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California Dreaming..

So I need some help and as a result I need to let out a secret we have been keeping for a little bit.. My little family might be moving to the U.S of A.

We are not 100% yet but we are close to it as long as that last interview results in them saying everything we need to hear and we agree to everything they want. We would be moving to San Francisco just not Downtown and I need advice from anyone that knows.

I have been researching for hours, or is that days?.. ok maybe weeks!!

My main worry is the kids. I want to make sure the experience is endlessly positive and given that we have our fourth baby Dexter to accomodate, live in a decent size home, have a gorgeous local school, sports fields everywhere, fab beaches , all their mates around the corner and a suburb you can leave your front door open all day to come home to it still just that (yes this has happened a few times.. oops) its not an easy ticket to fill.

The areas I have pinpointed as being affordable, safe, good schools and with the sort of accomodation I would be able to live with (far out CA has some serious retro stuff goin' down and I am not talking trendy retro.. just plain old) are.. sort of 4 zones..

Cupertino, Los Gatos, Campbell, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara 
- the way I see it this is a busier more happening neighbourhood but with some amazing track runs. We would be in smaller accomodation, likely not have a spare room and that would still be top end of our budget..

Dublin, San Ramon, Pleasanton 
- I think this offers us a more sleepy suburb with good schools but larger accomodation allowing us to have guests but will leave me far more cut off with the kids..

Tiburon, Mill Valley, Sausalito 
- this seems far more Swiss Alps feeling and a lot more cut off, lots less on offer to rent and still high on budget side but a much smaller community and the closest to San Fran we would consider.

Burlingame, Millbrae - Good Schools and apparently sorta posh (which might not be our thing AND comes with high house rental) but again close to San Fran and on the radar but last on the list 

I would adore advice from anyone who has lived there, does live there, knows anyone that lives or loved there? 

My little family are a tight unit and we want to use this couple of years away to just bond, spend as much time doing sport related things together, camping, skiing and road tripping. Hanging at home with family visiting and just generally sucking up the opportunity for all that it is and taking in as much of the US as possible before we come back to our true love Australia.

Where would you go? 
Where would you live?
What would you prioritise? 


  1. Hi Tess,

    I stayed with my partner's family recently in your Zone 1. Though it is a great happening neighbourhood, is quite a great option over downtown SF and even somewhere I'd be happy staying - driving around here, on the freeways I mean, drove me mad. Consider the driving routes you'll have to do daily, at peak times, around here (acutally all your choice zones). Because every big tech company is in and around Zone 1, the commuting traffic is huge. We found that using Google Maps for directions before we drove off helped immensely - if you didn't know this already, Google shows you live traffic jams by putting red lines on your driving map. It may be worth looking at this one typical work day, on your phone. When it's their peak driving times, of course. Just to see how much time is added onto your driving time.

    Such an amazing opportunity that you guys may have. I agree you should make the most of it. I'll email a place to you where we went to see loads of rock pools that are safe to visit during low tide. It was great to see sea life different to ours here.


  2. Thanks Avril, Sounds good.. I am all up for links of awesome things to do :)

  3. No tips! So stoked for you! We're going too... but just for a holi-yay!

    1. Oh yay!!. When are you going? Whereabouts?

  4. Gosh I'm so late to find out this news! WOW. When you off? How exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time :)

    1. Off in 6 weeks time.. madness!! Excited but stressed :)

  5. Oh wow! We're going for a holiday to LA this year with an eye on maybe one day moving over. Definitely want to hear all about the whys of going / not going and details of what you do when you've decided!

    1. We are moving to Tiburon/Mill Valley area in 6 weeks time :) I will keep you up to date between FB and here for sure x

  6. I have an 87yr old Australian cousin who has lived in Pacifica forever. He was in Sydney recently and made the comment of what a wonderful life they have had raising their family in Pacifica. AND that it was great to see so many young families continuing to live that life.

    1. Oh that is so lovely to hear Lee-Ann.. we are so looking forward to the new adventure :)

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  8. Ok, finally getting back to you Tess. It's Fitzgerald Marine Reserve - near Half Moon Bay - it has tide pools, seals and some lovely walks. Approaching this area from the north on the weekends is better than coming from the southerly direction. But that's all good because you're going to be living in the north!

    Monterey Bay Aquarium is an awesome aquarium and it's further south of Fitzgerald. It would be worth spending a over nighter in that region to explore the beaches.

    I don't know anything about the Tilburn/Mill Valley area, sorry, except I drove through it and thought it looked very nice! Best wishes for your new adventure!!

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