Sunday, November 14, 2010

"You may all go to Hell and I will go to Texas" – Davy Crockett

This month marks the approximate one-year anniversary of my decision to leave New York City and move to Austin, Texas.  People always assume that my husband and I relocated for work or to be closer to family, but in fact we didn’t have a good reason.  I blame boredom.  And garbage.  On a beautiful, crisp autumn morning, my husband and I were enjoying a lovely stroll to our favorite New York brunch place and had to dodge several sky-high mountains of trash, an infinite amount of dog crap, and one particularly disgusting puddle of vomit.  By the time we reached the restaurant, we had decided to get the hell out of that city.

So we made a list of cool cities with fewer people, cheaper beer, and more favorable tax rates.  I had recently quit my job in finance and my husband worked from home, so we were free to go anywhere.  Austin was the first city on our list, so we flew down for a three-day visit.  Due to sheer laziness, we never made it to the other cities.  (Seattle was number two, but whatever – I hear it rains a lot in Seattle.)

I like to tell people that we moved to Texas completely on a whim because we’re such spontaneous, adventure-seeking individuals.  But in reality, the decision involved a very lengthy, detailed assessment of the pros and cons of living in New York versus Austin.  Here are just a few of my favorites:

  • Super friendly – people say hello in the elevator!
  • Good public schools in case we ever have kids
  • Convenient outdoor trails in case we ever go running
  • Laidback hippie town is probably more our style

  • Requires owning a car and knowing how to drive it
  • Neither of us look good in cowboy hats
  • Will have to find new dentist
  • No direct international flights except to Cancun
  • Insanely hot summers (i.e. outside = sweating, even at night while sitting still)
  • Possibility of being attacked by killer bees, scorpions, or poisonous spiders

  • Online grocery shopping
  • Has the best of everything
  • Diverse population
  • People are always impressed when you say you’re from New York

  • Subway stations are the most disgusting places on Earth
  • Insane taxes (none of which goes to cleaning up the subway)
  • Greater chance of being attacked by terrorists or rats
  • A pint of beer costs a small fortune
  • No Dairy Queen or Target
  • We never actually go to museums or to the opera or to the theater or to charity galas, nor do we shop in any fancy boutiques
  • I refuse to navigate a stroller in a city of 8 million people
  • The only grass nearby is fenced off inside the public housing projects

I think we always knew we would go but were afraid to leave New York after eight years.  That city has a way of sucking you in and making you unable to function in the outside world.  “What do you mean, I have to drive there?”  “What do you mean, you don’t deliver?”  “Why is everything closed at 9pm?"  It would certainly be an adjustment, but in the end, we thought it would be worth it.

When we shared the big news with some of our acquaintances who were die-hard New Yorkers, they thought we had lost our minds.  Their response was something along the lines of, “So you’re just going to Texas?  Like, voluntarily?  No, you lost me.”  In defense of our decision, I reminded them of the fable from Who Moved My Cheese? where the little rats learn to embrace change, savor the adventure, and enjoy the taste of new cheese.  This did not convince them of my sanity.

But a year later, I’m still happy with the decision we made.  A change of scenery is great for getting unstuck in your career.  I've also discovered that Austin is an ideal city for creative types.  And I have yet to be attacked by killer bees.


  1. As you did NOT mention how wonderful your tour guides of Austin were when you visited. Acting like that didn't have ANYTHING to do with your decision! Or the countless articles I sent you about how fab Austin is! ;) So happy you guys are here. Now, lets hang out soon. PLEASE!

  2. Don't worry, Jackie, you made it onto our "AUSTIN PRO" list. Number 4: Already know two people in Austin, and they're awesome.

  3. Austin is one awesome city. Just moved here a few months back and I love it so far! Although a move from 5 hours away doesn't equal the cross country journey that you took!

    Poker Tips

  4. You also forgot to add high chance of bed bug infestation to the NYC Cons list!!!

  5. There's at least two Target's in NYC but, you'd have to go to Jersey City for a DQ.

  6. Good point, there is indeed a Target in both Harlem and Brooklyn. But I still couldn't buy anything that I didn't want to carry back on a very long subway ride. Here in Texas they have shopping carts the size of freight cars and friendly employees who will load all of your crap into the back of your pick-up truck. Yeehaw.