I took a hiatus from updating this blog. This was partially due to my being busy but more than that, I needed time to collect myself and mull over my decision to stop traveling and setup shop in Austin, Texas. I never in a million years imagined that I would have ended up here but here I am, writing this from a high rise in downtown Austin.
First, lets get the negative part out of the way. I know zero people here. This is my third official week as an Austinite and have yet to venture out into the downtown nightlife. Instead, I’ve busied myself setting up an indoor vegetable garden, learning to brew a mean Aeropress coffee, bumming around the immaculate and expansive central library, exploring the city on my bike, b-boy practice, and of course, going to work. The relative isolation is the main detriment to being here. Five years ago this would have mattered a lot more than it does but now, knee deep into my thirties, I just don’t feel the strong compulsion to make new friends. When it comes to meeting new people, I have a “come what may” kind of disposition. It’s a manageable negative. Plane tickets are cheap and it’s easy enough to go out and meet people should I feel the urge.
With that out of the way, let’s move on to the positives and what really led me to this city.
- The city has balance. The air is clean and I can see fish in the Colorado river and it is a welcome change from the polluted and overcrowded city of Seoul. Downtown has urban amenities but I can still hop on my bike and visit pristine nature within twenty minutes.
- I’ve got my dream job. I interviewed for ten months, rejected three offers and was rejected by six. I’d like to say that I knew it was going to pan out like this but the truth is that I had no idea and it almost did not go this way. I almost took an offer elsewhere doing a job that would have been a arduous grind and just a stepping stone to this position.
- This city makes sense financially. This one is easy. There is no state income tax and the cost of living here is low (kinda). For the price of an undersized apartment in Boston in a 100 year old building owned by a bloodsucking slumlord I am paying for a centrally located 30th floor studio with 15′ loft windows with a view of the river, a rooftop pool/gym, and full concierge service. I drink coffee to amber sunrises and wine to violet sunsets and I don’t have to feel burdened by the cost.
- I don’t feel totally comfortable here and I consider this a large positive. Somebody once told me that the opposite of pleasure isn’t pain, it’s comfort. In real terms, I find that when I surround myself exclusively with like minded people it creates a special kind of intellectual vacuum chamber. It’s a little too comfortable. Lacking fresh ideas and differing perspectives, my mind and thoughts kind of rot. For me, Austin is a wellspring of “different” and it’s going to take time and effort to grapple with it. This will trigger growth and a widening of perspective.
- Austin has beer and BBQ that make my knees weak.
This is just a small list of my initial impressions and I’m sure that as I get to know this place better I’ll come to understand more positives and negatives. For me, getting to know a city is much like getting to know a person. I don’t expect this city to just open up and unravel for me. It’s going to take effort and sacrifice to shape my time here into something worthwhile and it’s been a good start so far.