It’s not a question of naïve or abstract, it’s simply a matter that sometimes (not always) dreams require some degree of sacrifice to achieve and that sacrifice can take many forms. The fact is I’d say at least half the pilots in the country commute. You know why? Because flying was/is their dream and they get paid well to do something they enjoy. They’re willing to compromise and sacrifice so they can live where they want AND live their dream. As for the expense pilot’s can jumpseat to work for no cost and crashpads can be had for minimum expense so the economics of it are seldom prohibitive. That said no one wants to commute but it’s the price they pay.
As for domiciles what makes them desirable is what makes any place desirable (ease of getting to work, climate, cost of living etc). I don’t know the particulars of SEA but I know here at Hawaiian we have a large number of commuters from SEA so I have to believe the airlines with bases there would have even more pilots living there (vs LA which is expensive, has traffic etc). What you need to understand is airlines staff bases based on THEIR needs not yours and again there’s ZERO guarantee you’ll get the base you want right out of training (as I mentioned ATP will no longer guarantee your choice of location to instruct which begs the question if you won’t relocate how will you build time once you finish your training?).
I’m not trying to paint a dark picture but you need to be realistic about what this career is and isn’t. I get a sense you want someone to tell you YES if you wait around eventually you’ll get the base you want. The fact is you may BUT it may also take a while. You could get hired, get told you’ll be staying in SEA and due to staffing etc not end up there. Will you quit? I have a dear friend who’s been based in CLE for over 20yrs. Well his airline announced they’re closing that base this year. His ENTIRE life is in CLE. His home, career, family and his wife’s too. Guess what? He’s either moving or going to be commuting and he’s at the TOP of the seniority list.
Your original question was “should I keep looking?”. Only you can answer that question but if the chance that you may not spend your entire career at the location of your choice (or any of it for that matter) is a deal breaker then this may not be the job for you.