Flirting with San Francisco

Travel, like dating, is an exercise in possibilities. A thrilling rendezvous with a new city is all about getting to know each other, searching for a common connection. Do I like how this place makes me feel? Could I see myself, working, playing, and living here? Could I make a long-term commitment?

It’s a game that I’m always playing on some level, and it’s interesting to see how different cities stack up (I’m unashamedly a city girl, so that narrows the world down a bit already). I would live in Rome (maybe not forever, but for awhile), but not Florence. Budapest, but not Prague. Still, it’s rare for me to stumble across a city that I would seriously consider relocating to.

San Francisco is one of those cities. I fell for it hard and fast.

I wasn’t really expecting it. I could barely remember my first visit some 15 years ago. Vague impressions of sea lions and Alcatraz were all that really remained. When I decided to visit my college buddy Susan, who lives across the bay in Oakland, I was happy to see San Francisco again, but it was never a priority.

My first morning in town, Susan drove me out and over the Golden Gate Bridge, the cities most beautiful and famous landmark. In an uncharacteristically lucky move, the chilly rains had stopped the day of my arrival and given way to clear blue weather, which showered me my entire stay. The bridge was crisp, and iconic against the sunny bay and I knew right away that I was in trouble.

Over the next few days we did the sightseeing thing, both in and around the city (more on this later). The better I got to know the city the more I liked. There were mundane things, like how friendly everyone was, the clean and chill public transport system, the fact that everyone seemed to be walking a dog.  Then the more romantic moments: rocking out at a Muse concert or standing knee deep in the Pacific in a party dress at 3 am.

As Susan drove me to the airport Saturday evening, I watched in awe as one of the most colorful sunsets I have ever seen stretched across the bay. The Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline were highlighted against a rainbow spectrum of colors. I felt as if the city was beseeching me to stay. To my surprise I actually felt real sadness.

The truth is, I’m ready to move on from Washington. DC, it’s not you, it’s me. You are a fantastic, beautiful and interesting place with a lot to offer the right person. But it’s not me. After spending most of the past 25 years together, I’m ready to move on.

I’ve been looking around for a new home on a subtle level for some time now- flirting with different ideas for once I return from my big trip. I’m not saying San Francisco is the one; it could still be London (my old flame) or maybe somewhere I haven’t even met yet. But if this trip proved anything it’s that I’m on the market. I’m ready to make that leap- with the right place of course.

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46 thoughts on “Flirting with San Francisco”

  1. I’ve lived here four years and I too am ready to move on. This city is no longer for me, kind of like how Washington DC isn’t for you anymore. It rains all the time, there are rarely seasons here (unless you count winter and a perpetual rainy season) and if you don’t have a car while living in the city, it makes it a challenge to get over the Golden Gate Bridge. Count on your friends to give you rides if you go hiking that way. And of course, if you are willing to pay the astronimical rent or live in the “hipster” Mission, I guess you have it made.

    I vote London!

  2. SF is such a charming city. After reading this post, I have a sudden urge to drive down Lombard Street really, really fast. Lol I think I just need an adrenaline rush.

    I’m praying that I get into Berkeley so I can move to SF. *Fingers crossed!

  3. SF is gorgeous! If it wasn’t for Chris always on my site I would have felt in love with San Francisco too 🙂
    .-= marta´s last blog ..People watching in New York City =-.

  4. Ohhhh San Francisco. I’ve flirted with “the city” for my entire life: shopping there every Christmas, working there a few days a month while living in Silicon Valley, going out with friends on weekends. It’s a fabulous city, but perhaps because I know it so well, it still hasn’t wowed me. it’s like that old friend who you know is always there, but because it’s always there, you’re waiting for some grand romantic gesture before you take the leap. Glad you enjoyed your trip out West 🙂
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..And this, my dear, is what they call an adventure =-.

    1. Yeah most of my high school friends are back in the DC area and there was definitely a rediscovery after college. It’s three years out and people seem to be clearing out though, maybe the love ahs worn off?

  5. You know, I’ve actually never been to the west coast. I’m actually dying to go this year as soon as I see a cheap flight come my way from JFK. Waiting for that less then $200 fare again. I’ve been hawking flights to anywhere west coast to go this summer. I’ve certainly met more travelers that have seen most of the USA then I have but then again I’ve seen more of their country then they have of theirs.
    .-= Michael´s last blog ..GoLite Product Review – Where Green and Light Collide =-.

    1. The US has some truly terrific stuff to see! I did a lot of travel around the US as a kid and now I’ve been going back and revisiting all these places. Pretty amazing!

  6. either way, a change from DC when you get back from your trip is a must.

    i worked and travelled overseas for 2 years, only to come back to my parents house (cheap rent, especially with no job) and a year later, still in the same city as before i left. and i really really don’t like it here (los angeles). travel changed me how? apparently not much. highly recc the change when you return, if you can afford it (something to add to your budget?).

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