My life has been incredibly enhanced by living in Boulder, Colorado for the last 15 years. Nothing against other cities, but I’ve visited over 200 American cities and can’t imagine living anywhere but Boulder. It’s no accident that Boulder has been on dozens of “Best Places to Live” lists.
Not that Seattle, San Francisco, Austin and other cities don’t have their assets. They’re just places I love to visit rather than live. Much like women I love being friends with, but wouldn’t want to date or marry. It all comes down to chemistry and Boulder’s got it in spades.
Where you live influences a lot in your personal and professional lives.
You are influenced by what you do and don’t have access to as far as people and circumstances. And your life gets better or worse depending on the people you surround yourself with and the opportunities you create for yourself.
Usually you have to choose between a thriving metropolis with a lot of industry or natural beauty in a place with populations so low that you can’t make a living there.
Boulder is a unique blend of inspiring natural beauty (I, and most other residents, can get on a bike and be in nature within 5 minutes – inside the city on miles of bike paths that run next to a creek) and the conveniences of a cosmopolitan city.
Since people choose to move here, there are a lot of former residents of LA, NY, Chicago and other big cities who brought their brains, tastes and contributions with them.
They wanted a higher quality of lifestyle than they could get in the concrete jungles. After attaining a certain level of connections and experience that allowed them to work virtually, they chose to pack up and move to the greener pastures of Boulder.
You get the benefits of a hip collegetown full of nature while being 35 miles from the 25th largest American city and 50 minutes from an international airport (with a scary blue horse) for more cultural stimulation.
Like any city, Boulder isn’t for everyone, but even if you love your current hometown, you may like my formula for “Why Boulder?”: Illustrious Entrepreneurs + Conscious Community = Impactful Influence.
The concentration of entrepreneurs here is astounding. It’s invigorating to live where the majority of the residents are actively dreaming and doing in ways that are progressively impacting local, national and international societies.
Most Boulderites are both mentally and physically active which is much more stimulating than being surrounded by a population of whining and complaining sloths. Boulder has those too, but luckily they’re a minority.
We were voted the “#1 Town to Live Well” in 2009 and “Smartest City in America” in 2007 and 2008 by Forbes magazine and we have an abundance of triathlete residents. Wellness has always been a big business in Boulder.
There’s a ton of tech start-ups, venture capitalists, natural food companies and green energy innovators among other industries. More importantly, when you click on the links I embedded in that last sentence you’ll see that they’re all concerned with creating community while concurrently creating a better world.
This one’s a double-edged sword. The leading edge business world mixes with a laid back lifestyle which is very cool.
Then there’s also a larger share of metaphysical-true-believers than most places have. It creates a very positive outlook but you have to watch out for the bite from new age dogma. Yes, even karma can become a dogma.
The conscious part of our community includes triple bottom line companies (people, planet, profits) being on the cutting edge (is that a passe term yet?) of sustainable products, services and ways of living.
Community is more than lip service in Boulder. We have the second largest tech Meetup in the country, bi-weekly coffee meetups with venture capitalists and tech enthusiasts, Bloggers and Beer, Podcamps, iVolunteer, Ignite Boulder, Social Media Club to name a small fraction of the Meetups and ways the community comes together just with social networking and technology interests. Not to mention great events in Denver like the ones the DaVinci Institute sponsors.
Throw in yoga, cycling, kayaking, personal development, spiritual pursuits, snowboarding, skiing, wine tasting, you name it and there are plenty of community events and projects for whatever you fancy.
The narcissistic businesses out for personal profit at the expense of others is present, but again it’s a minority. Hey, hypocrites live everywhere – sometimes in our own mirrors, dammit.
Boulder benefits from transplants from major cities the way America benefits from immigrants from all over the world.
What Boulder lacks in ethnic diversity it makes up for in the diversity of smart fun people here to collaborate together.
Having major companies like Sun Microsystems and IBM and start-ups that went big like Celestial Seasonings, Gaiam, Sounds True, Wild Oats (now Whole Foods) and Crocs located in Boulder probably drove this originally.
Now it comes from people hearing about Boulder and realizing they can have a more balanced lifestyle while still working in interesting professions. Hell, Crispin Porter, one of the largest ad firms in the world, moved their whole company with 500 employees to Boulder for the lifestyle.
In looking where you choose to live or not live be aware of how it influences you. What opportunities do you have or not have? Are you surrounded by the environment and types of people that rock your world? You’ve got one life as far as we can prove so far, so live it in a place you love.