I often get asked variations on this subject. Things like, “Why am I not finding my community here,” “Should I stay in Asheville or move on,” and “I’m very spiritual, and I love the vibe. Should I move to Asheville?”
As with the most comprehensive and thoughtful replies, the answer begins with, “That depends…” It looks like the Magic 8 Ball is giving you a big fat “Maybe!”
For those seeking a spiritual connection, Asheville, NC, holds a magnetic allure. My husband and I moved here in 2014 with our two kids, and we love it! As a psychic medium, I understand how places can resonate with our souls, and I can tell you that Asheville has a vibe unlike any other. But should you pack your bags and call Asheville home?
I’ve taken some time to thoughtfully explore the pros and cons, and I’m also thankful to other locals on Reddit who helped contribute some feedback to the list below:
Pros of Moving to Asheville
- Warm and Welcoming Hospitality
Many people here greet strangers like old friends. Whether it’s hospitality workers who know their tips rely on their warmth and effervescence, or advanced spiritual workers who truly see the magnificence of your soul, it’s not unusual to feel the love when you’re here.
- Strength of Local Spiritual Providers
Most spiritual and holistic providers in Asheville are top-notch and greatly varied across multiple modalities. We have talented professionals for spiritual guidance, holistic healing, and of course, psychic and mediumship readings. If you’re looking for a community with a lot of spiritual, natural, and energy-based services to offer you, you’ve come to the right place.
- Seasonal Weather
Climate change affects the global community, of course, but the city of Asheville enjoys a bit of protection from the surrounding mountains, making our hottest days more bearable than many other locations. We also enjoy the experience of having all four seasons. Our winters, though often grey and dreary, typically will experience one or two snow events per year — just enough to enjoy the show. Then the plows come and clear it away, preventing cabin fever. The springs are beautiful, and the summers, hot but manageable. Then we have autumn… Wow! The crisp, cool air and colorful leaves are magical. Be sure to go for a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway!
- Spiritual Atmosphere
A wise spiritual leader would advise that you can find your spiritual path anywhere, but Asheville clearly has more variety and visible options than many other communities of its size. From the drum circle to churches, temples to mountains, you’re bound to find something here that helps you feel inspired to ascend to your highest level of spiritual growth in this incarnation.
- Variety of Worship Centers
All love-based faiths and belief systems are welcome here, and you’ll find we have a plethora of community- and faith-based organizations, whether denominational or nondenominational. We have Buddhist temples, Christian churches, Jewish temples, meditation centers, Catholic churches & a basilica, Humanist, Atheist, and Agnostic groups, all-faith community worship centers, and more.
- Focus on Education
The school system is highly rated. It’s ranked the fifth-best school district in the state of North Carolina. Asheville City Schools have a 93.5% graduation rate for the 2021-2022 school year. There is a branch of the University of North Carolina here, and the percentage of population with a bachelor’s degree or higher is above the state average.
I am a huge animal lover, and we moved here with five rescued animals: two cats and three large dogs. I love how dog-friendly Asheville is. There are several off-leash dog parks, and canines are often welcomed into retail stores and restaurants that have patios.
- Quirky, Liberal, and Progressive Mindset
In Asheville, you can be who you truly are, and find others who celebrate your uniqueness. Whether it’s jogging in your tutu or hula-hooping in an evening gown, Asheville embraces the quirky side of you. As long as you are loving and kind (and you’re a competent and considerate driver!), most residents won’t give your idiosyncrasies a second thought. If you see someone taking notice or snapping your photo, it’s likely because they want to brag about people who are, “Keeping Asheville Weird.”
The people I’ve encountered here are very accepting of all races, religions, lifestyles, sexual or gender orientations, etc. However, you should be aware that we don’t have a lot of racial diversity, despite the fact that most residents I know would welcome more people of color here.
Also, if you are extreme in your conservative politics, you might feel a bit out of place in this little hippie haven. Conversely, if you are extreme in your liberal politics, you might not like the vibe once you get outside of the city.
Cons of Moving to Asheville
- Challenging Job Market
Other than the low-paying, entry-level jobs, employment opportunities can be tight here, especially within the holistic and spiritual sectors. There are, of course, gig economy jobs, as well as plenty of jobs in retail, food service, and hospitality, but those jobs often don’t pay a living wage, requiring workers to live outside of Asheville and/or share housing with several roommates. It’s not necessarily that it’s difficult to find work, but there is a disparity between the wages and the cost of living.
It’s been said that you should BYOJ – Bring Your Own Job! And make sure that job has a steady source of income that doesn’t require local clients.
- Potential Competition for Holistic and Spiritual Work
If you’re a spiritual provider looking for work in this sector, be aware that many others are already offering a variety of related services. And be warned, many people moving to Asheville to pursue their dreams may dive into energetic or spiritual fields without the necessary skills or experience, muddying the waters. You might think you’re coming here to find your spiritual community, but it may take time before other providers see your value rather than perceiving you as another outsider competing with them. It may be helpful to ask yourself, “What do I bring to the community other than spirituality and good vibes?”
- Making Friends Outside of School Years
Some people visit Asheville, and they can feel the magical energy of this place resonating through their bones. (Read about Asheville’s Vortex here.) So, they may move here on a whim, filled with faith that the universe will provide. Yet, they may find it’s a challenge to get truly settled. This means many talented and warm-hearted people won’t stick around more than a year or two, creating a bit of a transient nature to the town, which ultimately means that making solid friendships might take a little extra effort and time.
Additionally, it can be hard to make friends if you’re past traditional school age regardless of your location, so you may need a few years to really get into the groove here.
It’s no surprise that a place popular with tourists may be popular with criminals as well. You should be aware that robberies, thefts, and assaults are higher here than both the state and national averages. Within the city limits, it’s rather common for opportunists to rummage through any unlocked vehicle, so you should always lock your car and take other common-sense safety and security measures.
In 2019, Mission Hospital, Asheville’s largest medical facility, was purchased by HCA. It was sold as a nonprofit to a for-profit company. Many people are lamenting this change, including both patients and healthcare workers. Asheville has a lack of children’s specialists as well. Additionally, it can be difficult to get appointments with both doctors and dentists, with some not even accepting new patients. This is also true of the mental health industry, where it can be hard to get in with experienced providers.
In a post-pandemic world, homelessness has increased, and it doesn’t help that the housing market is challenging even for those with a decent budget. See Drugs and Mental Health below for other issues that affect the homeless population disproportionately.
In the US, drug use has risen sharply among people 50 or older, and fatal drug overdose rates have increased in urban, suburban, and rural areas of the country. Asheville, too, has seen a rise in drug use and increased fatal overdoses. This drug use is also a contributing factor to the increase in the unhoused population.
- Mental Health
Mental illness has risen in the United States, with about 20% of people in the country experiencing some form of it. Additionally, anxiety or depression is on the rise up to 40 percent and higher, according to the CDC. While these increases are not exclusive to Asheville, the options for treatment here are limited (see Healthcare above), causing untreated mental health issues to be a contributing factor to Asheville’s diminishing feeling of safety, especially in the walkable areas of downtown and historic Haywood Road in West Asheville.
- Housing Market Challenges
While most U.S. cities are experiencing growth and increased rents, the housing market (for both buying and renting) here may have you calling upon higher powers for assistance! Obviously, your perception will be relative to wherever you’re coming from, but be aware that housing prices within the city limits are significantly higher than the average for the state of North Carolina. They are also not in keeping with average local wages. Additionally, there is simply not a sufficient quantity of housing, making even the rental mark challenging at times.
If you’re planning on joining or starting a crystal-loving commune, you may do very well. Otherwise, plan on having patience and a solid budget to cover your housing needs.
- City Planning and Infrastructure
Some residents will tell you that the city puts in significant effort to attract tourists, while neglecting its mid- to low-class citizens. There is also plenty of evidence that Asheville deals with a lot of growing pains, with the population growth exceeding what the infrastructure was created for. Traffic can be bumper to bumper in certain locations and at certain times of day. Highway construction, plumbing lines being replaced, and roads being repaved are all par for the course.
Falling in love with Asheville is easy! The friendly people, delicious food, spectacular natural landscapes, fun shops, breweries and bars, quirky eclecticism, colorful murals, walkable historic districts, active music and art scenes, spiritual energy, and many magical touches all add up to this amazing place I call home.
If you’ve got a great budget, close family or friends here, and a stable job you can bring with you, it might just be the place for you.
If you don’t have all of those three components at this time, you may just enjoy a fabulous vacation here. That will also give you the chance to explore the issues I’ve presented and see how they resonate with you.
Ultimately, the answer of whether to move here may be based on what you find during your visit; and of course, you can always consider some one-on-one personal guidance from your local Asheville psychic. I hear it’s better than a magic 8 ball! 😉
Love & Light,
Psychic Medium Kelly Palmatier
Channeling White Light Towards a Better World
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