Moving

A millennial shares why she left dear San Francisco and settled in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the place it is ‘rather more accessible to purchase a beautiful larger-sized residence’

  • Rachel Pohl and her husband left San Francisco and traveled around the USA for about a year.

  • When Pohl became pregnant, they finally began looking for a place to settle down.

  • They thought Durham, North Carolina, would be the answer, but Chattanooga, Tennessee, ultimately became their home.

San Francisco is home to the Golden Gate Bridge, has been the setting for the television series “Raven's Adventure” and “Full House,” and is home to a strong professional and business services workforce.

It's also an expensive city, with more people moving away from it than moving to other parts of the United States.

Rachel Pohl, 34, who lived in San Francisco for several years, and her husband Jesse Rosenthal are just two of the people who left. After traveling around the U.S. for about a year, they are happy to have settled in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Pohl said that although she was also happy in San Francisco and enjoyed life there, at her current stage of life she is “grateful to be able to call Chattanooga home.” She and her husband moved to the city of more than 180,000 residents in late 2021.

They had been considering moving away from California for some time before leaving San Francisco in the fall of 2020.

“Obviously, it's very expensive and difficult to buy a home and raise a family,” she said. Pohl said they also wanted to live closer to family and be somewhere where life was “slower” than the more hectic big city of San Francisco, which is home to over 800,000 people.

“I think the overall situation and quality of life there is more difficult than in smaller or medium-sized cities because of the cost of living,” said Pohl.

The California wildfires in August 2020 were another reason for the couple's decision to leave the country. “It was around that time that we thought, let's leave California. It's time,” Pohl said.

“A great nomad tour through the USA”

During the pandemic, the pair were able to leave San Francisco thanks to flexible remote work and decided to explore the country, see the sights and decide where they would settle. “We went on a big nomadic tour of the USA,” Pohl said.

They packed up their things and moved some items to storage. Pohl said goodbye to the city she had called home for years and where she had met her husband. The two set off for Airbnb accommodations across the US.

Montana was one of the states they visited. Chattanooga was another place they saw on their trip and she found it “very beautiful and lovely.”

“It was spring and the flowers were blooming and I thought, 'This is a beautiful place,'” she added. She and her husband moved on, but after about a year of traveling, they finally moved there because they were looking for a permanent place after learning Pohl was pregnant. Pohl said she and her husband liked the size and energy of Chattanooga.

“It seemed to me that for the size of the city there was enough and plenty going on, but not overwhelming,” she said.

In the summer of 2021, they landed in Durham, North Carolina, before leaving Chattanooga, in part because of the potential job opportunities there. But Pohl said the place just didn't appeal to them.

“We thought if we could choose any place in the U.S., we just wanted to love it and feel comfortable with our decision,” Pohl said. “So we decided then to return to Chattanooga. We hadn't been there since the spring.”

The family-friendly location and other advantages of Chattanooga

Pohl likes the access to nature in Chattanooga.

“We like to hike, go river walking and paddle,” she said. “We like to take our son to playgrounds and parks. It's all very accessible.”

Pohl said people in Chattanooga are also friendly and she considers it a family-friendly place. She has also found that people are more diverse when it comes to jobs, in contrast to the dominance of the tech industry in the San Francisco area.

“I met entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry and people doing all kinds of things,” Pohl said of Chattanooga. “It felt approachable and accessible here to do that.”

Chattanooga is also much more affordable for homebuyers than San Francisco. According to Realtor.com, both San Francisco and Chattanooga are currently buyers' markets where “the supply of homes exceeds the demand for homes.” While that may be the case, Realtor.com also shows that the median sales price for homes in Chattanooga is well below the national price in San Francisco – $347,500, or about $1.1 million.

“It's just a lot easier to buy a nice, bigger house in Tennessee and Chattanooga,” she said. “You can go a lot further with your money here. We thought about buying a house in California, but in the end we thought it didn't make sense because of the cost, because of the distance from family and just the whole situation. We thought let's move there.”

Although Pohl is happy in Tennessee, she misses the cuisine in San Francisco and access to some of the national parks nearby. Pohl told BI that she has visited San Francisco since moving away, mostly for work. And while she loves the energy in Chattanooga, there's something special about the energy in California, too.

“It's such a beautiful state,” Pohl said of California. “Sometimes I miss the energy a little bit, but I feel like that was an active part of my decision to move away from the big city, but there's so much innovation there around technology and AI. From a professional perspective, I miss that sometimes.”

Have you moved from San Francisco or anywhere else in the U.S.? Contact this reporter at mhoff@businessinsider.com to share your moving experience.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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