"Go West, young man. You’ve been told, California’s full of women, whiskey and gold."
I was listening to this Toby Keith song today while working out and it made me realise that people have been flocking to California for the lifestyle and opportunity since the dawn of time, or at least since 1869. California really came into its own during the days of the Gold Rush, when the rumours were that its streets were paved with gold. San Francisco grew 10-fold overnight, and a state which up until then had consisted of a string of Spanish missions, suddenly became a place where dreams came true.
I don’t think a lot has changed in the 140 odd years since then. People from all over the world make the pilgrimage to California to have a shot at turning their dreams into a reality. We even have the Terminator as our Guv, who being a foreigner and married to a Kennedy to boot, is pretty much the epitome of the American Dream.
I bring this up as many of the questions that have arisen since my announcement to return to California have been: why? I have spent six years building a life in London. I own a flat here, I did own a company here, my boyfriend is from here, and all of our friends live here. So why am I now picking everything up and going west? It is simply down to the lifestyle (whiskey and women) and the opportunity (gold). Now I am not a whiskey drinker, lesbian, or a gold miner, but you get my drift.
The lifestyle in California is second to none. It rains about five days a year and believe me, regardless of what they say, you don’t miss the seasons. Everyone exercises and is fit and good looking, and as that is the norm you don’t feel like a social leper for working out four days a week.
Also, people are happy. It’s probably down to the sun and all the endorphins from working out, but people smile when you pass them on the street and say hello. They are either from there and realise how lucky they are, or they are not from there and again realise how lucky there are to be there.
Now all of this is not without its faults, but I will leave that for another time. All that glitters is not gold, but you really can’t beat the weather, lifestyle and don’t even get me started on the levels of customer service in places like bars or restaurants.
The second reason - the opportunity that is there - perhaps may be unique to me. But the opportunities that lay in California are limitless. I will be returning to help run my family business, which has been in my family since my grandfather, who came over on a boat from Norway at the age of 17 and whose first stop was Ellis Island. He started it in the 1940’s, and it’s been run by a Corey Myer ever since. As I carry the name on, albeit with a female spelling (Corre), I hope to carry on the tradition of its success.
So I now have five months left in London to revel in my last winter, and while the grass may seem greener and certainly not mud soaked from all the rain, I know without doubt that London and the City are where I cut my teeth and learned the tough lessons, and I will always have a huge amount of respect for this town.