Am I Crazy for Wanting to Move to the Triangle Area / Raleigh from Los Angeles? I Need Some Pessimism / Reality Check.
I lived in LA for 12 years and moved ot Raleigh with my former fiancé almost 7 years ago. I felt very at home in LA but had wanted to leave for a lot of the same reasons you do. In addition, the tech scene in LA was not the same as it is now but was doing well in Raleigh (I also work in tech).
I own a house here in Raleigh, I have a yard. I love my house and I really like the freedom of it. A friend has a condo at a similar price in LA but he bought during the downturn and lives with many more restrictions.
Here's what I miss about LA:
The weather. Raleigh has really good weather, but no one holds a candle to SoCal. It gets very hot here (I don't mind), but there are still mild winters. It's not that the weather here is bad, it's just that you get more gorgeous days than you can use in LA.
Being in a major city. Some things simply don't happen here. Large music acts, limited release movies, speaking engagements from writers, political leaders, celebrities. Major cities get direct flights, Raleigh basically never does. Simply put, Raleigh is not important to people who don't live here.
Friends wanting to visit. Corollary to the above, friends from out of town will sometimes visit, and it's just to see you. That's great. But only twice has a friend said: "hey I'm in town, want to hang out?", this is not hugely important but it is a factor, especially if you will miss your LA friends and hope they visit you.
Overall Mindset. The west coast has an open mindset by default I feel. People embrace a lot of different lifestyles. Raleigh is pretty liberal and open, but it's not quite the same.
Diverse music scene. This is a personal one, but there's not much of a punk scene in Raleigh. Not much of a rap scene or techno scene. The rock is awesome here, but that's the main music.
But! Raleigh is awesome. And especially if you want a little slower pace of life. It's a growing city, a great place to raise a family, and still a city with lots to do if you look for it. College sports are big. Breweries are big. The traffic here is mellow (but everyone tailgates) so you'll learn to forget your road rage. You can be active and have an influence in city and county politics.
It's a great place to live. I miss LA, but I haven't considered moving back very heavily at this point.