Living in San Francisco

Melting pot of culture and technology with 30 diverse districts and 50 hills
Saturday, January 30, 2016 to Monday, February 29, 2016

Introduction: the land of opportunities

The United States always had a reputation for great stories. Mine began in Switzerland, where I met a philanthropic foundation that supports global projects for the poorest people. This fruitful connection allowed me to do an extended pro bono consulting in the States and later Kenya. And suddenly I was sitting on an airplane to San Francisco with WIFI on board. Living in the States never was a dream of mine, but now I had the perfect opportunity. So I set out to my first unpaid engagement for a social cause.

Homebase: feeling at home from the first day

My first impression of the city was a friendly Chinese in a Tesla. This friend of a friend picked me up at the airport and invited me to a great Sushi place. As the accommodation prices are on a horrendous rise, finding an affordable place was not easy at all. This is also manifested by the countless homeless people you encounter in the streets. Because the weather is temperate throughout the year, whole camps of tents arose. I made the right choice of booking a room in a small bed and breakfast.

Transportation: up and down the hills

The city’s topography is interesting and challenging. Some streets are flat, others so steep they need steps. Nevertheless, my absolute favourites were riding the bicycle and walking. For an American city, there are surprisingly many dedicated cyclist (green) and bus (red carpet) lanes. With buses, trains and some sort of a metro, the public transportation is not too bad. However, people are obsessed with driving big cars (SUVs). No wonder private taxi networks like Uber, Lift and Chariot are blossoming.

Districts: a miniature copy of the world

The bay area attracts people from all over the world. By crossing the city, you might as well travel around the globe. In Downtown, you will find Little Italy, China Town and the Russian Hill. The modern Financial District borders directly to Tenderloin, where you find most governmental departments and homeless people. South of Market (SOMA) booms with startups and co-working spaces, whereas the Mission is dominated by Mexicans. Every single district is worth an exploration.

People: friendly, busy and independent

It is very easy to go out, meet people and have fun. Because of my extended networking activities, I literally met hundreds of people. The majority I only saw once, but I also managed to meet many again. Especially in the Chinese community, I gained some very good friends. Everybody is following his or her dream to live a rich and fulfilled life. People seem to be generally more conscious about their choices and lifestyle. I can genuinely say, that I enjoyed every moment with them.

FOMO: about the Fear Of Missing Out

Having endless opportunities can become a burden. Never before have I been to a place with such a rich offer of activities. You can start the day with Yoga or a Rave and end it with a drink or nightlife in a museum. The latter is especially fun, as it combines exploratory learning and going out. Numerous good restaurants, nightclubs and comedy shows wait to be explored. For the first time in my life, I was overwhelmed by the abundance of high-quality activities.

Summary: more than hippies and startups

The vibrant city has treated me well. I have met some remains of the hippie culture and been part of the startup community. But I could also dig deeper and experience much more than that. San Francisco is so rich in culture, made by authentic and engaged people. I truly hope to meet many of them again - at the right time in the right place.

A warm thank to all the great people who made me feel at home in San Francisco!

My waypoints on this journey

San Francisco - a miniature version of the hole world compressed into a small peninsula
a miniature version of the hole world compressed into a small peninsula
Ride a Bike - San Francisco is probably the most bicycle friendly place in the USA
San Francisco is probably the most bicycle friendly place in the USA
1906 Mission - the coolest affordable bed & breakfast in San Francisco for a high quality lifestyle
the coolest affordable bed & breakfast in San Francisco for a high quality lifestyle
Superbowl City - announced as the event of the year, turned out to be pretty unspectacular
announced as the event of the year, turned out to be pretty unspectacular
Chinatown - a busy and bustling district with loud street markets in the heart of San Francisco
a busy and bustling district with loud street markets in the heart of San Francisco
Little Italy - an extravagant blend of the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle in the heart of San Francisco
an extravagant blend of the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle in the heart of San Francisco
Ferry Building - the best place in all of San Francisco for organic and fresh food lovers
the best place in all of San Francisco for organic and fresh food lovers
Pier 39 - I can imagine so many better things to do in San Francisco than visiting this touristic spot
I can imagine so many better things to do in San Francisco than visiting this touristic spot
f8 - my first real clubbing in San Francisco after coding all day feels like wellness for my body
my first real clubbing in San Francisco after coding all day feels like wellness for my body
Ocean Beach - cycling across the cify of San Francisco to enjoy a walk on the beach of the Pacific Ocean
cycling across the cify of San Francisco to enjoy a walk on the beach of the Pacific Ocean
Haight-Ashbury - happy window shopping in the commercialised hippie district of San Francisco
happy window shopping in the commercialised hippie district of San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge - finally standing face to face with the original and glancing down at the nudist beach
finally standing face to face with the original and glancing down at the nudist beach
Golden Gate Park - riding the bicycle through the park and enjoying the warm winter sun in San Francisco
riding the bicycle through the park and enjoying the warm winter sun in San Francisco
Mezzanine - for the first time I spent more time talking to people than dancing in a club
for the first time I spent more time talking to people than dancing in a club
Folsom Street Foundry - the best way to end a 3 day conference with many great people and conversations
the best way to end a 3 day conference with many great people and conversations
Living under the Bridge - the number of homeless in this city is alarming but mostly all of them are harmless
the number of homeless in this city is alarming but mostly all of them are harmless
Happy Hour Comedy - laughing to international stand up comedians and then dancing to freaky music
laughing to international stand up comedians and then dancing to freaky music
Mission - living in the best District of San Francisco and enjoying delicious food and coffee
living in the best District of San Francisco and enjoying delicious food and coffee
Clarion Alley - accidentally stumbling upon a hidden gem: a small alley full of colorful streetart
accidentally stumbling upon a hidden gem: a small alley full of colorful streetart
Ellen Allien at Monarch - Rocking the dance floor with some Americans to celebrate playful German techno
Rocking the dance floor with some Americans to celebrate playful German techno
Morning Gloryville - hitting the dance floor on a Wednesday morning is a great start into the day!
hitting the dance floor on a Wednesday morning is a great start into the day!
On the Spot - laughing about 1 hour to 6 plays, written in 1 day, produced in 1 week
laughing about 1 hour to 6 plays, written in 1 day, produced in 1 week
Happy Birthday! - my great friends all over the world celebrated my birthday multiple times today!
my great friends all over the world celebrated my birthday multiple times today!
Magnetic Speaking - attending a public speaking bootcamp to practice and boost my skills
attending a public speaking bootcamp to practice and boost my skills
Bay Aquarium - epic nightlife event underneath the bay, clink your glasses with the fish
epic nightlife event underneath the bay, clink your glasses with the fish
BATS Improv Theatre - learning the first steps of improv theatre and then enjoying a fun show
learning the first steps of improv theatre and then enjoying a fun show
Academy of Sciences - science at night, with music and with a cocktail is so much more fun
science at night, with music and with a cocktail is so much more fun
Fellow Barber - getting a brand new haircut before leaving America and heading to Africa
getting a brand new haircut before leaving America and heading to Africa