It’s a common question among military spouses, “where are you hoping to go next?”
But what if your PCS has you moving to that place at the bottom of your wish list? Believe it or not, most duty stations can be awesome if you know where to look. It's all in your approach. These four locations are like the who's-who of the bottom of soldiers' wish lists. But guess what? They are actually pretty great.
Fort Bliss, Texas. We are currently stationed at Fort Bliss and I love it. The weather is great and El Paso is known as being one of eight places on earth that always has perfect weather. How can you beat that? You are also within driving distance of Albuquerque, New Mexico, where we recently went to The Albuquerque International Balloon Festival, which was so much fun. White Sands National Monument in White Sands, New Mexico where you can sled on the sand, and Phoenix, Arizona are a little further but still drivable in about six hours. And if you love Mexican food there are tons of options close by.
Fort Irwin, California. When I asked my friend Christi about her family’s time at Fort Irwin she told me how much they love. "I dreaded going there but after being there a few months realized there were several things about it that were amazing for our family," she told me. "You become fast friends with the people stationed there because you are at everything together."
Christi said they are within a few hours' drive to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and beaches in Southern California. Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, Aquarium of the Pacific, Legoland and Disneyland are all within a three hour drive.
"The experiences we had as a family while being stationed at Fort Irwin brought our family closer together, provided us with great friends who are forever part of our family, and gave us a love for Southern California," she said.
Fort Drum, New York. The winters at Fort Drum are enough for me to not want to be stationed there. But when I asked my friend, Janelle, how she liked Fort Drum she said the place is an outdoor dream.
“If you love the outdoors this place is amazing for that. The area is beautiful, the falls are breathtaking. It's a hard adjustment with the winters but once you get plugged in most people fall in love with it and settle here. If you love all four seasons this is the place to be," she said.
Fort Polk, Louisiana. My friend Mandy said at a place like Fort Polk if you “adopt the attitude that 'we are all in it together' you can meet some amazing people and have a lot of fun."
Mandy said the key to Polk is getting out and trying new things with the many social groups and meet-ups in the area. Polk is geographically isolated -- but Mandy found that just created extra family time because there aren't a lot of extra distractions.
Whether you're ecstatic with your next duty station or reach for a tissue every time you think about it, remember that just like these four bases, every location has its hidden gems. You just need to know where to look.