I've now been in Sydney a little over a month and gotten a lot of questions as to why I've moved here and what cause this major life change. Through feeling homesick as well as just reflecting on the transition itself, I thought I'd put some thoughts down.
The way I thought through my decision was 2-fold: reasons why I left the Bay / US, reasons why Sydney was worth trying for me.
Reasons why I left the Bay / US
- Bay Area Culture. From everyone being on the spectrum (and being socially stunted) to the transient nature of not wanting to lay down roots because everyone was there for their jobs, the Bay Area tech culture was not right for me. While I eventually did find friends and get to the quality of life that I wanted, it was difficult and constantly felt like a competitive struggle. Even though I did build a set of friends and communities for myself, it was difficult. I can't tell if it was the place I became an adult (and was difficult) or the Bay itself is a difficult place to live.
- Moving out of California was a possibility but there wasn't any other city that I felt attracted to (except in TX, at which point I would have bought a house).
- US Culture. From politics to the lack of work/life balance and the focus towards constant stimulus, I was more than overwhelmed. The lack of connection with nature and the constant chatter of social media made it quite suffocating at times.
Reasons why Sydney was worth trying for me
- I've always wanted to live abroad. Going up in Dubai and moving to the US at a young age, I've always been fascinated by how other cultures live. Living abroad was something I've always wanted to do but had held back on for various reasons (financial and personal). It so happened that I was approached at just the right time to actually allow myself to take the leap of faith. The thing that fascinates me about living in a different culture is that things are done differently but it's just another way of being that is equally as good (if not better).
- Being in an English-speaking country was also important since I was nervous about communication.
- Out of all the cities that I've spent time in outside of the US, Sydney was #1. It was important for me to have exposure to a place I'd consider living in to know that there were bits and pieces of things I would like. For example, I knew Sydney was my spirit city because of the amazing design and craft culture that exists here.
- The incredible water here. The water is CLEAR... and you have access to it. As cheesy as it is, it makes my cancerian soul very happy.
- It's a whole 'nother part of the world. Not your usual Europe and South America. Australia has a unique entry point into Asia as well.
- I oddly really like isolation. I think isolation in the right amounts breeds great creativity.
So now that it's been a little over a month I've just been thinking about what things I've learned:
- Everyone is so incredibly nice. Not just Southern-style TX nice but genuine. I think this stems from the lack of competition and a low population. The government also takes care of you which becomes this deep-seeded comfort.
- I've had more time for myself in the last month that I potentially had in years, partially because I don't have many friends yet but also because there's just less chatter.
- The use of the sea and water is extraordinary. From people developing a routine to swim every day to the ferries integrated into the public transit system, to just having ocean waves in the background creating a more calming atmosphere, the water has made a difference.
- Living in an urban landscape with great public transit potentially was the difference between choosing urban living and suburban living for me in the US. Urban living does require more minimalism in terms of space, but I've been using it as a design constraint to design around.
- The bugs are terrifying. Still getting used to them.
- The flavors here are quite incredible and more like what I've grown up with. Mango, lychee, and passionfruit are much more common here.
And every life decision we make is essentially an iteration or a prototype of what we are living for. This is another iteration, with me testing hypotheses I have about myself, the environment, and life. Fingers crossed that we all tinker our lives into fulfillment.