Hello, friends and family!
After 20+ long years, my family and I decided to leave the Bay Area for the mountains of Park City, Utah. For my wife, its probably closer to 35+ years of not only living in the Bay Area but actually growing up there. A huge shift but all in all, a very positive decision for my entire family. When I tell folks we have moved, I usually get the following questions —
- Why did we decide to leave? (Part #1)
- Why did you pick Park City, Utah? (Part #2)
- What has it been like? Do you think you’ll move back? (Part #3a @ 6 months, Part #3b @ 12 months)
So, let me take the time the time to answer these questions in a thoughtful manner. For a bit of context, I’m originally from east coast (NY/CT), went to college in Virginia and came out to the Bay Area in 1999 with my Computer Science degree in hand to build some bad ass software. I met Sarah at an eBusiness consulting company where I was a software engineer and she was a recruiter.
So, question #1 — why did we decide to leave?
- California and the Bay Area feels like it’s going into the toilet. Fires. Riots. Overcrowding. Traffic. Lockdowns. Oppressive heat waves. Rolling power outages. Quality of Life. Cost of Living. Taxes. Even the best parts of California were getting less accessible. I recall a trip to Yosemite where we were on a trail with 1000+ of our best friends. Haha. Also, the week after we left for Park City was the week the Bay Area looked like a scene from Blade Runner.
- San Francisco is not the city it used to be. San Fransisco is just not the city it was when I crossed the Golden Gate bridge in my Penske truck rental and my two buddies driving with me across country 20+ years ago. The homeless, used condoms and syringes on the streets and general lack of charm that drew me to the city years ago.
- Silicon Valley has lost its allure. Back in 1999, Silicon Valley was about the geeks and building cool things. Now, the focus is less about building great products with technology and more about the money. Not that there wasn’t a focus on money before — but it feels like more of a focus than it even has been.
- COVID. We all know we can’t run away from COVID. Just look at all the corners of America where COVID has reached. COVID was not a real reason we left the Bay Area but it surely created an overarching environment that forced a perspective.
- COVID feels like It’s spreading uncontrollably in California and folks are angry, fed up and not listening anymore. The COVID spreading rates plus the population plus the already stressed hospital capacity is a recipe for disaster.
- COVID has ruined the quality of life in California. Everything is closed. Curfews. Etc.
- COVID broke the public school system in California. The end of the 2019-2020 was not a favorable experience for the kids and it feels like its going getting marginally better. The public schools are just not structured to support remote style learning. The private schools seemed to react better but the private schools in the East Bay are not cheap and at the time, were impacted as parents were scrambling to find alternative schooling options.
- What will happen long term in California? Who is going to pay for all of the issues in California? What are the long term environmental ramifications to all the fires that have burned through the states?
- We had already been thinking about it. My wife and I had been wanting to leave the Bay Area but not had quite settled on where we would end up. So, in reality we had one foot out the door already.
- Adventure and change is good. It’s time for an adventure! Why not? Life is good short.
Overall, lots of reasons but it was not an easy decision. The biggest counterpoint was leaving such great friend and family.
Let me know your thoughts! In my next blog post, I will go through why we picked Park City, Utah.