Other people take the time from their busy schedule to blog, why can’t I do the same? This is an attempt to post regular updates and chronicle my story as a lifetime suburban Chicagoan who recently moved across the country to The Golden State. It’s an opportunity that was ultimately too good to pass and is a chance to further my career while also challenging myself. Official hashtag for my transition to California is #GoWestYoungMan.
This promotion was first casually offered to me on a whim, likely never believing that I would actually consider and eventually accept. I have lived in suburban Chicago my entire life… besides going “away” to school in Kenosha, which could probably be annexed into Chicagoland anyway. The deal came together quickly as I accepted the position after Labor Day and was to begin work in California before Thanksgiving. I made arrangements to sell my Arlington condo and to visit California to hunt for an apartment and hire movers and determine the logistics of a cross-country road trip.
When I came home empty-handed from California without an address, stress began to set in. Where would I live? Is this reality? Am I actually going to move to the West Coast? I negotiated with movers and finally settled on the last possible day to pick up and move my limited belongings to deliver somewhere in the Los Angeles area. After scouring Craigslist, Redfin, Padmapper, Walk Score, and Realtor listings, I finally committed to an apartment based on a handful of pictures and some elementary geographical research. As the last items were loaded onto the truck, I was able to give the driver an actual address where my belongings could be delivered.
Here is a cliff notes version of our drive from Arlington Heights to Long Beach:
- Miles Driven: 2067
- States Navigated: 8 (IL, IA, NE, CO, UT, NV, AZ, CA);
- License Plates Spotted: 35 States plus Quebec & Ontario CAN, and Baja MEX;
- Weather Endured (including seemingly simultaneously in Utah): light flurries, bitter cold, pleasant warmth, gusty winds, heavy rain, sleet, snow, bright sunshine, and beautiful rainbows;
- Lug nuts Lost/Replaced: two (right front tire at Grand Junction, CO);
- Construction Zones, Speed Traps, Lanes Closures, Bumper to Bumper Traffic, Steep Mountain Passes, Open Straightaways, etc…
- Las Vegas Losses: (no comment);
- Las Vegas Cocktails Consumed: (no comment);
Arrived safely to Ocean Blvd the morning of November 17 to see my new apartment for the first time after overnight stays in Avon, Las Vegas, and Long Beach.
While I enjoy Facebooks and Twitters and the Instagram Machine, this is my first attempt at a blog. Maybe I’ll post every day (once I have an internet connection at home), or maybe I’ll post three times and leave this page in the internet wilderness. I hope you’ll be able to follow along as I describe what its like to live in a foreign land after being in familiar territory for thirty-three years…
“Go West, young man” is often credited to the American author Horace Greeley concerning America’s expansion westward, related to the then-popular concept of Manifest Destiny. It was first stated by John Babsone Lane Soule in an 1851 editorial in the Terre Haute Express, “Go west young man, and grow up with the country.” Greeley later used the quote in his own editorial in 1865.
Greeley favored westward expansion. He saw the fertile farmland of the west as an ideal place for people willing to work hard for the opportunity to succeed. The phrase came to symbolize the idea that agriculture could solve many of the nation’s problems of poverty and unemployment characteristic of the big cities of the East. It is one of the most commonly quoted sayings from the nineteenth century and may have had some influence on the course of American history.
Washington is not a place to live in. The rents are high, the food is bad, the dust is disgusting and the morals are deplorable. Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country. – Horace Greeley