About a year ago I decided to move to San Francisco. My senior year of college was winding down and looking back on it, I feel that time in my life was incredibly insignificant but fundamental at the same time. It was the period in my life where I thought knew everything without realizing I knew nothing at all.
After a year of getting accepted into every graduate program I didn’t want to go to and rejected from my top schools, I decided I didn’t want to settle. Even though I had this idea of what I wanted to do with my life, it was getting fainter by the day – I knew for sure I wanted to leave Miami. The day after UCLA rejected me for their MBA program, I told my mom I was moving to San Francisco.
To my family and friends, San Francisco seemed like a city I just randomly pulled out of a hat. But I knew I wanted to live on the west coast and potentially attend UC Berkeley one day. Plus I always imagined myself working for Ubisoft in downtown San Francisco. I wanted to surround myself in the innovative environment I had always read about and possibly find what I could never find in Miami.
A month after my decision, I moved to San Francisco. I was unable to find a job or an apartment in the city while living in Miami but I was able to find a temporary sublet in Berkeley and shipped a few boxes to my new room. I leaned on my savings in hopes that everything would work out.
And to be honest, I wasn’t nervous about this decision. My mom, always supportive of every crazy idea I have, gave me a pep talk before I boarded my flight. She told me to just do it. What’s the worst that could happen? I could go to San Francisco, not find a job, not make any friends, waste my savings, and fly back to Miami. But at least I would have tried.
With my one-way ticket in hand, I boarded my flight and landed in Oakland International Airport at 10pm. It was freezing and I was alone in a city I had never been to. But I was beyond excited. I had no clue at the time, but flying across the country to San Francisco was the best decision I had ever made.
Resources I Used:
The only thing I knew about San Francisco was that it was a small city with a large amount of districts that were entirely different from one another. I had a month before I moved so I started my research with SFGate. It’s an awesome local site that has everything about San Francisco: Info about the districts, moving guides, things to do, food to eat, etc.
I used SFGate to realize that moving directly to San Francisco with my budget and timeline would be too difficult. So I settled for Berkeley where I knew it was quiet and safe. I could move there for a few months while I got to know San Francisco more and decided what district I wanted to live in. Ultimately, I chose to live in the Inner Richmond, a quiet district not too far from downtown.
This subgroup on the popular site Reddit was also a huge resource for me. I used it along with sfgate to get to know the city. The great people who moderate this subreddit provide guides for new people moving to the city. Reddit also provided me an opportunity to meet cool people. I moved here without knowing anyone so I definitely recommend finding local subreddits if you are in a new city.
Craigslist and PadMapper.com
Craigslist was definitely my most useful resource and I highly recommend it to everyone, given you are knowledgeable on safety. I used craigslist to apartment hunt while still living in Miami. Not only is it extremely difficult to move across the country without ever visiting your new city, it is even more difficult finding an apartment in the crowded city of San Francisco.
I had no luck finding an affordable apartment so I did the next best thing. If you are trying to make that big leap I recommend finding a cheap and temporary sublet. I found a 4 month furnished sublet in a quiet part of Berkeley. I was able to Skype with my potential roommate and ship my boxes a few days before I flew out.
I added padmapper.com to this as well because the majority of the time I used Padmapper. It’s a tool that pulls a lot of data from craigslist and makes searching for apartments easier. I used both interchangeably because more listings are on craigslist. Both are great for finding sublets and apartments
Last but not least, Expedia. I feel this is a given but I bought my one way ticket here and planned out my hotel and travel. I flew into Oakland because it was cheaper (and I was jobless). I also knew Oakland wasn’t the best introduction to the bay area so I found a nearby hotel with shuttle service. Flew in, hopped on a shuttle, and had a hotel while I got settled and went to my new apartment.
To be honest I booked the hotel before I found an apartment because I didn’t think it would take long to find somewhere to live. After researching some more, San Francisco is one of the most difficult places to find housing. I think its just as hard as interviewing for jobs. So I found a place before flying but had the hotel just in case.
And that’s how I did it. It was very difficult the first few months I lived here. I didn’t have friends, work, or school to rely on. I remember sitting all day at home babysitting my roommate’s cats and dog while job hunting. I even called my mom a few times telling her how lonely I was. But in the end it worked out. I landed a job, made some amazing friends, and even got my best friend to move here. A lot has happened in a year and I hope I am able to share it