Last weekend, I went to Oakland, CA to visit one of my old tennis students. It's important to me that my old students live in cities I want to see. If I don't approve of where they live, I make them move.
But not really.
On Saturday we decided to cross the bridge and take an 8-mile walking tour of San Francisco. Here's what I learned.
- It's more beautiful than you think. Not having been there before, I had my own stereotypical ideas on what the city would look like. Real life blew everything away. There's water and fog and bridges and hills and mountains and landmarks, and it's incredible. San Francisco's reputation is actually under-rated.
- The best way to see a city is on foot. I guess it's possible to see San Francisco in a car or trolley. I guess that would still be impressive. But everything is better on foot. You get the nuances of each fascinating neighborhood, and you can just stop and take it all in anytime you want. Seeing Alcatraz with your own eyes is infinitely better than a drive-by. And, yes, streets are that hilly. We climbed the equivalent of 62 floors on our walk so make sure you have good insurance if you decide to go that route. You may or may not end up with cramped legs in an oxygen tent.
- With great beauty comes...other stuff. If you visit or live in a beautiful place, other things may come with the package. For one, you might have to share part of the city with these folks from Pier 39. They can get pretty vocal. Or you might stop at a quaint bay side restaurant for coffee and a beignet and have someone take off their pants and urinate in a trash can eight feet away from you. When you choose somewhere amazing, a lot of things come with it.
- If you want to grow, go where the growing is. I was only there for a weekend, but you can feel the vibe in San Francisco. Some cities vibrate (hopefully not literally), and San Francisco is one of them. The people are hip and diverse and purposeful. And it seems like every other block has a Fortune 500 company's headquarters on it. Like the saying goes: If you want a haircut, hang around a barbershop and you'll eventually get a trim. San Francisco is one of the most impressive barbershops in the world.
- Cost of living is important. We all want to be financially independent. What we don't realize is: being well-off financially doesn't mean making a certain amount of money. It means gaining mastery over our monthly expenses. The quickest way to be independently wealthy is to have a good job in a cheap place. San Francisco, however, is the opposite of that. While walking, we looked up the listing of a 1 bedroom, 1 bath place in a hip downtown area that was only 400 square feet. A place with that description would sell for way under $200,000 in Ohio. How much do you think it was in San Francisco? [pause] It was over $600,000! That's another price you pay for living in extreme beauty.
In short, all your dreams may come true in San Francisco, and I dare you to find a more beautiful place.
Just make sure you're ready for all the attached strings.
My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.