Sayonara, San Francisco

I'm sitting in San Francisco International Airport, waiting for my flight to begin boarding soon. I have a one-way ticket to Osaka, Japan, which means I won't be coming back to San Francisco for the foreseeable future. I'm still processing how to feel about that, despite my outward calmness.

Two years prior to moving to the Bay Area, I lived in New York City. While New York City is amazing in so many ways, and I'm really grateful that I had the opportunity to live there and make it on my own, it was not the place I wanted to live in. It's one of the greatest cities in the entire planet, no doubt. But I always knew what my destination would end up being.

Ever since I was in college and saw all the awesome companies that were being born and cultivated in this area, I wanted to live here. I wanted to be a part of what was happening here - smart people getting together and creating magic. That's how I saw it, and to a certain extent, I still see it that way.

I moved here almost six years ago, in February 2010. I was already a few thousand miles away from most of my family and friends in Puerto Rico, so I was tacking on a few extra thousand miles to that. I also did not know a single person. I met the person who hired me over the phone, and I met the landlord whose property I rented for the entirety of my stay here, but that was it.

Despite my excitement of finally being in the place I had wanted to be in for years, I was terrified when I got here. I distinctly remember sitting on the carpet in my apartment a few hours after I arrived - the only piece of furniture I had at this point was an air mattress I purchased at a nearby Walgreens - and just thinking if I had just committed a huge mistake. I did have a job already lined up and an apartment ready to live in, but I didn't know what would await and what challenges I would have to tackle on my own. It was really scary and overwhelming.

Little by little, all of those fears were eradicated. The job I was hired for was great and I stayed there for over three years. I began to meet people and made legitimate friendships that will endure no matter where I'm at. I even bought a bed and didn't have to deal with that pesky air mattress for years (even though I had to sleep on it for the last four weeks after selling my bed...)

I've told this story a couple of times while I met with friends during this last week while I said my goodbyes, and I wanted to have it written down somewhere. But I also wrote it because I believe there is a lesson to be learned here.

I was fortunate to spark a friendship with Thom Walters, who runs the podcast Zen Commuter. When he heard my story about leaving, he decided to interview me for his podcast so I could tell my story.

At the time, I didn't think there was anything particularly interesting about what I was doing, but after that interview and talking with others, I realize that what I'm doing is not really all too common. There aren't a whole lot of people who just uproot their lives to move to a foreign country, especially leaving the United States. I realized that even though I'm nervous and have some fears, they will subside - exactly as it happened when I came to California.

If there's something to get out of this post, it would be that any fears you have can and will disappear if you have faith in that things will work out well. It sounds a little bit cliched like this is coming straight out of a Tony Robbins book, but there's a reason it's often repeated - it's simply true.

I'm not a special person at all. I'm just a normal person who had a dream and planned it out to make that dream come true. Anyone can do what they put their mind to. And that is the main thing I will take with me from my time in San Francisco.

Written by

Dennis Martinez

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