My life in LA was going great! My fiancé and I both worked for an amazing company, we had just moved into the cutest loft and we both bought our dream cars. In our free time we traveled around and spent our time hanging out with friends and family. Everything was going amazing…until it wasn’t.
Things don’t always go as planned, no matter how much you plan them. The industry we were working in took a downturn for the worse. My fiancé was working as an engineer at the same company as me and he was laid off. All of a sudden, here we were, almost 30 years-old, living in one of the most expensive places in United States and only bringing in a fraction of the income we had become accustomed to. We had done everything we could to build a good life in LA, but things were out of our hands and seemed to be spiraling downwards fast.
Since things were not going so hot for us in LA my fiancé suggested “screw it, let’s move somewhere else and start again fresh”, but I was very hesitant. I liked my life in LA. I loved having my family close, my friends and my cute little loft. The beaches in LA are beautiful and it feels like the sun never stops shining. But at the same time we had grown tired of the busy LA lifestyle dealing with expensive housing, traffic and lack of nature. As crazy and scary as it was to think of packing everything up in a U-Haul and leaving our friends and family behind, we decided to give it a try. We knew we could do it, we just had to downsize our lifestyle and find a cheaper place to live.
Now that we had decided to head out and reset, the hardest decision was choosing a location to call our new home. My fiancé wanted to move abroad, but I wasn’t ready for that big of a change yet. We settled on moving to another state and we wanted this new place to be young, fun and outdoorsy yet not break the bank. Three cities met this criteria for us: Portland, Denver and Austin. We had visited Denver and Austin before and both were great places for young people to live in. Denver offers many outdoor activities and Austin has an amazing music and food scene. As great as those places are, we wanted to experience something different and live in a region we had never explored. We had heard many great things about the Pacific Northwest from friends and family, and everything we found online seemed to back it up. A land of beautiful greenery with waterfalls and volcanoes around every corner, a world vastly different from the concrete jungle of LA. Without having ever visited the region and without having a specific city in mind, we decided to head north.
When it was time to let everyone know about our move we kept going back and forth with thoughts like “are we crazy for doing this” and “is this the right decision”. But after long deliberation we both came to terms that we wanted a change. We put in a notice with our landlord and few days later I put in a notice with my work. Everyone was surprised and there were many tears, but as hard as it was, we decided to go through with it. There was no turning back now.
We said our goodbyes, packed the U-Haul and left our sunny California in search of a new adventure. The days leading up to the move were filled with a lot of uncertainty and doubts, but as we drove out I could feel those doubts disappearing mile after mile and being replaced with a sense of relief and excitement. We had no home or final destination in mind, but I hadn’t felt this stress-free in a long time.
The drive was long and tiresome but we made a few stops on the way to break up the driving. Eugene was one of the cities we had decided to check out ahead of time. We had heard that it was a cute, outdoorsy college town and we were considering settling down there. We stayed in Eugene for two days, but we didn’t get the feel that it was the city for us. Eugene was nice and clean, but it was too suburban for us and we were looking for something with more of a kick to it so we decided to keep driving to Portland.
As soon as we got to Portland, we felt like this was it! Something about it just clicked and without saying a word I knew my fiancé and I both felt the same. As we were driving around, I was falling in love with this city. It has green parks, rustic bridges, a cool downtown and mountain views in the distance…and…and…I can keep going on forever. This was it! I knew that Portland was going to be our new home. So we made a few of appointments to view apartments, dropped our stuff off at a hotel and went exploring. Every neighborhood we went to was so different and unique. Some were artsy and cool with food trucks parked in lawns serving delicious out-of-this-world food. Some reminded me of a mountain skiing city like Mammoth or Big Bear. Some were more suburban with the typical mall stores, chain restaurants, and Starbucks on every corner. All in all, I knew there was a lot to explore in Portland and I wanted to give it a chance. We spent a couple of days looking for apartments and decided to get one in a hillside community that has many parks and trails nearby to go on hiking and running.
THE LIFE AFTER.
I couldn’t be happier with our decision to leave our busy LA lives and move to Portland. Yes, we had to make some sacrifices to live here, but it has been well worth it. So far we have already explored long trails that lead to insanely gorgeous waterfalls, vast beaches with humongous rocks scattered all over them, the inland high-desert, volcanic mountains, and the quirky downtown with, did I already mention, delicious food. There is so much more to explore and I cannot wait.
Life is too short to spend every minute in the office and constantly stressing yourself out instead of doing what you love. Sometimes we need to stop ourselves, take a leap of faith, and know that there is something better waiting down the road.
Written by Laura Sausina.