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Not Your Typical 'Why I'm Leaving San Francisco' Think Piece

26 Nov 2018

Since Ivy wrote about her reasons and goals in leaving, I’ve been told I need to explain myself as well, so here we are. I won’t be listing any issues I’m finding with San Francisco in this — don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware of the host of them, but I’ve already accepted some of the bad is flip sides of the good, and the rest are complicated issues slowly being changed. Generally I’m still satisfied with life here.

The reality for why I’m doing this is because I got fired. At least that’s the direct catalyst. It’s only been about a year and a half since I came back from a different bout of world travels, and we literally just signed a year lease a week prior that cost over 5k to break. I honestly did not plan to leave again so soon.

But this is not an escape from my problems. It’s just a matter of timing.

This would likely be the most opportune moment for the two of us to uproot together while we’re under 30. Ivy was also considering switching jobs when my circumstances changed, so practically speaking, we were both untethered work-wise. Since we were already preparing to move in together, there was also less friction with packing up all our belongings.

What makes 30 the magical number?
There’s this thing called a working holiday visa that Canadians can apply for (other countries have it in some form as well) that allows them to work and live elsewhere while they’re under 30 for up to a year in each place. The list of elsewheres is quite long, another wonderful perk of being Canadian (sorry Americans).

What’s the elsewheres you’re looking at?
So far we’re applying for the New Zealand, Australia, and Japan visas, and we’ve got a one way ticket booked to New Zealand. We may go to all of them, we may not, we may also go elsewhere.

The plan is to explore opportunities in each place with a bit of traveling in between, and if we tire of a place, move onto the next. There’s no set timelines right now, we’ll see where the wind takes us.

Let us know if you’d like to visit us somewhere! We’d love to see all your faces as we’ll surely get tired of each other’s. You can hear about location updates and more via our newsletter (or by contacting us directly of course).

But why uproot at all? You’re already living and working elsewhere aka America!
The TN visa that allows me to be in America has a couple limitations:

  1. I am tied to the company sponsoring my visa. I’m not allowed to make money in any other form outside of my full-time job.
  2. I am only allowed to work in the field I studied, which is tech.

I can stay in Canada to avoid these restrictions, but this is a limited time opportunity to do the exact same with the added bonus of trying living elsewhere. And what’s appealing about lifting these restrictions is I can try some things I wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

Cooking is something that’s recently grown from being a mere interest to taking up 1-2 nights of my time real estate per week. The world of food completely fascinates me. It’s both something we consume for sustenance, as well as something we derive experiences and pleasures from. It’s something that gathers people together to socialize, and something that provides insights on the socioeconomics, culture, environment, and more of a place and time. Waste and climate change are both hugely impacted by how we create and consume it.

With this chance, I could see if anything related to food speaks to me. Given what I’ve learned about life in a kitchen, it’s unlikely I’ll pivot to working as a chef from this, but I am interested in upping my cooking abilities, gleaning insights on the problems in the industry, and gaining a better understanding of the food we put in our body. I could see any and all of these paying dividends down the line, whether or not I return to tech.

Some opportunities I want to explore are wwoofing, working on a vineyard, working in a kitchen, taking cooking classes, working for a catering service, and/or visiting manufacturing facilities. If anyone has any other suggestions, or has connections with any of these in the places we’re going, please shoot them my way.

I do have some other back-up ideas that leverage the visa for if I completely disavow the industry (or it me) before we’re ready to call it quits, but I’m leaving those on the back burner for after I’ve fully explored what I want from food.

Last time I became a vagabond, the intent was to immerse myself in other cultures, to learn more about the world. I stayed in each place longer than I would for a vacation, trying to see more than just the typical tourist sights, but I was still essentially touring.

This time the intent is to focus on things I can’t here. I intend to do only a little touring, mostly working wherever we are. Ivy and I do have different goals and hers are more fluid in place, so likely there will be some push and pull in the lengths of our stays, but I’m sure we’ll find something that works for the both of us.

Last time was a pause from regularly scheduled programming. This time regularly scheduled programming will continue as before, but the prime time showing of Silicon Valley will be replaced with Master Chef.

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