Monday, August 8, 2016

Thoughts on Moving

I've been contemplating moving from my current city of Indianapolis for the last several months. At first, I was looking into and trying to move forward on moving to London, UK. For me it made a lot of sense: I know several people there and some of these people quite well, the company I work for is headquartered there which would provide me the ability to work out of the office when I want to for when I need social interaction, and I've always wanted to try living in Europe. But alas, my company isn't able to sponsor me moving there. So presently that's just not a possibility. Without a proper work visa I can't be there for longer than 3 months.

Now as I contemplate where in the US I'd like to move to, I've noticed several interesting things:

  • I'm tired of US culture in many ways
  • Both large and small, our cities have a long way to go on creating dense, soft, aesthetically pleasing and livable urban experiences when compared to Europe
  • It's really hard to choose one place to move to when I literally can choose anywhere in the US
US culture is so fickle. We're glued to our smart phones even in the presence of other outstanding people. We live in isolated suburbs that take 30+ minutes to get to anything and we wonder why we feel so alone. We are so scared of being professional irrelevant that we don't know how to take any quality time off from our jobs. Even when we have more than 2 weeks of holiday, many Americans still don't use up their base 2 weeks. We are trained to consume things in a temporary manner, dispose of them and then look forward to the new shiny thing. We do this with objects and we do this with people. It's another reason we're so lonely.

Our cities are still car-centric. Even NYC with it's great subway system and dense living which is highly walkable, it still has wide one way streets that feel like crossing interstate highways. Contrast this to many European cities where roads are generally narrow and even in the middle of these, there exist raised islands for pedestrian safety. We just don't quite know how to pay or and implement these basic traits that Europe has gotten right for decades now. Cities need to be designed and retrofitted for pedestrians first - always. Anything else creates what we have today which are more about commercial throughput and efficiency of vehicles rather than productivity and livability of human beings.

For me, too much choice really is a bad thing. I much prefer a smaller curated list of whatever it is I'm trying to choose be it craft beer, food, or the place that I'll call home. The list of possible cities and regions in the US is staggering.

The thought of leaving existing friends is a troubling one to me. Indianapolis is a great place in many ways with many things going for it, but it's primarily the people I know who are why I've remained here for many years. But there are great people everywhere and I want a place that has a highly livable city with incredible nature and outdoor activities to do. Indiana is not that place. I feel like a fish out of water here. I think it's just hard to make such a decision as to uproot and move, especially when the only other time I've done that was when I first came to Indy to attend college. But all great decisions start with some risk and some challenges. Anybody else have thoughts or stories about a large move that you made?