We're Moving to California! Here's Why
Hello! It's been a while.
In case you missed it, I announced a few weeks back that we are moving to California at the end of this month (aka 10 days from now!). Between expecting our first child in September and this move across the country, life has been really busy and crazy lately, but we are so excited for it all.
Even though I only announced our cross-country move recently, this has actually been part of a much larger plan for years and I thought it would be important for me to share why we are picking up our lives and heading west. There are so many big and small reasons for the move, but the largest driver for us is that we are deeply craving a lifestyle change for our growing family and California offers exactly what we are looking for right now.
A Little Bit of Backstory
I was born and raised in San Diego and my family is deeply rooted in California - in fact, my entire family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) live in SoCal. My parents grew up a mile from each other and went to the same elementary, middle and high schools (they are high school sweethearts), and my parents currently live in and raised us in the house that my mom was raised in. Growing up, I honestly never thought of living anywhere else! When the time came for us kids to start thinking about college, our parents strongly encouraged us to get out of the state and try something new since neither of them had done that themselves - so I took that to heart and headed to Nashville (Vanderbilt University to be exact).
Blair and I started dating our senior year of college after a couple years of friendship, so our relationship moved pretty quickly and we knew we wanted to be together forever pretty quickly into dating. Within the first couple of months, I made it very clear that I planned on living in California for my adult life and wanted to make sure he was cool with that. Blair was born and raised in Bermuda - a teeny tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic - and then went to boarding school in the states before heading to Vanderbilt. His parents mainly live in Florida now and since he doesn't consider that "home," his response was something along the lines of "okay, sounds good to me!" and that was that.
When we graduated from school, I took some time off to enroll at IIN and Yoga Teacher Training back home in California and Blair accepted a job offer in Richmond, Virginia. We were totally head over heels for each other and hated being apart, so I packed my bags and moved to DC a few months later - DC and Richmond are two hours apart and I had the opportunity to work for Corepower Yoga to help them expand on the East Coast. We managed to survive the 2-hour commute back and forth to see each other on weekends for about a year and a half before Blair accepted a new job in DC and we moved in together. It was a super easy decision to make at the time - I had a great job and had made some amazing friends and Blair's best friend and brother live(d) in DC - but what ended up happening was that the original plan of moving back home to California got pushed off even more.
I was always homesick those first few years - I cried all the time, visited home as much as I could, and generally had a hard time adjusting to the hustle and bustle of DC living - but eventually, we got engaged, bought our first home together and started to really build a life that we loved and felt comfortable in here. The conversations of moving home to San Diego still happened all the time, but we were having fun traveling to so many new places (a huge benefit of living in close proximity to Europe and all that the East Coast has to offer), so it kept getting pushed off.
When we started talking babies last year (more about that here), we started to think about the reality of raising children in DC and both agreed it wasn't what we wanted. We made the decision that 2018 would be our last year in DC and even told our families at Thanksgiving that we planned on heading west - ideally sometime around the holidays so that we could enjoy one more round of Spring and Fall (our favorite seasons here). Fast forward a couple of months when we found out a little baby would be joining us in September and we had to make a decision - do we move with a newborn next fall or move in the Spring way ahead of what we had originally planned? After some thinking, we decided to just go for it and move a couple of months before baby comes.
California is home to me (Blair loves it, too!) - always has been and always will be - but there are quite a few other reasons that have fueled this decision for us.
Having a baby without the support of family nearby seems like an impossible task to me - I'm super close with my family and know that we will want and need their support when she arrives. Blair loves my family (and vice versa!) and is really close with my sister in particular - so he is excited, too! My parents live about 15 minutes away from our new house and my grandparents just moved about 2 blocks from them, so we envision a lot of family dinners, bike rides and adventures in our near future which makes us both so happy. We will miss being close(er) to Blair's parents in Florida, but know we we will see them often, too!
Aside from family, this is our biggest motivation. It's really hard to explain unless you've experienced the juxtaposition between DC and California yourself, but they really do feel like two different worlds. DC is a city filled with ambition - people move and live here to work and accomplish their goals (which is a wonderful thing) - but it can be exhausting and stressful to constantly feel like everyone around you is go-go-go all the time. That isn't to say that California doesn't have any ambitious or stressed-out people, but the overall vibe is much more laid back. The joke here in DC is that the first question people ask when they meet you is "so, what do you do?" (i.e. where do you work, who do you work for, who do you know) and, as someone who loves my career but doesn't want it to define who I am, it feels exhausting. Also, as much as I love the change in seasons, we love the idea of being able to be outdoors year round even more and want our children to be raised with a strong connection to nature and the ocean.
Lucky for me, I already work from home now and can continue to do that when we move - all of my health coaching is done over the phone and my clients are spread out all over the states (everywhere from New York to San Francisco) already, so this won't be too much of a change on my end. Blair works for a very small company and will be able to work from home when we move, too, so we are very lucky on that side of things. I plan on scaling back quite a bit over the next few months to focus on our move and on the baby, but once we settle in a bit more, I have a lot of really fun things planned for my business that include online programs, printable resources, and a couple of e-books that I've been working on this year.
Over the last year or two, my personal definition of wellness has changed and transformed a ton. As much as I feel strongly about the importance of healthy food and exercise, I have started to really focus more attention on all of the other things in life that make us "well" - community, purpose, connection to nature, home environment, spirituality, rest, etc. - and it has felt harder and harder to do those things living in a bustling city. Both Blair and I are craving a quieter, slower pace of life as we move into parenthood - one where we can go on long family walks on the beach, grow our own lemons in the backyard, pick herbs from our herb garden, and generally spent less time feeling like we're always on the go or needing to accomplish something.
This entire process has been incredibly bittersweet for me - I have spent the last 6 years in Washington, DC and it has shaped such a large part of who I am. I have built a community through yoga, wellness and fitness and am so, so grateful to have had the opportunity to start my business in this city. During these last 6 years here, I have been challenged to learn who I am without the physical support of family and close friends nearby and I am so much more confident and comfortable in my own skin because of it. We've traveled to and explored so many new places because of DC's close proximity to it all, and we purchased and settled into our first home as a married couple here.
DC will always hold such a special place in my heart and we plan on coming back often (we are keeping our home here and renting it out so we are still tied to the city as homeowners), but I am so excited about this new chapter!