Growing up on the California Central Coast (SLO County) I never realized how great I had it until I moved away. I lived minutes from the ocean in Los Osos and went to Morro Bay High School--one of the few high schools in the country that's smack dab on the beach. Then I went to Point Loma Nazarene College (now University) which is in San Diego--and even closer to the water. In fact, my freshman dowm (Young Hall) was rated the best dorm in the country by Surfing magazine.
All that to say, I grew up in paradise and didn't know it. After college, I came out east (Penn State University) to experience seasons. Now I know CA has seasons, but nothing as extreme as out here, at least not on the central coast. Plus, I do have a lot of family out here (I was actually born in upstate New York), so that was another draw and it's been nice visiting with them.
I was out here for five long years before I ever went back to California (last December)--that's when I started to realize how much I had taken it for granted. I went again last August and now I'm going back for the holidays again and all I can think about is finding a job somewhere out there and making a home--back home.