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Take Two: Goodbye, City Life

Slaybaugh's new town, Pomeroy, Wash., is small enough that people can refer to their phone numbers by only the last four digits.
Slaybaugh's new town, Pomeroy, Wash., is small enough that people can refer to their phone numbers by only the last four digits.
Joanna Slaybaugh packs her computer into her station wagon on moving day.
/ Ketzel Levine, NPR
Joanna Slaybaugh packs her computer into her station wagon on moving day.

Some workers today are leaving job security -- and lucrative paychecks -- in mid-career, lured by pent-up ambitions or a change of pace. NPR's Ketzel Levine begins a series on people reinventing themselves with a report on Joanna Slaybaugh, who is trading her career at a headhunting firm for dreams of writing and a part-time job.

For nearly two decades, Slaybaugh worked in the world of finance. But she says she became disenchanted with her career in recent years, and with the sense of isolation that comes from living in a large city. Now she's moving from Seattle to Pomeroy, Wash., where she was born and where her parents still live.

There, she'll pursue her writing, and work in a store she's loved since childhood, the town's flower and gift shop, the Victorian Rose. She is 40 and divorced, with neither a trust fund nor an ambitious plan. But Slaybaugh sees a trend among her big-city friends, a movement she calls "Back to Mayberry." Like them, she's reinventing her life, and trying to find a sense of place.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


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