Why I’m Leaving Austin & Moving Back to NYC

People out enjoying the water on a sunny day in Austin, Texas
Posted: 4/17/23 | April 17th, 2023

After eight years in Austin, I’m leaving and heading back to NYC full-time.

I first visited Austin in 2013, got hooked, and started coming back so much that I decided to move here in 2015. I was only semi-here my first couple of years. I split my time in NYC for a bit, traveled a lot, and lived in Paris for a bit.

But, in 2019, this became my only home.

However, over the last year, it’s become clear that the city and I have grown apart. The weird little town that drew me here as a respite from the hustle and bustle of NYC is no longer a weird little town but a big city lacking big city infrastructure. The traffic is terrible, my food truck parks are gone, it’s more expensive, and quirky Rainey Street is now all high rises and hotels. The city’s character has just changed a lot as Austin has become “the place to be.”

Now, I’m not trying to be one of those “get off my lawn” people. I am sure people lamented folks like me coming and changing their city. Just as folks before them and folks before them.

Change is a constant in life and trying to stop change is like trying to hold back the tide. Austin can change all it wants. Not all of the changes have been bad. There’s a lot more to do in the city, there’s more jazz and comedy, better food, and the airport has more direct flights now.

But if Austin wants to be a city — and its local leaders seem to want it that way even as they bemoan the rising cost of housing — then be a city. Give us better infrastructure, more housing, bike paths, and public transportation. Austin has become a city but without any of the benefits that come with cities.

Last year, roaming from NYC to Paris to Berlin to London, I began to notice that the things I love about big cities aren’t present in Austin. I missed walking everywhere, museums, jazz clubs, public transportation, copious art museums, and diversity of people, ideas, and food. I missed the hustle and bustle that comes with places like NYC, Boston, London, and other metropolises.

I spent a lot of last year in Austin and, starting in October because of my allergy shots, I didn’t leave for 6 months. During all that time, I dated, joined social clubs, and built a life there.

But my heart just kept whispering, “This isn’t the place.”

Austin no longer feels like home. NYC has always had a piece of my heart. I want to go back and see how it goes. Will I spend 8 years there? I don’t know. By then, I’ll be fifty!

But, right now, I’m ready to say goodbye to Austin. After eight years, this chaper has come to an end.

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