I took this picture yesterday afternoon on the ferry ride from Bainbridge Island to Seattle:
When I made the decision to move out here in 2016, I did so without a lot of information or even really a clear plan for getting past the first few months, save for a few days on the ground in late 2015 and a lot of time spent lurking on the Seattle subreddit to observe from afar.
I think the only clear driver was more moderate weather; after twenty years, I figured I’d had about enough of the bitter cold and oppressive heat at opposite ends of the calendar. Continentality was a word I learned in college.
I’ve made things work since then. The first six months were a challenge, since I was moving without a local job lined up. I took my old job with me planning to work remote for at least a couple months and did everything I could to make that work, from selling my car to free up room in the budget to living in the cheapest studio I could deal with.
As luck would have it, I found a job within a couple weeks of getting here, at a company with a team that was motivated to expand quickly enough to accept someone who more or less bombed the job interview. The fact that this did not blow up in their faces remains a miracle to this day. The team’s initial objective of building a new product from nothing has been completed, the product launch was successful, and the team is now half as big as it used to be – with me now managing it, which is also something that I remain surprised hasn’t blown up in everyone’s faces yet.
Right before the full panic of the pandemic set in early last year, I started my more-or-less yearly look at the state of things to see if a condo or a house was going to be in the cards after the apartment lease came due. This time, everything lined up exactly the way it needed to, and I found a place on Bainbridge Island more or less meeting the size and price requirements. And not a moment too soon it seems, as the housing market has essentially gone bonkers since then, with what I understand is a confluence of panic-buying and lack of inventory driving the price of everything up. I understand that I could sell now and pocket around $75k, but then I’d have to find another place to live.
Bainbridge Island is a nice little bedroom community on the other side of the water from Seattle. It doesn’t have everything a person needs (Costco for example is half an hour away in Silverdale), but it does have the small town vibe and the peace and quiet on weekend mornings that I’d missed while living in the big city.
The only real downside is the “other side of the water from Seattle” part… the ferry ride itself is 35 minutes from start to finish, then you tack on time spent actually waiting for the boat at point A and time spent getting from point B to where you were actually intending to go. I timed going from the condo to the office one time and the total commute clocked in at around an hour and a half. Thankfully, work hasn’t made the call to require everyone to be in the office every day, and assuming people don’t abuse the privilege, things will continue to stay that way.