Here are some, lightly edited:

“Up here in Humboldt County, I am lucky enough to live surrounded by redwoods, with beaches less than five minutes away. A bike ride to work allows me to catch the morning sunrise over the ocean, view the river as I cross a bridge above it, followed by pedalling a winding road through cow pastures. I have all this natural beauty, yet still live only 12 minutes away by car from a college town where I am fortunate to work with students who give me hope for our future.” — Jennie Brown, Trinidad

“As a native of Los Angeles, I remember back in the 1980s when my boyfriend at the time drove me on the back of his motorcycle one winter. We traveled up to Mount Baldy to see the snow, then we rode all the way to Santa Monica Beach to watch the sunset — all in one day. How many people can say that?” — Pamela Fender, Rohnert Park

“My husband and I ended up in Sacramento by accident, and even avoided the city for years thanks to its cow-town reputation. Nine years after my visit, my family and I live just a few blocks from my favorite mansion on H Street, under a thick urban canopy of trees. Our daughters’ double stroller fits comfortably on the wide sidewalks, and we have our pick of walkable parks and restaurants, plus an easy bike ride to the Sacramento Kings’ arena.” — Tyler Whitmire, Sacramento

“In 1973, I was a schoolteacher living in Indiana when my brother and his family moved to San Diego. They invited the rest of us out for Christmas. My Aunt Susie, from Detroit, and I were lying in the sand next to the Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach, and she rolled over and said, ‘If we lived here, we could do this every day after school.’ I swear to you, I had never until that moment even thought about moving out of the Midwest. So I worked an extra year in Gary, Ind., and saved up $10,000 so I wouldn’t have to teach for a couple of years, moved to Leucadia in 1976 and never looked back.” — Julie Middleton, Sebastopol

“After growing up in Los Angeles, I now live among towering redwoods in a small town in the Santa Cruz Mountains. While weather frequently cuts both roads and power, I actually feel part of a close, supportive community. I have an orchard and a garden. The local wildlife occasionally lets me eat the bounty I grow. The tap water tastes great. The air smells fresh. I can hear the creek from my front porch. And it’s clean and quiet and green. It’s as close to paradise as I ever hope to get.” — Chris Finnie, Boulder Creek

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