You sound like me years ago... From Florida, wanted higher pay, ratios and hey! how about that weather!? haha. I took a 3 month travel contract in San Bernardino... HATED it.. went back to Florida for a few years... decided I wanted to give san diego a shot and I was tired of making pennies working in florida... on a whim I applied and got 4 job offers within a week at multiple hospitals here in San Diego.. (ER exp)..mind you, I am single, no kids, no boyfriend, etc. my only expense payment is for my student loans and my current job requires me to take call. If I was not taking call I could NOT afford to live here. My 600 sq ft 1 bedroom apartment is $2100 a month. I have a pet which makes things more difficult with housing but my friend with no pets just got a 1 bedroom for $1600 in my neighborhood but doesn't have near the amenities that I do. rates for so cal are all within $10/hr in all the hospitals in the $45-$55 pay scale. sounds like a lot coming from NC but with taxes, and the increased pay of everything you'll be living paycheck to paycheck if you have any sort of monthly payment other than your utilities. I've been here 2 years and have had a great experience in san diego but I have come to realize that I will NEVER be able to afford housing here on my own. I am going back to NP school and will be returning back to Florida so I can scale back my hours and not be homeless in the process. My suggestion is to take a travel assignment in different areas and decide from there.