A break up ain't never easy. A break up is often caused by the fact that negative experiences overwhelm the positive, resulting in a change of perspective on the relationship. To say it in the words of a famous band from Brooklyn "New York, I love you but you're freaking me out".
My fiancé who was born on the island of Jamaica and raised in Park Slope, Brooklyn, had probably lived over 20 years in the city that never sleeps. Myself, on the other hand, had spent about 5 years all over the city, living in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen, Harlem (125th), the East Village, also in Astoria (Queens), Clinton Hill and Bushwick (Brooklyn). We lived the NYC life and we loved it.
Why did we leave?
In a world where more than half of the world population is living in urban areas, life in a city is scarred by very little exposure to nature while the demand for it in our cities and large towns, far exceeds the supply. Additionally, we are attracted by a fast-paced lifestyle governed by money, clocks, and many of the artificial restraints that modern society imposes on itself.
All these factors have health implications, like depression on the mental side, like cough caused by the pollution of the air or migraines on the physical side, to name just a few of many. More people than ever before need a break, need to get out of the city and need to breathe fresh air because the desire for nature is deeply rooted in the human constitution, seeking gratification.
That said, I moved to Oceanside in North San Diego County in 2015. My fiancé followed me in 2019. And we are not the only ones leaving the big city life: For years the population of cities has been declining and the events of 2020 might have speed up the process - the so-called "Brooklyn Effect" is hitting America's major metropolitan areas, driving rent prices down in the cities and up in the suburbs.
Where did we move to?
After spending weeks of research, the destination was clear: Oceanside in North San Diego County. A coastal city in Southern California and the third-largest city in San Diego County with a population of about 170,000. North San Diego County offers a "vacation-of-a-lifetime-feeling" all day, every day while just being located 1.5hrs or 45min from Los Angeles or San Diego respectively.
Oceanside is said to be California's Best Kept Secret and the Gateway to San Diego. Although the other coastal cities north and south of Oceanside are also great destinations to aim at if you are planning a vacation or to move for good.
For us, Oceanside always gave us a little bit more of the 70's beach town feel which we were looking for. If comparing San Diego County to boroughs of NYC, I would say that North San Diego County is Brooklyn and San Diego is Manhattan. And as Brooklyn, the North County also has its differences: Oceanside is a little rawer, while Carlsbad is a little more polished. Although, the world does not stand still anywhere and Oceanside is currently undergoing a detailed make-over.
What kind of differences in lifestyle did we experience?
1. Work/Life Balance | Quality of Life
Southern California has beautiful weather and beaches: Enjoy a drive down to Oceanside Pier after a long day in the office to watch the sunset. Relaxation, peace, and joy will set in instantly. Also, there is no better feeling than running along the beach and smelling the ocean breeze. This is the quality of life that we searched for in New York City for years.
2. Real Estate is less expensive
Let’s talk about real estate, it is a bit more expensive to live in New York City than Southern California. They are both beautiful places to live but you will get a bit more bang and square feet for your buck in California.
Before moving to California, my fiancé was fortunate to live in a rent-stabilized apartment in Midwood, Brooklyn. The rent was $1,500/month for a "shoebox" junior-one-bedroom, with a large living room and three closets. Even though this may seem a lot to many depending on where in the country you live, but this was incredibly low for Brooklyn.
Another example: A friend pays in New York for her one-bedroom and one bath apartment the same in rent that my other friend pays in Coastal Southern California for a house with 2 bedrooms, 2 ½ baths, 2 balconies, 2 car garage.
Isn't that insane!? So what are you waiting for?