Kyle Conforti loves his job as an Orange County firefighter.
He’s just not a fan of the commute.
For the record, we’re not talking about dealing with Southern California’s interminable freeway traffic.
Conforti lives with his wife and two young children 2,000 miles away from the firehouse in a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee.
“(The rise in cost of living) outpaces my raises and income. So we finally just ran the numbers and figured out it would be cheaper to live out of state and have me commute back (by air),” Conforti told The Guardian.
The family is among hundreds of thousands of Californians who have exited the state in recent years. Their reasons are many: the high cost of housing, utilities, and gasoline; soaring crime rates, and dissatisfaction with public schools.
But some of those leaving California — like Conforti — remain tethered to the Golden State for their work.
The Guardian recently profiled Conforti, a 40-year-old employed by the Orange County Fire Authority. Not only does the family now own a four-bedroom home — they lived in a rental in California — it’s on an acre and has a stream that runs into a lake.
“At least now we’re putting money into something, rather than throwing it away on rent,” Conforti said. “If we could afford to live in California, we 100% would not have moved.”
When he returns to California next month, Conforti’s plan is to work for 10 days and nights (including a required rest day) before returning to Tennessee for the remainder of the month.
This arrangement is possible because of how Orange County Fire Authority and other first-responder agencies schedule their employees.