In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, our work habits have changed. In particular, employers are increasingly offering their employees the option to work from home. As a result, we’re witnessing a rise in mobility and connectivity, as well as an exodus from big, crowded cities to more remote destinations, where people can go to recharge while also continuing to work from a peaceful, serene place.
And nowadays, with proximity to the physical office no longer a requirement, some people have taken to retreating to smaller towns and natural destinations to expand the work-from-home scenario into work from anywhere. With that in mind, let’s take a look at one such town that represents a perfect destination for digital nomads and remote workers everywhere: Bend, Oregon.
An Amazing Location Nestled In Nature
Bend is located along the Deschutes River in Deschutes County. Specifically, it’s situated between two ecoregions: the Eastern Cascades Slopes and Foothills and the Deschutes River Valley. The natural landscape in Bend is diverse and imposing. From snowy mountains to bustling rivers, there are many places to reconnect with nature.
The Deschutes River runs through the city, and a dam forms the Mirror Pond. There is also the Pilot Butte, a lava dome that was created from an extinct volcano located in Bend. The city is also home to the Horse Lava Tube System, and the south of the city has the Newberry Volcano and Newberry National Volcanic Monument. To the southeast, you’ll also find the Pine Mountain Observatory, which is owned and operated by the University of Oregon, but which (under normal circumstances) allows the public to visit for viewings, as well.
A Jaw-Dropping National Park a Stone’s Throw Away
Crater Lake national park is just a 2-hour drive away. It is home to the deepest lake in the country which is known for its beautiful blue waters. Since the national park rests in the center of a dormant volcano, it is home to plenty of fascinating volcanic formations that inspire awe. The National Park Service recommends a wide variety of winter activities, tours, junior ranger activities, backcountry camping, scenic drives, and ranger programs to keep every member of the family busy. In this beautiful park, you can experience the thrill of becoming one with nature as your worries vanish like your cell phone reception.
Beautiful Weather All Year Round
Bend has a regular, semi-arid climate with warm days and cool nights, which is typical for the high desert region. Summertime in Bend brings big differences in temperatures between days and nights, and it’s not unheard of for hard frosts to occur even during the summer months. During the fall, days remain warm and dry, with temperatures sometimes reaching higher than normal, which is known as an Indian summer. The climate allows for everything from rafting and water sports in the summer to skiing and snowboarding in the winter. This brings us to one of the main reasons for choosing to pucker down in Bend, Oregon.
Central Oregon is the Center of Outdoor Action
The mentality of Bendites is oriented toward a healthy work-life balance, and many of the locals are lovers of the outdoors. There are unique scenery points, that are a hub for outdoor activities, scattered all throughout the region. In fact, Bend is a great destination in which to experience the great outdoors. In particular, it’s a top spot for recreational activities ranging from cross-country skiing, hiking, and biking to rock climbing, fishing, and rafting. All the hashtag warriors can be sure that the social media pictures of all their outdoor adventures are going to knock the socks off all their followers.
Small Town Charm, Big City Dreams
The cost of living in Bend is lower than in larger cities like Portland. Bend is balanced in terms of utilities and prices for groceries and entertainment. However, the rental real estate market is rather competitive with high demand and moderate supply. For instance, a rental apartment in Bend can start at $700 for a small apartment further away from the city center and go up to more than $2,300 for a larger apartment in the heart of the city. Whether you are a hotshot financial analyst, customer service representative, or lawn care specialist, you can definitely find something in your budget in this city. But, considering the volatility of the current market due to the pandemic, these rates may vary more widely at this time.
Although it’s a smaller city, Bend is actually recognized as a metropolis in the region. The art scene is also growing in Bend, and the city has made music and arts festivals a central focus. Although the pandemic has caused most festivals to be either postponed or canceled, the people of Bend still take pride in their culture and love for music and art. To that end, the city has two museums and many art galleries, and the art scene is open to anyone who wants to volunteer or begin a career in this field.
Move To A Robust Remote Worker Economy
While the job market in Bend is diverse, it’s also relatively limited with only a few major employers, in addition to entrepreneurs starting small businesses like local micro-breweries and restaurants. However, lately, the city has been focusing on attracting more industries, including tech and software development, as well as bioscience. This also includes the rise in remote jobs as more and more people choose to telecommute.
Bend is actually growing in popularity as a destination for remote workers, as well — 12.1% of its workforce telecommutes, according to Moving to Bend. Plus, as a remote worker, you can pick and choose — with the option to work from your rental apartment, various natural parks, or right next to a river.
The beauty of living in a place like Bend is that you’re always close to downtown, even if you live further away in a quiet corner close to a forest. Moreover, prior to the pandemic, Bend had also gained in popularity as a commuter town, with people working in major hubs like Seattle choosing to relocate here thanks to the lower cost of living and abundance of outdoor opportunities.
Coffee Shops Make Great Coworking Spaces
You are going to find yourself spoilt for choice when it comes to interesting locations for your remote working schedule. Downtown Bend has an old-world charm and character that is hard to match. The buildings and surrounding neighborhoods have a history that reeks from every brick. Sunny afternoons in tree-lined streets and cobblestone sidewalks feel like they are straight out of a postcard. Behind this charm, there is a chic, cosmopolitan center that offers plenty of locations for you to whip out your laptop and get busy.
The Old Mill District is another amazing location to idle away or be productive. The district is known for its shops, galleries, and restaurants, any of which should prove a fertile breeding ground for your creativity.
A Great Place To Call Home
Whether you decide to move to Bend for the nature, the growing and developing community, or the serenity of a smaller town, there are many options to choose from, and many people willing to help you on your journey. Best of all, the town is open and welcoming, and its residents are actively involved in promoting their home, with projects like Moving to Bend, which was built in collaboration with the local Chamber of Commerce.
There’s no shortage of things to do there — even now, with most places being closed and restrictions in place. Here, you can reconnect with nature and slow down a little to recharge and start fresh. But, before you move to Bend, make sure to research the area and the real estate market. Balance out the cost of living and take all of the necessary precautions for a safe and secure move to the area. While you’re at it, talk to the locals and find out how to best complete the move — either on your own or with the help of professionals. As always, be mindful of your physical and mental health, and stay safe during these uncertain times.