There are benefits to living off base and on base. And because we’re all human, we view those benefits differently. When Julie, our content manager, asked me to share a few benefits of living off base, I busted out laughing. Then I asked if she REALLY wanted to know my opinion on this.
Since you’re reading this, you know she said yes. So here we go.
Neighbors don’t give a darn. No one cares what rank my husband. Some neighbors speak, and others don’t even look our way. If a neighbor is a veteran by chance, they ask about hubby’s job and the number of years served, but they want to share their military service with us for the most part. And for that neighbor or two who doesn’t look our way. You already know, I’m waving and saying hello every time I see them. They usually cave and speak.
We find out about all the cool local spots. Living off base gives the opportunity to talk and meet with hometown families. They can tell you about the cool local places to eat, shop, and visit. I consider these neighbors my breathing Google. They volunteer this information most of the time. This benefit can also be a curse leaving you ducking and diving as you try pulling out of your driveway heading to the store.
Living off base while stationed OCONUS is always a great way to be immersed in the culture. You’ll learn the ropes real quick. My family has not lived off base while overseas, but we did live away from the main base. That forced us to get out in Japan from day one. Oh boy! How many times can you ride the same train route? Back and forth? It took my then 6 year old to get us straight. SMH
Visitors. Family and friends can come and go as they please. Ok, well, that is in reference to gaining base access. Cause don’t you ever, ever show up at my house unexpectedly. Just kidding. Come on in, have a seat. Let’s have a random conversation. Well, ok, we can start that again once we get a handle on COVID. If you have non-military guests visiting, they will need a visitor pass, or you will need to pick them up if you live on base.
Housing options. Off base housing gives you a wide selection. Search for a home that has a floor plan that fits your family. Size and layout are important as you accumulate “stuff.” You can also find a home that has all the bells and whistles you might want for your home.
Buying a home. Many military families want to buy a home. Living off base allows for this. Buy a house, hold on to it, and turn it into a rental. When priced right, it’s a great way to make a little extra income along the way.
Pets. On base housing has rules about certain pets and breeds. Even though some landlords may have similar rules, living off base allows you to search for your family’s needs when it comes to your pets.
The best part of living off base for me is escaping that fishbowl, and my husband having the separation of work and home. I also loved seeing the new sights and meeting the locals. Even with being stationed in the states, living on base can become too comfortable, causing you to only go to the commissary or the Exchange.
Regardless of your choice of on or off base, get out, explore, meet new people and make the best of every duty station.