A freind of mine on facebook recently said in his status update that:
"You know I hear people say all the time...'I'm sick of Baltimore and I can't wait till I leave'....well make sure you are leaving for a good reason because I guarantee you that after a while you are going to get sick of wherever you move to if you are not doing anything positive. Every place is like the next place without motivation and a game plan!....move for a reason and not an excuse."
Great point. I have definitely been guilty before about complaining about the lack of night life in Baltimore and wanting to leave for a bigger city. Both of my parents are from Philadelphia and when I was young I would always go up for weeks at a time to stay with relatives during the summer and visit them during holidays in the winter. It was from these visits that I fell in love with Philly and just the general feeling of being in a big city. Even though I lived less than a year of my life in Philly after being born there, I would even tell people growing up proudly and directly, I'm from Philly. The truth was I really a kid from suburban Baltimore who happened to visit Philadelphia often.
So ever since I was a kid, I have always been wishing to be somewhere else than Baltimore. Somewhere bigger. Somewhere more grand. Somewhere more flavorful. I never really appreciated Baltimore for what it was because I was too focused on what other cities had that Baltimore lacked. Throughout my childhood I would go back and forth from Philadelphia by train and by car and I would marvel at how fast the bigger city moved, the skyscrapers, the different cultures, the subways, the trolleys, the elevated trains. All Baltimore had was a bus and subway line that did not run on my side of town.
So when it was time to go way to college, naturally I choose to go to school in Philadelphia to no longer be a visitor but a resident of a big city. I enjoyed my time there, I soaked up everything Philly had to offer. The museums, the night life, the history, the sporting events, the culture, everything. The big city was everything I wanted it to be but also everything I did not expect it to be. The big city was colder. The big city made you rush and become brash because everyone was trying to hustle to get over. At times the city felt too dense, it would take sometimes an hour to get to another side of the city and park. The big city did not have much open grass and trees but had a lot of brick, concrete and steel. The big city was not laid back and relaxed.
After college was over, I got a job opportunity to go back to Baltimore. While I would certainly miss Philly and would love to move back, a part of me was relieved to go back home. Being back home made me relaxed again. Over the next year, I would travel back and forth from Philly to visit old friends when I realized something. I had spent my whole life wishing to be somewhere else only to get there and realize it wasn't what I thought it would be.
Don't get me wrong, I still got a lot of love for Philly and I would still move back there...if the situation was right. I would go back with my eyes wide open and I would not just jump back to the city at the first opportunity. So you would think, I would have learned my lesson about appreciating home but I did not. While back in Baltimore, I would travel south a lot to visit friends and sometimes just wander around in the city of our Nation's capital, D.C. I soon developed an adult wanderlust of D.C. similar to the childhood desires I had to be in Philadelphia.
Unlike Philadelphia, D.C. was not a big city. D.C. had a very similar scale to Baltimore but just exuded an overabundance of sophistication and hipness while still keeping a neighborhood charm from within its local neighborhoods. D.C. had what seemed like an endless amount of beautiful women and lots of young folks with money who spent it on the numerous megaclubs, clubs, lounges, restaurants that were defacto lounges, bars, entertainment venues that seemed to trump Baltimore's nightlife.
D.C. is a small city but I would have endless amounts of fun or course with the nightlife but also going to different museums, checking out it's many hipster-like neighborhoods and going to random cultural events. Everything was pretty much within walking distance of the Metro, which is one of the cleanest and best subway systems I have been on. Once again, all Baltimore had was a bus and a subway line that did not run on my side of town.
While I have never moved to D.C., it is only an hour away and I have come to really know the city through my frequent visits. And while I still love the town for it's endless amounts of beautiful women and nightlife, the amount of money you would have to make to enjoy said women and nightlife is outrageous. The amount of hours you would have to work to afford a lifestyle where you could enjoy the nightlife on a regular basis would run you ragged. And if the cost of living doesn't run you ragged, the horrible traffic and parking in D.C. and its surrounding areas will. One weekend of receipts from partying in D.C. often makes me appreciate the cheapness of my favorite local bars in Baltimore that much more.
Would I still move to D.C.? Maybe. D.C. has a lot of great neighborhoods and places with a lots of scenery and things to do. While I'm sure those places are nice, they are not quite home though. While in comparison to other cities, Baltimore may be small and laid back but I kind of dig that about my hometown. Here, I move around with ease. There's nothing here forcing me to move faster then I want too and there's no need to try to show off to keep up with the Joneses. This city allows you to be exactly who you are and not much more. Could it stand to have a better nightlife, transportation system and an overall hipness to it? Absolutely.
But all things being equal, I'd rather be in Baltimore.