Since I made the move to Atlanta one year ago, I am always asked, “So, is living in Atlanta meeting your expectations?” My answer: There were very specific reasons for my move to Atlanta and yes, my expectations are being met.
I’ll break it down for you now:
- Living more affordably– Atlanta is definitely more affordable than LA or DC. That not only includes housing. On average I feel that parking, food, alcoholic beverages, gas and clothing are more affordable as well, just to name a few things. As I continue to look for a house, I am amazed at how much actual house you get for $250,000, just 10-15 min outside the city. The rents and mortgages in midtown/downtown Atlanta are a bit pricier. I’m looking to get the most for my money so living in midtown/downtown will not be the best choice for me.
- Being closer to family and friends– I know we normally don’t like thinking about bad things, but I knew my mother was getting older and I felt that I need to be closer in case of an emergency. I also knew that I really didn’t want to move back to the DMV area, so Atlanta was the best option for me. Also, having one of my best friends living in Atlanta made my decision a little easier. My goal is to have my mother come stay with me for 4-6 months of the year, and I think she would absolutely love it.
- Being black and gay– Being in Atlanta for one year has been refreshing and reaffirming for me as a gay black man. It is a great feeling to walk in a restaurant, bar, theatre and see people that look like you. I recall my first weekend in Atlanta and I was in awe of all the black people (straight and gay) who were in the midtown restaurant. I was so happy that I sent a text to one of my female friend and she texted back, “Welcome to Atlanta.” Unlike LA, there are four black owned and operated gay establishments in Atlanta (Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours, Daiquiri Factory, Soul Bar and b.142 Bar & Lounge). I love seeing large groups of gay black men on any given day and at any given place around town is good for my soul. You never realize how much you miss something until you don’t have it anymore.
Things I’m still navigating in ATL:
- Traffic– I thought LA had bad traffic but the traffic in Atlanta is the worst. Depending on the time of day, it can take me between 30-45 minutes to get to Midtown. I find myself checking Waze before I go anywhere and sometimes that is not helpful. I am finding that people love to speed on 75 and I honestly see two accidents a day. I doubt if it will get any better due to the number of people relocating to Atlanta.
- Dating– I’ve been on a few dates in the last year and with every date I learn more about me and dating in general. I used to think that dating depended on your geographic area, but I have lived in three different places in the last six years, and location has very little to do with it. Until I find that special one, I will continue to enjoy my single life in my new city.
- Southern Hospitality– I have often heard that people are nicer in the South and now I can officially say that it is completely true. My experiences around the city have all proven to me that people here are extremely nice. It has taken me a while to get used to being called “Mister” and “Sir” all the time because I associate those titles with being old. Now I see it’s just a Southern thang!
I am looking forward to exploring more places, meeting more people and experiencing new things in Atlanta. Atlanta has many great things to offer and I have barely scratched the surface. I’m looking forward to getting more settled in Atlanta and seeing what’s ahead for me!