Sep 2, 2010

Farewell Rochester, Hello San Diego

Six years ago I moved to Rochester, a city that at the time I had only vague recognition of, to start my life as a college student at RIT. In those past six years I've gotten to know and grown to like the city I began my "adult life" in, despite the horrid winters. Having grown personally a great deal in Rochester over the past six years, I've come to consider Rochester my "home" (over my parents' home in Williamsport, PA). After college, I decided to continue working independently based out of Rochester to do freelancing full-time. Since then I've had the opportunity to meet and work with many great people, especially at Coworking Rochester, who have greatly enriched my daily life.

But, the past nine months have had me itching for a change. Many of my college friends have moved on, and somehow there seems like there's less for me in Rochester than there was when I was a college student. The winters are also a depressing time of year when I feel like I'm only able to live half of my life. I have visited many cities in the US and gotten to experience what life in another city might be like. Most of all, I really just feel like taking a chance on something new - a new adventure.

So, after several trips there and much deliberation, I have decided to move to San Diego in November. There are several reasons why I chose San Diego:

  • San Diego is a "big city". I've always longed to live in a larger city where more opportunities of all kinds await.
  • San Diego weather is outstanding. Being able to play tennis every single day is a major plus.
  • San Diego has a lot of charm, particularly in the many communities outside of downtown such as North Park and Hillcrest.
  • My parents are moving (for half of the year) to Palm Springs, a city only a couple hours away.
  • Although paling in size to San Francisco, San Diego seems to have a decent tech community (and Ruby community).
  • The entire area seems far more laid back, and people are friendlier.
  • I do actually know a few people out there, which is more than I can see for most west coast cities.
  • I am in the process of shedding almost all of my personal belongings. Before I leave, my property will consist of my keyboard (piano), some clothes, and my laptop. On November 5th I will begin the drive out to San Diego, stopping in RubyConf in New Orleans along the way.

In conjunction with this move I'll also be doing quite a bit of traveling between now and November 5th when I begin the drive out. For part of September I'll be taking advantage of the JetBlue All You Can Jet pass to visit Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Phoenix, not mainly to tour but to just be in a different city each day and take in the vibe. During this trip I'll be working more or less like normal. After that, and since my apartment lease ends September 30th, I'll be spending the month of October "homeless" on an around-the-world trip patched together with cheap flights and hostel stays. On this trip I'll be starting in San Diego to look for apartments, then flying around the world westward to Vancouver, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Athens, Barcelona, and finally New York. I've scheduled a few days in each city and will be trying to see as much as possible. I'm absolutely stoked about these two trips since I have such a huge passion for travel. I doubt the low-cost opportunities that have made these trips so extremely cheap and affordable by me will ever come about again. During these two trips I'll be blogging along the way and maintaining a travel journal at Everlater:

During the next 2 months I will be flying 54,000 miles - over twice the circumference of Earth - and driving over 3,000 miles on what is by far the biggest adventure I've ever been on. This exciting trip will be a great "reset" before I start to rebuild my life in a new city. Despite this, the move will also be stressful and challenging for many weeks as I get settled into San Diego and start to meet new people, something I don't always have an easy time doing. Though challenging, I think it will be worth it in the long run.

To all of my friends in Rochester: you will be missed. Thank you for the great past several years. I'll be back from time to time, and if you're ever out in the San Diego area - do let me know!

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