San Francisco I love you but I’m leaving you. The Preface
The most beloved and expensive city, San Francisco. I have enjoyed every moment of it living there. It’s been more than five years since I moved from midwest. It’s approximately seven miles radius but there are many things I can do every weekend (http://sf.funcheap.com/). Despite the fogginess for the western part of the city, it has a great and consistent weather compared to where I moved from. There is no snow and it’s not windy. I have no regret living in San Francisco.
I’ve moved from midwest to San Francisco for the exact same reason like everyone else, job. In the beginning, I moved from place to place within the city. Finally, I ended up with a very very small efficient studio apartment which I called it home. It was really small — similar to a size of a small dorm room — but comfortable. It’s taught me how to be creative and minimalist about living and think twice before buying any furniture or anything. I learned how to cook new recipes with only a handful of portable kitchen equipment (i.e. electric grill, toaster oven, and cooking kettle).
San Francisco has become the most expensive city in the country, surpassing New York (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/08/san-francisco-office-rents-pass-manhattan-as-most-expensive-in-country/?_r=0) within only five years since I moved. When the housing supplies are not meeting enough demands, the price is increasing. Some claimed San Francisco needs more housing constructions and real-estate developers. That’s only half true. I don’t think the real-estate developers in the city actually help making housing affordable. All I’ve seen so far is the constructions for luxury homes and their average median price is close to a million. In short, everyone is affected and YES everyone includes tech workers. Scapegoating tech workers for driving the price of the housing up is no difference than Minutemen blaming Mexicans for taking away American jobs or Donald Trump blaming Muslims for being terrorists. The issue is deeper than just a migration of tech workers (hint: there are many and ones are policy, politician, and etc). I’ll just leave at that. I am not here to discuss, argue, or debate this issue.
Everyone can agree that apartment hunting really sucks, especially in San Francisco. My rent went up about fifty-eight percent total. If I stayed and paid my rent with a new rate, it’d be equivalent of staying at any hotel chain for a month. I was thinking “Why wouldn’t I just stay at hotel for a month, travel and working remotely?” That’s the main catalyst along with others reasons (i.e. rowdy and immature neighbors) driving me away from my current place and eventually my beloved city, San Francisco.
Therefore, I came up with different plans.
- Move in to a new place with a roommate.
- Telecommuting and live out of Bay area.
- Become a digital nomad.
Move in to a new place with a roommate
I contacted one of my former colleagues and friends (this is the best way because at least I know the person). He is living outside of San Francisco and his location is near public transportation (BART). This could potentially cut my housing cost down by half. However, the housing demands are high in the bay area. His spot was filled quickly. Therefore, this wouldn’t work for me, which led me to the next plan.
Telecommuting and live out of Bay area
This assumes that your job allows you to work remotely and your manager is ok with it. Fortunately, I have this luxury of being able to do this and I have been talking to my manager about this for three to four months prior just to give him a head up of what may have been coming if I decided to go with this option. I started doing a research on a lot of places in Seattle, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Theoretically, if I could afford at least a studio without a roommate and without a rent-control in San Francisco, I’d have no issue affording a place in those cities. I was considering doing this for about three to six months just to see if I like a city. However, due to the internal re-organization of the company I’m working for at the time, I had to put this on hold and a compromise was made. This led me to the last option.
Become a digital nomad.
This is sort of extreme option in my opinion and I’m planning to do this at least a month or two. If you didn’t know what it is, it is basically work remotely and live independently. Similar to the second option, your job and your manager must allow you to do this. The perk is that you get to travel and live in different places and meeting new people.The downside is that you keep moving your location.
Here is resources about it:
- Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/digitalnomad/.
I ended up pursuing this option. It requires a lot of works, a shift in a mindset, and most importantly self-discipline. It is definitely not a vacation although it sounds like one.
My next article will talk about my pre-planing and a preliminary checklist prior become a digital nomad.
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