3 Reasons Why I am Happy to Not Move Back to the Bay Area
So yes, everyone has heard that it’s way too expensive to live in the bay area which is so true. I lived in Berkeley CA and surrounding cities in the Bay for about 12 years and I never thought that I would leave. I went to school there, met my husband and had my first child there. While living in the bay, I always had at least 1 roommate if not 4. But now, rent has increased ridiculously that even having roommates does not make it at all affordable. According to Michelle Robertson with SF Gate, A 6 figure salary is considered low income in SF. Many of my friends that have no family ties to the bay have also moved away. If your parents or relatives didn’t buy a house there a long time ago, then your probably going to be working really hard to stay. In all honesty, I enjoy everything about the Bay area. The weather, the culture, lots of great food options, plenty of outdoor green spaces, bike lanes, and accessible transit systems. But guess what? I moved away and I am happy.
1) My cost of living is low now that I have moved
Since I moved away from the Bay
For almost 3 years now, I have definitely felt a gradual shift towards enjoying life in the central valley which, did not happen overnight. I have come across many families who have also made this transition. What us families have noticed is that in raising our kids, the central valley has everything you need and you can save your money. I have been living in a 2 bedroom apartment with access to a pool, gym and paying less than $1,000 a month. The housing prices to buy or rent are extremely low when compared to the Bay Area. According to Forbes.com in 2018 the average home price in San Francisco were $1,097,000, in Oakland $606,000, Fresno $230,000 and Visalia $208,000. As you can see, the cost of housing in Fresno & Visalia are much more affordable than places like San Francisco & Oakland. Think about what you can spend your money on if you’re not spending it all in rent or a really expensive mortgage?
2) We can travel easily without worry
Being able to afford to travel with family and even pay for extended family to join us in mini or long distance vacations has been a great advantage in living in a low cost of living location.
The above picture is from the Giant Sequoia Groves in The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. There are beautiful Redwood trees and Giant Sequoia Groves, Crystal Caves, Lakes, Rivers, hiking trails and plenty of activities like skiing and horseback riding.
Some of the great outdoor spaces that we enjoy and frequent often
The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, Yosemite, Three Rivers and lakes like Avacado Lake. Kid friendly beaches like Avila and Pismo can act as a fun day trip or make a weekend out of it. For longer trips, you can still choose to go to your major Cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. And for long distance plane trips, averaging from 2-5 hours we have gone to Playa del Carmen, Xcaret, Cabos, Mexico City, and Oaxaca Mexico.
Left top: Oaxaca, Mexico Left bottom: Xcaret, Mexico Right: Hotel Xcaret
When we decide not to travel
We hang in our town. There are plenty of things to do such as; salsa dancing, festivals, social events, farmers markets, hanging out at the park with friends and the great thing about it, is that it does not feel overly crowded. During the week there are kid-friendly activities like storytime at the library, the children’s museum, parks, kid-friendly classes at the recreation center, a splash pad, adventure park, a water park (being built). Basically, similar things that you would see in a major city like the Bay area. Bike lanes are also popping up more and more along with walking trails and of course your typical restaurants and shops. We have everything that a city would have just fewer people, fewer lines, reduced traffic, and less stress.
3) Life has become far less stressful
Every time I go to visit the bay
I immediately start to feel my shoulders rise towards my neck. Driving there is stressful and finding parking can be really difficult. There seem’s to be more people driving but the same amount of limited space as before. While living in the central valley, I have never experienced bumper to bumper traffic. It is so much more relaxed and you get to your destination without having to worry about getting there on time. If you’re toting around little kids in the car like I am, the last thing you need it traffic. According to Carolyn Kylstra in her article 10 Things Your Commute does to Your Body, commuting and traffic can have an impact on your mental and physical health. So this is definitely one of my reasons that I am happy to not move back to the bay. We have to take care of our mental and physical health, so reducing the amount of stress we accumulate throughout the day is one of my priorities.
While living in the Bay there was always this one question
That would always pop up, that has always stuck in my head. It was during random conversations with other families that I would see at the park or playgroups. The question would always be, “is it worth it?” Is it worth, living paycheck to paycheck? Working 2 jobs? Having less time with friends and family? Renting a home vs owning? Traveling or staying put? Having some sort of savings for retirement? Being able to afford to have kids? Well, I think you know my answer. What do you think? Is it worth it? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts below.