Living in a new city every 6 months

By05-02-2019

I just crossed a very unusual personal milestone:

I have now lived in the same city for 1 year straight, literally for the first time in my adult life. Somehow, this has never happened after more than a decade. 


Thanks to work and personal priorities, I’ve gotten to see a lot of different places. It’s been a super unique lifestyle and certainly a much different mentality than “normal". I’ve kept mini-journals to myself but I thought I’d share with the world here in one concise post. This lifestyle has provided quite a bit of inspiration for what we’re working on at Bounce and it feels like a really important part of the backstory.


Here’s the brief on where I’ve lived and how this happened:


College & Internships:

  • Madison, WI
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Santa Clara, CA

Extended personal travel (> 2 months):

  • South America
  • South East Asia
  • India
  • Western Europe

Relocation or projects for work:

  • San Francisco
  • London
  • Bangalore
  • San Diego
  • New York
Varanasi, India

What it's like moving to a new city every 6 months:


You don’t own a lot of stuff and it’s really freeing

You can tell how long you've lived somewhere based on all the junk you have that you haven't used in months. Moving is a good opportunity to toss all of it. Move enough times and you're down to only a couple suitcases worth of possessions (my life!). Then, next time you get the chance to move or travel, it's easy. You'll stop making decisions based on the "ball and chain" of owning things.

You value the time you have in a city much more and make the most of it

You know how a tourist will come to the city for 3 days and try to "see it all?" There's something to that. When you know you only have 6 months living in X city, you know you're going to make the most of every weekend and see all the weird and fun things that that city has to offer.

You don’t invest in long term possessions like furniture

"Should I buy the premium version or the cheap one?" If you're gone in 6 months, you buy things for the present, not the future. There's a certain lightness is having this zero-attachment mentality towards your things.

You avoid 12 month leases like the plague

"Want to take this new job opportunity in this cool new place? Oh but my lease isn't up, I'll pass." I've literally heard someone say this. Can we just take a step back and reflect on how illogical it is to plan major life decisions around some made up "lease term" of your apartment?

Traveling is no big deal - last minute trips to another country are frequent

You're living in India and some friends are going to Sri Lanka for the weekend. It's a $150 flight. Ummm yes!! How cool is that?!?

Your dating life is different - limited opportunity for the LTR

You're probably expecting me to write about some sad story of falling in love and then moving away, heart-broken. Actually it's the opposite. You meet someone special and because there isn't the opportunity for a long term relationship, you can actually be much more free (travel together, stay up late for sunrises, etc) knowing that you won't have the pressure to conform to some future role or expectation.


Everything I own

Now staying in one place...what's next?


I'm planning to stay in San Francisco for the long haul. It's surreal and I can feel my mindset completely shifting. Maybe I'll buy an unused mattress for the first time.

It's actually really nice to have a place that I can call home and buy the nice version of stuff. It's also really nice to know that my time investments in my personal relationships will stay local. Not to mention all the amazing visitors I will be expecting from everywhere else.


However there are some things that have really shaped me that I'll live with forever...

San Francisco (all pics taken from my phone)

Key "Life Takeaways" from the nomad life:

  • Treat your own city life a tourist destination - savor the sights and maximize the weekends. I buy a Lonely Planet guidebook for every city I live in now and have yet to meet a fellow resident that has explored more of the city than me.


  • Own as little as possible - honestly, it's just so much better to not care about "things." I left my door unlocked by accident the other day and had a split second of worry...then I realized I have literally not a single thing worth stealing.


  • Travel is easy, don't make it hard - why do we so easily forget that everything we need to survive can be obtained at the destination. Pack that bag and figure the rest out later.


  • Your "strong beliefs" are more local and subjective than you think - Are you a "Democrat" or a "Republican"? Well guess what? Those parties don't even exist in most other democracies around the world. Same with your pet peeve of being "on-time". If you were born somewhere else you would think differently. Think about that...


  • Take it easy, you can always retire in Bali for $100k - did you know most of the world thinks Americans are dumb for spending their entire lives working til they're back in diapers? If you're stressed about work, you're probably making decent enough money to retire on a beach in just a couple years. Doesn't it feel empowering just knowing that can be a *backup* plan?!?


  • Cherish relationships in the here & now - memories are made in the present moment, not in the future. Think about how impactful someone can be on your life even if you never see them again.

Tying it all back:

Maybe you see a theme here. What we're building at Bounce is a world where everything revolves around Experiences and People and you never plan your life around your 'things.' We've built a platform in <1 year that serves 10's of thousands of people, right now mostly to leave their luggage anywhere in the city when traveling. This is just the start. We envision a world where your things literally meet you wherever you are at the tap of a button. Bounce becomes the interface between you and everything you own. If this future inspires you, please follow along our journey...we will need a lot of help bringing this vision to life.

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