Washington Post reporter Chris Ingraham was just trying to find a story to write during the slow summer news season when he stumbled upon a list that ranks American counties in terms of desirability.
Called the ‘natural amenities index,’ it ranked places based on factors like weather, amount of sunshine and varied landscapes. Chris listed out data, as well as the so-called winners and losers on the list. Red Lake County in Minnesota ranked last on the list, which Chris mentioned in a headline-grabbing snarky way.
Chris received a lot of backlash on his story for Red Lake citizens, though it was considerably well mannered. Perhaps because everyone was so nice while still defending their home, Chris took up a local businessman’s invitation to travel there and see for himself.
He met many friendly people and livestock, explored the beauty of the landscape and was shown exceptional kindness by Red Lake folk. He couldn’t get the friendliness and slower pace of life out of his head — and eventually his wife Briana and their twin sons decided to move.
They were disenchanted by life in the D.C. Metro area — and the long commutes, the need for blood pressure medication at a young age, and not spending a lot of time with his young kids. They wanted to spend more time being a family, enjoying nature and having time for one another, and for reading and thinking.
Now Chris and his family are less worried for money and less pressed for time. They know their neighbors and feel like part of the community. They eat meals together and spend more time as a family.
Now Chris has come to see the ‘worst place to live’ as one of the best places to thrive, grow and change for the better.
“You don’t realize the hidden beauty that’s really everywhere,” Chris told KARE. And that’s something that can’t be measured by just data.
See Chris in his new environment below, and learn how we can all challenge our own assumptions and change our lives for the better…