When I first tell someone I’m moving to Los Angeles later this year, that person’s response is almost always one of surprise. Six months ago, I’d have been equally surprised.
Given its reputation for traffic, smog, traffic, and smog, I had low expectations for the city upon my first visit. I was there only because my boyfriend’s family is in the area and we wanted to visit. My expectations were quickly set aside by the surprisingly-decent experience I had. My attitude was so turned around that I’ve lived in LA for most of the last six months, confirming my desire to live there. But why?
First, the proximity of mountains and beaches to anywhere we’d consider living is much greater than I’d anticipated. Growing up in New Hampshire and having lived in New England all my life, access to natural beauty is essential. Los Angeles makes this possible with little effort, much to my satisfaction.
Second, the weather. Who can argue with 75° F temperatures in January? Seriously, need I say more? Having lived in New England my whole life, I’m tired of snow (at least for now).
Third, as I noted, Chris’s family is in the area. He’s been away from them for a long time, so moving closer to them has obvious motivations.
It also doesn’t hurt that there are nearly a dozen of my coworkers in the LA area, with many more throughout California. Just because Automattic is distributed doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally enjoy seeing my colleagues in person.
As for the smog, it might be more visible in LA because the mountains trap it, but the air quality on the West Coast is actually much better than the East Coast because there isn’t a nation of cars, factories, and other polluters fouling the air as it blows eastward to the California shores (There was an article in the LA Times recently with a great map illustrating this, but of course I can’t find it now; when I do, I’ll update the post with some support for my smog claims).