At some point in the recent past, I crossed a threshold before which I'd been unable to firmly consider myself "moved".
Moving out here wasn't an easy thing, in retrospect. I mostly rolled with the punches and kept on movin' on. I've previously written about the emotional side of things of what it took to get me here, but nothing's been said about the logistics.
To start, Sometime in late June 2014, I ran out of money.
I don't mean "run out of money" like "wouldn't be able to pay the bills", "it wasn't in the budget". I ran out of money like "I think I would like to eat again when I run out of these groceries.".
I am a Trello Power User, so the first thing I did was to create a board titled "Pivot TODO" and just start throwing things at it. It started out with a bunch of engineering jobs I was applying for, what their state was, contact notes, and the like. There was also a much shorter list of priorities for where the last of my money would be going and resources I could draw from for more.
Eventually, it came to applying for Uber. I had a friend there at the time, who was often letting me know that it'd be super fun to move out to the bay area and live life in the golden state. She managed to help me out with getting me a phone call a few hours after I submitted my application. The next day was a phone interview, and the day after that I was invited to fly out to San Francisco for an on-site interview. They'd pay for the flight but only through a reimbursement process.
A bit of a catch 22 for someone who was broke with -$300 in the bank already.
I called my family who lended me the cash for $500 in flights and another $500 in money to live on. Dad drove me up to Cleveland Hopkins on July the 5th, 2014 where I boarded for San Francisco.
Its a trip I've made a number of times in my life before this. I'd been out for two separate weeks earlier in the year, and for a weekend back in 2011. Except this time, I was planning on having a job at the end of the trip.
Monday morning was my Uber interview. The team was impressed and excited to work with me, giving me all the "but you didn't hear it from me" indications that my hiring was immiment.
The next day, the Uber recruiter calls me up to say that I needed more business experience and should try again in a few years. I later found out through that same friend that I wasn't a "cultural fit".
Fair enough. I would've torn them apart from the inside.
I think its useful to step back and remember where my timeline is right now:
I had a flight back to Cleveland that Saturday night, giving me three business days to find a job. More phone calls, more pounding the pavement, my $500 slowly dwindling away.
Saturday night came. I still had no job. And I considered it immpossible to find what I'd want in northeast ohio having spent 25 years there already.
So I just didn't get on my flight.
The hour of departure came and went. The friends I was living with at the time celebrated this development in my life with some tequila. My home was now on a couch in San Bruno until future notice.
It was weird.
At this point, I was living out of a suitcase with whats left of my original $500, and a hard limit on how much of my medication I had left.
I knew I had to keep myself busy between phone calls with companies. Every morning I'd wake up, do the job search thing, then wander down to Noisebridge.
Noisebridge gave me a lot of space to myself. It gave me a project, and helped me build out my support network. The reboot got me working with my hands, letting me be creative when there were no other outlets for me. It introduced me to the intense social fabric that is Noisebridge, which grew to accept me as a piece of itself. I'm still there in spirit, though not as intense as of late.
Eventually I landed on my feet at Ripple Labs. What happened next is another story for another time.
My Pivot isn't completely done yet, and I've skipped over a bunch of other good stories between now and when it started. I have a lot of loose ends to tie up still. My car is getting sold right now, since I haven't driven it in the year since I brought it out here. I'm hopefully soon moving into a new apartment that I've chosen out of something other than bare necessity. Next weekend I'll be out in Akron to clean out the house I abandoned and get it ready to be made sellable next year. In just over a month, I'll be making my second trip to CCC in Germany with a bunch of my weird new west coast friends. This thanksgiving I'll be spending time with people who are very close to me.
This past weekend I looked at a new apartment in downtown Oakland. This is a place I've found through a friend I've made since moving out here. Its an interesting building with an inclusive community, the majority of which are women. The building manager is somewhere in my ever growing web of social connections, and knew enough about me before we met to know I've got a fondness for gardening, bike a lot, and am a loud activist. After I'd agreed to apply for the space, she said to me something that that would've felt completely different and alien just a year ago: