I'm writing this from a few thousand feet above Detroit's airport, on a flight that I really didn't want to be taking.

This last week of mine was spent in Hamburg, Germany at 31C3. Overall I had an amazing experience, though from talking to friends both old and new, my experience was a bit unusual. Thats a story for another day.

Detroit was just a midpoint on my way to Akron where I was planning on catching a few winks, hitting up First Night Akron as I've done for many years, and returning back home to San Francisco.

Yes, home to me now means The City by the Bay.

The idea had been floating around in my head since I first moved to The City about 6 months ago in July 2014. I wasn't entirely sure if I was going to commit to that idea or not, though now that I've been given a chance to pause and look around me, it turns out that I have in fact started to plant some fresh roots.

I don't want to be on this flight because it takes me to Atlanta, and from there to Akron. Its not that I don't want to be in Akron, or that I'm not excited to make it back to The City of Invention. Originally, I was meant to fly to Cleveland and catch a ride to Akron with plenty of hours to spare. Enough that I could relax in my house, catch up with friends, and plan a fun evening.

As the boarding process continued, I was told that my seat had been somehow deleted from the very fabric of reality. Neat, huh? Delta gave me a rather large voucher, some meal tickets, and free first class flight to CAK through Atlanta as compensation. I struggled to find my center and reestablish my zen while processing the hand I was dealt: I wouldn't be back in Akron until shortly before midnight.

My immediate thought was that I just wanted to go home to my apartment in Oakland and be done with it all. Unpacking that feeling a bit more, I came back to a few thoughts I've had about Ohio since my vacation had started over two weeks ago.

For about five days, I had been submerged in the energy of CCC. Porting Graviton to Arduino, fiddling with XBee radios, and getting to know my Noisebridge family more. It was a life changing experience, as shown by the fact that I'm writing this very blog post. Sitting in a friend's AirBNB at 3am watching Youtube videos with others, I thought to catch up on what news I've missed in the default world.

Ohio Transgender Teen commits suicide, citing bullying from peers and parents

Being transgender myself, and having to suffer with a family that often times feels completely unsupportive of me, this hit me pretty close to home. Its even more significant knowing that it came from Cleveland, part of the northeast ohio region that I've called home for the last 25 years. Thats not all though - there are many other systemic issues about Ohio that have finally worn me down:

  • The sad state of public intercity transit
  • Forced ultrasounds for abortions
  • The state assembly's continued resistance to implementing the ACA
  • Government money simply vanishing into Governor Kasich's totally opaque JobsOhio entity
  • The attitude of authoritarianism-can-solve-terrorism that is pervasive in Ohio's culture
  • State-wide resistance to investment in education
  • Its strong prison-industrial complex
  • Zero opportunities for startup investment and systemic over-valuation of risk

It isn't easy to say it, but I'm done with Ohio. After the last 26 years of living there, staying involved in local politics, and even launching a full-throttle attempt to radically change northeast Ohio by building a vibrant hackerspace and community of hackers, I'm beat. I'm done. I'm packing up my toys and finally moving out west wholesale. My next visit to Akron will likely be to load my house into a moving truck and sell my rights to the tiny patch of earth I've called home for the last 5 years.

However, I make this decision with the good faith in what I'll be leaving behind. While I certainly can't take credit for much, I'm really proud to have made an impact in some ways by being a part of:

  • The growth of CHAMP, the Canton Hacker and Maker Place in Canton, Ohio
  • The founding of Oak Hill Makerspace in Youngstown, Ohio
  • Occasional visits to Makers Alliance
  • Inspiring Monique Mason at the Akron public library to get the Akron Mini Maker Faire off the ground
  • Helping build OSC Tech Lab
  • Watching my friend Ken Burns grow TinyCircuits into a rapidly growing enterprise along side SYN/HAK
  • The countless throngs of people whose lives were touched and inspired by SYN/HAK's brief three year run, and the inspiration it brought to hackers across Northeast Ohio, many of whom went on to build CHAMP, Oak Hill Makerspace, TinyCircuits, and probably more than I'll ever know
  • All the humans I'll forever consider to be a part of my family

I certainly hope that one day I'll return to the Rubber City. A lot about Ohio will have to change before such an idea strikes my fancy, but I'm incredibly optimistic. I'm just one person who made a lot of change happen. Many others will follow in my footsteps and pick up where I left off. Hopefully by then I can realize my dream of bringing manufacturing back to the rust belt.

In the meantime, I'll continue to work on my own save-the-world projects. My goals haven't changed at all though my approach has.