For quite a long time now my entire universe, all of my passions, curiosities and wildest aspirations have centred around the city of San Francisco, and all of the people within it. It has been the epicentre of my love of technology and my desire to embrace diversity of thought. The driver of my undying need to push back against the mediocre forces of being normal, and of being complacent with my surroundings. To say that this city has had a significant impact on the better part of my life would very much be an understatement. For years and years I’ve aspired to push myself, to work hard and to hope that one day my life’s journey will take me to the city where people as great as Steve have accomplished their life’s work.
On Saturday, February 11th 2017 I landed at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and all of the blood, sweat and tears that I’ve put into my life, all of the fights, the rejections, the uphill battles against everyone around me telling me to just give up and stop caring, have culminated together in the first day of this scary, new and exciting next chapter of my life living in San Francisco, CA.
“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.“
As I landed I made my way through Immigration, lifted my bags off the carousel, stepped out of Arrivals and was met by my friend Jurvis and his buddy. Jurvis and I have known each other since we were both young. We practically grew up together, learning and taking our passions for photography and software development in different directions together. Up until today we’ve only ever met physically once before, for a few hours in Sydney when Jurvis’ stopped for a couple of days on his return trip from New Zealand. Our friendship has mostly existed remotely, from Singapore and from Sydney almost as though we’ve been modern day pen pals, but that has never stopped us from developing a strong bond. We’re as close as you’d expect two brothers to be and have been for a very long time.
Seeing Jurvis after getting off the plane was quite a surreal experience, a testament to technology’s influence on my life. Even though we’d lived so far apart for so long, our conversation took off instantly without so much as a hitch. Not one awkward moment. Because we’re brothers and we just get each other. Things just rolled on like they always have.
We Ubered into the city and found my apartment where I dumped all of my baggage and showered before we went out seeking coffee from Sightglass and a SIM card. The essentials.
It has been almost two years since I first visited San Francisco, and while it did look familiar, it definitely wasn’t the same. We walked to Yerba Buena Gardens for lunch, checked out Union Square, wandered around China town for a while and then headed to Castro to sort out all of my banking. I’ve never seen Castro before, it’s definitely a colourful, and unique neighbourhood. I’m thinking I should definitely come back here with my camera to take some street photos. Once I sorted out finances, I fought back my tiredness with even more great coffee in Castro before walking over to checkout the views of the cityscape at Dolores Park.
Dolores Park is something else. I’ve seen some incredibly nice photos, they don’t do it justice whatsoever. It’s packed full of people just chilling out, skating, talking and just doing what people do here. California’s vibe really hit me hard here. I made an attempt to capture my innocent minded awe at what I was seeing with a few photos from different angles and then just soaked in the absolutely incredible view. At this point, I was struggling to come to terms with the reality that this is the city where I now live and that it will be for the next couple of years. I don’t feel as though I fit in with the atmosphere that I see around me, and the vibe is unlike anything I could have imagined.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I pushed myself way too hard on the first day. We walked quite a lot, saw so much and everything was just so different to everything I’ve known. When I got back to the apartment, jet-lag hit me like a bullet train and I had a bit of an anxiety attack from stress. I realised that I’ve got a huge challenge ahead of me, bigger than any challenge I’ve ever faced. I’m more scared than I’ve ever been before about what’s ahead. I think I just need sleep, and to get over the jet-lag more than anything else.
Day one in San Francisco has been an emotional rollercoaster that I’ve not yet had the chance to fully process and comprehend. Right now the plan is to get some sleep, take things a bit more slowly, and I’m incredibly excited to head into the office on Monday to meet all of the people I’ve been working with for the past month. They’re an incredibly talented, and great team that I’m so happy to be a part of. There’s also a lot of friends living around the city that I want to meet up with and talk to. I’m hoping I find my bearings and settle in a bit first, but I can’t wait to catch up with everyone and to see so many different places like SFMOMA, Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge, Stanford and so much more.
Let’s see where this next chapter of life goes and the challenges it throws at me. I’m ready.