By January early this year, I had been working from home for almost a year due to Covid 19. I finally decided to move out of the bay area. In hindsight, it was the biggest yet most spontaneous decision I have made in recent years.
Why did I move?
The rent and traffic
Even before the pandemic, I didn’t like the expensive rent and traffic congestion there. Everybody else was likely feeling the same, but people still tolerated those conditions because of the amazing job opportunities in Silicon Valley. However, more jobs have been remote since the Covid. I saw no reason to put up with the place.
I need a home office
At the end of last year, I got to know that I would be working from home forever. Hence I thought I really should upgrade my “hardware”. To be exact, I was working from my bedroom for almost a year, which was not conducive to my productivity or my health. So I just went ahead to move out so that I could afford to rent a studio for my home office.
How did I move (by myself)?
There were many moving companies in the area. But I drove a Uhaul with all my stuff and moved by myself. I had fun driving a truck and would definitely recommend it to anyone who needs a budget solution.
FYI, I had never driven a truck before that Uhaul. I simply watched Youtube videos before hitting the road. You just need to be super careful about the blind spots.
How do I like it so far?
I love my new place. Still, to be objective, let me talk about the pros and cons.
In terms of rent, my apartment now has a balcony and a home office (the living room). It is still cheaper than a bedroom in the bay area. Other things like restaurants may also be cheaper.
Of course, the traffic is less congested. Parking is a lot easier. In fact, I often go to a close-by parking lot for long-boarding.
Smaller towns are actually convenient in terms of shipping services. All the available shipping services in the bay area are available in most of the cities.
I talked with, worked with, and made friends with people who had a similar culture or background to me back when I was in the bay area. It was mostly because we were either schoolmates or coworkers. This is less likely to be true in a small town. Therefore, to me, my new place is more diverse since I began talking to people who think very differently from me.
- Fewer Job Opportunities
If your job is not remote, then bigger, crowded cities have more opportunities than small towns.
- Fewer Social Interactions
Fewer people share a similar background with me here. Most of my friends and colleagues are still in those big cities. Therefore, more efforts are needed to develop my social life here. (if I ever need to have a social life 😂)
- (Depends on your insurance) Less Medical Resources
I recently checked my insurance and didn’t find lots of in-network doctors nearby. So if that is a deal-breaker for you, be sure to check your insurance before you move.
Home office is a game-changer for WFH
The biggest advantage my home office brought me is a boundary between work and life. I have been more productive and energetic because of that. Also, having a separate room for work and study facilitates tons of healthy habits, eg. writing journals, Pomodoros, etc.
Tranquility is invaluable.
In the book “Keep Going”, the author wrote “Disconnect from the world to connect with yourself”. I moved to this small town during the pandemic knowing almost no one. The feeling of being disconnected is palpable, but the corresponding tranquility is something I had never experienced in big cities.
Overall, I am truly grateful for my new place. If you are still hesitating to move out of a big city, I hope my experience helped you.