We just came back from two weeks in San Francisco. As we were departing, I realized it was the longest I had lived in a city outside New York for over a decade. I’ve taken long work trips for much longer but never stayed in one place for so long, and nearly always stayed in a hotel.
This time was different. Our great friends in SF graciously loaned us their home while they were on vacation. A gorgeous house on the top of a huge hill in Noe Valley. What a lucky break for us. Not only did it allow us to live well on our startup budget but it gave us a glimpse into real SF life. I’ve been to SF probably 20 times in the last decade, but its always been swinging between hotels in the city and Silicon Valley’s very mediocre inns.
I always held a suffocating image of the Bay Area in my mind. A town full of engineers, working in a vacuum to build new products, surrounded by “Night of the Living Dead”. The city seemed to always lack diversity to me. Always felt like the people didn’t have the grittiness of my brethren in NYC and were always the type to complain about silly things… like the gluten levels of the bread they were eating, the temperature of their wine… or Wilted Kale. There were some unique nuances of the west side. Things I’ve never heard before: like when selecting an apartment, living on top of a hill is preferable because, well, “crime don’t climb” (my new moniker for SF).
Overall, SF was a complete breath of fresh air. In about an hour, you can get to a beautiful hike or sip some amazing new world wine. The city never feels congested or overly hectic. No lines in most places (unless you are trying to get a croissant at Tartine), and the general attitude of people across the city is very laid back. Yes the city lacks diversity and excitement but maybe its the right remedy for my old-ass.
Needless to say, I came back to New York with a much more open heart, chilled out vibe and great energy. The energy remains high and my heart remains open but the chilled out vibe…. not so much.