On June 26th 2005, I hopped on a flight to a destination that would change my life forever. My first memory of arriving in San Francisco is taking BART to the East Bay. Gay Pride Parade was happening downtown, and while I didn’t see any of it underground, I knew when I saw two girls in rainbow costumes entering the train car that this is where I was meant to be.

„People fall in love with this city and never wanna leave“, my uncle warned me. And he was right. To this day, I can’t express what draws me to San Francisco so much (I did try here), but it’s definitely the most magical place on earth for me. The summer of 2005 changed my life forever as for the first time in my life, I felt that it was ok to be myself.  I wasn’t judged by my imperfections, background and my past, I was just accepted. And I’ve never really felt acceptance in the 21 years prior to my arrival in San Francisco.

I knew back then that my experiences woudl stay with me forever. There are lots of moments – good and bad – I vividly remember and I held onto these memories because I sensed that they would be once in a lifetime-experiences. Living in California, even for just a few months, will change your mindset forever. And it kept me going for the rest of my 20s.

Bay Bridge, 2005

Bay Bridge, 2005

If I learned anything from my love of San Francisco, it’s that happiness is a journey, not a destination. For years I was convinced that I’d find true happiness if I’d just live in the city I love so much. That obviously didn’t happen. But all these experiences made me the person who I am today – much hated by some, appreciated by others, loved by one.

Last night in my bed thoughts, I caught my 2005 self up on what happened in the last ten years. While I still hate myself most of the time, there’s a lot to be proud of and goals that seemed unrealistic at the time. I vividly remember picking up my first copy of Wired magazine and secretly hoping that one day, I’d write for them. Now I do.

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