Going home

About a year and a half ago, Felicity and I left the Silicon Forest and moved to the Silicon Valley so I could take a job at Yahoo!. In a little over a month, we’ll trade Valley for Forest and return once more to drizzly Portland.

It’s strange: until Portland, I had never lived in one place long enough to think of it as home. I grew up in a military family, moving every few years, from Texas to Illinois to New Mexico to Japan to Texas again and, finally, to Oregon. When I decided to move to California I knew I would miss Portland, but I thought I’d get over it. I was wrong. Once you’ve lived in Portland you belong to it; you can leave, but only physically.

Silicon Valley, by contrast, is not the kind of place I can imagine ever calling home. People don’t so much live in the Valley as exist in it. Apart from the nearby oasis of San Francisco, there’s nothing particularly special about this place. Half a century ago, fate decided this would be the site of a world-changing technological revolution, and so a gravity well was formed that attracted innovation, which attracted money, which attracted more innovation, and so on. The result is a place people go to not because they want to be there, but because they need to be there.

Thankfully, I don’t need to be here anymore. I’m lucky to work for a company that actually cares about my happiness and is progressive enough that they’re willing to let me work remotely if that’s what will make me happy. I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome that is.

Portland, here we come!