NPR logo Tessa Rodriguez Dreams of California... in NC

D2D California Dreaming Series

Tessa Rodriguez Dreams of California... in NC


Tessa Rodriguez pursues her CA dream in NC; photo courtesy Tessa Rodriguez

Over the last several weeks, we've asked Day to Day listeners to share their vision of the California Dream. Fame, health, satisfaction, blue sky or innovation—what defines your California Dream? Is the economy forcing that dream to change?

We've been sharing listener responses both on-air and here on Daydreaming. But then we noticed a curious thing: Some of you were writing in to tell about leaving California behind. On today's show we talked to some people who have given up on the dream, and we'll be sharing some of their stories here on the blog. In this installment, Tessa Rodriguez explains how she had to leave the Bay Area for Greensboro to find the peace of mind and quality of life that she'd always been promised by California.

I grew up in the Bay Area. I lived there for 24 years. California was the place to be. And now I have escaped and live in Greensboro, NC. It's a toss up between falling in love with the man of my dreams and recognizing that my career goals do not afford me a CA lifestyle.

Yes, I did move here for a career. And, yes, I did move here for my love. However in the past two years that I have been back, and maybe with my maturing return of Saturn, I have recognized that I don't need to go back to California. To live, that is. It's fine to visit; that is where my entire family is, but my career in the building materials
industry, working for the worlds largest manufacturer of doors and windows does not afford me a secure future in California.

One factor of life in CA that I do not miss is the consumerism. In CA it is very important to have the right car, the right house in the right area, the right job. It's insane. I don't have to have a Coach bag here. I don't have to shop at the most elite boutiques. I have easy access to parks and trails and lakes, and golf, any outdoor activity that you can imagine. I have the ocean a mere 3 hour car trip away, which was a lot to swallow in the beginning. The bottom line is I live a different life from that of my friends and family back in the Bay Area. I am not defined by my personal belongings. The weather, the atmosphere, the activities, and the love of my life are all things that I have found here in Greensboro, North Carolina.

If you'd like to share your story of finding (or abandoning) the California Dream, use the contact page provided here.