Casey Hopkins

communications + marketing + events

Why I Decided To Leave Boulder

If there's one thing I've learned during my time in Boulder, it's that everyone you meet has their own reasons for moving to "The Bubble" - Some crave a more adventurous outdoor lifestyle, complete with skiing, hiking, camping, climbing, etc. Some want to raise their families here, giving their children a fantastic education at top-notch schools. Some move for the opportunities in the ever-growing startup scene. Others simply want to wake up every morning, see the world-famous Flatirons, and smoke a bowl of legal marijuana.

Then there's me.

My Boulder story began five years ago when I quit my job in Burlington, VT, packed up my car with my stuff and my cats, and began driving across the country. So what was my reason for moving? I, like many, wanted to be a part of the elusive startup scene that I had been reading and hearing about for the past year. Small companies changing the world in this quiet little mountain community. What was not to love? But it was more than that: My aim was to not only join the community and work at a startup, but to become an integral part of of Boulder's tech scene. To help grow it. To help define it.

Sounds ambitious, right? Well, over the course of five years, I've become a volunteer and organizer for amazing events like Ignite Boulder, Boulder Startup Week, Boulder Beta, and more. I've gone through the world-renowned Techstars startup accelerator, attended meet-ups, hackathons, and events with some of the brightest people in the world, and created relationships with friends and colleagues that I know will last a lifetime. All while watching and helping this incredible community not only grow, but explode around me.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I love Boulder. It is, and always will be, my home. After two years here, I wrote a blog post entitled "10 Reasons Why You Should Move To Boulder, CO. Tomorrow." that I'm proud and humbled to say has inspired dozens of people to relocate here. Three years later, I still, whole heartedly, would recommend a move to Boulder for anyone who has never experienced living here. 


So why am I leaving? Well, to put it simply, I've accomplished what I set out to do five years ago. When my company, Revolv, was acquired by Google at the end of 2014, it was the first time since living in Vermont where I reflected on my life and found a hole. It was similar to what I had felt before, but this time I craved something different for myself. Something bigger and more grand. I've always had a severe case of the travel bug, and having accomplished what I set out to do in Boulder, I knew, deep down (although it took a while to admit it to myself) that it was time for a new adventure, which meant moving away.

I can tell you one thing: It won't be easy. When I left Burlington after five years of living there, everything little thing I did leading up to my last day, my thoughts were constantly, "This is probably the last time I'll ever do this." It was highly emotional. The entire drive through the state of Vermont, I sobbed hysterically. But, when I hit the Massachusetts border, it was as if I finally peaked over the top of a huge hill that I had been climbing for weeks, and everything that was ahead of me (my new job, living in Boulder, limitless adventures, etc.) was finally visible on the other side. It was that exact moment that sadness turned into excitement, tears turned into the inability to stop smiling, and for the first time, I fully appreciated my decision uproot and move west. I know already that I'll experience something similar upon my departure from Boulder.

So where, you may ask, am I heading? Well, as it happens, I sort of let fate decide that one for me. When Revolv was acquired, I knew two things about my next position: That I needed to be a part of a team that truly cared about the products or services they were building, and that I needed to be passionate about what I was doing everyday. I interviewed at companies around the country: Boulder, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, Bellevue, San Jose... And as fate would have it, after four months of searching for the perfect fit, I ended up with an offer for my dream job. 

In two weeks I'll be moving to New York City to do marketing, events and community for a phenomenal agency called ustwo.  With four studios around the world, this company is putting out some seriously incredible products, not only for their clients, but internally as well. (Perhaps you've heard of a little game called Monument Valley?) Their team is passionate, driven, and unbelievably talented. I'm still floored by the fact that I'll be working alongside some of the best designers and developers in the world.

Now, originating from the east coast, I truly thought that I would end up relocating further west. I never really imagined myself in New York City, to the extent of every time I'd visit, I'd tell my friends, "I don't know how you live here. I think I'd hate it!" But while I'm moving for the job, NYC does provide tons of new adventures that you can't experience anywhere else in the country. (Not to mention, it's also the perfect gateway to travel Europe and beyond. Hello travel bug, my old friend!) For me, in this past week since accepting my offer, it's been about focusing on everything incredible that I'll get to enjoy, and knowing (as a friend of mine said) that I'll just be adding experiences to my life-long roster. I mean, how many people in this world dream about living in New York City at some point in their lives? Who am I to complain?


As a slight side note to this whole situation, but still totally relevant to things that are "meant to be", I want to share with you a quick story about the image above: Three years ago, I purchased three map prints from a designer on Etsy. I have an unhealthy obsession with maps, and knew I wanted three for my living room. But which cities? Burlington (green) and Boulder (yellow) were a no-brainer: I had lived Burlington, and currently lived in Boulder. I could have chosen any city for my third, but I ended up picking Brooklyn. At the time, I believe my roommate and I had just planned a trip to Brooklyn to visit a few friends, and perhaps I simply thought, "Brooklyn. Ok, sure, why not?" Today it seems like some part of me knew all along that, at some chapter in my life, I would end up there. Cheesy? Definitely. But who knows? Perhaps it truly was fate.

And so, with two weeks left in my beloved Colorado, I'm taking every opportunity to soak up the sun, the mountains, the fresh air, and of course, time with my friends. But while I'm sad, I constantly remind myself that should I ever want to return, Boulder will always be here for me. And who knows? Perhaps some day I will come back. But for now, it's on to bigger and better things, and new adventures.

New York City, here I come.