I recently talked about the time zone troubles in California. This TikTok guy is saying the same thing about the macro-economic situation.
I think the brain drain from California (and the US) will continue in the coming decade. Knowledge workers will move to cheaper locations and companies will continue to globalize. It leaves me with a question:
Should I keep my house in Silicon Valley or change locations to somewhere cheaper, maybe even overseas?
This question has so many facets and wrinkles, it is impossible to simplify. But simplification is the heart of this blog, so I must try.
I don’t have people I regularly hang out with. I’m an introvert and keep mostly to myself. The local tennis community is the thing I would miss the most. However, I believe/hope I could make new tennis friends almost anywhere.
My wife is more embedded in a few communities, but that has lessened now that the children are grown and moving (soon!) out of the house. She still is actively involved in the singing/choral community. Would she be able to make new friends in a new land? I hope so.
US or Europe?
The US is easy from a citizenship standpoint. However, you can get a visa to many countries simply by buying a house there. Portugal is highly rated and you can get a house for a fraction of the US market. England has many cool programs and everyone speaks English there. Also Tel Aviv and Prague are great vibrant cities. This section could be enormous. The choices are endless.
Rent or Buy?
If I sell my house, I could rent in various different cities. I could live in a few places for 3-6 months at a time and decide if we even like it. This digital nomad existence is intriguing to me, but it’s possible I hate it. It would certainly be a drastic change in my lifestyle.
If I do that, I would have to sell/donate/recycle 98% of my stuff. This includes couches, books, computers, televisions, paintings, games, beds, bicycles, random paperwork, and all manner of stuff. Can you imagine getting rid of that many things? It is daunting and you can’t get it back.
I have no idea how to make this decision. It’s huge. I don’t think I siplified it. I made it more complicated. How does one contemplate such a shift? On the one had it is exciting, on the other hand it’s a major change and I am terrified of the unknown consequences.
Right now, many people are forced to make this decision with far fewer resources than I have. Some examples:
- Poor people in Central and South America are being threatened by gang violence. They have to decide to leave their homes and go elsewhere. They have no resources and are often targeted by right wing politicians. It’s a terrifying situation to be in.
- Every person in Ukraine is figuring out what to do. Their towns and cities are in ruins. Danger is lurking in every field. What should they do? Where should they live? The young men are fighting for their country now, but what should the elderly and children do?
- Russia has instituted a draconian draft system. They are kidnapping people and throwing them into the front lines to kill and die for no good reason. Young men are fleeing. Where should they go? Where to live?
- Women in the southern states of the US are having their rights stripped away. Should they move? Where? How?
I am very lucky and recognize my cis-white-male-upperclass-educated privilege to have a support network and enough money to choose for myself where I want to go. Many others just do not have this option.
My prediction is that the next 20 years will have more migration of people than any other period in history and cause all sorts of unforeseen consequences in culture, language, economics, and politics.
Good luck to us all.