SF on a whim?
August 30, 2007 1:39 PM   Subscribe

I'm 27, have been in NYC for five years now, and on a recent (as in last weekend) to SF, fell in love with the city; got the "this is where you should be" feeling within an hour of landing. Would it be crazy to think of moving?

All my friends (very few close friends) are here in NYC, family scattered around the country. I'm addicted to theatre (I'm a lyricist), so being away from Broadway would be hard, but there was just something about SF that made me want to give it a go. I have an office job here in NYC; I'm sure I could find a comparable position somewhere in SF if the job market is okay.

Is it awful to want to move 3000 miles based on a feeling?
posted by roomthreeseventeen to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (40 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Wait the feeling out. You may have responding emotionally to something else -- "boy did I need to get away for a weekend." "Damn it's good to see these friends." Whatever.

I'd reassess in a few months. If it's still there I'd visit again. If it's still there, I'd start thinking about moving.
posted by crickets at 1:42 PM on August 30, 2007

There is a time in life when feelings are good enough. Twenty seven is one of those times. Nothing is forever, after all.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 1:43 PM on August 30, 2007 [4 favorites]

Funny, that's exactly how I felt about NYC, but anyway. If you don't have any friends in SF, I think it could be a very hard transition. For me at least, when I started working and moved to a new city with no one I knew it was very hard to meet people and make friends. I hung out with my roommates and a couple people from work, but I really didn't have a decent social circle for about year and even then, nothing like I had before I moved. No matter how much you love SF, if you don't know anyone there, chances are a lot of the things you like about SF you won't be doing as much because you won't have anyone to do them with. But then again if you are really outgoing this may not be such an issue for you.
posted by whoaali at 1:45 PM on August 30, 2007

Been here seven years now (SF, that is). Visited, and six months later moved here on a feeling. At least once a day, still, I think: God, I live here!
posted by rtha at 1:46 PM on August 30, 2007

As more and more years go by, it becomes harder and harder to pursue feelings like this. Life's various attachments naturally entrenches us into our current surroundings. It's good to be young.

If you really feel that strongly about it and it's not just a fleeting thought, then make (lots of) plans at once. And go. Because this will be your best shot at it in this life, right now.
posted by DaShiv at 1:48 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I moved to SF from Munich without seeing the city - just because it sounded interesting. It didn't disappoint.

So give it a try, NYC will still be there if you figure out SF is crap for you.
posted by homodigitalis at 1:48 PM on August 30, 2007

I moved from NYC to SF in January for a new job. I still miss NYC :(
posted by moxyberry at 2:00 PM on August 30, 2007

I should mention that the availability Peet's Coffee is a huge and mitigating factor. :)

Moxy, can you elaborate on what you miss about NYC that you can't get in SF?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:01 PM on August 30, 2007

Seconding blue_wardrobe. I had this feeling for Denver back in 83' and again in 85' and followed it. Go enjoy life.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 2:02 PM on August 30, 2007

I moved from NYC to SF at age 21 and loved every minute of it. I didn't have my own social circle at first, but I moved with my boyfriend, later husband (currently ex-husband), who had grown up there, so I got to adopt his family and his social circle until I made some friends of my own.
posted by matildaben at 2:05 PM on August 30, 2007

Peet's isn't worth moving to SF for.

(Blue Bottle is.)
posted by kcm at 2:07 PM on August 30, 2007

There is a time in life when feelings are good enough. Twenty seven is one of those times. Nothing is forever, after all.

I will now pretend to be two people so I can both second and third this sentiment.
posted by Mikey-San at 2:13 PM on August 30, 2007

There is a time in life when feelings are good enough. Twenty seven is one of those times. Nothing is forever, after all.

And I'll fourth this sentiment.

The first time I ever visited to Chicago, I had the exact same feeling within minutes. I moved there 2 years later, loved it, and (after moving to L.A. seven years ago, which I love in a different way) still miss it very much.
posted by scody at 2:15 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Do it, live in the city, not a suburb like Palo Alto, no matter where you work. Get a bike and a bus pass. sign up with something like upcoming.org to get a feeling for whats going on each day.

It can be a tough city, but so is New York. We've got plenty of theater (but not like NYC of course)

If you move in September/October you'll be here during the best part of the year.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 2:20 PM on August 30, 2007

got that feeling riding in from the airport in Honolulu, have been here since 93, you'll never know until you try, go for it
posted by kanemano at 2:21 PM on August 30, 2007

It's not awful to move based on a feeling. I moved to LA based on that same feeling, and it's home.

However, one somewhat goofy observation: I was in SF last weekend, and Saturday was one of the most gorgeous days I've experienced in SF. The whole weekend was great.

That said, maybe give the town another visit when the weather is less then idyllic and see how you feel.
posted by donguanella at 2:40 PM on August 30, 2007

Are you straight?

We just had a friend move away, and I'm convinced she did so because in 5 yrs in SF she could not find a nice, normal guy. It comes up in conversation a lot. All of my female friends are either married or single and extremely frustrated by the guys here. They all seem to be weirdos or pick-up artists.
posted by muscat at 2:56 PM on August 30, 2007

Do it. Do it before winter. You can undo it. Just don't get up to your ears in debt doing it. Exploring California is a wonderful use of anyone's time.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:00 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I moved back to NYC after 3 years in SF at the beginning of this year. I'm glad to have lived there, but I'm *still* ecstatic to be back home.

You wouldn't be crazy, but you should identify what it is that you connected to. If it is something intrinsic to SF (the only thing I could think of would be the geography?) that you can't get in NYC, then go for it. I can't imagine that most things that draw you in wouldn't also exist in NYC though.
posted by anildash at 3:02 PM on August 30, 2007

We're not on this earth for very long. Don't wait. Go.
posted by eleyna at 3:10 PM on August 30, 2007

I can't imagine that most things that draw you in wouldn't also exist in NYC though.

Its very personal though isnt it? I moved to SF based on a feeling in 1992. In 1996, also based on a feeling, I moved to Manhattan. My life in Manhattan was fantastic (lived in a huge converted loft in Soho, full social life with fun and wellconnected friends, etc). But after a couple years I moved back to SF. I missed it. (Also Soho was starting to turn into a big mall and I loved the anti-chainstore attitude of so many SF neighborhoods)

Still, I wouldnt trade those years in Manhattan for anything.

It may be the same for you in reverse - maybe you'll decide SF isn't for you after all. But NYC will still be there waiting for you and your life either way will almost certainly be richer for the adventure.
posted by vacapinta at 3:12 PM on August 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

You wouldn't be the first, Mary Ann Singleton. Granted NYC is hardly Cleveland though. Go find your 28 Barbary Lane.
posted by dendrite at 3:25 PM on August 30, 2007

Damn - meant to link Mary Ann Singleton. (My kingdom for comment edit ability a la flickr or digg.)
posted by dendrite at 3:26 PM on August 30, 2007

What I wouldn't give to be 27 again and be able to act on impulse. One day, settled down (as they say), you won't be able to just up and go. And, as others have said, after you give it a whirl and enjoy it for a couple of years, you may decide you liked NYC better. That's okay too. It will still be there. San Francisco is a great city.

And btw, I take issue strongly with the comment about guys in San Francisco. Yeah, there are a lot of gay men, there are everywhere. There are also a lot of straight men. That was not a fair comment at all. There is a thriving male-female dating scene/singles scene in San Francisco. Sorry for the rant.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 3:29 PM on August 30, 2007

I can't imagine that most things that draw you in wouldn't also exist in NYC though.

Cities are like people: they have very particular characters and can't be reduced to a set of features. Sometimes you just hit it off with one.

Better still, if you suddenly decide to explore another city, the first one won't be even slightly offended. As vacapinta says, you can always go back.
posted by tangerine at 3:42 PM on August 30, 2007

You're 27. Do it. Hell, I'm tempted to do it just after reading this thread.
posted by kalimac at 4:15 PM on August 30, 2007

The valley will drain your soul, but you can get a new one in the city.

Let's rent a 7 bedroom victorian and all move in.
posted by idiotfactory at 4:31 PM on August 30, 2007

I find that when I visit San Francisco, I like it a lot for a few days and then it starts to feel a little too insular to me and I know it's time to head back home to LA. That's just me and I have plenty of friends who love living up there.

If you have the financial resources to move across country on a feeling, then go for it. There will be things you miss about NYC, but you'll have all sorts of new SF-specific delights to explore.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 4:58 PM on August 30, 2007

Yes of course you should act on a whim, if you don't do this now you'll never do it and you'll spend the rest of your life wondering what might have been. If it's crap (which I find unlikely as I think SF is a fantastic city) or if you hate it you can always come back. Good luck!
posted by ob at 5:32 PM on August 30, 2007

God, I had this too, when I went there in May for a graduation. Had been there before more than once, but this time, I felt so completely right everywhere I went. If I were to the point where an equivalent job to the one I currently hold would allow me to live decently in the city, I'd be there in an instant.
Do it carefully, and it'd probably be a good idea to visit (more than once!) before you do it... but do it. I would, and probably will, in a couple of years. We'll probably never be more portable than we are now.
posted by Gingersnap at 5:57 PM on August 30, 2007

At the age of 23, I moved from NYC to Chicago on a week's notice. Loved it. Stayed 13 years. Met many people. Met my wife there. The wife and I moved to SF on a whim. Had a job offer and took it without much research on the city. Lasted 1 year. I think SF is a great city, it just wasn't for us.

I guess my point is, you'll never know until you try. Go for it, but be prepared to change course.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:22 PM on August 30, 2007

Do it. If you find out it's not that great, you can go back to NY.

I live in San Francisco now -- moved here at 35. I'd first visited when I was 22, and I had that same feeling you had: "I have to live here." But it wasn't an easy place for my career choice, and I wasn't very brave, so I went back to New England. Fortunately, circumstances later allowed me to move to SF, and I've loved living here for 15 years.

You might get another chance if you don't do it now -- but you might not. And if you try San Francisco now, I doubt you'll regret it. Don't delay! (My email is in my profile, if in future you ever want to blame me for your mistakes.)
posted by wryly at 7:39 PM on August 30, 2007

My fiance and I moved out here three years ago on something halfway between a whim and a researched decision. Although we miss Boston (where we lived previously) we love, love, love it out here. It fits us like a great pair of shoes.

That said, it (like most cities worth the space they take up) a very specific sort of place. It's probably a good idea to visit at least one more time. Look at some apartment, poke around in some neighborhoods, and see if there's a place you like.

Also, and this seems small but actually affects your daily life a lot, how do you feel about seasons? We don't so much have them. We've got the foggy bit, the rainy bit, and all the rest of the time. It's rarely very hot and rarely very cold. I wear basically the same clothes (layered in different ways) all year round.

I think it's great. After growing up in the miserably humid South and living in miserably snowy New England, I think it's great, but it makes some people very uneasy. A New England friend of mine tried to make a go out here and the weather, as much as anything else, was something he just never got used to.
posted by mostlymartha at 8:20 PM on August 30, 2007

When I was 27, I moved to NYC because I could. An exercise in will and whim. 100% worth it. Go, seriously, now.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:41 PM on August 30, 2007

I lived in NYC for six years. After a while, the recurring dreams of being in the Bay Area got to me, and I moved here. Haven't regretted it.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:51 PM on August 30, 2007

Yes, do it.

I moved to SF (from DC) on a whim in 1995, and have not regretted a moment of it. But that's not the point. If your life and your job are portable enough for you to pick up and move somewhere... then you should live somewhere that you love. If a visit to SF made you want to try it here, then come try it here (The City has that effect on people -- so does NY).

If it's not for you, then try somewhere else... but you'll never know unless you try. The hardest part is deciding to do it.
posted by toxic at 9:01 PM on August 30, 2007

The fourth of one of my east coast friends is soon to be moving to the bay area. They say there is something special in the air there.

I say go for it.
posted by frecklefaerie at 12:17 AM on August 31, 2007

Just don't stay too long. Happiness can be dangerous.
posted by It ain't over yet at 7:46 AM on August 31, 2007

I don't know if you remember the "Graduation Speech" that was first an editorial in a newspaper and then a song called Everybody Wear Sunscreen, but one of the lines is:
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

I say do it!!!
posted by slyboots421 at 8:07 AM on August 31, 2007

Oops. Everybody's Free To Wear Sunscreen, I meant.
posted by slyboots421 at 10:06 AM on August 31, 2007

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