance to shine and function more fully on your behalf.”
“Let’s have a go at it,” I said.
It took Cait two days of exploring every aspect of my birth chart. “Now, look at this,” she said. “Look what happens when I relocate you to either Bar Harbor, Maine, or Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.”
“Hmmmm,” I said thoughtfully (I hope).
“Each chart I look at,” she told me, “if I were writing a book about that person’s life, would be as comprehensive and detailed as Tolstoy’s vast novel War and Peace.”
“You can see that much in a chart?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied. “Your Life Path, why you are here and what you were meant to do during your lifetime, it’s all laid out easily seen when looked at by an intuitive astrologer.”
So, based on her advice, here I am--writing this article from Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas.
Perfect? No place is perfect, but I do sense many of the difficult aspects of my birth chart, as Cait pointed out to me, are getting a chance to shine and function more fully on my behalf.
Recently I told the President of a national radio network about Cait’s work (and about other relocation astrologers as well) and he replied, “She—and they—are on the cutting edge of something new and very, very exciting.”
My own traveling adventures and story parallels a quote I read years ago by the poet Walt Whitman who said:
“Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, and the world before me, the long brown path before me treading wheresoever I choose. Henceforth I ask not good fortune, I myself am good fortune, strong and content I travel the open road.” --THE OPEN ROAD
Speaking of good fortune, I should mention here that for nine years I became the travel reporter for a CBS-TV affiliate in Texas, traveling the state with a photographer and finding unique stories to tell about unique people and out-of-the-way places for our daily Live at Five program!
More than 2,000 stories in nine years, many of them up-linked by satellite and seen all over the glob.
Life’s invisible threads at play!

What Do We Truly Want From Life?

The psychologist Abraham Maslow spoke about our human need for money, home—a sense of place, community and belongingness—our desire for love and appreciation, for expression of our creativity and our desire for self-actualization (becoming what we may be in this lifetime).
For most of us the prospect of a invigorating start in a new Location, a fresh start in life—re-energizes us. It brings about a feeling of what I call “holiday-consciousness.”
Why is holiday-consciousness important?
Because, as following quote indicates, the ability to notice and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us, no matter what my location may be, is vital.
Appreciation by us allows life to pour more of its substance [life] into us. “Energy,” the poet Blake wrote, “is eternal delight.”
“The moment we fully appreciate beauty we become more than what we were (it lightens our greed),” Assagioli wrote. “We live a moment of pure psychological health.” --Roberto Assagioli, founder of Psychosynthesis

Ready For Sightseeing?

“We are departing for the skies. Who has a mind for sightseeing?” the poet Rumi asked.
The skies here are not the “friendly skies” a certain airline has encouraged us to fly, but the skies of imagination.
A bit of wispy daydreaming on our part and, before you know it, we’re on our way--to our new home, new location, our vacation destination, to a new city, a new job, and new friends.
Before contacting a relocation astrologer like Cait Benten, I suggest you ask yourself (as I have), “What do I want for myself in this new moment?” (Janet Rainwater).
They do have a pesky way of asking you WHAT YOU TRULY WANT AND DESIRE before beginning their work on your chart.
If your answer is, “I’m not sure,” then I suggest you close your eyes and daydream.
First, try envisioning what your ideal day would be like.
When you do this, you are departing for the skies within.

Faith and Confidence in Your Future

All of us care about financial security. Money allows us to say “yes” to ourselves and new experiences of life. It is a bit costly to sample many of life’s delights (here and abroad), isn’t it?
Money, however, has no idea what we think OF or ABOUT it. It’s neutral in that sense. So, wherever you move--or even if you stay in your present location--your feelings about money (your scarcity consciousness/abundance consciousness quotient) will determine, even in Paradise, whether or not you feel financially secure.
Dr. John Diamond’s wonderful affirmation, “I have faith and confidence in my future. I am secure,” is worth taking along with you!
I’d like to share with you my personal favorite definition of security. “Security is not a place of ideological stability but a direction inspired by curiosity.”
How’s your direction and location-inspired-by-curiosity coming along these days?
Favorably, I hope!
Those of you who are about to retire, or have already, remember as you try to figure out whether to sell your home and buy an RV, take a cruise around the world, or settle into a retirement community, my advice is “Plan to keep busy.”
“The practice of idleness is not as easy as it sounds,” Alan DeVoe reminded us.
Ask those who have tried idleness and found it wanting!
To the rest of you, a few years away from that “idle” life you imagine will be so wonderful, you have plans to make--perhaps several or more moves are yet in your future--plus you have a big question to answer:
“What am I to do with the rest of my life?”
I’ve known people in the 80’s--and one woman in her 90’s--who were still trying to figure this out.
One thing’s for certain, to quote the philosopher Lao Tse, “If you do not change direction [assuming you are dissatisfied at present], you may end up where you are heading.”
Wise advice!
No matter what you decide, the chances are that, in our mobile society, you will move more often than you imagine.
As Willie Nelson sings, “On the road again, on the road again, makin’ music with my friends….”
Well, I don’t know about the music part. Friends, yes, because as the Spanish priest Baltashar Gracian pointed out over 400 years ago, and I’m paraphrasing him, “Friends are a second existence.”

What Dreams May Be

I had no idea when I was a teenage boy living in a rural Ohio farming community, that my dreams & travels (and moves), which were business and family related, would turn out to be invisible threads leading me to relocation/locational astrology.
I wish you all the best in your life choices. Consider relocation astrology if you feel stuck in this particular area of your life.
Allow me to pass along this superb quote from the Italian film-maker Fellini.
He wrote:
“There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life.”
The infinite passion of life!
German poet, scientist and author of “Faust,” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832 commented:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitation, the chance to draw back, always making for ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative, there is one elemental truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.”
Goethe goes on to observe that “A whole stream of events issues from the decision, working in our favor; all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance that no man could have dreamed would come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.”
Isn’t it possible, and I ask you to entertain and be curious about this, that the day we ask for a mountain to be moved from our life [whatever our current problems may be] and would be surprised if it doesn’t is the day it will move.

Pursue Your Bliss

I encourage you to “Follow your bliss,” as the great Joseph Campbell said we must.
Campbell also told his audiences that “Your sacred place is where you find yourself again and again.” --Joseph Campbell
How true!
Helping people like yourself find your sacred place is what relocation astrology is about.
Find a relocation astrologer who is dedicated and committed to helping YOU—especially one who loves people.
This, I can tell you, will make all the difference in the world in the care, time, and loving attention that a relocation astrologer gives to your life situation.
“This is really hard work,” I remember saying to Ms. Benten after she had spent nearly two days on my relocation issues.
“I love this work and cannot imagine anything else I would rather be doing right now,” she replied breezily.
Sidney Friedman in his book Your Mind Knows More Than You Do listed what he called 17 common, sensible, simple, yet for some reason, often unobserved means to gratification.
The first four are:
*Pursue the work you love to do.
*Seek the people you love to be with.
*Find the place you love to live.
*Appreciate each of these discoveries.

Joseph Campbell was right.
I know from my own experiences that “What counts is being where you feel you are in your place.”
So true.
And welcome home!

For more on one of many approaches to discovering your best city or place to live
Go to Cait Benten's website

James Clayton Napier worked in broadcast news for fifteen years and has taught broadcast news writing and reporting at three universities. E-mail:

Author's Bio: 

James Clayton Napier has worked in television and radio news many years in Texas. He has also taught broadcast news reporting and writing at three universities.