Jake Dawkins

I'm Moving

May 11, 2020

Unsplash image of a duffel bag on the ground

That’s right. As the title suggests, I’m moving away from NYC, back to South Carolina. This post won’t be particularly long, well-written, or deep. It’s just a friendly life update 🙂.

After 3 fruitful years in New York City, in a bittersweet move, I’ve decided to make the move back to where I grew up. Where my family is. Where I went to college. Where I got my first job. While the normality and familiarity of it all was one of the reasons I’ve left, I feel like those things are things I miss and would be a breath of fresh air. I’ll never be able to get NYC out of my heart—nor do I want to.

One of the things I wanted to do when I moved to NYC was to grow as a person. That meant getting away from people who look like me, talk like me, and think like me. It meant taking risks and getting well outside of my comfort zone. Three years later, looking back, I have to say I think the city has done those things and so much more for me. Not that personal growth is ever finished—quite the opposite, but the things I experienced here, the people I’ve met here, have changed me for the better. The relationships I’ve built here were deeper and more authentic than any before. They’ve taught me that it’s okay to take up space in other people’s lives. I’ll forever be grateful for all the people who’ve helped me along the way.

Another goal I had was to help me establish my career. My professional network, experience, and opportunities in SC were all pretty limited. Moving to one of the largest, busiest cities in the world was quite the change of pace, challenged me in ways I didn’t know possible, and presented me with opportunities I had only imagined. Like conference speaking or traveling the world to teach workshops. It’s been a huge blessing, and now that I work for a company that widely supports remote work, I’m not bound to a place on a map anymore. That freedom is a blessing that I can’t understate.

But as wonderful as NYC is (and has been), there are a lot of things I miss about South Carolina—things that I value and want to get back.

Living in NYC is hard, no question. Convenience is nice in the city, but it comes at the cost of so much effort. Like sure, I can have food delivered anytime from anywhere, but even simple things like doing laundry are so much more work.

And then there’s the space! NYC doesn’t offer the space to do so many things that I’d like to do. Hobbies that I’d like to take up, freedoms I’d like to experience again. I could do some woodworking projects, learn leathercrafting, do home renovations, just go to the lake for the afternoon, learn to fly a plane, and so much more. The flexibility of lifestyle is something I miss. I thought moving to NYC would be uninhibited adventure (and in many ways it has), but there’s still more I want to do.

And then there are the friends that I moved away from. Still some of my best friends, even after being 800 miles away for years. I’m excited to be back with them. All of us at different points in life, for sure, but still the same people.

Living here has been the adventure of a lifetime. And who knows, maybe I’ll be back one day. But for now, I think it makes the most sense for me to leave. I’m not running away from anything. If nothing else, I’m running toward something. And I hope I keep doing that.


Written by Jake Dawkins, who is an Open Source Engineer at Apollo GraphQL. He maintains the Apollo CLI & Editor Extensions. Loves learning, teaching and is a purveyor of fine memes. You should follow him on Twitter