My wife and I are city people. Though we developed this predisposition in different ways (she grew up in a city of 3+ million - it didn't happen to me until college), we both have the need to feel the world buzzing around us. Being artists, we need to feel as though life is happening around us to feel alive and inspired, to feed our mind and our soul. We're happiest with a drink in hand, surrounded by both friends and strangers, sharing stories and existing among the diverse community of human beings that inhabit the world at this precise, special moment in time.
So naturally we moved to a super-quiet town in northern Massachusetts when we first moved in together. Population: 8,000. There was a total of one skeevy dive bar within 15 miles. No public transport. Heaven, right?
It was maddening. If not for the proximity to my job and the rent value for the dollar I'm fairly certainly we would have been out of there in a matter of a few short months. But we gutted it out for an entire year until the lease was up. And when my wife landed a job closer to Boston, we took the first opportunity we had and shacked up in an apartment at nearly double the rent just 15 minutes from her work and an 8 minute drive from the nearest subway station. Things were finally looking like our city-itch would be scratched. We thought as much, at least.
Over the past 10 months we've come to realize that the plague of suburbia can exist even a few short minutes away from the subway.
Watch: TED2004 - James Howard Kunstler: "The Ghastly Tragedy of the Suburbs"
What we got instead was the boring lovechild of our former town and the outskirts of Boston - no real bars, just Italian restaurants that close at 10pm - no young people, just former urbanites that decided to "settle down" yet still be a train's distance away from their old stomping grounds. And it's not as though Boston has an outstanding nightlife in its own right. Even if we decided to hop into Boston for a night on the town... last I checked the subway stops running at 12:30am. Stay later than that, and you're a candidate for a taxi or uber ride that'll cost you anywhere from 5-20x the cost a subway ride.
If New York is the city that never sleeps, Boston is the city that gets a solid 8 hours a night.
My wife and I went to London for a friend's wedding this month. Needless to say, we would move there today if we could.
I don't think I've ever felt as inspired as I did in those brief 6 days we spent in London. It genuinely felt like something inside me had been reawakened, something that I had lost in our two years in purgatory. I saw shape, color, and life. Dots connected in my brain that had been languishing apart from each other as I wasted away in the backwoods and urban backwoods of Massachusetts. I felt wanted by the world around me rather than it being bothered by me. For me, in London, the world's arms were open and my heart was smiling.
I’d love some tips from anyone who’s made the jump to London or is currently living there. Additionally, if anyone may be interested in being a roommate to a professional couple in London in the near future, shoot me a message.
Live where you feel inspired, and you’ll live an inspired life.
Just outside of Boston, MA