Some of you may wonder how I ever ended up in Austin in the first place. I mean Austin is a completely different place than rural Central Wisconsin where I grew up. In a lot of ways it ended up being chance.
To be honest, I was bored out of my mind in Wisconsin. I was feeling that small town claustrophobia that I wrote about in the past. I was in my early 20’s and young and single. I had a good job at the time and was, by all means, doing well overall. I was just bored since the only real things to do on a weekend were go to the bar and drink.
This is where I started taking random road trips. In 2012 I did an East Coast road trip, and in 2013 I went out to the West Coast. I originally fell in love with New York City and started applying for jobs out there. I did get a few interviews, but it was clear I wasn’t ready to go from middle of nowhere Wisconsin to the largest city in the United States.
What I was really looking for was a vibrant tech scene: somewhere with a lot of meetups and a good place to pursue a tech business. While I was looking at cities, my buddy Chad kept nudging me to move to Austin. He had moved there a few years prior and told me there were a lot of good things happening there.
In 2013, my cousin in Lafayette, Louisiana was getting married. I road tripped down there for the wedding. Austin was *only* another 6 hours to the west so I took a drive that way to visit Chad. I spent a single night hanging out with Chad in Round Rock and then headed back to Wisconsin. I didn’t even go into the actual city of Austin.
As I did more research, I found Austin had everything I was looking for, but for a much more reasonable price tag than NYC. Chad also kept encouraging me to come to Austin. I’d be able to crash at his place until I got my footing. This made changing my focus from NYC to Austin kind of a no brainer.
Now people in Wisconsin didn’t exactly think moving to Austin was a no brainer. They actually thought the opposite. I was told this would be the worst mistake of my life by some people and generally most people weren’t too warm to the idea. I guess it broke the unwritten rule in the Upper Midwest of not moving more than 50 miles from where you grew up.
I kept applying for jobs and got a few hits but it became apparent that most companies wanted a local candidate. It made more sense for me to quit my job, move down to Austin, and then start applying for jobs. I had saved a decent amount of money and decided that I would do this move after my lease ended in Wisconsin. This would give me several months to start purging my stuff and be fully ready for the move.
By purging my stuff, I pretty much got to the point where everything fit in my little 2 door hatchback Focus. I had another rubbermaid tub full of yearbooks and other sentimental things that I kept at my parents’ house. Other than that, pretty much everything I owned was packed into my car. The first week of May 2014, I punched Chad’s address into my GPS and headed down to Texas.
In May 2014, everything was booming in Texas. I read about how great the economy was doing, but didn’t realize it until I had a job offer within 3 days of landing on Chad’s couch. With that job offer I was able to get an apartment at the same apartment complex as Chad. Now that I had a permanent address, I was able to register my car and get a Texas driver’s license. I even started my first day of work exactly 2 weeks from arriving in Austin. It was kind of crazy to think I was able to get fully settled in exactly 2 weeks of arriving!
About a month later, my brother also moved down to Austin. He had the same kind of boredom but instead of pursuing tech like I was, he was pursuing music. I guess that goes to show you the variety of opportunity that Austin provides. My brother ended up staying for a little less than a year before moving back to Wisconsin.
In many ways it’s crazy to think that I’m going on 5 years in Austin. In the meantime I started traveling a ton for my job at TABC and was able to see pretty much all of Texas. I was able to start and finish my MBA. I effectively was able to get a master’s degree on paper and also an informal master’s degree in life experience.
Most important, I met Victoria, the love of my life. We recently got married and are now settling down. In many ways, my priorities are changing. I came to Austin in my mid 20’s to pursue the tech industry and try to hit it big. Now I’m looking for that nice quiet stable middle class lifestyle to settle into.
Austin is a great city overall. Victoria is one of the rare natives still left here. It is still growing like crazy. As time goes on, I’m liking the more quiet suburban life. We still live in Austin, but it’s the much more suburban area of it. As time goes on, I’m sure we’ll settle down in a quiet suburb. In many ways, this is what I’m craving. While I do love everything that a large city like Austin has to offer, I’m still a small town guy at heart.
While I was told that moving to Austin was going to be the greatest mistake of my life, I feel like it’s the opposite. I do really think this was the best decision I could make. I was able to get away, get a whole new perspective on life, and find out who I really am. I have learned a ton and continue to learn. The whole experience has allowed me to grow immensely. Most importantly, I met the love of my life here.
If you’re wondering about the picture I took for the post thumbnail, it was taken in June of 2016. It’s kind of crazy how much the skyline has changed since then!