Thank you for the input, tomperanteau.
As I don't have any predefined home port, just a region, I suppose I'll have plenty of boats to consider. West Coast/Gulf Coast covers a lot of territory.
On another general approach topic - If you were a novice like me, wanting to spend a year or two learning to sail your boat before visiting a different continent, which coast would you prefer to be based on? The Gulf Coast obviously appeals due to access to the Caribbean (not to suggest it's a short jaunt from TX to San Blas), but it would be nice to have to avoid hurricane season. I know this is a ridiculously vague question, but where should a novice learn?
Other than Alaska, I've spent most my life in Colorado, hence my ignorance.