Four years ago, I moved to San Diego on a whim. While on a road trip through town, I became instant best friends with a bartender at an Irish bar that no longer exists in Pacific Beach. It’s entirely possible that I was suffering from sunstroke after baking on the beach, or maybe it was all the booze she was feeding me, but a week later when she said, “My roommate is out of town for a month, move in with me!” I said OK.
Call it synchronicity, call it fate, or call it plain dumb luck, but within a month of squatting at her house, I met the then-editor for Thrillist San Diego at a party. The rest is history. I ate and drank, photographed, and wrote my way across this town. But I could sense my time here was running its course. After four years of sunny San Diego, another city was calling to me; which one, I didn't yet know. But I knew that it was time for me to leave this paradise everyone accuses San Diego of being.
I packed my car with my stuff and road tripped (a theme of mine) across the country. When I drove into Nashville, Tennessee, there was a double rainbow over the highway -- I took that as a hopeful sign. I didn't leave.
I’ve been living there for almost three months now. I miss the ocean more than I thought I would, but I’ve eaten hot chicken, two-stepped, listened to incredible live music, drank whiskey in smoky bars, and have met so many talented, motivated, creative young people who are beyond inspiring. The nights are filled with the sound of crickets in the trees, the leaves are changing with the season, and I cannot wait to break out my winter coat for the first time in years.
The genuine Southern hospitality of this city has been overwhelming. I’ve heard the phrase “Welcome to Nashville!” enthusiastically spoken from every single person who finds out that I just moved to town. I’ve been taken in with open arms and have become completely enchanted by the city's charm. Most importantly, I live in a house that has central air conditioning.
But why exactly did I leave San Diego? I'll break it down.
My job was ruining my health
Writing about food for a living certainly has its perks, but fitness is not one of them. As a food writer, no chef invites you into their restaurant to taste the amazing new salad they just put on the menu. My meals frequently included multi-course dinners full of rich, delicious foods wrapped in bacon, covered in cream sauces, and packed with calories, and none was complete without tasting the entire new cocktail program or having a craft beer pairing with each course. This wasn’t just a once in a while occurrence. Sometimes this was several days a week and sometimes more than once in a day. The result was more weight gained than I’ll ever admit to and hangovers on more days than not. Even though I was working out regularly, my 30-something body just couldn’t keep up with the gluttonous lifestyle I was forcing it to follow. I felt unhealthy, lethargic, and physically completely miserable. Something had to give and I didn’t want it to be the button on my pants.