You Should Move to a Random City for 2 Years
It’ll help you figure out who you are
I have a recommendation for any rootless millennial and Gen Zer who does remote work: move to a random city for a few years. I’d especially urge you to do this if you currently live in a very expensive major metropolis like New York or Los Angeles or San Francisco. This isn’t about finding somewhere cheaper, exactly, though where I moved certainly was. It’s about opening yourself up to possibilities beyond the false scripts you’ve been presented with. No matter where you live, you’re still you, but moving to somewhere kinda arbitrary, a place you’d never expect to end up in, will teach you surprising things about who you are and what’s important in life.
I was born and raised in Manhattan, and aside from the six semesters I spent in Ohio, a place where I swiftly earned my college degree and then got the hell out of there, I always lived in New York City and expected that I would forever. It felt like my destiny, like it was the only place I was allowed to live. I was a writer after all, and that meant I had to be in a cultural center. And I lacked the skills to live elsewhere (primarily a driver’s license).
Don’t get me wrong, I love New York, I will always love New York, and it will always be home to me, but unless you’re flush with cash, New York is a crazy difficult place to start your life. The city asks you to give it everything you have. You spend every pitiful cent you make on rent and food and transportation, and when it’s all said and done, you have nothing left. You’re stuck.
You probably know where I’m going with this: then the pandemic hit and everything changed. I lost my most lucrative work, which involved going on reporting trips, and there was this deadly disease ravaging New York (and soon after, the rest of the country) and there I was, trapped inside my Greenpoint two-bedroom, which cost $3,200 a month (that sounds like a steal in today’s housing market but no matter how you spin it, it’s a hell of a lot of money, especially considering the going rate for a reported feature has stayed stagnant at $1 a word since, I don’t know, the 1970s). All of this is a roundabout way to tell you that being stuck in an overpriced apartment in an upsettingly…