Moving To The Big City

Should I move to the big city some day? I’ve been going to New York City once a month for this entire year and the long trips are quite a drag. Now that I have finished reading all the guidebooks on New York City, I have begun to read some guidebooks on Philadelphia, the other major city I can easily get to. I plan to explore Philadelphia when I run out of things to see and do in New York City.

It has always bugged me that Williamsport is kind of isolated. It takes at least three hours to get to any major city like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, or New York City. Of course, this keeps the cost of living way down because nobody from the major metropolitan areas can live that far away from their workplace. Any small community in range of a big city runs the risk of an invasion and redevelopment.

There are two things that tie me down to Williamsport; my job and my house. Given the way the economy is going I may lose both. That is when I should give some serious thought to moving to Philadelphia or New York City. One of the few good things about an economic recession is that it can light a fire under your ass and force you to make some major changes in your life. Frankly, I’m inclined towards the inertia of remaining where I am with just the occasional trip to the big cities.

I think it is important to make such decisions objectively. People can get way too invested in their city and feel a pride that does not belong to them. For example, New Yorkers can feel very proud of the fact that they live in Manhattan but if their high rent keeps them in poverty then they really have nothing to be proud of. You should not let the glamour of your city mask the meanness of your existence.

There are three factors to consider when deciding where to live:

  1. Quality of Life
  2. Cost of Living
  3. Job Opportunities

You can have a low cost of living but a poor quality of life. This is my situation in Williamsport. On the other hand, you can have a wealth of cultural activities to choose from, great restaurants, a wide variety of shopping places and none of that will matter if the cost of living there is so high you can’t afford anything except your rent. That is how it is for many people in New York City. The job market in an area is also a crucial factor because it does not matter if the cost of living is really low if you cannot find a job. And a high cost of living may not be a disadvantage if you can easily find a high paying job.

I think the ideal situation is to live near a major city but not actually in the city. For example, if Williamsport were closer to Philadelphia then it would not be so bad. I could head into the city to work and attend cultural events while living in a quiet community with a low cost of living. A half hour drive into the city would not be so bad. Unfortunately a three hour drive into the city wastes a good part of the day.

Technically I don’t even live in Williamsport. I live in the suburb of Garden View. I am also too much of a hermit. Today I went downtown for a change of scene. It was pretty dead down there on this Saturday morning. But I went to Julie’s Coffee for a cappuccino and omelet.  This coffee shop has large glass windows with an excellent view of the courthouse and other buildings downtown. Then I went to Otto’s Bookstore and bought some more travel guides on Pennsylvania. This was a pleasant break and compares well to my experiences in the big city. It did not eat up my entire day and cost me hundreds of dollars.

For now I will continue to invest some time in exploring New York City and Philadelphia. I will also continue to reduce my pile of useless possessions which would make it difficult to move. I have discovered that it is easy to get rid of large items on Craiglist if you offer them for free. This saves me money because the garbage man charges extra when I throw out heavy items. I also lose money when I sell heavy stuff on eBay because the postage can exceed my estimate.

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