So a buddy of mine is planning a move to San Jose and asked me to come with her.

I’m about sold on the idea, especially hanging around the Mediterranean climate out here. God, I miss that. And there’s really nothing for me in North Carolina except my friends, and since my best friend’s movin’–eh, why not? Particularly with the whole divorce thing, it might be nice to start fresh someplace with no mental baggage.

What balks me, primarily, is the cost of living. Cost of living out in San Jose is literally twice what it is in Raleigh…but that’s because housing is 3x as spendy. Food and utilities and whatnot are a bit higher, but generally only ten to fifteen percent.  And said friend, whom I love dearly, said that since she’s already paying through the nose for a one bedroom, the cost of a two bedroom’s only about five or six hundred more–I’d pay the difference, (plus the $25 rent for Ben, of course!) kick her a painting now and again, and we’d call it good. Since I’m paying five-fifty in rent now, that’d be a fabulous deal, and would cut out the primary agony of such a move. Utilities might even be cheaper, since I’d be splitting them with somebody.  Gas would suck, but I work at home most of the time–not like I’m a daily commuter.

There’d be a lot more gallery opportunities for me, Christ knows. I googled for “galleries” around San Jose and got like six thousand hits within thirty miles. There’s what, maybe five, six galleries in all of Raleigh?

I’ll have enough of a nest egg following the book deal and this LA gig to make the move without killing myself, and to pad my income if things get too dire. And if it turns out I really can’t make it in an economy like that, (or if my friend finds true love and gets married and I’m out a roommate) my Dad’s in Phoenix and said “Dude, come stay with us, get your feet under you, we’ll put you up for a bit, not a problem.” And Arizona’s the place I always wanted to move back to, and the cost of living there I KNOW I can manage. I’d have no social network, but–well–I can always volunteer at the zoo or something, and hopefully some of you’d come meet me! (Artist, shy, needs social handler….)

So practically speaking, it looks like I can either make it work, or if worse comes to worse, bail out safely. And…I dunno. The thought of making a huge move across the country like that always scares me, but I’ve done it three times already. I know I can do it. (Driving a Uhaul…no. I’d have to pay to get my stuff shipped and drive out, I think, unless Carlota feels like driving a truck. I know my driving skills, and they ain’t great. I could get Ben and me across the country in my Altima, but that’s my limit.)

It’s just such a huge idea, and I’m on my own for the first time in–well, ever!–so it looks so much scarier than it is. I think I want to do it, both sets of parents said “Do it, for god’s sake, do it!” most of my friends have said that…but of course, the problem with divorces is that you wind up second-guessing yourself like mad on the big things, because if you didn’t see THAT coming, how can you trust your instincts on anything? I wander between going “Yes! Let’s go!” and wanting to curl in fetal position in my tiny apartment, which may be small and soon to be overpriced, but is at least known! and familiar! and mine!

So talk to me, O readers! Any of you lived in San Jose, or living there now? Is it possible to do without breaking the bank? (Will you have coffee with me?) All of you have been hugely supportive with the divorce thing–any of you done that and then moved across the country? How’d you deal with that sense of being a tiny little creature in a vast world? Is this idea nuts? (I’m asking the internet for advice. Sweet jesus.)

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