Man Was Laughing Stock of Bay Area When He Decided to Relocate to Texas… Then They All Followed Him
Jian Jiao was working for Google in the Sunnyvale-Mountain View area, having lived in California since graduating from college. However, during the middle of the pandemic in 2020, Jiao and his partner were interested in moving to a new neighborhood.
Although he and his partner had grown to love the area, they were quite worried about their future there. The pandemic affected a lot of aspects of human life, and the Bay Area in particular was heavily changed.
Wanting More for His Family
Admittedly, the Bay Area was an amazing place for Jiao to live and work in. It had a robust job market thriving with senior tech roles with many people who run in the same circles around. However, Jiao and his family were immigrants to America, and they didn’t want to settle for a single place to live.
Jiao had two young children at the time—a four-year-old and a newborn. So, they quickly started looking for other places they could move to because they wanted to be settled before their kids got into school and started making friends.
Finding and Exploring Opportunity
Jiao and his partner had some time off work in late 2020 because of their newborn, and decided to go on a road trip to the Southern California area, visiting Orange County and Irvine. After exploring, they weren’t keen on relocating there even though they liked the areas.
Around the same time Jian Jiao and his family were on their road trip, the company Oracle relocated its headquarters to Austin. Jiao had interned with Oracle, so when the news of the company’s relocation broke, he took notice—the move made Jiao and his family consider relocating to Texas.
Spending a Few Days in Austin
The family took yet another road trip, this time to Austin, and explored the city for five days. Taking the trip with their little baby had its challenges, but it was a revealing one for them.
It also opened their eyes to a whole new area that felt much different from the Bay Area and they liked it. Austin felt like the refreshing change Jiao and his family needed.
Making the Bold Move to Relocate
By the end of the year, Jiao wanted to start the process of buying a new house in Austin, so he reached out to a real estate agent. He also asked Google to relocate him to Texas, and the tech-giant agreed.
While Google processed his internal transfer, Jiao secured a job as principal data engineer at BP in Austin. The family finally made the move in June 2021.
Not All His Friends Support the Move
As Jiao and his family prepared to relocate, their friends tried to discourage them from moving. One friend even told them they’d be back within a year. “You’ll hate Austin. It’s hot, boring, and there’s no Asian population,” the friend told Jiao.
Nevertheless, Jiao was more committed to finding a better life for his family, so he stuck to his plan.
Jiao Becomes a Trendsetter for Other Tech Workers
Within six months of relocating to Austin, three of Jiao’s friends from the San Francisco area had also moved with their families to Austin.
Jiao’s motivation for moving had nothing to do with the negative perceptions about San Francisco. However, there’s been a growing trend of negative news in San Francisco, including wildfires and petty crimes, since he relocated his family.
The New Environment Offers More Than Expected
Jiao found Austin to be full of surprises. The houses weren’t as cheap as he thought they might be, but they were certainly cheaper than houses in the Bay Area. He also found that people living in Austin were friendlier than he was used to.
Also, while there were fewer Asians living in Austin, the population was more diverse than the Bay Area. Jiao was surrounded by people in different kinds of jobs unlike the Bay Area which was dominated by people in tech. Austin wasn’t a cheap city to live in, but he found it was cheaper than the Bay Area.
Like Everything, Austin Has Its Positives and Negatives
Jiao found that traffic in Austin was quite bad because the city was more densely-populated than the city plan had intended. However, he noticed that there was constant roadwork trying to ease the traffic. When finished, the roads should be a lot freer.
Apart from the traffic, it was expensive to find a handyman to help out with work around the house.
Austin Weather Much Different From San Francisco
Another thing Jiao noticed about Austin was that the city experienced all the seasons, and they could be quite extreme compared to the weather in San Francisco. The winters in Austin are so intense that trees freeze and fall over. The frigid Austin temperatures can also damage pipes.
Jiao appreciated the ease of transport within the city, but also mentioned that Austin didn’t offer as many international flight options like San Francisco does.
North Austin Reminiscent of the Bay Area
North Austin is the go-to neighborhood for anyone interested in tech and new developments. Jiao lives in South Austin because there are more families and better schools in that area, and it’s more eco-friendly.
He knows that he’s missing out on certain perks of living in the north, such as certain amenities, and Asian culture. But for him, North Austin is a lot like the Bay Area—and he doesn’t like that.
Sustainable Growth in Austin
Since Jiao moved to South Austin, there has been some growth. North and East Austin have more property developments and Highway 290 has expanded with four more lanes.
“I want to see the city flourish, but I don’t want Austin to become another Bay Area. I think Austin has room to grow—I just hope it’s an organized change,” Jiao said.