Heading east

CC: Arnold Schwarzenegger

I’m preparing to leave California and move back to the East Coast. I don’t know if this will happen in a five months or five years, but considering I had multiple dreams last night about being back, I’m hoping the move will occur sooner rather than later.

Before I continue, let me make two things clear:

  1. I fully intend to remain employed at Google.
  2. I like California.

I am moving because I miss the East Coast, and I know I want to live there eventually. I’ve organized my thoughts into a few sections. Let’s start with the most important:

California is isolated. I’m close to everything in Silicon Valley, but far from everything else. If I were on the East Coast, I’d feel closer to the rest of the world, where I actually can drop into a different major city for a day or weekend without booking a flight. Since my family is for the most part all on the East Coast, this is important to me. Sure, I’ll fly in from California for Christmas or a college graduation, but if I lived on the East Coast I could be around for impromptu family dinners or the birthday parties of my cousin’s kids.

I do not regret spending time here. I’ve had two years to take advantage of living in the heart of Silicon Valley. I work at Google’s headquarters, I’ve had lunch at Caff√© Macs, and I’ve watched Woz play Segway polo. I live close to my friends. There are at least three international airports less than an hour away from me. I can get In-N-Out anytime I want. There are plenty of things this area has that I will miss, but I miss being home more.

I’m not saying that the East Coast has better weather, but at least the East Coast has weather. Last year, it did not feel like Christmas was approaching until I stepped outside at the Philadelphia airport. This year, summer came and went without me noticing at all. Yes, in California it is incredibly convenient to not have to worry about rain, and to be able to eat outside nearly any time of the year. But there’s no flourish of flowers in the spring, no colorful leaves in the fall, and no amazingly spectacular sights of snowfall in the woods. Everything is just shades of green and brown.

Let’s take a break from the text and look at some pictures that I’ve taken on the East Coast:

Pink flowers
These are flowers. They arrive in the spring. They're kind of like the flowers you see in California, but are generally soft and not attached to a cactus or other dry thorny plant.
Red leaves
The leaves on those trees are usually green, but as you can see in this picture, they have changed. And see the grass? Acres of that stuff just grows on the ground without the aid of a sprinkler system.
This is snow. For those of you from California, allow me to explain: It falls from the sky like rain, but is frozen. Rain is like that stuff that comes out of sprinklers, but it falls from the clouds. Clouds are like the fog in San Francisco, but much higher.

Now is an excellent time for me to make the big change of moving across the country again. Last night, after a quick assessment of my living situation, someone asked me if I am lonely. I prefer to say that I’m independent, and this will make the move a lot easier for me than it would be for less independent people.¬†

I have no significant attachments to my current location other than my job. I’ve always known that I am going to leave the area, so whether it’s been at the front of my mind or not, I’ve always seen everything here as temporary. Moving would be a simple matter of packing up the stuff in my apartment and shipping it east. I will miss some people that I now get to see every day, but I used to see my family every day and I was still able to move to California.

When I’m living on the East Coast, I hope I can finally feel comfortable enough to start settling in and progressing things in my personal life. One thing I’d like to do is own a house. I don’t see that ever happening here. On the East Coast, I’ll actually have realistic options within a few years, and have choices other than stucco for the exterior.

Exactly where I end up living will be determined by a combination of where I find a job and where I can afford to live. Google’s New York City office looks promising for a job. Those of you who know me know that I don’t want to live in a city, and as I just mentioned, I’d like to own a house, so it’s likely I’ll end up somewhere within commuting distance of Manhattan. I’ll miss my current 10 minute commute, but it’s something I’m willing to give up.

I have no other details to announce at this time, but California, consider this your fair warning that I’m looking to get out. It’s been fun.

Update: The exodus begins.

8 thoughts on “Heading east”

  1. I was planning on writing a very similar post, but I think you summed up everything I wanted to say. Mind if I scrape your content?

    Google NYC is not my ideal location, but it is much much closer to my ideal location, so I could do it for a little while. I’m setting an aggressive goal of 1 year for my return to the east coast, 2 years absolute max.

  2. Mike: Feel free to reproduce with attribution.

    Yeah, I’d prefer something closer to Philly (and I know you want Boston), but I figure if I’m living in/around New York, I can be where I want to within a couple of hours.

  3. As Beah pointed out, another advantage to living close to home is that I’ll actually be able to use my vacation days for vacations, and not have to use them for family visits.

  4. As I told you earlier (but it’s not official until the internet can cache it), the Northeast will be thrilled to have you back – even if you have to live in (sob) that ridiculous hipster-infested city. You know you miss cynicism and people not being nice to you until you earn it. It’s home.

  5. Personally, being close to family is one of my number one requirements for happiness. I totally respect and advocate this decision =)

  6. Aww, we shall miss you, Michael (though you may not miss Brandon). But seriously, couldn’t have put this in better words myself and one day when I’m cool enough to have a blog, I hope to be making the same post.

  7. Thanks, Maria, I’ll miss you too. (But maybe not you two.)

    You guys can visit me for a game night when I have my house.

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