Leaving Florida

Leaving Florida

Some days I can't stop thinking about it.

A couple months ago, I updated my Facebook status with this realization.

Then I asked myself what was stopping me, had no answer, and just started packing. I wasn’t sure where I was going yet, but there were a few things on my wishlist: mass transportation, better weather, and brighter minds.

There was a time when I’d hoped to make a post-college home out of Orlando, if only for a few years.

I settled in at my current residence pretty smitten with the hotel-style hallways, generous amenities, and reasonable rent. I thought I would stay awhile; keep working the same local gig.

But as my sixth year in Orlando approached, a restlessness caught up to me.

I’ve moved around Florida for a decade, but it’s never felt like home. Meeting like-minded individuals has always been a struggle. Lots of cynics and unhappy folks here, not many young people outside college areas (and so few with spark and drive), and no shortage of backwards thinkers. And then there’s the usual complaints: lack of culture, interminable flat landscape, oppressive humidity and heat.

There are certainly smart, interesting people here—you know who you are!—but it’s hard to ignore that some of my brightest friends have already moved away. The more I’ve traveled and met individuals from elsewhere, the more out of place I’ve felt here.

So, restlessness. Status update. Packing.

Despite our differences, Florida has been good to me. I say “y’all,” love sweet tea, and look as poorly put-together as the next Floridian when the temperature drops. It may not feel like home, but I’ve lived here plenty long. I’m sad to say goodbye to The City Beautiful.

I leave for San Francisco next Sunday.

Bye, y’all.

Update: Sunday, May 29, 2011

I’ve come to terms with swapping hurricanes for earthquakes and kissed my in-apartment washer and dryer goodbye. When this post is published, I’ll be cozying into a window seat on an Airbus A320, eagerly waiting to see those California mountains appear on the other side of the acrylic. In six hours, I’ll be home. San Francisco, here I come!

Allison House is a designer and art director specializing in 3D visuals and motion graphics. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TIME, SPIN, Pitchfork, and many more.