What made it hard or easy to leave chicago?


What made it really easy to leave Chicago was the fact that I knew winter was coming, it's getting pretty violent back home, the cost of living is going up, and I wanted a change of skate scene. What made it really hard was leaving all of my friends and family. Basically start new with basically no friends and family.

"But I was tiring of living through Instagram and wondering what California was like."


I wanted to work with skating and that's basically impossible in Chicago. Cons of cali are, it's super expensive to rent, need a car, natural disasters, and the drivers are the worst.

Living through instagram, that's a heavy statement. What are some pros and cons of the cali life for someone else thinking about doing what you did, and what do you miss most about chicago?

Aaron does a crooked grind on the Get Real Stoop at their annual Get Stooped Contest.

Pros are obviously the weather, year round warmth, beaches, mountains, cheaper to skate, 5th largest economy in the world, and just a new world.

Was finding work easy?

Yes and no.

Aaron does a wallie. 

"Coming from the Midwest, I feel like I had a better work ethic than most."

Having little to no friends pushed me to try hard. Work is everywhere. Just can't be picky and have to take a shitty job to get you going. I miss the homies, my family ,and cheap food. Never thought I'd miss the CTA but I do haha. I miss being somewhere I'm comfortable but that's not me. I like trying and not having it easy. California is just ideal for my lifestyle. Like I can go into a store and basically pick out the weed I want. I've never been able to do that. Back home you have to call a guy to meet up and hopefully you don't get sketched out. As expensive as it is here you basically pay for the luxury of having the beaches near you, mountains near you, year-round warmth, and just some of the best and most beautiful things around you. California isn't easy at all. It's a dream but it's a dream you have to work for. If it wasn't for my friends and family supporting me I wouldn't have the ability or the strength to continue. I found myself really stuck and kind of depressed sometimes. It gets really difficult on your own out here especially when it's really expensive.

Are there some experiences that you can share of moments you got through that made you stronger and more confident out there?


"There was a time where I broke bone in my elbow and tore ligaments. I couldn't work for a month almost.

A lot of the homies back home sent me over $700 to help pay for my rent.

That was honestly one of the most touching things I've ever experienced."

It was great to tell her that people back home really care about me. My biggest motivation was the fact that everyone was telling me that it wasn't possible for me to make it out here without a car. I've had a lot of doubts and even the first month I moved out here I had people back home telling me when I was going to move back. The lack of confidence some people had in me just fueled my drive. The last thing I wanted to do was go back home before winter and not accomplish anything.

"I healed and eventually I got a job at Vans Skatepark."

It's probably the best job I've ever had. I get to meet professionals, amateurs, and legends from all over the world. I'm not working at a rate that I'd never thought would be imaginable. And for the first time I am not living through Instagram. Because I am living what I used to dream about.

Thats a lot of growth.

Thanks. I feel more responsible now that I have ever been.

Any extra words of advice to someone thinking about moving from midwest to California?

Stack up your money, plan real well, make sure you know someone out here, don't let people tell you how to feel, stay strong, keep that Chicago hustle strong.

Understand that life is too short to wonder what if. You have to take risk and fail sometimes to really get where you want to be. It's all a part of life and just being human



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