Hemingway & Paris
When he was just a young man in his early twenties, Ernest Hemingway moved from Chicago, Illinois to a poor district in Paris. He had just returned from a short stint of serving with the Red Cross in World War I and wanted to pursue a career in writing. There was just one problem: he didn’t have much exposure to other writers.
Who would teach him?
In Chicago, Hemingway met Sherwood Anderson who encouraged him to move to Paris to meet Gertrude Stein, who led a community of writers, poets, and artists there. Plus, it was cheaper to live in Paris, and Hemingway could live modestly while still having time to travel and write.
In Paris, he met Stein, as well as Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and many others who would shape his work for years to come. This included a connection via F. Scott Fitzgerald to Scribner’s, the publisher that would later publish his novels and change the course of his career forever.
Before that decade in Paris, Hemingway was a writer of some notable talent and a pretty good journalist. But after those years immersed in the creative work of others, he was a household name.
Due to the connections created through that community, Hemingway became one of the most famous writers of the 20th Century. It’s inconceivable such a development could have happened anywhere else. Not because there was something special about the Left Bank at that time, but because without a network, creative work does not endure.
– Taken from Jeff Goin’s post “The Unfair Truth About How Creative People Really Succeed“
Without a network…
For the last two years I’ve been mostly based at home with family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This was a conscious choice I made to make sure I was able to take advantage of several once-in-a-lifetime opportunities during that period of my life:
- Being able to travel with friends and visit other friends around the country.
- Being able to spend >50% of my time close with my immediate family through the latest ups and downs, as we lost a family pet, made plans for the next phase of our lives, and both my parents began to travel and transitioned into retirement!
- Being back at home as a young adult to get plugged in to the community I grew up in so that I have a sense of what’s going on locally and where I might be able to contribute long term.
The importance of building new networks has come to my attention lately. It was of course important in college, but I think it’s even more important early in your professional life.
Jeff Goins wrote beautifully about how Hemingway built his career on the relationships he developed in Paris in this post, some of which I quoted above.
Anyway, if I’d like to work in the fields of education, tech, and media for the foreseeable future, my networks in those worlds were severely lacking in 2014. I made steps toward improving my connections in education over the last year, and now I’d like to focus on tech & media, but that’s surprisingly hard to do without being where most of the important work happens.
As a result of this line of thinking I’ve been trying to decide where I’d like to move if I’m not going to be based full time in Colorado anymore. I’ve made a few realizations:
I would like to move to New York City!
I would also like to move to San Francisco.
And of course I also want to move to Los Angeles.
This is a bit of a problem. Under normal circumstances I would obviously have to choose one of these three.
I’m going to try to create some abnormal circumstances so I don’t have to choose.
Because I don’t want to choose if I don’t have to! I want to live in all three. Now …how can we make that a reality?
“When presented with several options, choose all of them.”
Here’s the plan:
I’m going to find and rent three different three bedroom apartments. One in LA, one in SF, and one in New York.
I’ll find 8 other people who want to live in all three locations and are open to swapping cities pretty often.
We’ll decorate them like AirBnB places, and it’ll be grand.
Obviously, this is a pipe dream until we figure out whether it can be done. Fortunately, it has already been done! So I went out and found someone who has done it to get feedback and some ideas on how to make it happen.
I talked to Jay, who does this sort of thing with 15-bedroom houses in several cities and he said “oh man, yeah it’s super difficult. This will take you a while to set up. Give it a few years.”
Then I said “No, we’re just doing three bedroom apartments!”
And he was like, “OH! DUDE! COOL! That’ll be a breeze. Here’s how you do it:”
And he laid out this plan based on his several years of experience in the field of weird housing situations:
We’ll all pay rent to the landlords through a single legal entity (Say, an LLC). That’s really all we have to do legally to make it happen and keep the complication of the situation from causing an unnecessary headache for potential landlords.
Should we want to buy the properties eventually, we can develop credit worthiness by paying rent for a while through this entity and eventually buy the properties (or we can buy the properties through a friends’ already-credit-worthy legal entity if anyone we know would like to own/invest in these properties).
And it will work that simply! That way the lease is held by a business and we can swap out tenants without bothering the landlord.
Jay also highlighted several tools we can use to make the administrative work easier, like Bills.com for rent.
So there remains the problem of finding eight other crazy young location independent people who want to do this. Ideally, folks who meet several criteria:
- Able to pay rent.
- Location independant income.
- Enthusiastic about living in three cities, open to swapping regularly, get along great with a diversity of roommates.
- Not gonna leave dishes in the sink.
- Able to put three months of rent (rough estimate: $1200-2500 x 3, depending on the standards the group agrees on) down for two purposes: to make sure we’re starting with a committed group of people who seriously believe in the idea and are willing to put money where their enthusiasm is, as well as cover two months of rent and a security deposit to encourage landlords to work with us!
I actually already know several people who are interested. I have two already on board. This means I need six more.
Bonus points: if you already live in NYC, LA, SF, or you’re already location independent.
Interested? Here’s what you do:
- Fill out an application.
- Wait a few days. Get accepted. Get Stoked.
- Pay spot reservation & deposit.
- Prepare to find houses with us over the summer.
- Kick things off sometime in Fall 2016.
If we accept your application, we’ll let you know if you’re in, we’ll start discussions about which part of each city we’d all like to live in. Then we’ll find actual apartments, settle the first round of who-lives-where, and then we’ll charge all of our cards when we know everyone gets along and we have the details nailed down.
Once we have a group of nine awesome people we’re all excited about, we can get started!
If you’re interested, apply with this link: