"Some people maybe moved, but they miss their stores or they miss their family or they miss the ocean — that's their sacrifice," Ullman said. "The people who commute cut down on their free time and they're tired, so that was their choice."
"There's been quite a few that have been geographic bachelors," Gary P. Martin, deputy to the Communications-Electronics Command's commanding general, said in 2010. He was among them, living in Aberdeen for six months by himself in 2008 while his children finished the school year.
O'Connor is single with no children, which simplified the prospect of staying in Aberdeen during the week and driving to New Jersey on weekends. She's been living the dual-home life for three years now; she has 61/2 more to go before she expects to retire.
She says she has no regrets. Her three-bedroom mobile home is affordable, "cute" and big enough for visitors, and she didn't have to give up the house her parents built two blocks from the ocean. She's figured out the best route between the two, with country-western music as her soundtrack.
"I just sing all the way up, sing all the way back, because I know I'm going home to a good place and I'm coming here to a good place," O'Connor said. "I have a good job and a lot of Americans don't. I have no right to complain that I live in two nice places."