In early 2014 I embarked on a journey of moving from NY to SF. I would have never thought I’d move out of the city that I grew up in. Through this experience, I’ve found out a lot about myself and others, broke out of my comfort zone, met great people and chased new experiences.
DECISION TO MOVE
I fell in love with the city during one of my many visits, not doing touristy rounds, but through daily routine activities. The weather was nicer, there were a plethora of outdoor activities, I wasn’t breathing in second-hand smoke walking down the street, the list goes on. On top of that, being a computer science graduate my dream was to always work in Silicon Valley.
Friends and family were my main concerns. Parents are getting older and may need help. Would I meet any friends there having known no one? Ultimately I realized, there is no good time to leave, but the earlier the better if I were to. Second thought was that no one can predict the future so enjoy the present and deal with the issues if they come up. Right?
MAKING IT HAPPEN
I submitted job applications to companies in San Francisco thinking no one will respond cross country, but surprisingly one thing led to another and I was flying to CA for multiple interviews, ultimately landing a full-time job offer in downtown SF. It was not easy though, the entire process took about one year. I had multiple email new-job alerts set up on LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, Google, and applied to all the new jobs that popped up each day.
Sad to leave but excited for the adventure ahead, I packed two suitcases (I only needed one season of clothes supposedly) and away I went.
The first few months were filled with excitement. A new job, new neighborhood, every day, even going to work felt like a vacation. The weather was great (it never rains!), people were laid back compared to NY. Taking the transit to work was new, I was checking off places to visit and finding new favorites in my neighborhood was all new.
The reality soon set in, I was all alone, ~2700 mi. away from home. Eventually, this loneliness turned to sadness and brewed up homesick feelings. I was still chatting daily with of my college friends through a group chat. Friends continuously comment on what a fantastic time my California pictures portrayed, but in reality that wasn’t the case. I felt alone way from family and no friends.
GETTING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
As time went on I realized I wasn’t going to make any friends just by spending time between work and home nor should I let my loneliness limit my experiences. I started partaking in activities that I would have never done myself. I started dining out and eventually asking for a “table for one” became less daunting, I went to various meetup.com gatherings, cogi-con (yes that’s a thing), hiking, biking, and the list goes on.
I realized I still wasn’t meeting people so I started to consciously insert myself into group conversations and inviting myself to events (even though I felt like a jerk). I soon realized the social anxiety of embarrassment or judgment was holding me back and the potential for meeting great people outweighed the potential social downsides, which was all in my introverted mind.
In hindsight, this experience was filled with up and downs and would do it all over again. Might sound corny, but the Norman Vincent Peale quote “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” is the motto I’ve adopted after having gone through this experience.
The answer is always no if you never try. From applying to jobs cross-country to meeting new people to writing (this blog) or anything for that matter. Even if you fail, you learn something along the way.
Hopefully, this gives a nudge to those who have ever thought about moving is to a new city, motivation to go on and do it!