The news is, Royal Fashionist is moving to Austin Texas! I am getting so many messages in regards to why move to Austin that I decided to write a post and share it all with you guys.
I have lived in the San Francisco Bay, California my entire “American life”. I moved from Brazil straight to the East Bay and then moved to Marin County in 2009, where I have been since.
For those of you who are not familiar with Marin County, Marin is a beautiful place north of SF, past the Golden Gate bridge. Marin has many gorgeous views and lots of green areas, such as Mount Tam. The county has great schools, great hikes, trails; it’s safe and peaceful, perfect for families and older folks, not so much for the younger crowd. That is part of my problem.
As I was explaining, Marin county is beautiful but it’s too quite for me. Yes San Francisco is about 50 minutes away without traffic. 50 minutes may not seem like much but with traffic and finding parking (which is usually a nightmare) it easily becomes 1.5 hour each way. So yeah I don’t make it to the city very frequently. Plus, if I want to drink then I need to take an Uber which would cost me about $160 round trip.
If you are mostly an outdoor person, who doesn’t care much about a nightlife, you may be OK here, but thats not my case. I enjoy the outdoor life, but I also enjoy the night, meeting people and many other things you find in a bigger city. So I looked for a place that had a little of everything and found Austin.
I will discuss later why I love Austin but lets continue with the California topic for now.
The Cost of living
Then you also have the issue of the cost of living. I am sure most of you have heard of how expensive it is to live in the Bay Area. If I lived in the city of San Francisco the issue I just described above (Marin being kind of too quite and slow for young people) wouldn’t apply as I said. There is a lot going on in SF. But San Francisco is extremely expensive.
My friend lives in a studio on the Embarcadero, right in front of the water and with a view of the Bay Bridge, and pays close to $5,500 per month. First, I don’t want to live in a studio, second if I could afford that much money on rent I would still live somewhere else. San Francisco is too cold for me, and is not the life style I crave.
My need for more Human contact
When you have such a high cost of living, people have to work a lot and they have to really focus on their career if they want to reach financial success. With that, money becomes king and people can end up coming in second place.
Just so you have an idea, I do not know the name of any of my neighbors. Keep in mind I have lived here for 3 years. Relationships seem very superficial, unless you are a native and still have all your high school friends around.
Time seems so scarce that I rarely even visit my sister, who lives in Sacramento, which is about 1.5 hrs away from me. Shame on me for this.
I work all the time just so I can maintain the life style that I enjoy. Prices for everything is high, like for restaurants, parking, hair salon etc. I bought my house 3 years ago and the price almost doubled since. Yes that is good for me now, but not for people starting out their lives and buying their first home. You getta think about other people sometimes.
The Bay Area is very technology focused but I think we need more investment in physical contact, building relationships and community spirit. I am hoping to work less and invest more in relationships. At least that is my goal.
I know most people think San Francisco weather is perfect. And it is for a lot of people. It depends on what you like. I am from Brazil where it’s always warm and I really miss the heat. Texas heat is no problem for me.
I went for a physical last month and my doctor checked my Vitamin D level and guess what? It was super low. And I know it’s because I don’t go out in the sun. Well, It’s usually not warm enough to hang around a pool or the beach, except during the summer.
Working from Home has its down sides.
The other thing is I work from home. Working from home is lovely, sure. But you end up being alone all day. Unless you push yourself to go out, work from a cafe, hang out with people and make sure that you live somewhere surrounded by activity, it can feel very lonely.
I confess that I am not the most social person, and I maybe I could have pushed myself more but l did try. The other day I went to Peet’s coffee and God it was so depressing….worse then being at home. But do consider the fact that I live in a town called Novato, but AKA as Slowvato. So yeah it is time to move.
So why Austin?
Where do I start? There are so many reasons! It was love at first sight.
I fell in Love with the People
Austin residents are truly friendly and genuine (my experience so far). People there take an interest on you. They don’t seem entitled and seem to respect and appreciate others.
People greeted me always with a smile, asked how I was doing and actually waited, wanting to hear what I had to say and engaged in conversation. It was weird at first. I am used to people saying “hi, how are you?” and keep walking before I even get a chance to respond. Because we are always in hurry in California.
My wife is a nurse and she went for some job interviews when we were there house hunting, and she was also shocked. She is used to brutal interviews where you really have to sell yourself and prove that you are the best candidate. She said it always felt like the manager was doing you a favor for hiring you.
She said the managers in Austin were very pleasant. Sure they asked about her background/experience and why she was relocating. Then they would talk about why this particular hospital was good, what they could offer her and how they would be so happy if she took a position with them. She got a tour of the hospitals she interview and met the team. She was even offer huge bonuses.
She said it felt as if the managers were competing to hire her. She said she felt appreciated and that in the Bay Area most hospital managers are not like that.
There is also people from everywhere in Austin, especially from California lol. I like diversity so that was a plus for me. And I swear I think everyone has a dog! The city is super dog friendly.
It’s a big city but not really
I really wanted to live downtown of a somewhat big city, where things are happening and be walking distance from everything. I also did not want to give up comfort and too much space in order to achieve that.
In Austin I was able to find an apartment Downtown on 3rd st., with top to bottom glass windows in a luxury high rise for the same price I pay to live 50 minutes away from the city.
Austin is the capital of Texas and it is a “big city”, but not really. When you are in the downtown you are literally a 20 min drive max from everything. Drive 20 min in all directions and you will have seen the whole city. I love that. I am so tired of driving for 1-2 hrs to get anywhere. Plus parking there is not a problem.
There is So Much Happening all the time
Austin is such a lively city. There are people outside all day and night, lots of people. There are events and festivals scheduled every weekend – ACL, SXSW, F1, ROT Rally, X-Games just to name a few. During the week there are “networking” events, farmers markets etc.
The Food Scene is Amazing
Then you have the food scene. There are countless restaurants and food trucks. From the best BBQ houses to fancy all organic restaurants, you want it you got it. And the restaurants are always booming with beautiful nice people, so refreshing! And everything is open late, even during weekdays.
In Cali the only restaurant I have near my house closes at 8:30 pm. It’s sad I know lol.
One of the Best Nightlifes in the US
Austin is a college town and people there like to have fun. You have a whole street of just bars and restaurants, 6th St. Most of them have awesome live music. Austin is the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Then through out the city you have endless places to go, not to mention the festivals, which are always happening.
I think because the weather is so hot, people are out late and you just see all the bars full with people sitting outside, a lot like Brazil. There is also many rooftop bars. They have houses that were turned into bars. Almost all of the bungalows in this historic neighborhood of Rainy St., are converted into bars and restaurants. Bar hopping is the way to go. The Rainy St homes became a top nightlife destination.
If you want something more relaxed you can drive 20 min and go to the Domain, which is a big luxury mall area with restaurants and lounges as well.
And last but not least if you want a taste of traditional Texas just go to a Rodeo. I went to one during my first visit to Austin and I was such a fun experience. I am definitely going again.
Nature in the Heart of Downtown
Lady Bird lake cuts through the entire city. You literally have people doing stand up paddle boarding in the middle of downtown. It was epic. And guess what? The apartment I rented is downtown, one block from Lady Bird Lake!
You have the Barton Creek Greenbelt, with its 7-plus miles of trails in the center of the city. There are many other parks and green areas to hang out too. And its all right there, 20 minutes away tops from anywhere in the city.
The Cost of Living
Austin is not cheap. I believe it is the most expensive city in Texas, but it is still much cheaper then California. I am paying a fraction of what I would pay in California for the type of place I got in Austin.
Quality of Life
As I mentioned before, in Austin I can afford to live downtown in front of the lake. I am not gonna spend hours in traffic whenever I need to go somewhere. I have access to everything a big city has to offer within walking distance. I have more time and time is our life.
I am going to have more time for me and for my friends and family; and that to me equals to better quality of life.
There are plenty of guns. This is a hot topic I know, but I have to mention it.
There is no state income taxes!!!!
There are lots of great churches ( I am Christian so this is something I personally care about).
You have the great University of Texas.
Tech industry there is booming. Google bought the entire building next to the building were I am moving to. There are so many big tech companies and also start ups located in Austin.
Alright guys, I could go on and on, but I am way past 2000 words and I think this is good for now. I will continue to share my experiences with you and feel free to message me with questions.
I am very happy and excited for what’s ahead!