I have been longing to experience somewhere new for a while. I grew up in South Jersey, 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia and have lived between the two ever since. After 34 years, I am finally moving away.
When I went to Penn State for undergrad, I recognized that it was not far enough of a departure from my hometown to really get a different experience of culture and climate. Penn State is about four hours from my hometown, but it was not like going away to school in a different region of the county. A large percentage of the people at Penn State were from the Philadelphia area, like me.
When I was deciding where to apply for graduate school to get my doctor of physical therapy degree, I had visions of going to a school like the University of Southern California. I wanted to go away, but I decided it was best not to, so I didn’t put myself deeper into dept. My school loans were already stacking up and I didn’t want to add another $50,000+ to them by going far away and not living at my parents. So, I went to Drexel in Philadelphia where I could live with my parents and commute to school to save money.
In graduate school, I applied for a clinical rotation in Seattle, but my teachers gave it to a girl in my class who was from Oregon and wanted to be close to her family. Good for her, lame for me. Instead, I went to Phoenix, AZ, which turned out to be awesome — in great part, due to the people I met. I had a great experience and grew a connection to Arizona over the three months I spent there. When I graduated from Drexel in 2010, I applied to jobs all around Philadelphia, but also in Boston and Chicago. I also toyed with the idea of going back to Phoenix. I either did not get the jobs or I decided not to pay my own expenses to travel for the interviews or just ruled out moving to that area. Instead, I took jobs in South Jersey. Eventually I moved to Philadelphia and have been living in Phila. for about eight years, where I also started my own business, Logan Kinei.
I ended up staying around Philadelphia for all of these years, not because I necessarily wanted to, but in reality, I just wasn’t ready to take on the “risks” associated with leaving my familiar area. My safe area. I also had a girlfriend when finishing grad school, so that factored in as well. Looking back at those times in my life, I think staying in Philadelphia, close to my family and friends was more out of fear than anything. Fear of the unknown, fear of being away from everything I have ever known, of starting a new job, of racking up more debt, of failure, of missing out on being a part of my family.
I have always been pushing the envelope with myself to be more of what I believe in and to live a life that I believe in. It takes time to recognize your own fears, limitations, and tendencies. I recognized my limitations with my jobs and have felt forced to do my own business because I generally refuse to conform to that which I do not believe, especially when I know there is a better way. I have no problem working with others or for other people, or working for a company, as long as they allow autonomy and allow for their employees to push the boundaries and move society in a positive direction. I have to be around people who are pushing and striving for creativity. Many companies don’t, and seem to just push employees without concern (other than concern of getting sued), so the company can make more money….to what end? To what end!? And, when I apply and interview for jobs, I do not believe in conforming to what they want, because it is not true to who I am and what I want. I would simply be miserable.
When I met my wife Kait she lived in New York City, the Alphabet City section of Manhattan. Before meeting her and actually spending time in NYC, I was always intimidated by the city and didn’t understand it. I quickly learned to love it. When we decided we wanted to live near each other, I had already been looking to leave my job, so I applied to jobs in NYC. I went up for interviews, but those particular jobs were not right for me. I was excited at the prospect of moving to New York, but then Kait got a job offer in Phila. and it just seemed serendipitous. She took it, and moved in with me in Phila. Another opportunity to move was gone, but the desire I had to move was not.
I talk mostly about me with why we are moving because I have really been the driving factor. Kait moved around and hasn’t lived in her home town of Woodstock, NY since she left for college over fifteen years ago. Having spent eight years in Boston, just under two years in NYC, and coming up on seven years in Philadelphia, she has experienced new places with different cultures. Though all in the Northeast, these three cities are very different. It was definitely a bit of a culture shock and adjustment when Kait moved to Philadelphia. Boston is clean, affluent and very white (did you know the median home in Boston is $600,000 and the average amount people put down on a home is only 6% because it is so expensive?). New York is bustling, vibrant, exciting, always on, intense, and seems full of every version of human. We both find Philadelphia less friendly than New York. We also find it more dirty, meaning more trash all over the place. That doesn’t mean that it actually is, but it seems more fitting for New York to be dirty with all of the people crammed into such a small area (see this article). Philadelphia really has no excuse, other than laziness and a lack of caring. In our neighborhood, you might have to walk five blocks before you see a trash or recycling bin. Why!?
Ultimately, when deciding to buy our first home Kait and I decided that we were city people at that time. We wanted easy access to the many amazing restaurants of Phila., concerts, plays, professional sports, less driving, and the culture of the city. We bought our home in the Spring Garden/Fairmount section of Philadelphia in September 2016, with the intent of living there as long as it felt right. At that time, this seemed like we could own the home for the rest of our lives. We would figure out schools and raising children in the city when we got to that point. Living in Phila. felt right at that time. We broke through financially driven fears, but still held onto other fears of moving away from family and moving away from the access to all of the aforementioned amenities that a major city offers.
We love our home in Philadelphia. We have put our heart into the design of our home, saving up to knock down walls and open up the first floor of the home– picking out colors that feel inviting and cozy, yet still look chic, as Kait would say. We chose finishes and lighting that tied into the Art Deco era in which the home was built. We wanted to create a home that called on the Art Deco design but was also modern and inviting. We slowly purchased furniture to make sure we got quality that we could have through our lifetime.
We love our home, but we also are happy that the people buying it love our home. Letting go of this home of love for us has been a practice in letting go of material things, and recognizing that we create this same feeling in any home in which we live. It is a cliché that is very true, our home is wherever we are together; it is not the walls, paint color, lighting, furniture. But a home can certainly make us feel a certain kind of way, so we will work to create that in our new home on Cape Cod. We love designing, and we didn’t quite get to finish this home in Philadelphia, such as adding art work and doing more extensive renovations. Maybe we’ll be in the Cape Cod home long enough to fully make it the space we envision. Either way, we will do our best to make it a home full of love which is most important.
Now in 2019, the primary driving forces that kicked us into deciding to sell our home in Philadelphia were as follows: decrease our monthly home payment, Kait being invigorated and inspired by Weston’s birth, the desire to experience life in a completely new area, to challenge ourselves, to live more indoor/outdoor, live with nature, to live in a place where Avett (our dog) can roam freely in nature, and to get away from an overall negative energy.
We have decided to do what we want to do, instead of just talking about it and thinking about it. We decided to let go of the fears we had. We made the decision for ourselves, and for our little family, knowing that it would disappoint other family and friends, knowing that we would be taking ourselves away from my family – my parents, my sister’s family and my cousins who are some of our best friends, Weston’s cousins, my aunts and uncles, and my grandmothers. We will also be about one to two hours further from Kait’s parents and sister’s family.
We had to make this decision for us and this is so right for us, right now. We will figure out how to see the people we want to see and hopefully we will become part of a community that is unlike anything we have experienced elsewhere. We hope we inspire others to also not let fear guide their life, even if it’s the smallest bit of inspiration.
I have always had the tendency to hold myself back or not put forth all of my effort throughout my life. I can look back and find many examples of both. Most of that was driven, again, by fear. I have made the decision in my life to no longer let fear control me. I am trying to confront it on all levels, in every scenario. The fear I am referring to, for me, has been primarily driven by insecurities. My default mode has always been shy. My default mode has always been — do enough to be successful in whatever I am doing, but don’t put myself out there too much to be judged by others. I have talked about this many times before, but not sure I have on Observing Experience. Rupert Spira said something that really struck me to the core, which was something along the lines of, being shy is different than being quiet and confident. Being shy is driven by fear and insecurities. Being shy is caring more about external factors which should have little to no effect on who I am. Being quiet and confident is not the same as being shy. I have worked on being confident in my quietness. Being comfortable with my true self, which has been such an incredible experience of growth for me over the past few years.
I have no qualms about leaving Philadelphia. I do really like it, and it has progressed and changed so much throughout my lifetime. Philadelphia still has a lot of work to do as a city, just like almost every city in the world, but it really has come a long way. With that said, I’m ready to leave. The first time I felt really strange about Philadelphia was when I came back after Phoenix in 2009. I felt out of place, and felt a negative energy. Some of that was certainly my own insecurities, but it was also real. I soon slid right back into the societal collective of an overall negative energy, just kind of put my head down and dealt with stuff. Over the past 10 years, I have been able to recognize all of this and really self reflect to find myself and not be held back. It is something that I continually work on.
I may be projecting the negative energy, though I know I’m not alone in it. Sometimes it’s best to remove ourselves from the situation to be able to understand the situation. In this case, the situation is a city and small area of NJ. Case in point, about 2 minutes after jotting this note down I was walking through Rittenhouse park when a man slowly and shakily riding his bike through the park said “this tree sucks” as he passed the park’s Christmas tree. Doesn’t matter why, it’s negative energy being released and there’s a lot of it in Phila. I do feel an overall shift in the energy here, which is nice. I also know that it correlates with my overall energy shifting to more positive, and improving my ability to more easily block out the negativity. I think I will appreciate Philadelphia more from afar and in short stints.
I also don’t want to come off as if everything about Philadelphia is horrible. It’s a great city. It’s grit is part of what makes it, but I think it needs to grow out of that a bit too. The food scene is incredible, and there are many amazing people.
Regardless, I am ready to experience something new.
Kait, Weston, Avett, and I are moving to Cape Cod. This may have come as a surprise to some, that we are moving at all, let alone to Cape Cod. But, it shouldn’t have. Weston is too young to care about where he lives, so this is a perfect time for us to explore.
Quite simply, this is something that Kait and I want to do, so we are. We are actively making the decision to not let fear hold us back.
Our last month in Philly should be interesting, busy, and full of family gatherings with the holidays. ✌️
Here are some photos of Philadelphia over the past few years: