Constantino Diaz-Duran is a fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University. He is chronicling his walk from New York to Los Angeles to celebrate his eligibility for American citizenship. Follow Constantino’s progress.
I have written before about some of the ways in which this journey has changed me. When I left New York, I expected to return a better man. What I didn’t expect was not to return. Yet now it has become clear that I won’t. I am moving to Texas.
New York is expensive. Everybody knows that. Even New Yorkers know that. I expect to finish my trip to Los Angeles in July. After that, I’ll be trading “How’ston” for “Hew’ston.” This decision is not one I took lightly. New York is my home, and always will be. The past year has proven that my heart will always be there. I’m reminded of it everywhere I go, and I have come to be convinced that it is, indeed, America’s city. It captures the essence of our country, and for that, I love it. But it is not the right place for me to be at this point in life.
For years, I have put up with high rents and small spaces because everything the city has to offer made it worth it. Now, I’m ready to start a family. The introspection that the hours of lonesome walking forced upon me has revealed that I want nothing more in this world than to be a father. That will be my next journey, and as a single gay man, I know the price to get there will be high. Literally. I will have to spend tens of thousands of dollars just to get a baby, whether I adopt or hire a surrogate. I repeat, I love New York, but I will never be able to save enough money there, and I don’t love it enough to give up this dream.
My decision to leave New York, my home, is deliberate. My new choice of residence is as well. I love the countryside, and have come to appreciate the charm of living in a small town. But I’m a man made for the city. Tall buildings inspire me more than green mountains, and I find the sound of cars moving more soothing than that of flowing water.
I considered several states. The fact that Texas is one of the few in the union that doesn’t charge an income tax was a big draw-again, saving money is my number one priority in the near future. I also fell in love with the culture and the food. Houston won out over other Texas cities because it has a strong economy with a healthy job market, cheap rents, opera, and Major League Baseball. Don’t think, incidentally, that I didn’t take into account the fact that the Astros are moving to the American League next year-which means the Yankees will visit, allowing me to continue to proclaim my New Yorkness, deep in the heart of Texas.
I apologize to my readers for the personal nature of this post, but you have been a part of this journey, and I thought it right to share this news. I will miss New York, but I know I will visit often. And someday, I will move back-even if I have to wait until I’m a 70-year-old retiree. For now, Texas and my dreams are calling. So let the new adventure begin. Yeehaw!
See Constantino’s entire route.
*Photo by Constantino Diaz-Duran.