Several months ago, our family decided to make a drastic change. After nearly five years living in the Bay Area, we decided it was time for us to leave. The exact reasons for this are somewhat lengthy and personal, but they boil down to two main things: Housing prices and proximity to family.

During our time in Silicon Valley, we were extremely fortunate to rent a home from a couple who gave us a great deal on rent. But the reality was that even with a comparatively “cheap” rent, there were still times when we felt like we were barely breaking even. We wanted to be saving money to someday buy a home in which we could raise our kids, but the market near San Jose is such that saving money is extremely difficult. It’s fairly typical (I believe) for 50% or more of your paycheck to go to rent. Depending on where you live, it may be much more than that.

We want to buy a home. We want the freedom of making a home truly ours. When renting, there’s always the hesitation that you perhaps might not want to alter this or that, because it’s ultimately not your property. In the home we were renting, I felt reasonably comfortable installing a new thermostat, but even things like smart outlets felt a bit invasive. Painting the walls, installing AC, landscaping, remodeling the kitchen… all things we would’ve liked to have done, but which were ultimately not our decision.

Couple this with home prices (it’s hard to get any sort of home in the valley for under $800k), and the reality of the situation was that we were never going to afford to buy a home there. The homes we could’ve afforded would’ve meant a 1 hour+ commute each way. With the tech industry what it is, sacrificing another hour away from my family each day was a really hard sell.

The other main reason is much simpler: we want our kids to grow up near their cousins and aunts and uncles. We love our family. In California, the nearest such relatives were a twelve-hour drive away.

So, we made the decision to leave California. We moved near the end of July, and leaving was really bittersweet for us. We loved our time in California, but we couldn’t see ourselves staying there long term and being happy. We have since settled near Salt Lake City, as almost all of our extended family is in this area. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins… they’re all pretty much less than an hour away now.

Unfortunately, this has required a change to my role at Apple. I have loved my (nearly) three years on the Evangelism team, and I hope that someday circumstances would allow me to go back. John, Jake, Paul, Curt, Josh, Stefan, Allan, Other Paul, Mark, Mark, Assana, Rachel, Mike, Stephen, Craig, and David… you’re the best co-workers a guy could hope for, and I’m going to miss working with you. I miss it already.

But, I’m extremely grateful to have found a position on the Maps client team, and am excited to dig in on Monday.

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