Gawd, this is an amazing city. I remember that feeling I had when I first moved here...it was pure excitement. Between the colourfulness of the city, the geekiness and freakiness of it's residents and the complete essence of hope that pulsates through San Francisco, there is no other place in the world like it. It's a fantastic city. A real city. A small yet large city. People learn how to fly here every single day. And, unlike other fantastic launchpad cities like New York, you can fall from the sky and survive it here. San Francisco will always have my heart. So, why am I leaving? Why am I taking a karaoke road trip across America to settle in my new home in Montreal? Because it is time. And it's been time for just over a year now.
Like any good catalyst, San Francisco isn't meant to be where someone settles. It would be the antithesis of what the pull of San Francisco is for to be a settling ground. It's more of an unsettling ground. The place where I questioned everything that I had come to take for granted as the way the world works and is supposed to work. It unsettled the notion of everything I am and what I could do. And once I had that answer and found my new reality, I felt I was unnecessarily holding onto the key that needs to be passed along to someone else who awaits the experience. It would be futile for me to learn so much and then not bring it somewhere else with me. It would be like staying in school forever...getting smarter, but not being able to bring that knowledge to real-world issues. It's necessary that I move onto my next adventure.
Of course, there are the practical things that most people understand like the cost of living (really high in SF), the lack of public health care, the awful public schools (for my 16 year old son), and the fact that I'm a Canadian citizen and cannot live here without a job to sponsor me and, well, I don't want a job...I want to write my next book and do all sorts of great entrepreneurial things and keep spreading the message of whuffie and changing the world and stuff. But those are practical bits that I've dealt with since day one of living here. If it weren't for the ethereal stuff, I'd continue working around the impracticalities of living in this city.
If I were to compare San Francisco to a geeky reference, I'd say that SF is like Dagobah, where I got to be Luke Skywalker, learning from the many Yodas here. But even though I want to stay, I know I have to leave and face the Empire. And even more importantly, I have been trained in the Jedi ways, so I can transfer my skills to others. I know...too much geek.
So that's why I'm leaving San Francisco. Of course I'm going to miss it. And there are tons of great things people get in America that I'm going to miss, too. Like Pandora and Virgin America and Trader Joe's. I'm going to miss the sheer choice I have. The lack of limitations on delivery. But I'm going to an amazing city. A different city. Montreal is charming, even though there is 5x the population of SF. The architecture is similar, with rows of Victorians to choose from. There is a vibrant technology scene there with venture capital, cool companies and people who really get it. There is also a brilliant coworking space. And an opportunity for me to learn new experiences and share my current ones with others.
Oh. And I can write my next book (proposal is still in progress). That's what I'm most excited about.
So, on my birthday, July 15, I'm leaving San Francisco and will arrive in Montreal at the end of July to move into my new home for August 1. I hope everyone comes to visit.