If you had asked me a couple years if I would ever move to Texas I would have laughed at you. Laughed in your face. It probably would have been rude, actually, but I mean…. C’mon. Texas???
And then I made friends with Sean Platt.
Let’s back up …
Last year at this time my life started falling apart, so in order to feel like I had some kind of control I started grasping for a plan. Any plan. What could I do to take control back of my life?
I could move. I could give myself a true fresh start in some place else entirely.
I love L.A. I really do. But I was tired of it. Too expensive. Too much traffic. Too many bad memories.
I didn’t have any reason to stay in Los Angeles, and plenty of reasons to move somewhere else. Anywhere else. So I started from scratch …. What are my priorities? What do I want in a city? What do I not want?
A partial list …
- I want to live somewhere that I already know people
- I want to live somewhere I can afford to buy a house within the next couple years, that I can afford to not have to get a full-time day job and that will allow me to be able to save money or spend it on travel
- I don’t want to have to drive in the snow
- I’d prefer to live somewhere liberal and creative if possible
There’s more. And nowhere is perfect, really. If I had more of a regular income right now this would be a totally different decision.
The primary factor came down to where I know people. I mean, to be honest, because of the miracle of the internet I have friends everywhere. All over the country, for sure, and if I were to go to Germany or Australia I could scrounge up a couple coffee dates too.
But the only places I know more than 1 or 2 people are Los Angeles (which we’ve already eliminated), Phoenix (where Andrew and I got married and lived several years. It would not really be starting over), Couer d’Alene, Idaho (but the only people I know there is Andrew’s extended family. Also, snow) …. Portland and Austin.
Which narrows my choices down to Portland, OR and Austin, TX …
Portland is gorgeous and amazing, and I do know about 3 people there.
But in Austin’s favor ….
… The cost of living is slightly lower than Portland. Which leaves me more a buffer to build up my freelance income, will let me buy a house sooner and travel more.
… I have a lot of friends there. A lot. And a couple more planning to move in the next few months. I already have a monthly dinner date with several friends, 2 of them went and looked at apartments for me.
… Because the company I work for is more or less headquartered in Austin, I would be traveling there every 6 months (at least) anyway. This company has big big plans for the next few years, so if I stay with them it will make more and more sense for me to be living in that city.
The dinner table photo above is of a bunch of writer friends I saw when I was in Austin last September. These are the people I’ll be seeing regularly now.
I’m not saying I’m married to Austin (in fact, I’ve been fantasizing about living in Washington DC if I could afford it). I could totally see myself living in Rome for 3 months or renting a cabin near Yellowstone for a summer. But right now, this is the best option for me.
I am so excited to be starting over here!
Have you ever been to Austin? What did you think?