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So today is my one-year anniversary of moving to California! It’s been quite the adventure and since I moved out here clueless about what its actually like out here I figured id share a bit of what Iv learned so far! I literally just saved up like 2k and left, didn’t have any plans beyond just getting out here. I had no idea that it would be so hard to find a place that allows pets that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, its literally been the hardest thing I have ever tried to do on my own. So because I know exactly how hard it is to start from scratch with no clue as to what I was doing I want to help That way maybe I can save someone some of the frustrations I had because this wasn’t easy, still isn’t. Here are some of the challenges and changes I’ve had to over come.

  • One of the first things I noticed was that having AC in your home or apartment is rare and usually adds to your rent (not including your electric bill). Most people around here just invest in a couple of really good fans and always have the windows open, which is nice if you’re close to the coast. If you are like me you will enjoy the breeze and the sounds of life outside (traffic, people talking etc.) but again I’m weird and I enjoy those sounds.
  • Speaking of rentals, if you’re trying to get an apartment be prepared for a bunch of crazy requirements. Here are a few of the things most rental places ask for; credit score 600 or over, personal references, work references, five years worth of rental history, no evictions or marks, at least three months worth pay stubs, you must make 2-3x the rent or have roommates. The avg. rental in San Diego is $1600 1bd/1bath, even for studio apartments your looking to spend a lot. If you have a dog chances are you’ll be denied pretty much everywhere, unless it’s a service dog, or just don’t say anything. Also you’ll have pet rent added to your already high rent, along with the pet deposit. California is a very dog friendly place for the most part but I sure as hell don’t know where they live.
  • Parking is a nightmare, during certain hours of the day and days of the week you can expect to have to spend about 15 min on finding parking that will in the end be 2 blocks away from your location. Doesn’t matter if it’s a friend’s house or a business, parking sucks. Oh and you better know how to parallel park its pretty much al you can do in most places. I really think that’s why most of everyone is in shape too, everyone has to walk most places because between the hassle of traffic and the parking issues if it’s walkable you walk.
  • Waze, Uber, Postmates, UberEats and Lyft are your best friend.
  • Driving around anywhere in California has taught me that no one really knows what they are doing when they drive around, like seriously i have never known a community of drivers to sit in someones blindspot as much as Californians do. Also they do this really amazing thing where people just slam on their brakes on the freeway for usually no reason. So you’ll be like going 80-90mph then all of sudden the car in front of you just drops down to 40 and you’re like cool I wanted to go the ER anyways. It really is like these people forget that there are other vehicles that are kind of dangerous. Other than that traffic is fairly busy at all hours but there are a few times of day and night that the freeways are empty. Luckily in San Diego, parking lot style traffic doesn’t affect me, now if you go to Los Angeles maybe try to avoid the 405 during basically all times of the day. Like anywhere else you will learn the sweet spots and hours to get thru traffic.
  • Speaking of speeds the norm around here is 80-90 mph, like seriously Ill be going 85 in the fast lane and still being passed by multiple cars. As long as you aren’t going 100mph or driving too recklessly no one really cares.
  • If you move out here you will suddenly find yourself on a diet of California Burritos, Carne Asada Fries and in n Out. No joke, you will eat in n out for like a month straight then switches off to the California burritos, it happens to me every other week. Luckily food out here isn’t as expensive as a lot of people think. The only thing that can get expensive about food here is the variety; you’ll pretty much just want to eat out all the time for the first little bit of living here. Another thing I found food wise is the fact that everywhere you look ORGANIC and VEGAN menus are available, and its not just tofu.
  • Camping out here is expensive, just as expensive as hotels and motels. Ocean side camping is $50-$90 depending on location and time of year. It’s a change from Arkansas where you can camp almost anywhere for free and if it did cost it wasn’t more than $20. Its crazy the difference but the views are to die for and shit you’re on the beach after all…
  • Beach is life. End of story